So many breakfast spots, so few Sundays. Which is why bunch/breakfast has stretched right through the week in many Toronto restaurants. Breakfast can be a massive buffet affair in a ritzy hotel or a bacon-and-egg special at a local neighborhood diner. The following 10 are just a sampling (alphabetical) of some of the city’s various spots for breakfast; large and small, break-the-bank or budget fare.
There is always a daily take-out lineup for flaky, flavorful croissants hot from the oven at Bonjour, and for good reason. The 12 tables in this tiny spot are filled with breakfast folk ordering creative dishes such as perfectly-poached eggs softly positioned on fresh smoked salmon. This Riverdale location is too small to take reservations but is well worth the wait.
Chef Rogers Wils recently moved his Danforth restaurant (Café Brussel) southwards to a beautiful Victorian mansion in The Beach. He also transported his delicate French fare – try the braised lamb shanks or mussels in wine – highlighted by his special succulent broths. Save room for the brunch Belgian waffles covered with strawberries, cream and chocolate.
NYC Celebrity Chef Daniel Boulud recently opened this fine-dining, 150-seat restaurant in the new Four Seasons Hotel. There may be debate about the “pop art” decorating the walls but no one questions the daily French/Continental cuisine and the excellent Sunday buffet brunch. This is a place to use the company credit card.
It is immediately obvious upon entering that – yes – this is based on the film “Easy Rider”; cool and casual Americana decour is sprinkled liberally around the walls. No pretentions here, just piles of bacon and fried eggs – with salsa, beans and guacamole. The cool Queen Street West crowd fill the Easy every weekend; some starting their day, others ending their night.
This renovated diner, with a bright red exterior (seriously, you cannot miss it!), perfectly captures the feel of a 1950’s New York diner. The portions, from salads to burgers to eggs benny, are huge and delicious. Patrons range from engineers in the surrounding film sound studios to George Brown College students on a thin budget.
6. La Cubana
La Cubana offers something a little different on the brunch scene that captures ethnic Toronto; sitting in this little spot is like capturing a bit of the Caribbean. The steak-and-eggs are heavily sprinkled with island spices and the piping hot conch fritters are surrounded by plantain, rice, and beans. However plan on trying the medianoche, the special Cuban pork sandwiches piled with cheese and pickles.
Lady Marmalade is known far and wide (at least in the East End of the city) for its Huevos migas: a delightful mashup of scrambled eggs, beans, rice, salsa, cheese all shoveled in with tortilla chips. There is often a weekend lineup but this crowd never seems to mind – many are spending the day browsing in the old furniture and antique shops along Queen Street East.
This trendy Liberty Village resto, known for its burgers and choice meat dishes, recently added a 40-seat patio which summer-starved Torontonians will be flocking to in hungry droves. This means getting there early for a sunny weekend brunch. Check out their Eggs Benedict and weekend menu breakfast specials.
Motorama is a tradition along the Greek stretch of The Danforth. This little diner is the “go to” place for breakfast seven days a week but always packed on the weekend. Maria and her granddaughter Nikki never stop serving the house special; huge platters of eggs and your choice of bacon/sausage/ham, home fries, toast and pots of coffee for $5.95. This is a neighborhood where everyone knows your name. Make sure you get those eggs with thick Peameal (Canadian) bacon.
10. The Drake Café
The very hip Drake Hotel boasts a surprisingly inexpensive yet excellent café; many of the nearby business crowd just grab the spicy curry burrito for a quick lunch. Weekends however are a more relaxed affair with plates of eggs, bacon and potatoes surrounded by the chef’s fresh homemade breads.