Rolling out the Roti For Caribana

The debate could go on for hours. Long into the night, likely with much ranting and arm-waving, the people of Parkdale are always willing to argue over which neighbourhood roti shop is the best. In an area where residents are alarmed if they don’t wake up to the smell of curry, preference is based predominantly on location and proximity, but the fact that each roti shop offers a different style of roti also plays into each person’s choice. Many of the ‘Dale’s roti shops are also long-standing family-owned businesses, so allegiances can run deep based on how long each customer has lived in the neighbourhood.

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Hail to the ‘Dale

gatefishPeople don’t really think of Parkdale as being a foodie paradise. And yes, if you’re looking for high-end health food items, organic meat or artisanal bread or cheese, you’d be mostly out of luck. But as one of the most multi-cultural neighbours in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, we’ve got a lot of variety working in our favour.

Most folks tend to think of the ‘Dale as a low-end neighbourhood full of nothing but greasy spoons and burger joints. For sure, we’ve got two of the best. The Gate (1206 King Street West) sits at the corner of King and Dufferin and offers up filling breakfast, burgers and some damn fine fish and chips. Peggy, the waitress who’s been working the tables here since the late 60s when she came to Toronto to be a go-go dancer, tells regulars to help themselves to coffee. Further west along Queen, The Skyline (1402 Queen Street West) is about as retro as you can get in terms of diners, with that famous neon sign out front, and fast and efficient service inside from the flurry of activity that is Doris, once voted “best waitress in Toronto”. Other places that serve up a mean burger or all-day breakfast includes Harry’s Burgers (160 Springhurst Avenue) and Stavros (1530 Queen Street West).

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