- Address: Roncesvalles, Toronto
- Visited: 06/19/2016, Dinner, 4 people
- Cuisine: Snack
- Rating: 3.5 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.foodnooktours.com/
Whenever I travel to a new city, I like to include a few walking tours early in my itinerary. All of the past tours I’ve been on were informative and fun. Walking around a foreign city with a well-versed guide gives me the chance to get my bearings, learn some interesting facts and ask for food recommendations. When Bria of Food Nook Tours contacted me about a walking food tour in Roncesvalles, I realized it would be a great way to explore Toronto as well. My interest was also piqued as I know there’s a ton of great food in Roncesvalles but rarely visit the area myself. Spending an afternoon with Bria checking out some neighbourhood gems sounded like a lovely time.
Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
As a guide, Bria was friendly and engaging. On our tour, The Hubby and I were joined by another media person, her BF, and a family with two kids. Bria expertly shepherded our group of 8 at a comfortable pace through 5 stops making sure everyone had time to grab samples and take photos without any lulls. She was sure to point out which stops could double as a washroom break and tried her best to keep us in the shade when possible. I liked how she introduced the tour with a short speech on the history of the neighbourhood and pointed out popular restaurants and shops as we walked.
The 5 stops on our tour that sunny afternoon were all local businesses that I would frequent if I lived in the area:
Chocolateria – A chocolate shop that had an amazing selection of housemade chocolates and ice cream. We had the chance to sample a plethora of chocolate dipped goodies including my favourite, chocolate dipped chips. The mix of sweet and salty was perfect. I also spotted a selection of chocolate frogs near the cash.
Fantail Bakery and Cafe – Run by native New Zealander family members and named after a bird from their home country, Fantail serves up flakey baked goods and savoury snacks. Each owner is an artisan specializing in their own media (fashion, painter, woodwork) and worked together to create Fantial. We had the chance to sample their amazing chocolate croissant and vegan brownie. The cafe was cozy and would be a nice spot to sip a latte and enjoy a cookie.
The Mercantile – A specialty food shop with a wide array of spices, treats and kitchen gadgets. Our time at the fully stocked shop was spent trying out Meredith’s Ginger Syrup, a potent elixir, and browsing. The Hubby and I found whole dried chipotle pepper, which we’ve been looking for all over the city.
De La Mer – This is the fish market’s third location and based on the steady stream of customers while we visited, a popular spot in Roncesvalles. In addition to their selection of fresh fish, De La Mer also sold smoked and candied salmon, both of which we sampled.
Barque Butcher Bar – Concluding our tour, we stopped at Barque Butcher Bar to grab a chicken wing and sample their spices and BBQ sauces. Being the middle of the afternoon, the restaurant wasn’t too busy and our group had a chance to mingle with each other and Bria.
Overall, Food Nook Tours in Roncesvalles was an afternoon well spent exploring and eating. The tour lasts from 1 ½ hours to 2 and kicks off at 2:30pm. Priced at $30 per person, it would make a great gift for a family activity. To me, the tour focused on highlighting and introducing local businesses, not necessarily eating a ton of food. The samples at each stop were a good snack but I would recommend eating lunch before hand.