Kensington Market is easily one of the most unique areas in Toronto, with everything from vintage clothing shops to extraordinary food venues. The area’s killer selection of cuisine gives you the choice to sit down in a restaurant or take your food on the go. For those looking to spice up their meal options a little, here are three of the hottest places you can eat in Kensington Market.
At the beginning of March, Chef Ricky’s passion project finally saw reality. His restaurant, Rikki Tikki, opened its doors in Kensington Market, serving up modern, home-style Indian cuisine to an area known for an array of cultures and styles. The menu options are vast, offering mind-altering creations paneer tikka fries and stir-fried fish pakoras to start. Main dishes showcase traditional Indian flavours crafted with a North American twist, with options like butter chicken, lamb vindaloo, saag paneer and chana masala. For dessert, Chef Ricky’s guests can satisfy their sweet tooth with chai tea and food items like cookie dough, a Rikki signature dessert and kulfi falooda.
Rikki Tikki also offers an extensive drink program for those of age and a fun kids menu for those missing a few years. Chef Ricky’s restaurant, Rikki Tikki, is located at 209 Augusta Ave., between Knockout Chicken and Pow Wow Cafe, down the street from Handlebar and Jen Agg’s Grey Gardens.
Inspired by naturalism and food in its purest form, Hawker is helmed by chefs Jeff Merkel and Leah Steduto. Merkel also co-owns the space with Darshan Dorka. The reasonably-priced food menu is populated with dishes named to pay homage to nature, like the Creek Bed, a unique dish comprised of sage-infused oat milk that’s surrounded by a moat of butternut squash puréed with spruce tips and topped with marigold petals. There’s also an eggplant curry dish that’s set ablaze tableside and appropriately called a Bushfire. Hawker also offers a selection of vegan wines and cocktails, including the Atonement, an iced coffee, rose and black cardamom concoction made alcoholic by vodka and Grand Marnier. The awe-inspiring restaurant is located at 291 Augusta Ave.
As the flocking to Kensington Market continues, a local favourite reclaims its post. The Green Room Cafe is a Toronto favourite dive bar, and it’s back to sling cheap drinks and eats in a Kensington Market haunt. The Green Room originally closed in 2017, when it was a more approachable version of a speakeasy. The former Annex digs played host to everyone from students to post-work wanderers. But now they’re back, in one of Toronto’s buzziest neighbourhoods.
Not much has changed in terms of what people can expect from the watering hole, which will continue to boast some of the city’s best cheap drinks and comfort food. The menu offers everything from french fries to chickpea and tomato soup, perfect for a casual hangout with friends. There are shareable options like nachos, hummus, pita and fresh rolls, as well as individual options like garden salads and an avocado and brie sandwich. The Green Room Cafe is now located at 414 College St.