Greater Toronto's best ethnic hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip mall eateries.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Part II of Spice City's visit to Downsview Market, the most diverse food court in Toronto

In the last post, Spice City Toronto discovered that the Downsview Park Merchants Market (40 Carl Hall Road) has an amazing food court packed offering up cuisine from all sorts of far flung countries. Here, we visit a few more of the notable restaurants the market has to offer.

Rincon Cubano Dona Barbara (below) is a Cuban restaurant run by the Suarez family. "We opened this place a few months ago in honour of my dead grandma," explains the teenage girl helping out with the stall. "These are her recipes." During the week, her father works as a dental technician and her mom stays at home with the kids. For $9, you can get a generous plate of tasty marinated beef served with beans and rice, plantain and cassava.

Melo's Kitchen (below) serves up the classics from Trinidad and Tobago, such as macaroni pie and corn and shark soup. The owner Melanie gave me a piece of shark meat to sample—a strongly flavoured fish cooked with lime, salt, black pepper and thyme. The cassava pone, a chewy desert square made of brown sugar, pumpkin and coconut, it also quite good.

During the week, Melanie is a cook for a daycare, and she also serves food at various festivals during the summer. "When you have a regular restaurant, a certain set of people come in, but everyone comes to the flea market," says Melanie. "They try my food and they like it."

El Sabor Dominicano (below) is one of the older stalls in the market—they've been serving up food from the Dominican Republic for six years. They sell chicarrones, tripe, beef, chicken and plantain. The owner, Ahuilda, takes care of seniors during the week, but she hopes to use the stall to launch a regular restaurant at some point.

That's not all the International Food Court has to offer. There's also a Tex-Mex joint, a fresh juice and sugarcane stand (below), a Filipino restaurant and a halal jerk chicken (!) place.

The International Food Court is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 6pm. Admission is free. There is free parking or you can take bus #101 from Downsview Subway Station.

Thanks to Jennifer Hollett for the photos and Gilbert for the tip.

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