Toronto offers a diverse range of neighbourhoods to satisfy every craving and personality type, but today we’re touring Kensington Market. Kensington’s eclectic mix of bohemian charm with grungy hole-in-the-walls makes it the perfect escape from just any ordinary walk in the city. While there are plenty of unique places to experience and get lost in, we’re highlighting our favourites. On a chilly winter day this month, we slipped on our Dr. Martens and rediscovered the best way to spend an afternoon in Kensington Market. Look no further than these 10 spots the next time you’re in the neighbourhood.
Courage My Love
The best vintage accessories store. 14 Kensington Avenue.
Courage My Love is a Kensington staple with a ton of unique accessories for sale as well as shoes and clothes. Rummage through the drawers to find cool buttons, fixtures and trinkets. Explore the back of the store for hats, incense and an assortment of other knick-knacks you never knew you needed but suddenly do.
The best local bakery. 172 Baldwin Street.
For the freshest bread of the highest quality and the best baked-goods look no further than Blackbird Baking. While they have a number of delicious options to choose from, you have to try the Kouign Amann. They’re hard to come by in the city and Blackbird does a really great job.
The best tacos in Toronto. 69 Kensington Avenue.
Not only are these the best tacos in Kensington but we’d go as far as saying that they’re the best tacos in Toronto. The space itself may seem a bit like a hole-in-the-wall but that’s part of the appeal of Seven Lives. It’s unpretentious and the food speaks for itself. I personally loved the Pollo Asado. Make sure you bring cash when you go as they don’t accept cards.
The best vintage costume store. 60 Kensington Avenue.
There may be a ton of vintage stores in Kensington but no one constumes better than Exile. The store is filled with lots of costumes from all sorts of decades to genres. The prices are more affordable than going to a costume store and this is the far more eco-friendly option so it’s a win-win.
El Rey Mezcal Bar
The best Mezcal bar in the city. 2a Kensington Avenue.
If you haven’t tried Mezcal yet, it’s essentially a smokier, stronger version of tequila made only in the Oaxaca region in Mexico. El Rey is a great place to try Mezcal for the first time or to come back for more. El Rey is also a restaurant with some great options on the menu and is a restaurant from famed Toronto Chef Grant Van Gameren. Try the Mezcal Magarita.
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Crows Nest Barbershop
The best local barbershop. 2 Kensington Avenue.
Get a great cut accompanied by great conversation at Crows Nest. Founded in 201o by Jon Roth, this barbershop has an influx of loyal clientelle coming its doors on a daily basis. From what we’ve heard, ask for a cut with Dom. Check him out @houseofdom
The Organic Press
The best cold press juicery. 257 Augusta Avenue.
The aesthetic of The Organic Press is extremely instagrammable, filled with lots of plants and great lighting on the seats by the window. And while that may initially get you through the door, the juice and the açai bowls will make you stay.
The best high-end restaurant in the area. 199 Kensington Avenue.
Grey Gardens may seem like an odd fit compared to the usual Kensington restaurants, but once you’re there it makes total sense. Grey Garden’s places its emphasis on the menu and a minimalist decor that we’re all about. The space is adorned with pastel’s and gold accents in a brightly lit room and the food always exceeds expecatations. Grey Gardens offers shared plates, with a focus on seafood dishes and has a long list of wines to choose from. Just don’t think about ordering any vodka based drinks as you won’t find that on the menu.
Moon Bean Coffee Company
The best local coffee. 30 St Andrew Street.
Moon Bean has a cozy vibe inside that makes you just want to nestle in with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. Fortunately, they offer coffee made from house-roasted beans to satsify just that craving. Or if you’re more of a tea drinker, they offer over 30 loose-leaf teas.
Sub Rosa Vintage
The best local vintage store. 16 Kensington Avenue.
As mentioned above, Kensington definetily has its fair share of vintage stores to choose from but Sub Rosa never dissapoints. In particular, they have a sick vintage trunk filled with denim shorts, that range in sizes from XS to Xl.
Dr. Marten’s worn in the video: