Spice City Toronto: A Trip to Little Jamaica



Spice City Toronto: A Trip to Little Jamaica

Randy's Take-Out on Eglinton serves up hot patties with a side of reggae.

Want to try some wonderful Jamaican patties and buy suspiciously cheap reggae CDs in one stop? Head to Randy’s Take-Out, a classic Caribbean joint in Toronto’s Little Jamaica neighbourhood.

“We’ve been on this block since 1978,” explains Jennifer, one of the shop’s owners, in her soft Jamaican lilt. She’s part of a Chinese-Jamaican family that runs the restaurant.

Customers line up to get piping-hot patties for $1.33 each. Each patty has a delicate, flakey crust. We quickly inhale the beef patty, which is filled with a spicy paste, and the chicken patty, made with hot peppers and curry spices.

The vegetable patty is surprisingly tasty, and includes callaloo, a Caribbean leaf vegetable. The ackee and saltfish patty isn’t on the menu, but it’s worth asking for: the smooth taste of the ackee fruit and lip-smacking saltiness of the codfish make Jamaica’s national dish a wonderful combination.

At the counter, make sure you clarify if you want one single patty or one box of patties—many of the customers here buy them by the box. Fresh patties are $13.50 a dozen or $13 frozen. In addition to the patties, curry goat and oxtail are also on the menu.

If the island food gets you in the mood to hear some great reggae tunes, you’re in luck. During our visit, vendors speaking in thick Jamaican patois were peddling compilations of Jamaican tunes right inside the shop. At $3 a CD, you can’t go wrong.

Randy’s Take-Out (1569 Eglinton Avenue West at Oakwood), 416-781-5313, open Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sunday closed. Randy’s takes cash only and there is no seating.

Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world. Find more photos and details about Randy’s Take-Out here.

Thanks to Tonya from What’s on My Plate for the tip.