YYZ / Toronto

15 Black-Owned Restaurants In Downtown Toronto


June 10, 2020

Black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto

Are you aware of the black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto? Now is the time to familiarize yourself.

There are several ways that people and businesses are showing their support for the Black Lives Matters movement. Some are protesting in the streets. Some are galvanizing their following on social media. Some are providing resources on blog posts. Some are educating themselves. Some are donating silently. Some are having uncomfortable conversations with friends and families.

There are many lanes to a revolution and if you’re a foodie, one way you can show your support is by patronizing the black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto, especially now.

Black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto

I may not have the chops or know-how to be a full-blown activist for the BLM cause, but a girl knows how to eat.

I focused on the restaurants in the area specifically designated as Downtown Toronto which is “approximately 17 square kilometres in area, bounded by Bloor Street to the northeast and Dupont Street to the northwest, Lake Ontario to the south, the Don Valley to the east, and Bathurst Street to the west.”

*Edit: Since publishing this post, I’ve added 2 more spots. Please let me know if I missed any!

This post is dedicated to shining a light on the black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto, from my go-to Ethiopian spot to hidden gems to find Caribbean delights 🖤

Rasta Pasta

A culinary fusion of Jamaican and Italian flavours, this restaurant spans across 2 side-by-side shops in Kensington market. Satisfy your pasta cravings with the hearty Dreadlock Pasta that infuses jerk spices in its meatballs while the Jamaican specialties are their standout menu items. Personally, I’m obsessed with their Dutch Pot Oxtail, served with rice or coleslaw, but their jerk chicken is famous.

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 7pm, Sunday 11am – 6pm
Availability: Takeout and delivery
61 Kensington Ave, eatrastapasta.ca

 

Mom and Pops

Looking for feel-good black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto to add to your list of hidden gems downtown? This family-run spot will make a great addition. Drop by for breakfast for their killer pancakes or later in the day for perfectly cooked jerk chicken and a scoop of creamy Kawartha ice cream.

Hours: Closed weekdays
Availability: Currently taking a break to deliver essential supplies
262 The Esplanade, momandpopsto.com

 

Ethiopian House

This is one of my go-to spots for finger-lickingly delicious Ethiopian food! Order Bayaaynatu, meaning “of each kind” for a little bit of everything on the menu in a shared platter — collard greens, chickpea stews, lentils, beef, a mouthwatering chicken stew with a whole egg, etc…It’s all served on injera, a sourdough-risen flatbread with a spongy texture, that you rip pieces of to scoop food up with your bare hands.

Hours: Every day 12pm – 12am
Availability: Takeout
4 Irwin Ave, ethiopianhouse.com

 

Umi’s Kitchen

Black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto

If you’re on the hunt for black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto offering halal Caribbean eats for a great deal, Umi’s Kitchen is where it’s at. Indulge in massive portions like scoops of rice and beans with 3 juicy pieces of chicken for a mere $5.

Hours: Monday – Friday 11am – 10pm, Saturday 11am – 6pm, Sunday Closed
Availability: Takeout
346 Dundas St, umiskitchen.ca

 

Pat’s Homestyle Jamaican

A staple spot on Queen West, Pat’s dishes are as good as a home-cooked meal with huge portions of killer chicken roti, king fish, jerk chicken and of course my favourite — oxtail, oxtail, oxtail! The gravy is rich and flavourful and served atop rice and peas, obviously (if you know anything about Caribbean cuisine, it should be obvious).

Hours: Sunday + Tuesday 11:30am – 1am, Wednesday 11:30am – 2am,
Thursday 11:30am – 3:30am, Friday + Saturday 11:30am – 4am
Availability: Takeout
558 Queen St W.

 

Maracas

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#jerkchicken 📸 @cheesehungry

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Growing up with a rambunctious Trinidadian family, this West Caribbean fare holds a special place in my….stomach. This narrow, neon-lit space in Kensington offers “a new way to eat Caribbean” with chickpea-filled Doubles, jerk chicken (natch), roti and inventive cocktails to wash it all down.

Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am – 12am, Friday + Saturday 11am – 4am
Availability: Takeout
181 Augusta Ave, @maracas.ca

 

Allwyn’s

With several locations throughout the city, this popular chain of black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto has an outpost on Queen West. The quintessential rice and peas plates come with caramelized plantains and creamy slaw on the side of classics like boneless jerk chicken. Don’t forget to pick up spicy beef patties and if you want to be extra, get it stuffed inside squishy coco bread with slaw.

Hours: Monday – Thursday 11am – 10pm, Friday + Saturday 11am – 2am, Sunday 11:30am – 9pm
Availability: Takeout
404 Queen St W, @allwynsbakery

 

versus coffee

Wake up and smell the beautiful latte art at this cozy cafe on Adelaide Street.  The space is bright and light-filled, perfect for meeting up with a friend to catch up or get some work done while munching on some avocado toast.

Hours: Every day 7:30am – 4:30pm
Availability: Takeout
70 Adelaide St E, versuscoffeebar.com

 

Paul’s roti shop

Great service, spacious interior and roti — what more could you want? I’ll tell you what I want….goat roti. If goat is a little too adventurous for you, opt for the classic chicken version OR try the Doubles, two baras and a light channa curry in the middle.

Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am – 12am, Friday + Saturday 11am – 4am
Availability: Takeout
563 Sherbourne St, @paulsrotishop

 

Noor Pizza

Black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto

It’s not every day that you come across an Ethiopian pizza black-owned restaurant in Downtown Toronto (let alone anywhere else) but here we go. Heralded as a local hidden gem, praised for the friendly service as much as the delicious pizza pies at an affordable price point. And it’s halal no less!

Hours: Every day 11:30am – 10pm
Availability: Takeout
260 Parliament St.

 

The Dirty Bird

What chicken and waffle spot do you know that is halal and not only offers a gluten-free signature flour blend but also a VEGAN option, substituting chicken for cauliflower? This guy. That’s pretty impressive in and of itself but the ingredients in this savoury sweet combo are locally sourced as well, sandwiched between 2 butchers in Kensington.

Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11am – 8pm, Friday + Saturday 11am – 10pm
Availability: Takeout and delivery
79 Kensington Ave, thedirtybird.ca

 

The Diner’s Corner

Serving good vibes along with Jamaican and Caribbean dishes, this mellow black-owned restaurant in Downtown Toronto trades in plastic cutlery for white table clothes and live DJ nights spinning dancehall and reggae tunes. Nosh on tender pieces of oxtail (ALL THE OXTAIL), jerk salmon or the ackee and saltfish, a menu fav.

Hours: Monday – Thursday 12 – 9pm, Friday + Saturday 12 – 10pm, Sunday 12 – 8pm
Availability: Takeout and delivery
714 Yonge St, dinerscorner.com

 

Illstyl3 Sammies

This humble shop, owned by Philadelphia native Germain Marshal, serves up a range of American-style sandwiches but known for it’s authentic Philly Cheesesteak. Fresh, paper-thin slices of steak, cheese and veggies sizzle on the grill right before your eyes before being piled in a toasted hoagie before being smothered in whatever sauces you desire. Follow up your order with loaded fries.

Hours: Monday – Thursday 11:30am – 9:30pm, Friday 11:30am – 12:30am,
Saturday 6pm – 12:30am, Sunday 6 – 9:30pm
Availability: Takeout
300 Richmond St Willstyl3sammies.com

 

Veggie D’Lite

How many black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto caters to the vegan crowd who love Jamaican flavours? You only need one and this spot will satisfy cravings for jerk spices and curries in dishes that centre around meat-free ingredients like chickpeas.

Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 12 – 6pm, Closed Monday + Tuesday
Availability: Takeout and delivery
160 Baldwin St, veggiedlight.com

 

Congo Coffee and Mikate House

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Les copines 🇨🇲🇨🇲🇨🇲🇨🇲 this summer was so much fun! You guys filled my heart with so much ❤️❤️❤️❤️ many time I thought it was going to explode. We are now back to school and the weather is fucking up the game 🤪 but we all still have a huge amount of untapped 🤩 ❤️! I’m at the shop all day today, come holla at yo girl! #buddingastrologer #energies #congoleseintoronto #goodvibesonly #thesix #the6ix #the6ixgoddess #toronto #torontolife #torontofoodie #toeats #foodie #fooddiary #tastethesix #feedmetoronto #yyzeats #igersoftoronto #foodielife #foodtoronto #torontoeats #torontorestaurants #canadianblogger #tastetoronto #toreats #torontodiary #tastethe6ixth @6ix.foods

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Rain or shine, Nia Bangala is dedicated to bringing a taste of the Congo to Toronto with hot, caffeinated drinks or freshly made beignets. Described as “addictive” these beignets can be ordered with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream with strawberries. Yum!

Hours: Every day 9am – 9pm
Availability: Takeout and delivery
371 Front St W, congocoffee.ca

 

Nutrition Bar

Black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto

Perfect for post-workout fuel, peruse the wide variety of smoothies and soups, including vegan options, made with natural ingredients. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, ready and willing to help you choose between carrot ginger soup or a fresh fruit juice.

Hours: Monday – Thursday 12 – 8pm, Friday 12 – 6pm, Saturday 11am – 5pm, Sunday 12 – 4pm
Availability: Takeout
5 Isabella St.

 

Flame and Smoke

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Dirtyyy Burrgerr #TorontoChef

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Mac n’ cheese bites. Dirty burgers. Deep-fried cheesecake. Cauliflower fritters. That’s how this spot is sparking joy one plate at a time. What started out as a catering company offering an alternative to standard menus other businesses offered, they took the opportunity to bring their drool worthy expertise to the sidewalk at Alexandra Park.

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday + Saturday 1 – 7pm, Thursday 11am – 7pm, Saturday + Sunday Closed
Availability: Takeout and delivery
707 Dundas St W Unit 10A, flameandsmoke.online


Listen, I’m not saying you have to limit your takeout and delivery orders to just the places on this list, but even if you make a conscious effort to support one of these black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto (and beyond) every once in a while is a way of showing support for the BLM movement.

A big thanks to @desperateidiot and @j.a.l.i.l for providing a full list of black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto and beyond🙏 For a complete directory of black-owned businesses in Canada, please visit blackcanada.com.

*Please let me know if I’ve missed any, I added 2 to the list and am relying on the available resources as listed above for my information.

Black-owned restaurants in Downtown Toronto

I’m going try to feature a black-owned restaurant in Toronto that I’ve visited on IG @teriaki  when I can.