The next time you’re on the hunt for some good quality meat, opt out of the big grocery stores and hit up your nearest butcher. Sometimes you’ll pay a little more, but the quality you’ll find from a butcher is unparalleled. It’s worth considering that a little bit more goes a long way: in most cases you’ll be supporting a family-owned business and local farmers, not to mention a knowledgeable butcher will be able to offer some more insight into cuts and best practices for preparing and cooking.
So put down the pre-packaged cuts and check out this list of Toronto’s best butcher shops:
White House Meats
St. Lawrence Market
Next time you’re in the food wonderland that is the St. Lawrence Market, make your way to White House Meats on the upper floor. You’ll find “White House” quality meats and a reasonable price from a team of enthusiastic butchers.
This family-run business has been a Greektown staple since 1977, offering house specialties for hungry carnivores like Lamb/Pork Crowns, Frenched Rack of Lamb/Pork and Butterflied Lamb Legs. They offer a great selection of pre-marinated items, housemade sausages, and the friendly staff is always willing to hit the locker for a custom cut.
Vince Gasparro’s Meat Market
When it comes to high quality meat, this family-run butcher shop doesn’t mess around. The knowledgeable staff source their meats from Mennonite farms, using only hand fed, chemical-free animals.
If you’re looking for ethically sourced, organic beef, look no further that Royal Beef on Danforth. For 25 years, this shop has been providing patrons with locally sourced products, including olive oils, cheeses and cured meats.
The only thing The Meat Dept owner Zach Davidson is more serious about than dry-aged beef is keeping his naughty list updated. Once a pro athlete gets on his bad side, he writes their name on his chalkboard as a reminder that they’re never allowed in his shop.
Bloor Meat Market
Bloor West Village
Check this Bloor West village shop for their extensive menu of fresh prepared kebabs, burgers and sausages.
Yonge and Lawrence
The Friendly Butcher on Yonge are upfront about who and where they source their meats from. Owners Ken and Donna MacDonald have a local farmer’s first policy, and the quality in their meats shows.
Meating on Queen
Nestled behind the Leslieville mural is this small but deadly butcher shop. You’ll find everything you need for your next BBQ from fish to chicken to beef. They offer an impressive selection of sausages that stray from the ordinary.
Forest Hill / Promenade Mall / Bayview and York Mills
This Kosher butcher and bakery will be packed around the Jewish Holidays with Bubbies picking up cuts of briskets, turkeys and prepared goods (like matzah ball soup) so you know it’s good.
St. James Town Steak & Chops
There’s a reason this butcher has been open for over 40 years in the historic St. James Town. Locals flock here for fresh cuts of meats and to chow down on fresh deli sandwiches and soups from their prepared menu.
Roast Butcher Shop
St. Clair West
What’s not to love about top-grade organic or naturally raised meats? Plus this shop offers a number of gourmet take home meals and fine food items.
This relatively new Liberty Village butcher has hands-down some of the best made to order sandwiches in the city, plus not to mention a small but impressive selection of gourmet food products and high quality locally sourced cuts / deli items.
Church St./Queen West/Bavyview
You’ll spend a little more at this well-established butcher shop and deli but it’s well worth it. Try their brisket burgers for home grilling, or prepared pot pies for ultimate comfort food.
Sanagan’s Meat Locker
A local hotspot for visitors and locals, this Kensington Village butcher shop has just about every cut of meat known to man and a wide array of fresh prepared options and artisanal grocery items.
Queen and Spadina/Avenue and Eglinton
With two locations, the Healthy Butcher prides it’self on offering only the highest quality, organic meats, avoiding any and all products made with the use of pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones, antibiotics, or “other un-natural chemicals”.
Cote de Beouf
This Parisian style butcher is a traditional-style, locally sourced butcher shop in the heart of Ossington village. You can also come in to eat, Tuesday to Saturday’s where you can sit back and feast on oysters, charcuterie, french cheeses, accompanied (of course) by wine.
Butcher By Nature
This Junction butchery is not only budget-friendly, but also eco-friendly and diet friendly.
Image courtesy Sanagan’s Meat Locker