If you know me, then you know that breakfast is my favourite meal of the day.
The pastries, the egg combinations, the meats, the avocados, even the cereals; I love everything about it!
So as you can probably assume, brunch is my favourite, because it makes it socially acceptable to eat breakfast at any time of the day.
When I was working in Toronto, I would go out for brunch every Sunday as it was my only day off of the week and you gotta treat yo’self sometimes. Since being away from Toronto, I have missed it nearly every day (can I just live there please?) and one of the big things I miss is the amazing BRUNCHES I got to have!
So here’s my list of my favourite brunch spots I discovered in Downtown Toronto over the course of my stay, and LOVED…
Peter Pan Bistro, Queen Street
The perfect place to start a girl-date of shopping and nail painting.
The menu is a great combination of classic options such as eggs benedict, BLT, scones and preserves, and scrambled eggs and lox (what Canadians and Americans call ‘smoked salmon’), along with funkier choices such as Shakshuka (a Mexican dish, as pictured above on the bottom left). It was difficult to choose what to have, but when the table next to you get their meals, your mind is always made up. Eggs benedict with peameal bacon was my final choice, and it was a gooooood choice!
Accompanied by coffee refills, that had a rich cinnamon-edge, and a Bloody Caesar (a Bloody Mary, but made with clam juice – you can bet I did NOT try that!), this brunch was a winner on all counts.
BEAST, Tecumseth Street
BEAST was a firm favourite amongst the cast that I worked with, and I loved my brunch there so much that when my boyfriend visited, it was the spot that I chose to take him to.
The restaurant is a brunch spot in the mornings at weekends and then turns into a Tapas bar at night, so it has a very laid back, unassuming vibe. BEAST is a very popular spot so if you head there, be prepared to wait outside in the cold for up to an hour for a table. It’s only small inside, and the portions are huge so it’s not a quick meal!
That being said, the menu is hearty and wholesome with twists on the likes of poutine and french toast, to their amazing biscuit sandwiches (the ‘Beastwich’ as pictured above). They are also very well known for their made-in-house doughnuts that come in various ‘flavours of the day’, so you don’t know what to expect each time you go; although, rest assured, they all sound amazing!
What a Bagel, Spadina Avenue
While I don’t like to put chain restaurants on my lists, if somewhere is good, I’m going to talk about it… And sometimes you just need a good hearty bagel!
With a choice of all the bagel types you could ever wish for, along with stuffings of yummy ingredients to your heart’s desire, ‘What a Bagel‘ is a must for a quick lunch on the go, or a good hangover cure.
The menu is extensive, so you don’t just have to have bagel concoctions – there’s wraps, salads, melts etc. and drinks galore. The portions are large, and every plate that passed me while I was waiting for a table, I had food envy for.
We waited quite a while for a table, as it gets so busy, so be prepared to wait if it’s prime time.
El Catrin, The Distillery District
Mexican brunch is always a winner! And the best Mexican brunch that I’ve found in Toronto has been at El Catrin in the Distillery District.
I am obsessed with the Distillery District in general, just for its picturesque Victorian style and cute shops and cafes. So to discover an awesome brunch place was just a bonus!
With a mouth-watering menu to choose from, I chose the Heuvos Cazuela, which basically was a pot of Mexican goodness, consisting of poached eggs with sautéed onion, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salsa roja, queso cotija, bacon, cilantro and black beans. Sounds so good right?!
I wasn’t feeling too well the weekend that I went, so a pot of spicy, warm food was exactly what the doctor ordered (along with an orange juice – no boozy brunches when you need that Vitamin C!).
We were well looked after, with regular drink top ups, and all our food was delicious. Not to mention, our guacamole was crushed at the table by our waiter, so we could choose our preferred consistency of guacamole. Whaaaaat?!
School, Fraser Avenue
Finding School was an adventure in itself – we took a taxi to the middle of nowhere, wandered around deserted streets in the cold, admired the ivy-strewn, old factory walls, and eventually found the doorway in to the warehouse-style building that hosts this trendy brunch spot. Don’t even ask how etch-a-sketch it was trying to hail a taxi back home afterwards…
I couldn’t quite tell if I was in a bar or in the stage show of ‘Matilda’, but either way I liked it! The restaurant was diner-esque and the menu was slightly smaller than other places I’ve been to – but at least that made it a lot easier when coming to a decision.
After much back and forth with the Chicken and Waffles, I ended up choosing The Safe Bet (pictured above). And while it was a ‘safe bet’, it certainly wasn’t boring! Scrambled eggs, sugar cured bacon, Belgian waffle with a shot of maple syrup, and Brown sugar butter (oh my gosh, the sugar butter *drools longingly*) – there’s no way that you could not love it for your brunch! Not to mention free coffee refills, as always… (England take note! Give us more free coffee!!)
So there, in no particular order, is my Top 5 Brunch spots in Downtown Toronto.
I went to plenty of other popular places but these were my favourites!
If you have any different favourite brunch spots in Toronto, please leave a comment with suggestions for me to lust after, or perhaps visit (should I ever be lucky enough to go there again)…