Spices, beans, lentils...in Toronto

Planning a food excursion to Toronto in a week or so. Coming in from Peterborough area and mostly shopping for ingredients, with obvious snacking along the way. One thing that we’re looking for is someplace that has a good selection of spices and beans - either bulk or packaged. My usual go-to is either House of Spice in Kensington or one of the south Asian stores in Scarborough or wherever. Any suggestions? We love a good hunt.

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There is a newish bulk store called The Source on Roncesvalles that I like, where I purchased freekeh, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. They also have bulk balsamic, olive oil and maple syrup.

Alimentari at 319 Roncesvalles is an upscale Italian grocery store which carries some Italian lentils as well as some Rancho Gordo beans.

Nuthouse on Bloor ( crowded, not especially tidy, a bit of a dive) has similar products. I like the design of The Source on Roncesvalles a little more. I shop at both.

For Italian lentils, Fiesta Farms on Christie, in the small Italian section of their International Aisle.

For Greek beans and lentils, Serano Bakery at 830 Pape, at Mortimer.

In addition to Carlo’s, I have bought spices at The Spice Trader on Queen West, which has at least 3 varieties of cinnamon.

I bought my most recent white pepper, fenugreek and star anise in bulk at Nuthouse on Bloor.

In Little India, Kohinoor .

You may also consider stopping at Yummy Market in Richmond Hill, Mak Deli in Scarborough or Starsky in Mississauga and checking their Eastern European spices.

I have been really happy with some Polish spices that I bought at Alicia’s in London. The bay leaves, especially.

I also like Arz Fine Foods a lot, especially for nuts and baklava, but I haven’t been in a long time. Scarborough and Mississauga location s.

There are some big Persian grocery store in North York I’ve always wanted to visit. Super Khorak is one of them. I understand the nuts are excellent.


Thank you! Have put a few of these on our itinerary.

Still accepting suggestions…

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For spices, I never did find a place in Toronto or Scarborough, St Lawrence or Kensington Markets that I liked better than Silk Road Spice Merchant in Calgary. Order online alone or with a friend to hit that free shipping mark.


A friend in Calgary has given us a number of things from The Silk Road. All have been very good. Next up is some kind of ginger spice mixture for us to play with.

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Not so much interested in ordering by mail - we’re taking a road trip to explore. Toronto has a million little corners where weirdness can be found, and that’s what we’re looking for. Plus ingredients for actual cooking. Last time we did this we ended up in a place called Pristine Fine Foods in a strip mall in Mississauga. One of the oddest stores I’ve been in. Turkish/Italian groceries but a strange selection of both. The owner (I think) offered us espressos and we stood around his little bar and chatted. It was fun.


I understand the adventure is the thing. Consider Silk Road for the unusual and the impossible to find.

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