Where to grab lunch in Toronto's Kensington Market

When you’re famished, look no further than Kensington Market, where the busy streets are teeming with lunch options to satisfy nearly every craving. From jerk chicken to fish tacos, there’s a grab-and-go or stay-a-while spot for everyone. Plus, with its eclectic atmosphere, locally born and bred markets and gourmet grocers and mom-and-pop shops galore, this is one of the most charming spots in the city to spend an afternoon.

Fancy Pig

1
285 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2M1

Not just a lunch spot, Fancy Pig serves up slow-cooked sandwiches daily until 3am. While their process (brining, marinating and smoking) is a three-day labour of love, the menu is simple: $7 gets you one of four equally satisfying sandwiches (brisket, pork, chicken and mushroom), served with house-made chips.

Via Mercanti

2
188 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L6

This is your go-to spot for wood-oven pizza in the Market. The space is large (there’s an extra room in the basement) which is a good thing because this place often has a wait. The pizzas are traditional thin-crust and there’s always some soccer game on in the background. A true neighbourhood spot.

Seven Lives

3
69 Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2K2

There’s often a line out the door for these fresh fish, beef and chicken tacos – so get there early before they run out. And don’t worry; it is most definitely worth the wait. The various fish options are lightly battered or not, the octopus is tender and the Gobernator (shrimp, smoked marlin and cheese) is a must-try. Fresh juices are often available at lunch too, to wash down the gourmet Mexican fare.

Sanagan's Meat Locker

4
176 Baldwin St, Toronto, ON M5T 1L8

Step up to the sandwich counter at this Kensington institution for one of their five meat sandwiches (roast chicken, Korean fried chicken, Sunday roast, the Big Jerk, pulled pork) or the daily special. Add fries, soup or salad to any sandwich for just a few dollars more, or shop the fine meats and preserves on offer at the beloved butcher shop, offering one of the city’s best selections of grass-fed, locally raised, and ethically produced meats.

Nu Bugel

5
240 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L7

Nu Bugel delivers more than a dozen made-to-order bagel sandwiches (straight from the wood-fire oven, all served with a side of salad and homemade dressing). In the winter, the daily homemade soup will warm you up on even the coldest days. The sunny front atrium is great for people-watching and there’s free wifi in the spacious interior.

Rasta Pasta

6
61&63 Kensington Ave, Toronto, ON Z3Z 3Z3

Don’t be fooled by the name – this place is all about the jerk chicken that’s smoked by the owner on the massive smoker out back. It’s hands-down the best jerk chicken in the city and they often run out before the day’s out. Skip everything else on the menu (although it’s all good) and order the lunch special – the best deal on the chalkboard. For $4.99 you get jerk chicken, dirty rice and your choice of coleslaw or steamed veggies. Just don’t go on Mondays (they’re closed).

Jumbo Empanadas Ltd

7
245 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2L8

Just like the name implies, one jumbo empanada is the cheap, filling, on-the-go meal (although those seeking a sit-down snack should note: this Chilean joint has indoor and patio seating as well). Five dollars will get you your choice of a beef, chicken or cheese empanada. Or switch things up and sample the oh-so-delicious humitas – tamales stuffed with sweet creamed corn and spices.

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