There's never a bad time to enjoy a pie that's hot-out-the-oven, but there's a good argument for autumn being the primo season for those circles (or squares) of joy. It's chilly enough to make tucking into a steaming steak and ale pie irresistible – and with hosting season underway, it's a surefire way to earn dinner party points with a late game-winning dessert number. And while those flaky favourites might fill you with nostalgia, it doesn't have to be grandma's apple pie to satisfy your dough desire. Why do all the hard work when Toronto's bakeries and butcher shops offer plenty of places to get your pie fix? In fact, you might say the shortcrust situation in our city is nothing short of pie-fection.
Pie not your jam? We've tracked down plenty of other snacks from around the world; Toronto's best ice creams to help you keep your cool if we get a last minute heatwave; and the best bread bakeries where loaf conquers all.
But for now, it's back to pie. From filo pastry and pie crusts to galettes and crumbles, finding the right savoury or sweet treat is as easy as, erm, pie. This fall, it's time to hang up your apron and crown Toronto's best crusts.
15 of Toronto's best pies and where to eat them
1. Mabel's Bakery
Each Mabel's pie brings that warm home-baked feeling to our sometimes-standoffish city. It's hard to have a bad day when you sink your fork into a butter rum pecan or eat a whole secret sour cherry pie in one sitting (it was one time, OK?). And with four locations across the city from Roncesvalles to St. Clair West, we're clearly not alone in our love for Mabel's. Thankfully there's enough fresh Ontario Apple Pie to go around all year long.
2. The Rolling Pin
1970 Avenue Rd.
Bored with regular old apple pie? Good, because the rolling pin has all your out-there cravings covered. From their s'mores pie that makes you feel like you're curled up next to a campfire to the buttery delicious Nutella cannoli pie (hello dream team), these creative pies are far from traditional and we're not mad about it. Also, who needs cake when you can have a sprinkled birthday pie with a graham cracker crust and vanilla cake batter custard?
These creative pies are far from traditional and we aren't mad about it
3. Wanda's Pie in the Sky
287 Augusta Ave.
This is what pie dreams are made of. Ever since Wanda Beaver baked her first pie at the age of nine (impressive), she was hooked. Fast forward to today and Wanda's Pie in the Sky has become a Kensington institution. And with nine kinds of apple pie, you know Wanda's is passionate about pastry. From intricate lattice crusts to buttery crumbles, pie here is an art form. The gooey pecan pie with a chocolate shortbread crust and the lemon meringue are our current faves.
714 Queen St. W.
Cumbrae's is more than a high-quality neighbourhood butcher shop: they also sell gourmet food that'll make you never want to give up meat. Their flaky pot pies will keep you feeling warm and cozy like a favourite sweater all season long. Now with three locations across the city, you can easily pick up a scrumptious steak bourguignon or chicken for the soul. Don't be fooled by the smaller, personal-pie size, these crusts are packed to perfection and will fill you up fast.
5. The Tempered Room
1374 Queen St. W.
Ooh la la! What's pie en français, you ask? It's… un pie! It's not, we're pulling your leg, but just because your typical pie doesn't strictly have a French equivalent doesn't mean you should overlook this Parisian café on Queen Street West. Alongside tantalizing viennoiserie, they offer a selection of sandwiches and apparently the best croissant in Toronto. A bold claim from an equally bold kitchen – they've gone on a little segué from their Parisian roots to offer reindeer pumpkin pie. Sacré bleu! And that's just for fall; in spring they have an Easter egg, radish and roots pie; in winter they have a Christmas pie; and not to mention their year-round selection of tartes topped with a sunny-side-up egg and various other perfect pastries.
6. Dough Bakeshop
173 Danforth Ave.
Ooh baby, we wanna piece of these pies. Dough Bakeshop has so many different parcels of joy on offer that it's hard to know where to look. Banana cream, strawberry rhubarb, blueberry… The list goes on. This slice of heaven on Danforth Avenue is a family-owned and operated business, so they know a little something about cooking with heart – and you can taste the love in every last one of their beautiful bakes.
7. The Pie Commission
927 The Queensway, Etobicoke
Does what it says on the tin/sign. Fresh pies that you can buy to take away, either hot to shove in your face straight away, or frozen for you to reheat at home later. The seasonal menu changes regularly, with unusual combos to keep you coming back for more. Right now, the selection is small but perfectly formed: a vegan sweet potato masala pie filled coconut milk, sweet potato, chickpeas, tomato, onion and kale; and a smokey cheese and steak pie filled with, erm, cheese and steak. Get in our mouth, you.
8. Bakerbots Baking
205 Delaware Ave.
Billed as the original home of the ice cream sandwich (Bang Bang is their sister spot), Bakerbots Baking has been wowing Torontonians since 2011. The little bakeshop at Bloor and Ossington specializes in desserts of all kinds, from cinnamon buns to flan. When it comes to pies, their pecan is known for being one of the best in the city. Pies rotate with the seasons so depending on the time of year, you might find Ontario strawberry and rhubarb, pumpkin, chocolate cream or wild Ontario blueberry.
9. Adamson Bakery
176 Wicksteed Ave.
Visions of beef brisket and juicy pork ribs might be dancing in your head when you hear the name Adamson, but the Leaside barbecue joint also has a whole bakery side to the business, though it's lesser known. The only thing better than their whole pies, are their surprise pies. The flight of four adorable mini pies comes in a mystery selection of flavours that might include key lime, apple crumble, blueberry or s'mores.
10. Bobbette and Belle
1121 Queen St. E. and 3347 Yonge St.
Founded on French macarons, Allyson Bobbitt and Sarah Bell extended their bakery business to include intricately designed specialty cakes, pastries of all kinds and, of course, pies. Seasonal favourites like their velvety pumpkin pie appear alongside everyday flavours like apple crumble with brown sugar and lemon meringue, made with lemon curd and creamy toasted meringue. Each of Bobbette and Belle's pies is baked in a buttery shortcrust shell. Order at least 48 hours prior to pick-up – or even further in advance to avoid missing out.
176 Baldwin St. and 1513 Gerrard St. E.
We've long been fans of Sanagan's Meat Locker, but the full-service butcher shop isn't just a place to pick up flank steaks and lamb racks. If you're in the mood for pastry, Sanagan's (with an original Kensington Market location and a Gerrard East outpost) makes a number of house-made pies cooked or sold frozen and ready to bake. While the classic steak and ale or creamy chicken, bacon and leek are fine choices, the ultimate pie prize goes to their Quebécois tourtière filled with pork and aromatic spices.
12. Phipps Bakery
420 Eglinton Ave W.
With 34 years under their belt, Phipps is one of the most dependable pie purveyors in the city. From latticed fruit versions like cherry rhubarb to chocolate pecan phenomenons and key lime mousses, there's something for anyone living the life of pie. Whether you order a small (four to six people) or a large (10 people) from this charming Eglinton Way staple, it's good to know that each pie is made by hand and with as much love as day one.
13. SanRemo Bakery
374 Royal York Rd. Etobicoke
If you haven't made a pastry pitstop at this Etobicoke institution yet, we implore you to make a beeline on your next road trip. The family-owned Italian bakery has been around since 1969, so you're in safe hands. Choose from fresh shortcrust pies filled with blueberry, apple, cherry or lemon – or opt for a square version of the fruity treat, stuffed with baker's cottage cheese.
14. Sweet Hart Kitchen
68 Wales Ave.
This petite vegan and gluten-free bakeshop in Kensington Market serves delicious, seasonal pastries by the slice and whole pie, making this a great option for the commitment-phobes out there. From salted brownie and lemon curd to apple or berry crumble, everything baked is naturally sweetened and made from scratch. Most of Sweet Hart Kitchen's ingredients are FairTrade, locally-sourced and organic – eat one and acquire hero status immediately.
Eat one of Sweet Hart Kitchen's pies and acquire hero status immediately
15. Tori's Bakeshop
2188 Queen St. E.
Who said you need gluten to have a good time? Thanks to the winning combination of pink lady, granny smith and fuji apples nestled beneath Tori's Bakeshop's hand-rolled flaky crust, you won't miss it. Their 10-inch apple pie is also free from dairy and refined sugar, so you can please all your picky *ahem* selective relatives this Thanksgiving.