Best of Toronto: Delis
Caplanksy’s signature deli sandwich
What makes a good delicatessen? You know you’ve found one when you instantly feel like you’ve stepped into the family kitchen, and when you know that an empty stomach will soon be stuffed with choice cuts of meat transformed by salt and spices into corned beef, pastrami, salami and smoked meat, along with pickled vegetables, slow-cooked soups and all kinds of side dishes.
For those who want to indulge in all things deli — especially if you don’t have a Bubbie to make it for you — these restaurants are passionate about the need to indulge.
1. Caplansky’s Delicatessen
Owner Zane Caplansky focused on tradition, making all the deli meats served at his College Street restaurant in-house. From sandwiches of smoked meat, grilled salami, smoked turkey and corned beef to side-dish faves like knishes, latkes and blintzes, this deli is a happy place for those who want to indulge in kosher treats. And all the mustards are made in-house, too.
Caplansky’s Delicatessen, 356 College St., 416-500-3852
2. Corned Beef House
Once surrounded by garment warehouses, this little restaurant dedicated to all things corned beef is now surrounded by the towers and condos of the Entertainment District. Since 1978, this deli has been serving classic sandwiches like Reuben, club, turkey, Montreal smoked meat and of course, corned beef made from beef brisket and piled sky-high.
Corned Beef House, 270 Adelaide St. W., Toronto, 416-977-2333
3. Yitz’s Deli & Catering
One of the original delicatessens in the city, Yitz’s is a place where everyone can feel like they have Jewish family. Serving a wide range of deli favourites, from latkes with applesauce to matzo ball soup and fish platters, there are many old-school classics, like broiled liver with onions, a blue plate special of meat loaf with all the trimmings or take-out sandwiches like corned beef, smoked turkey, chopped liver or grilled chicken.
Yitz’s Deli & Catering, 346 Eglinton Ave. W., 416- 487-4506
4. New Yorker Deli
The extensive menu at this Bay Street deli will please anyone, from the twister bagels filled with tuna or egg salad to the oversized sandwiches of roast turkey, salami and brisket. Locals make time for the big breakfast platters, where corned beef hash and eggs or the salmon lox and eggs will power you through any work day.
New Yorker Deli, 1140 Bay St., 416-923-3354
5. Sid’s Deli
Found in the shadow of The Village by the Grange on McCaul, this small deli offers favourites such as matzoh ball soup, knishes, Mrs. Whyte’s dill pickles and a vast selection of traditional sandwiches like corned beef, pastrami, Reuben, Rachel, salami and egg salad. Owners Doug and Elka Hibbard are carrying on a family tradition, as Elka’s dad was Sid Starkman, co-owner of Chicago 58 Food Products.
Sid’s Deli, 160 McCaul St., 416-260-5156
(Image: St. James town steak & Chops)
6. St. James Town Steak & Chops
Found in the main shopping strip of Cabbagetown, St. James Town Steak & Chops does double duty as a butcher and deli, offering choice cuts of hormone-free, antibiotic-free and locally sourced meats, as well as Canadian seafood, handmade sausage and speciality marinades. Those seeking lunch or dinner can indulge in daily made soup, salads, hot meals and hearty deli sandwiches made to order.
St. James Town Steak & Chops, 516 Parliament St., 416-925-7665