Brunch isn’t so much a meal in Toronto as it is a sport. Or a religion. Or a religious sport, like priest racing or something. The point is it's important. Lineups are par for the course, as are debates about exactly which venues are worth lining up (and/or braving a hangover) for. Well, prepare to settle those debates once and for all...
The cocktails are pretty fantastic at this Queen St spot, so if you can handle one, you should spring for a pineapple mimosa. To ballast your belly, however, you need a croque madame featuring pulled pork, fried egg, mornay and Texas BBQ sauce, or French toast with fried chicken, maple syrup, and buttermilk ranch. Anyone with a sweet tooth should make inquiries about The King, which sees banana bread, peanut butter, and bacon toffee come together to help you gorge like Elvis.
Welcome to comforting, stick-to-your-ribs, food coma-inducing goodness. If you’re ravenous, the patty melt burger grilled cheese is the way to go (add a fried egg and bacon for an extra fiver), or keep things simple with the all-day breakfast of three eggs, schmaltz hash, toast, and bacon or sausage.
The weekly brunch special, crafted out of fresh, seasonal ingredients, is guaranteed to cure what ails you at this brunchery -- especially if you preface it with an order of freshly baked scones and biscuits to share. Of course, blueberry buttermilk pancakes are also a no-brainer...
St. Clair West
Everything on the weekend brunch menu -- which is filled with brunchy faves with a twist like Emma’s Benny topped with house-cured peameal bacon, French toast stuffed with organic Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese, and cinnamon bun pancakes -- is fantastic. And then there's always the “I know what you did last night burger” (AKA the hangover helper), which sees a 6oz sage and onion sausage burger topped with house-cured bacon and cheddar...
Get brunch with a Nordic twist at this Scandinavian spot in Bloordale. If you’re new to the concept of Scandinavian eats, start by getting the smokehouse patter to share. The pick-n-mix plate consists of Atlantic salmon, hormone-free chicken, pork loin, rainbow trout, and assorted house pickles, preserves, and flatbreads. If you don’t feel like sharing, opt for the duck scramble with chives and house-smoked salmon, or the potato pancake served with hot smoked trout, beet, and horseradish cured gravlax and a poached egg.
Feel the Havana vibes at this resto, and go for the Cuban Breakfast w/ slow roast pork and poached egg, or the steak & eggs with chimichurri and sunny-side up eggs. Most items come with rice and beans, tostones, and slaw.
Starving Artist is ALL about the waffle and we are not complaining. In fact, we’re lining up in the cold for them. It features waffles Benny, waffles served French toast style, waffle sammies like the BLT or Monte Cristo, and to cap things off, mini waffles served up sweet with toppings like caramel pecan, peanut butter and banana or, if you can handle it, a waffle s’more. It has a second location on St. Clair West with shorter lines.
A brunch spot classic, here it’s always a toss-up between the A.M. Poutine -- an ingenious combo of baked hash browns, cheese curds, and miso gravy (or hollandaise if you so desire) -- and one of the Lady Marmalade Bennies, of which there are several delicious options (but you can never go wrong with the one involving Brie, avocado, and bacon).
Once you crush a few orders of Rachelle’s maple bacon doughnuts, you’ll be ordering something meaty. Maybe it’s the Beastwich, which gets you fried chicken thigh, pimento cheese, pork sausage gravy, and a fried egg on a buttermilk biscuit. Or maybe it’s the breakfast sandwich of grilled pork belly, pickled onions, mustard, lettuce, and a fried egg on an apple fritter. Either way, you won’t have to eat again until tomorrow.
Bloor West Village
What to get here? If you’re feeling sweet, then the red velvet pancakes or the croissant bread pudding French toast. If you’re in a savory state of mind, it’s gotta be the Menemen, a hangover-thwarting combo of poached eggs, tomato sauce, cumin, fennel, and focaccia bread. Bennies are also a good bet, like the Deep Green with fried green tomatoes and watercress. Wash everything down with a bacon vodka Caesar made with house bacon-infused hooch.
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1. Emma's Country Kitchen1108 St. Clair Ave West, Toronto
2. Karelia Kitchen1194 Bloor St West, Toronto
3. La Cubana392 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto
4. Rose & Sons176 Dupont St, Toronto
5. Starving Artist584 Lansdowne Ave, Toronto
6. Lady Marmalade898 Queen St E, Toronto
7. Beast Restaurant96 Tecumseth St, Toronto
8. The Good Fork2432 Bloor St W, Toronto
9. County General Riverside798 Queen St E, Toronto
10. Mildred's Temple Kitchen85 Hanna Ave, Toronto
Nestled in the heart of St. Clair West village, Emma's Country Kitchen is best known for its terrific breakfast and brunch options, from the standard eggs Benny to great recoup options like "the I know what you did last night burger," as well as seasonal options that rotate around the year.
This Scandinavian spot in Bloordale doesn't disappoint, especially if you're coming in for brunch. If so, order the smokehouse platter to share (you're not eating brunch alone are you?), and get your fill of Atlantic salmon, hormone-free chicken, pork loin, rainbow trout, and assorted house pickles, preserves, and flatbreads.
Just being in this bright, low-key space will make you feel like you’re dining in Havana, despite its Roncesvalles locale. Stop by for a terrific Cuban breakfast with slow roasted pork & poached eggs or come in for later-day options like Cuban sandwiches, soups, salads, and more.
Caloric American comfort food may be despised by some, but at Rose and Sons, it's treated with a holy reverence -- with an angle that combines Southern and Jewish styles. In a noisey and casual space, cornbread is coated in hot sauce and maple syrup, a gargantuan patty melt sits pink between layers of American cheese and rye-caraway slices, and thick bacon tops challah bread pudding (so much for Jewish dietary restrictions here). Weekly themed menus that can focus on seafood or Chinese-inspired cuisine provide a respite from the indulgent standard menu, but one thing doesn't change: greasy breakfast is served daily, well into the late afternoon. If the food wasn't enough indication, the mural of a bong on the way to the bathroom not-so-subtly suggests that this is the kind of spot to cure your munchies.
This Bloordale dining spot is best at breakfast and brunch, so stop by for a mimosa or an extra-spicy Caesar, and waffles (its specialty). They come in a variety of styles from waffles Benny and waffles French toast to waffle sammies and waffle s'mores.
Lady Marmalade just has a bright and welcoming sound to it, and the actual restaurant doesn't disappoint. They feature a menu loaded with excellent brunch options like baked French Toast and Buckwheat Crepes, and lunch options ranging from salads to sandwiches to soups.
There's a reason for the name; this King West spot serves scary-good belly-fillers for brunch and dinner, as well as smaller snacks. Need brunch? Crush a few orders of Rochelle’s maple bacon doughnuts and then snag a crab Benny or The Beastwich (buttermilk biscuit, fried chicken thigh, pimento cheese, pork sausage gravy, and a fried egg served with house potatoes or mixed greens). In for dinner? Snag some poutine, seafood, or veggie-only plates. You can't go wrong.
Located in Bloor West Village, The Good Fork certainly is good... at serving elevated comfort food. It specializes in brunch, so stop by for some red velvet pancakes or the croissant bread pudding French toast. If you're looking for savory, Bennies are a good bet, like the Deep Green with fried green tomatoes and watercress.
It's a toss up what's better at this South Riverdale establishment: the cocktails or the food. Stop in for a tasty brunch featuring pineapple mimosas and a croque madam, French toast with fried chicken, or a glass of the Southern-inspired Kentucky County Punch (Wild Turkey, Benedictine, pear brandy, pear bitters, and seasonal fruits). Or, just explore the menu any time of day and find a tasty, homestyle original that has your name on it.
Liberty Village's Mildred's Temple Kitchen is a true temple honoring American comfort foods, which are given a modern presentation in a high-ceilinged space that reads more formal dining than down-country kitchen. Breakfast is the undisputed specialty here, which stretches well into lunchtime, with modest staples prepared as if they were delicacies, from beloved, fluffy blueberry pancakes to a flaky croissant and poached egg sandwich dripping in hollandaise and featuring rosemary bacon. Dinnertime here is just as indulgent, with more of an innovative twist: fried chicken and waffles is drizzled with blueberry-green-peppercorn chutney while bison short ribs are caramelized with coffee and black olives. Feel like worshipping yet?