As noted in Part 1 of our tour of St. Lawrence Market on Monday, the south market has just about everything needed to fill a pantry. But the fruit and vegetable stands, bulk goods and bakeries tend to mostly fill the perimeter and basement of the space. For most visitors to the market the first thing they see when they enter the main space of the upper level is meat. And that’s where we’ll begin part 2 of our tour.
I’m not much of a meat-eater, so this is one area where I can’t offer a lot of expertise as to the quality of the products available, but it’s safe to say that with eight butcher shops in the market, competition for customers (and thus quality) is high. Brown Brother’s Meat (upper level 19) have been in the market since 1895, while Di Liso’s Fine Meats (upper level 15) are spring chickens comparatively. Specializing in sausages, they also offer game birds. Whitehouse Meats (upper level 16) offers a variety of game meat, both local and exotic (venison, rabbit, ostrich, kangaroo), while Witteveen Meats (upper level 27) is the place to go for organically raised beef and chicken.
Other shops include St. Lawrence Upper Cut Meats (upper level 18); The Sausage King (upper level 44) where all the sausages are made on the premises; Manos Meats (upper level 26) known for their roast beef and corned beef sandwiches; and La Boucherie Fine Meats (upper level 3).
The market has three main fish shops, all located adjacent to one another, making it easy for customers to compare products and prices. Domenic’s Fish Market (upper level 14) tends to be my first choice just out of habit, as I’ve been shopping there since the late 80s. Plus they put up with my barrage of questions about where and when the fish was caught, and don’t find it odd when I grab a mackerel with my bare hands to check for freshness before buying. Mike’s Fish Market (upper level 31) has a prominent sign indicating that they don’t sell Chilean Sea Bass, so this is a good first stop for anyone who shops for fish with their Sea Choice wallet card as a guide. Completing the trio is Seafront Fish Market (upper level 30) with all manner of fresh and frozen delights from the ocean.
Downstairs, Caviar Direct (lower level B4) offers an extensive variety of caviar, smoked fish, truffles and truffle oil.
Coffee and Tea
While a couple of the bulk goods places mentioned on Monday carry tea and coffee, the market has a few places that specialize in it. Everyday Gourmet (lower level B14) started out as an espresso bar, and now carries a wide variety of tea and coffee and also roasts their own beans in house. Pasta Mia (lower level B23) besides selling fresh, cut-to-order pasta and sauces, features a selection of espresso drinks for that real Italian atmosphere. Upstairs near the Front Street entrance, Luba’s Coffee and Tea (upper level 48) is conveniently located in close proximity to the many restaurants in the market, and is generally where we grab a cup of coffee to go with that peameal sandwich.
There are a few other shops in the market that don’t really fit into a more succinct category, but they’re all worth mentioning. A Bisket A Basket (lower level B29) has all kinds of jams, jellies, chutneys and dressings. Across the way, The Instant Caterer (lower level B30) offers an extensive array of frozen gourmet items and a kickass selection of hot sauces. Honey World (lower level B28) has, well, honey. Mostly from New Zealand, but also some Ontario varieties as well.
Kozlik’s Mustard (upper level19A) is a market favourite, with so many varieties of locally made mustard, the booth is packed on Saturdays with customers wanting to sample them all. And if all that meat upstairs worries the vegetarian shoppers, they can head downstairs to Ying Ying Soy Food (lower level B22), where the traditionally-made tofu products can be used to replace meat in sandwiches, stir-frys and more.
Recently new to the market is Aren’t We Sweet (lower level B2) where all manner of chocolate and candy is for sale, including stuff from local purveyors such as Sitting Around Eating BonBons, and the organic candy company Pure Fun. Gourmet salt and pepper can be found at Selsi Sea Rocks (lower level 19A), and upstairs at the St. Lawrence Wine Market (upper level 9), the selection is primarily Ontario wines.
One of my favourite places in the market to spend a few hours, and usually all my money, is not a food shop at all. Placewares (upper level 29) has everything, and I do mean everything, needed to turn the food from elsewhere in the market into a tasty meal. Whether it’s restaurant quality knives, professional baking tools, cutting boards, or cast iron grills, it can be found here. The wall of $1 cookie cutters is also a delight, and there’s always seasonal accessories like cupcake wrappers or holiday-themed sprinkles.
Restaurants, Snack Bars and Take-Out
It’s hard to not get hungry while wandering the market, and there’s plenty here to eat. The market is most well known for the famous peameal bacon sandwiches, and those can be found at Carousel Bakery (mentioned in part 1), as well as at Paddington’s Pump (upper level 45), which also has a sit down area and table service for those who don’t want their peameal or their fish and chips on the go. More fish and chips and other oceanic delights can also be found at Buster’s Sea Cove (upper level 33), while those wanting pizza, or pasta, head to St. Lawrence Pizza and Ice Cream for fresh made pasta dishes.
The rest of the dining options here are like a trip around the world with Chinese food from Chinese Deli (lower level B13); Greek delicacies like souvlaki from Yianni’s Kitchen (lower level B33); daily fresh sushi from Quik Sushi (lower level B27), where they also sell Japanese housewares (pictured above); Portuguese-style grilled chicken from Churracso of St. Lawrence (upper level 49); or awesome veal or eggplant sandwiches from Mustachio (lower level B34) – get there early at lunch or risk getting stuck in the long line! A crepe from Crepe It Up (lower level B7A) is a nice treat that comes in sweet or savoury, and a fresh juice or smoothie from St. Lawrence Market Juice Bar (lower level B5) is a great way to wash it all down. Also, remember that many of the delis make sandwiches to order.
There is just so much to see, smell and taste at St. Lawrence Market that it’s hard to get it all into a couple of thousand words. Each of the shops mentioned here is deserving of their own article, so we can delve into more depth and really find out more about their unique products.
In the meantime, I hope this guide full of the insider advice of a regular shopper will encourage others to go check out the many culinary delights the St. Lawrence Market has to offer.