Welcome to Leslieville, Toronto's Next Big Neighborhood

Once a gritty strip of garages and hardware stores, Queen Street East has softened its edges to become a haven for foodies and young families.

By Heather Greenwood Davis, Tuesday, Apr 20, 2010, 12:00 AM

The Céilí Cottage

All-day brunch spot
At 10-month-old Lady Marmalade, the menu focuses on breakfast, "the rest of breakfast," and lunch. Chef David Cherry cooks up poutine with bacon and miso gravy—plus 10 varieties of eggs Benedict—for a devoted crowd gathered around '70s-era thrift-shop tables. 898 Queen St. E.,, poutine $7.75.

After-dinner treat
In a food-centric neighborhood, even dessert must live up to the highest standards. The year-old Ed's Real Scoop does just that, thanks to a rotating cast of one-of-a-kind flavors (Guinness stout, pear-and-Parmesan) and cream sourced from a local dairy. 920 Queen St. E.,, ice cream from $2.50.

Cool kids' shop
Cheryl Tschupruk and Gini Bechard opened Baby on the Hip three years ago to supply the city's green-leaning parents with everything from natural-rubber pacifiers to bamboo crib bedding to handmade, turtle-shaped organic-cotton crocheted rattles. 969 Queen St. E.,, pacifiers $8.50.

Coffee culture
It's hard to say what drives more traffic to Te Aro Roasted, a year-old café in a former auto-body shop: the fresh sea-salt chocolate-chip cookies, the El Salvadoran beans roasted on-site by co-owner Andy Wilkin, or the unbeatable people-watching from the front terrace. 983 Queen St. E.,, coffee from $14.25 per pound.

Nomadic-style center
German-Chilean clothing designer Alexia von Beck and her Greek chef husband turn the spotlight on international culture at their 8-month-old Holy Cow Market. It's stocked with an eclectic mix of trinkets (antique wooden Buddhas, clay Moroccan tagines) collected over years of dedicated globe-trotting. 1100 Queen St. E.,, tagine $43.

Down-home cooking
Patrick McMurray's pub The Céilí Cottage is no by-the-book barroom, with a 40-seat summer patio, an all-ages winter ice-skating rink, and weekly roast dinners all year. Former champion oyster shucker McMurray also regularly does the honors on fresh hauls from Malpeque Bay. 1301 Queen St. E.,, oysters from $13.50 for six.

Continuing education
From pasta making to Butchery 101, the evening workshops at The Inspired Cook help anyone live out their foodie fantasies. After class, students can browse the 2-year-old shop in front for tools to put their new techniques to good use. 1378 Queen St. E.,, workshops from $43.