(Editor’s Note: Ketchum professionals regularly share their secret and not-so-secret passions with their colleagues. In this essay, Katie Zier-Vogel asks the age-old question: “What could be more delightful than a day-time meal that combines the best of breakfast and lunch, while leaving enough time in the day for a good nap?“)
By Katie Zier-Vogel
TORONTO – You never hear anyone say: “I’m going to grab a quick brunch at my desk today” or “Let’s just get something from the drive-through for brunch.” No, brunch is a meal to be savoured, so special that it exists only in the rarified air of weekends and holidays. In a word, brunch is exquisite. In Toronto, brunch is also a competitive sport. The demand for a table where the French Toast arrives thick as clouds that drizzle foamed kiwi syrup is dog-eat-dog, (though the dogs are hand-formed blueberry sausages in toasted-pecan-waffles.) To survive in this world there are a few things you need to know.
- Arrive when the restaurant opens (unless you fancy eating brunch at 3 pm, which will seriously eat into your post-brunch nap time)
- The uglier the décor, the better the food
- When in doubt, go with the daily special
- Traditional restaurant cues (i.e. making eye contact with the wait staff) won’t work. If you want more water or coffee ask…or better yet, get it yourself
- Waiting two hours for your food to arrive isn’t uncommon so choose your company wisely
With that here are Toronto very best brunch spots.
Location: Dundas St and Bellwoods (just east of Trinity Bellwoods Park) Known for: daily specials, seasonal ingredients Famous dish: French toast with carmelized bananas Arrival Time: 9:50am (they won’t open the doors until 10:15am) Décor: sponge painted walls, forgotten plants and religious icons Type: Indie-hipster Accessorize with: Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, fedoras and leggings
#2: Mildred’s TempleLocation: Liberty Village Famous dish: Veda’s Choice (poached egg with smoked salmon on a croissant) & buttermilk pancakes Arrival Time: 10-11am, but a table of two is pretty easy to score any time of the day Décor: sleek, modern, eco-friendly, individual bathrooms (that have quite the reputation) Type: 30-somethings Accessorize with: your grandma (this is the only place nice enough to bring her)
#3: Lady MarmaladeLocation: Leslieville Known for: health-conscious, veggie-friendly menu Famous dish: eggs benny and savoury waffles Arrival Time: 10am Décor: mismatched vintage furniture, avocado-coloured walls Type: young families from Riverdale and Leslieville Accessorize with: a baby on your hip
#4: School Bakery and CaféLocation: East Liberty and Fraser Known for: baked goods and large selection of pancakes Arrival Time: between 10-11am Décor: schoolhouse chic (apples, chalkboards, clocks) Type: young couples from Liberty Village Accessorize with: your entire party, they won’t seat you until everyone has arrived
#5: Aunties and UnclesLocation: College and Lippincott Known for: omelets of the day Don’t miss: homemade ketchup Time: between 9-10am Décor: diner-esque Type: indie-hipster Accessorize with: see Saving Grace for appropriate attire
#6: Le Petit DejeunerLocation: King St. E and Jarvis Known for: omelettes, crepes, french toast Arrival Time: 9:30am Sat; 10am Sun Décor: sparkly green vinyl seating Type: Brunch diehards
#7: Bonjour BriocheLocation: Leslieville (Queen St. E) Known for: croissants, baguettes, omelettes, quiche Arrival Time: early morning if you hope to get a warm croissant Décor: French bistro Type: mid-30s Riverdale residents Accessorize with: out of town parents you want to impress, a fake French accent and a cigarette