Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sorry Kensington Market - I'm Just Not Cool Enough for You

I met a friend for dinner the other night in Kensington Market....ok, ok, not a friend exactly, I had a date. A very downtown, artsy kinda guy, he suggested we meet on Augusta Ave. No problem, I live in midtown, I drive, Kensington Market it was.

Here's what I learned - I'm just not cool enough for Kensington Market. I don't have any tattoos, only my ears are pierced, I don't go everywhere on a bicycle with a retro-basket on the front, I don't own any second-hand summer dresses from Courage My Love, I'm not very familiar with the city's Indie music scene and I'm not a locavore, vegan or vegetarian.

On a less irreverent note, Kensington Market is just not what it used to be. Firstly, let's be honest, it SMELLS! It doesn't smell like fresh fish or spices or coffee, it smells like GARBAGE. This doesn't make it gritty, authentic or urban, it makes it GROSS. Secondly, why are there so many store-fronts that apparently house nothing? Prime downtown commercial real estate that seem more like long-forgotten storage units or low-rent yard sales where some one's dad is selling there 8-tracks and cassettes. Lastly and most annoyingly, if the area is known for it's fresh produce, specialty butchers, fish mongers and cheese shops, than why are the restaurants so bad? I'm not saying they all are - I haven't been to them all - but way too many, new and old, are mediocre at best. Burger Bar, Torito, Supermarket, Waterfalls Indian Tapas - all feh! I don't care if everything is organic, free-range and natural if it tastes like crap. And why does every restaurant have a vegan noodle bowl on the menu?

So, I'm coming to terms with just not being hip enough for Kensington Market. I'll stick with some of the city's other fantastic neighbourhoods that don't smell like garbage, have vibrant, unique retail establishments and are home to wonderful, creative, fairly-priced restaurants and leave the BOHO mediocrity to the young hipsters of Kensington.


  1. Really enjoyed this post Elise. Well written, funny -- interesting too. I haven't been down to Kensington Market in quite some time. My take though, is that there are a lot of really mediocre resturants out there. I'm always on the lookout for great new ones though - so please share! BTW.... how was the date? Mediocre too?

  2. Did he have a vegan friendly messengar bag and protest against the G20? The market here smells of macarons - beat that!