Long known as a hub for Toronto’s Polish community, this neighbourhood near High Park includes long-standing businesses that remain true to their roots, as well as a growing number of hip boutiques and cafés.
DINNER AND A SHOW The kind of place often described as a “best-kept secret,” Hugh’s Room regularly hosts a variety of live concerts and the occasional comedian. Folk, roots, jazz and blues performances are the main draw; a continental à la carte menu is offered prior to each show, making this music hall an all-inclusive hot spot.
WHOLE HOG Named for a type of pork fat, Lardon highlights a meat-oriented menu (though vegetarian options are available, too). Local ingredients are employed to ensure freshness in each seasonally appropriate dish, including such possible mains as beef bourguignon ($21)—with bacon, natch—and duck confit ($23).
INSPIRED COFFEE An inviting aroma entices patrons into Lit Espresso Bar, but the quality and taste keeps them coming back. One of two such cafés in Toronto, Lit’s Roncesvalles location offers a homey-chic atmosphere and expertly made drinks brewed with Stumptown direct-trade coffee beans. Pastries and panini give you even more of an excuse to linger.
TASTE OF TRADITION Staying true to the neighbourhood’s heritage, Café Polonez keeps Polish culture alive with its cuisine. The dedication to old country authenticity is apparent in this family-run establishment’s menu, composed of Eastern European classics like perogies, borscht, schnitzel and more. Or take advantage of an affordable daily special, served with potatoes and your choice of soup.
BLOSSOM STOP Innovative and eco-friendly floral design is a specialty at Sweetpea’s. This boutique offers arrangements for all occasions—using locally sourced flowers whenever possible—and also sells an assortment of seeds, stationery, unique giftware and even a selection of vintage-style furniture.
ON THE RIGHT FOOT Shoe and handbag boutique Imelda—named for famous shoe fetishist Imelda Marcos, obviously—is a haven for anyone seeking comfortable pumps, flats and more that are stylish, too. Carrying brands like El Naturalista, Miz Mooz and Dolce Vita, the store is committed to keeping up with popular trends, striving to balance the pursuit of fashion and pain-free footwear.