Flavours of Toronto: Scandinavian treats are hidden gems of Toronto’s foodscape

When we think of the world’s best cuisines, Scandinavian foods don’t generally top the list. Pickled herring doesn’t tickle the fancy of most North American palates, but those who know Scandinavian food know that it’s as fresh, rich and delightful as any. Far from sticking to herring, Scandinavians are artists of pork meatballs doused in gravy, open-faced sandwiches with shrimp and fresh greens, and pastries that make the French quake in their stylish booties.

Take a tour of countries like Norway, Sweden and Denmark with these amazing spots to gorge on Scandinavian foods in Toronto.

Karelia Kitchen

Smorrebrod (open-faced sandwiches) topped with rich smoked salmon, baby shrimp and smoked pork loin are a must-have at Karelia Kitchen in Bloordale, as well as the fish cakes with remoulade. But they also do brunch, and Scandinavians are brunch professionals. Try the potato pancakes, their homemade French toast made with Pulla bread, the frikadeller and the sausage served with buttermilk oat cakes.

Fika Cafe

More of a cafe than a restaurant, Fika on Kensington Avenue, near Dundas at Spadina, does delicious open-faced sandwiches topped with smoked salmon or avocado, as well as some awesome coffees. The cafe has a bright atmosphere inside and a cozy patio outside.

Hansen’s Danish Pastry Shop

When you think Danish, do you think country, or pastry? East York’s Hansen’s Danish Pastry Shop will have you drooling over both, plus rich chocolate cakes, fresh breads, imported meats and cheeses, tarts and pies, cinnamon buns, streusel and croissants.

Beaches Bake Shop & Cafe

The sandwiches aren’t really Swedish in style, but the baking at the Beaches Bake Shop in the Beaches neighbourhood goes perfectly with their coffees. The do daily lunch specials, plus quiches and soups that cater to vegetarians.

Viking Bakery

Icelandic baking is a rarity in Toronto, but Viking delivers with traditional Icelandic treats like kleinur, kransakaka, ammas and vinarterta. They opened on the Danforth in early 2015 and are really popular with the city’s Icelandic community.

Yummy Market

Specializing in European foods, the two Yummy Market stores in Toronto have a great selection of Scandinavian foods that come with cooking instructions so you can make them easily at home. They have one store in North York on Dufferin, and another in Maple.

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Born on the Prairies, Erin Cardone grew up knowing there was more to life than canola fields and AAA Alberta Angus. So she escaped, living in Europe and Australia, white-knuckling it through plates of calf brains and raw horse meat, and learning languages she can't remember anymore. After a stint as a jaded, skeptical journalist, she changed tack and began writing rather awesome blogs and showing businesses that advertising is dead, so long live social media, with her businesses Legendary Social Media. She now splits her time between various Canadian cities, Costa Rica and wherever else the wind blows.

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