Here in Toronto, we’re incredibly lucky to have a vibrant community of local businesses that give us a taste of international culture. The Italian influence in Toronto is particularly visible because, let’s face it, who doesn’t want to feel like they’re eating tiramisu in Rome or mozzarella di bufala in Positano? Thankfully for us, Sanremo Bakery has been serving delicious Italian goods for over 50 years. Here’s everything you need to know before you visit this highly popular and highly delicious Italian bakery!
How to get to Sanremo Bakery?
The easiest way to get to Sanremo Bakery is by car. Located in Etobicoke, it’s easily accessible from the Gardiner Expressway. If you’re coming from GTA west and you want to avoid traffic, taking Highway 401 to Eglinton Avenue and then turning at Royal York Road will get you there too. Alternatively, public transportation from downtown Toronto is possible; the GoTransit train from Union Station to Mimico station is the fastest option. From Mimico station, Sanremo Bakery is only a short 5 minute walk away.
The Notorious SRDs (Sanremo Donuts)
Sanremo Bakery is most famed for its ultra indulgent donuts which have garnered something of a cult following in Toronto. Whether you’re a ring donut person or a filled donut person, you’ll want to sink your teeth into the flavours on offer. Ring donuts come in flavours like chocolate sprinkle, oreo, maple bacon, chocolate Skor, maple walnut, Lucky Charms, and even Cinnamon Toast Crunch. If jammy or creamy fillings are your thing, you’re spoiled for choice with flavours like Nutella, banana chocolate chip, blueberry cream cheese, wild berry, chocolate Boston cream, and coconut cream. Though they’re all delicious, my personal recommendations are the lemon meringue, red velvet, and key lime filled donuts. For me, the tangy lemon curd, the sweet cream cheese, and the refreshing lime custard inside these donuts all earn a rank above the rest.
Sanremo’s donuts are characterized by a soft brioche dough and all fillings are made in house. Apart from the donuts looking appetizingly gorgeous, the filling ratio is very welcome! An inadequate amount of cream or jam filling is a disappointing let-down. I don’t buy filled donuts just to have a coin-sized amount of filling! But here at Sanremo, that’s not the case. No, no, no. Sanremo ain’t ’bout to cheat us like that. Nah, Sanremo brings the goods and pumps their doughy treasures with the gluttonous dose of cream we all want.
There’s one more key detail you need to know about the donuts: they sell out FAST! Yep, these gems fly off the shelves and I’ve experienced this first-hand. During my most recent visit, I bought lunch, ate lunch, and then by the time I was ready for dessert, there were only a few donut flavours left! There is a solution though… PRE-ORDERING! If you’re planning a visit to Sanremo, pre-order your donuts on the website to avoid disappointment. You’ll be really glad you did! Just walk up to the collection counter and all your flavour choices are waiting for you! Single donuts cost $2.15 each, which is why you’re better off getting a box of 6 for $10.99.
Also, keep your eye out for special limited-time donut flavours like cannoli, cookie butter, cappuccino, churro, margarita, Nutella cream cheese, pumpkin spice, Disaronno amaretto, and chocolate caramel pretzel. There’s no shortage of reasons to get a donut!
The Italian Desserts
Beyond donuts, Sanremo Bakery specializes in a wide range of sweet treats, Italian or otherwise. We’re talking cannoli, fruit tarts, tiramisu, Italian almond cookies, cupcakes, croissants, Danish pastries, muffins, and pies. And yes, they all look delicious. The lemon meringue pies are an especially eye-catching sight thanks to the massive clouds of fluffy meringue that sit on top.
Italy is also synonymous with gelato so it’s no surprise that Sanremo Bakery has a gelato counter. Flavours change regularly, but examples include Bacio, lemon, mango, hazelnut, strawberry, and pistachio. Ice cream lovers have also been treated to special flavours like tiramisu, cookie butter, cannoli, and white chocolate raspberry. As you’d expect, Sanremo’s gelato is smooth, creamy and rich in flavour, perfect for those hot Toronto summer days.
Un caffè, per favore
To accompany your donuts and sweet treats, Sanremo of course has a coffee bar. Iced coffees in the summer, mocha hot chocolates in the winter, cappuccinos year round… however you choose to consume your caffeine, the coffee bar is waiting for you. The coffee is strong, just like in Italy, and the milk is frothy af. Caffeine, check.
The Sanremo Lunch
Though the sweet selection is enticing, Sanremo Bakery is not at all limited to just satisfying your sweet tooth. The lunch options on the hot and cold tables are varied, whether you’re looking to sit in or take away. You might want to indulge in one of the massive focaccia sandwiches which are stacked high with meat and cheese. Seriously, they’re so big you might want to share one. Salads are also on the table as a side or main dish. Or you might prefer a hot dish like cannelloni, lasagna, beef goulash or meatball sandwiches. I recently tried the chicken parmigiana sandwich topped with cooked onions and peppers and it is exactly the vessel I want to use to shovel tender tomato-saucy chicken into my mouth. On Thursdays and Fridays, arancini hit the hot table, adding to Sanremo’s Italian streetfood repertoire.
From noon to 1:30pm, the bakery is bustling. There is a steady flow of hungry patrons and food quickly clears off the shelves. Just like the donuts and sweets, once they’re gone, they’re gone. So be sure to get your lunch early or risk not getting your choice at all!
The Bread & The Buns
It wouldn’t be an Italian bakery without bread, would it?! The bread corner of Sanremo bakery is fragrant with the smell of fresh focaccia bread, bagels, and crusty, panini and challah buns, among other loaves of seeded and non-seeded breads. It’s worth browsing the bread shelves to pick up a carby concoction for a picnic or dinner. I can vouch for the challah buns and the focaccia breads, which are seductively soft, springy, and snack-worthy.
The Sanremo Fan Club
If you haven’t already been to Sanremo Bakery, hopefully this post gives you the visual and descriptive stimulus you need to plan a trip. Once you’ve had your first taste of Sanremo, you’ll be hooked. Welcome to the Sanremo Fan Club. You’re a member for life.
- Closed on Mondays.
- Pre-order donuts online.
- Visit the bakery before noon for optimum seating and food choice.