301 - All-Natural Bagel Bakery

By Lauren Gosnell

When you ask Ben Rafael just why his customers love Kiva’s Bagels, he will happily belt out a line from the musical "Fiddler on the Roof."

"Tradition, tradition!"

Kiva’s loyal clientele, like the Sheinfeld/Freedman family, have certainly made the breakfast and lunch hotspot a tradition. Every Wednesday, four generations of the family gather at Kiva’s to enjoy some of their favourite Jewish comfort food: bagels with cream cheese and lox, matzo ball soup and, of course, delicious treats from the bakery such as rugelach and hamantaschen.

The bagel, of course, is Kiva’s specialty. It makes nearly one million every year in its bakery. But the secret of success is the hand-rolling. No uniformly-shaped mass-produced, machine-rolled bagels here. Every bagel is expertly twisted and tossed the old-fashioned pre-industrial way by hand. The bagels are then “kettled” or boiled to produce that shiny bagel exterior and baked to chewy perfection.

BagelsThe bakery makes its bagels without any preservatives, additives or dough conditioners. So there’s no better way to appreciate it than to order a Kiva’s bagel with real fresh cream cheese and wild lox (cured salmon). The lox adds a mild, smoky flavour to the thick smooth cheese that’s mercifully free of that oleaginous aftertaste of supermarket brands.

Kiva’s observes kosher dietary rules in that it is a dairy-only vegetarian restaurant. Outstanding choices are the melt-in-your-mouth French toast and the wicked triple-decker grilled cheese sandwich. You can choose from over a hundred different types of cheese on offer and it’s served on freshly-baked challah egg bread.

The atmosphere at Kiva’s has an instantly familiar feeling when you walk in the door. Like a friendly '50s diner, the wait staff call out orders to the kitchen - getting even the pickiest of orders right. There aren’t many eateries left in the city where you can still watch that happen. In the summer, their deck is a splendid way to pass a leisurely relaxing brunch with friends and family.

And on your way out, don’t forget to pick up a chocolate babka to go!

Kiva’s Bagel Bakery & Retaurant
1027 Steeles Ave. W
Toronto, Ontario