Switch up your weekend routine and try one of our favourite brunch spots – you won’t regret it!
Like any true Torontonian, we have strong opinions about brunch. Love it or hate it, brunch is a meal for friends, by friends. And regardless of the line, it’s the perfect time for folks to grab a coffee or mimosa and cheers to the fact that another work week is over, over runny eggs and sickly sweet pancakes. And as much as we may not like to admit it, if we hear about a new brunch spot – we’ll travel in packs to be the ‘first’ to try it and we’ll wait forever because Instagram has told us the food is that good.
Throughout 2016, we have seen many brunch spots come and go with many grabbing a place in folks hearts as ‘best brunch’. In our own personal hunt, we’ve captured some of our favourites of 2016. So how did we try to compile those? Well, the math was simple: how many Instagram posts have we seen throughout the year, how long were the lines are and well, the most important part – how good was the food?
It’s not entirely rocket science and some of the spots on this list aren’t new to the city but regardless, below are our choices for the best brunch picks in 2016. Let us know if we missed any top notch places!
827 Lansdowne Avenue
This place is super cozy and has a lot of charm. But let’s get down to nitty gritty, the breakfast options. Everything is made fresh to order and in-house. Their menu offers lots of vegan and vegetarian options, which is great for those of you who might be eating with folks who have dietary restrictions. They have their own take on traditional classics, such as the Eggs Benny which consists of butternut squash, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, cornmeal tart, poached eggs, and dilly chèvre crema. At first, you may not know what to make of it, but trust me – it’s good. Line-ups here can be a bit hectic, so expect a wait of upwards of 15 to 20 minutes. The food is well worth it and your bill comes with mini muffins.
226 Greenwood Avenue
There is no denying how wonderful Maha’s is. I cannot count the number of friends who have recommended it to me. So I made the trek out to Leslieville for the wonderfully prepared authentic Egyptian dishes by Chef and Owner Maha Barsoom. In the front is a beautiful cafe set-up where one of my go-to’s is the black tea steeped with fresh mint but try the traditional coffee with honey. For food, one of my favourites is the Foole made with mashed fava beans, diced tomatoes and onions then mixed before it’s topped with a pair of sunny-side-up eggs or the Classic Cairo Plate. If I could make my way through the whole menu, I would but these portion sizes are generous.
1438 Dundas Street West
So I know I’m not the first person to place The Federal onto a best of brunch list, but now I’m going to explain in detail why you need to go. First of all, while the menu may not be expansive, it’s affordable, approachable and amazing. Not convinced yet? Okay, that’s fair. Even if you’ve had to wait for awhile (max time could be 20 minutes on a weekend) – the service staff will always greet you with a smile. On the menu, they have surprises like French Toast and Foie Gras or one of my favourites, the Cobb Salad, which is the best in the city. But if you’re looking for a standard breakfast – their scrambled eggs will do just the trick. All of their coffee is from Reunion Island, so don’t forget to get a mug of diner coffee because it will be really good. Promise!
158 Cumberland Street
New to Toronto’s brunch scene is Yorkville’s Queen, Bar Reyna. The Meditterean snack and cocktail bar recently introduced a brunch menu that’s perfect for eating with friends on their year-round back patio. Served on weekends, offerings include slow roasted Duck Benedict, Reyna’s Croque Madame with smoked salmon on housemade sourdough, oysters, Shakshuka, and Avocado Toast, to name a few. While we may be a little biased, you’ve gotta admit, the dishes are mouth-watering (and affordable considering the Yorkville address)!
25 The West Mall
This year, we saw Saks Fifth Avenue locations open up across Ontario and inside the Sherway Gardens location, they have Beaumont Kitchen. While making the trek out to Etobicoke is not everyone’s first thought, we need to have a serious discussion about the PB&J Stuffed French Toast. That in and of itself is worth going to Etobicoke for and I’m not even a sweets fan. But if you’re looking for something a bit more savory, I’d suggest the beef brisket hash. It’s a beautiful space with tons of natural lighting so you know that Instagram is going to turn out perfectly. Also, $5 Caesars on the weekends. Yes, please!
807 Gerrard Street East
The first time I went to Saturday Dinette was after hearing Suzanne Barr (owner and chef) speak at the Kitchen Bitches conference. The space is set-up like an old-style diner but the menu has a lot of heart and soul, with comforting classics. The kitchen is open so you’ll more than likely on your visit see Barr in the kitchen or have her husband, Johnnie, serve you. A favourite (and classic) is the Dinette Brekkie served with eggs, toast, tomatoes, grits and hash brown. Oh, or try one of their Adult Milkshakes. The menu changes seasonally, so get down and see what they’re serving up next.
Emma’s Country Kitchen
810 St. Clair Avenue West
You might know this already but Emma’s Country Kitchen won first place on the Food Network’s Donut Showdown. Ever since, it’s been a pretty popular brunch spot, not just for the donuts but for the way they serve up classic country dishes. If you order the Emma’s Benny, it will be served on top of a warm, fluffy buttermilk biscuit, which is to die for. Their in-house hash consists of griddled red skin potatoes and they are incredible. Basically, this is comfort food at it’s finest! But be forewarned, you will have to wait here. Maybe 20 minutes – maybe longer? But that’s the price you pay for delicious donuts and awesome food.
679 Lansdowne Avenue
Okay, so this isn’t this isn’t your typical brunch place – be forewarned. But it is Toronto’s first Australian-style cafe and with that being said, they serve food – really good food. The cafe offers full table service and includes things like smashed avocados, bircher muesli or hotcakes. Plus, you’ll have one of the best damn flat whites you’ve ever had made exclusively with 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters. This place is closed on Sunday, so make your plans accordingly.
295 Adelaide Street West
This Italian restaurant smack dab in the middle of the Entertainment district is design goals, for sure. But what about the food? Figo takes the Eggs Benny out for a spin on a beautiful tomato focaccia. If you’re like me and love cheese, then you will appreciate the breakfast burrata served with a white balsamic compressed peach, thyme & basil, almonds. It’s like heaven in a bowl. While Figo is a bit pricier than most brunch places, this is the type of place you would go to with girlfriends for a celebration or a birthday because you will not be disappointed.
Did we miss your favourite Toronto brunch spots of 2016? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.