BY BROCK SUTHERLAND
The stretch of Queen Street West near Trinity Bellwoods Park is always popular for spring strolling. No surprise, considering the neighbourhood’s diversity of cafés, trendy restaurants and designer boutiques.
1 Down-home cooking for downtown hipsters is de rigeur at The County General. The fried chicken thigh sandwich is a must-order at any time of day, or go for the Monday brunch featuring a full English breakfast–style spread plus a bourbon Caesar. 936 Queen St. W., 416-531-4447; thecountygeneral.ca.
2 Diners at Carmen share their fare in the Spanish style. Order one of the five huge paellas when you arrive, then nibble on a variety of authentic tapas while you wait. 922 Queen St. W., 416-535-0404; carmensayz.com.
3 Specialist Stuart Jackson Gallery deals in antique Japanese woodblock prints, also known as ukiyo-e, including detailed landscapes, nature scenes and even artful erotica. 882 Queen St. W., 416-967-9166; jacksonarts.com.
4 You’re living a modern, urban life. Ella + Elliot says your children should, too. The upscale boutique boasts well-made products—from strollers and furniture to decor items and toys—by some of the world’s most chic kid-centric designers. 188 Strachan Ave., 416-850-7890; ellaandelliot.com.
5 Type Books is a hub for Toronto’s Type B personalities. Whether you’re browsing or buying, the beloved shop is a congenial hub of literary creativity. Don’t miss the shop’s oft-changing and eminently Instagramable window display. 883 Queen St. W., 416-366-8973; typebooks.ca.
6 Some of the city’s most sophisticated sweets are found at Nadège Patisserie—it’s especially known for its macarons, marshmallows and other gourmandise, but also dishes out delicious French pastries. 780 Queen St. W., 416-368-2009; nadege-patisserie.com.
7 Alison Milne emphasizes the importance of visual art in her interior design work, so her Alison Milne Gallery is a natural offshoot. Contemporary exhibitions with a strong and often unexpected aesthetic spend time on the walls. 198 Walnut Ave., 416-203-6266; alisonmilne.com.
8 Diet? What diet? The delish treats at Dlish Cupcakes simply demand to be eaten. The selection of specialty flavours—from cookies and cream to nutella to s’mores—changes throughout the week. No doubt you’ll start to mark your calendar for your favourites. 833 Queen St. W. 416-703-8005; dlishcupcakes.com.
9 A deep technical and aesthetic knowledge is evident at Spectacle, an eyewear boutique that understands the importance of putting your best face forward with designer frames from the likes of Oliver Peoples, Persol, Alain Mikli and many more. 752 Queen St. W., 416-603-0123; spectaclelovesyou.com.
10 Metalsmith Anne Sportun has been crafting unique baubles for more than 20 years. Her distinctive rings, necklaces and bracelets, inspired by the geometry of nature and incorporating many a gemstone, adorn classy dames across the city. 742 Queen St. W., 416-363-4114; annesportun.com.
11 Notable celebs have flipped through the racks at Girl Friday, seeking easy-wearing dresses that are perfect for a day in the park or a night on the town. In addition to the house line, owner Rebecca Nixon also hand-selects timeless pieces from a range of designers. 740 Queen St. W., 416-364-2511; girlfridayclothing.com.
12 For nearly 10 years, Tealish has been Queen West’s preferred boutique for fine teas, tea accessories, and to-go tea lattes, iced teas and tea smoothies. Staff are always willing to let you waft the aromas of the many gourmet loose-leaf options, infused with everything from fruit pieces and nuts to spices and flower petals. 728 Queen St. W., 416-203-3301; tealish.com.
13 Arguably Toronto’s best-known Italian restaurant, Terroni focuses on regional fare prepare the way nonna used to make it. The pizzas are among the city’s best, or order up some antipasti and a few glasses of wine for a lighter evening out. 720 Queen St. W., 416-504-0320; terroni.com.
14 If you’re serious about denim, Dutil is your destination. From Scotch & Soda printed western shirts for dudes to Joe’s Jeans rolled cigarette pants for petite femmes, the Vancouver-founded shop has many of the biggest brands and all the latest styles. 704 Queen St. W. 647-352-2560; dutildenim.com.
15 One of Toronto’s best indie record stores, Rotate This has a wide and often esoteric selection of vinyl. The shop also sells tickets to many local concerts. 801 Queen St. W., 416-504-8447; rotate.com.
16 Forget the banality of cookie-cutter furniture stores; artier decor is always in vogue at Quasi Modo. In an effort to move you beyond quasi-living, the popular shop offers up everything from tables and chairs to doorbells and mailboxes—all of which mix both practical and playful elements. 789 Queen St. W., 416-703-8300; quasimodomodern.com.
18 Totter in for a morning coffee and some granola, savour a salad and panini at a leisurely lunch, or spend the evening enjoying Italian classics and wines. Eating is an all day, every day affair at Destingo, 741 Queen St. W., 647-748-3113; destingo.ca.
19 Experiment with your meal at sandwich shop Come and Get It, where you choose the flavour and then the format. Try a mango jerk chicken wrap or Hawaiian pork belly sandwich, perhaps with some poutine on the side. 676 Queen St. W., 647-344-3416; comeandgetit.ca.