Hunting for Brunch in Toronto
When I lived in the country, there were three meals in a day and everyone I told I was vegetarian (lapsed these days) just blinked at me blankly and tried to feed me summer sausage.
Now that I think about it I should really have re-thought the timing of my meat embargo. It would be a thousand times easier to accommodate now than it was when I lived across from the Legion Hall (which featured a meat draw every Sunday).
In the city, not only are there menus to suit just about every dietary whim out there, there is also an extra meal. Brunch.
What is it about brunch? Are there so many fantastic Toronto restaurants that we need an extra made-up meal to give ourselves a fighting chance at trying them all? Or is it just embarrassing to admit that we’ve had a glorious layabout morning and are only now, at 12:30 pm, rolling out of bed to break our fast, so we call it something else? Who knows! And really, who can be bothered to care when there are sunny mimosas to be drunk and a myriad of hollandaise/potato combinations to be savoured among friends?
I have had to search for new places to enjoy this fictitious meal these days, as Prague Deli on Queen, where I once had a brunch special so delicious it made me tear up –yes, again, has inexplicably closed. So, in no particular order, here are a few I’m digging these days:
Fanny Chadwicks – (or as Red and I refer to it, Fanchads, we are very busy women you see) For being off the beaten path, this place is never short of brunchers. It would be surprising if the food wasn’t so remarkable and the staff wasn’t so friendly and the place wasn’t so cozy. Their build-your-own benny with smoked fish is a thing of beauty, my friends.
L’Ouvrier – Still too new to the neighbourhood to have gained the lengthy lineups of their Dundas West neighbour, Saving Grace, L’Ouvrier features plenty of refreshing roughage for mornings (or early afternoons) when you just can’t stomach another heavy meal. Although, happily, the menu does include some bacon, so you won’t leave unsatisfied or ravenous either. I love how open the space is, (a rarity not to feel like you’re in your neighbour’s laps at brunch), their miss-matched teacups, and the fact that they serve fresh-baked scones (To be clear, I actually didn’t think the scones were that spectacular compared to some, I was just excited to have a vehicle for crème fraiche and jam)
The Saint – A gleamingly polished upscale pub on Ossington, everything in the place is attractive. Seriously, it’s not just the decor or the food. When I was there it seemed like there was a surpluss of attractive servers and brunchers alike, but maybe that was just a fluke. Anyway, I didn’t have much time to look at them because I had to focus all of my attention on the insanely delicious poached eggs & prosciutto-wrapped asparagus WITH pommes dauphine and bernaise that I ordered. I mean, come on.
The County General – I feel like I need to pop back in here again before giving this one a permanent spot in my favourites list because while I thought the buttermilk chicken sandwich at this Queen West nook was SO scrumptious, I was also really, really hungry after Barreworks and about an hour of wandering around in search of sustenance.
Kalendar – I keep trying to order other things on the menu but I’m just too obsessed with their salmon quiche and salad with poppyseed dressing. It’s just plain old tasty and it’s a perfectly portioned meal so I leave feeling satisfied but never to the point of comatose. I love the rich décor, the friendly servers and the quirky little details in this place AND once a couple of years ago I was seated at a table next to Michelle Williams, who is just so bitty and pretty and glowy in real life that it took all of my willpower not to just stare at her like she was on my tv. So, basically if you eat there, you might be a celebrity.
How about you guys? Are you brunch fans? Are there any spectacular places I should be adding to my list?