Why we like it.
As you may have guessed, this area was booming in the 50’s and 60’s with Portuguese immigrants settling along Dundas West creating a lively and thriving neighbourhood. Kissing cousin to Parkdale and Roncesvalles, Little Portugal has hipsters and Portuguese seniors rubbing elbows at the streetcar stops. Boasting authentic old school vibes, new bars and restaurants are slowly popping up adding fresh life to the area and even seedy institutions like the Matador (the infamous after-hours honky tonk) are getting facelifts as gentrification spreads west.
|Avg House Price||# of Sales||Yr/Yr Change|
|1 Bedroom Condo||$422,131||137||26%|
|2 Bedroom Condo||$511,678||114||25%|
Vegan pub food may strike some as heresy, but we love that there’s finally a middle ground between meat heavy entrees and sprouted green salads! Add in a stellar craft beer list (including some rare bottles) and friendly service, this might just be our new favourite spot.
You may have seen the rave Million Dollar Review this funky spot earned last year, or noticed the distinctive vintage sign on Dundas West. Chef Nathan Isberg has done away with menus, prices and waiters, preferring to cook what’s inspiring and in doing so has created a truly one-of-a-kind experience for Toronto foodies.
This cosy spot has found quite the local following, due to their hangover clearing brunches and inspired comfort food. If you’re in the area, stop by for late afternoon cheap drinks and bar snacks, or late late for a nightcap.
What do vintage yearbooks, drag shows and crammed dance floors have in common? Add in great eats and ex-rocker owners and you have the Henhouse – a crazy blend of everything that just might be the coolest bar in the West End.
Cafe Bar Pasta
Given the Reader’s Choice nod in 2014 for best chef, this neighbourhood Italian joint is the perfect spot to dine solo (their reading literature includes Mad Magazine!), host a fantastic party or pick up fresh pasta for some serious home cooking.
Drop-in, pop-up and sit-down! The owners of unique spot created “the Dep” to bring community together around the table and to democratize our sometimes crazy food scene. They host a variety of food events (dinners, classes and pop-ups) focused on offering amazing local cooking (professional and amateur) to everyone with a fork.
The Brockton Haunt
Whitewashed walls, friendly smiles and lots of table space aren’t the only things that you’ll find in your search for a caffeine fix. Pick up a coffee and a bite for less than $5, grab a spot and enjoy watching the world go by on Dundas St.
Pre-dating newcomers by a number of years, The Common has gained a devoted clientele of coffee enthusiasts. Don’t let the steamed-up windows keep you from venturing in!
For those that enjoy a bit of browsing with their cappuccino, Easy Tiger is a lifestyle boutique-slash-coffee bar that delights on both fronts.
Easily overlooked, this restaurant is a hidden gem we’re reluctant to share. An old school Portuguese Churrasqueira gives way to a spectacular patio, lush and green and perfect for watching the beautiful game (soccer to the rest of us).
With roots firmly planted in Portugal, this is the go-to store for authentic cuts for Sunday dinners and imported products you just won’t find anywhere else.
Solita is short for South of Little Italy, so it’s fitting that this corner shop is stocked to the rafters with all sorts of Italian goodies. A combination espresso bar, gelateria, cafe and grocery, this one stop shop is a haven for Italophiles.
Little Portugal is chock-a-block with cute little shops and vintage stores. Wander through the neighbourhood on any given day to find a new outfit, coffee table or unique art.
Gorgeous design brings out the spirit of the wood, in Lubo Brezina’s hands simple wooden furniture is elevated to something otherworldly. A visit to his shop will have you coveting one of his pieces and looking for an excuse to ditch your current furniture.
Blue Button Shop
There’s something about smaller neighbourhoods that make lifestyle shops (aka general stores) so appealing. Spending time browsing through clothing, home goods, skin care, magazines and assorted knick-knacks from impossibly cool international and home grown brands feels like a trip through a cultural porthole.
Elephant in the Attic
Part gallery, part vintage shop, part event space, this is the perfect spot to find a quirky, interesting piece of art for that empty wall.
As rents increase in other parts of the city, Little Portugal reaps the benefits when galleries and experimental spaces take up residence in the neighbourhood. Lower rents allow independent businesses to take more risks and do some very interesting stuff.
A fixture in Toronto’s live music scene, Lula Lounge has been packing them in for over a decade. Known mainly for Latin beats, they also have rock, blues reggae and world music bringing the crowd to its feet seven nights a week.
Launched as a co-working space for the bourgeoning “Maker” movement, Makeworks also hosts workshops for those interested in getting their hands dirty. Classes range from low-tech (woodworking and linocuts) to high-tech (3-D printing anyone?) and sell out well in advance.
We love this gallery for their edgy exhibits and their support of Canadian artists. Their shows are always thought-provoking and give us lots to talk about.
Bikes on Wheels
If you’ve decided that this is the year to get (back) onto a bike, these guys will get you setup with their Bike 101 class; or for the more advanced Bike 301 will teach you how to do a full tune-up. Their enthusiasm is catching, and if you venture in to the store you may find your self converted!
It may have been fun to stay at the YMCA back in the 70s, but times have changed. These days you’ll find the Y provides a family-friendly space to get fit, learn some new skills and be a part of a vibrant community centre.
If you prefer something a bit more zen, pop in for classes at Octopus Garden. Their space is open to everyone who is interested in developing a practice of self-care, from meditation to yoga to re-fueling at the Urban Herbivore Cafe in the lobby.
Rating 5.2 – Shirley Street Junior Public School
Rating 7.5 – Bloor Collegiate Institute
Rating 5.4 – Parkdale Collegiate Institute