For both chefs and diners in Toronto, brunch is no joke. I mean, have you seen the size of the lines all those bleary-eyed twenty- and thirty-somethings are willing to wait in just for some eggs? Well, there’s a reason—and it’s not just to get a good Instagram shot. More and more restaurants are making brunch a priority, serving increasingly elaborate dishes, whether that means coming up with new concoctions or jazzing up a towering stack of pancakes with caramelized bananas and a few extra cups of blueberries. That’s why it can be tough to pick the very best places in the city, but we narrowed it down to one or two must-try spots in each neighbourhood—just to get you started.
The Junction Triangle
Farmhouse Tavern brings rural charm to this trendy Toronto neighbourhood. But the rustic tavern’s ever-changing chalkboard menu—which has been known to feature everything from freshly ground chuck burgers to mushroom frittata—strays from the traditional bacon-and-eggs brunch you might associate with the country. If you’re not into eating next to vintage farm gear and moose mounts, Hello Darling is another must-try in the neighbourhood. Minus Mondays, this bright and airy brunch spot serves breakfast all day, every day. With dishes like mushroom Wellington and baked eggs shakshuka, the menu here is completely vegetarian friendly, but for those craving meat, they do offer sausage and bacon on the side.
Mixing old pagoda-patterned wallpaper and 50s-diner bar stools, The Ace is anything but pretentious. The narrow, sun-soaked restaurant’s casual vibe is accompanied by hearty plates of comfort food that includes both sweet and savoury options. Along with a classic bacon-and-eggs dish, they offer more creative choices such as chilaquiles and challah French toast, which is topped with caramelized bananas and fresh blueberries. Just across the street is La Cubana, another neighbourhood gem. Its Cuban brunch menu features favourites like chorizo empanadas and medianoches with fried eggs, which are served inside a bustling diner that will put you in mind of 1950s Havana.
Easy Restaurant is a Parkdale institution known for its all-day breakfast. You don’t need to watch Dennis Hopper’s classic film Easy Rider to appreciate this place’s laidback, 1970s California vibes and Americana decor, but it doesn’t hurt either. And while they do serve diner staples such as steak and eggs and breakfast burritos, the rest of the menu is a little more modern, featuring fresh takes on huevos rancheros and eggs benny. Another “must-try” in Parkdale is Mitzi’s Cafe. Tucked away on Sorauren Avenue, this relaxed, all-day brunch spot has a blackboard menu that’s constantly evolving to feature fresh, seasonal takes on brunch favourites like French toast, pancakes, omelettes, and eggs benny. But if you’re not into surprises, they post weekly menus on their Facebook page.
Saving Grace is a quaint, breakfast- and brunch-specific locale northeast of Trinity Bellwoods, making it the perfect prequel to an afternoon spent sipping park beers under a shady tree. The only problem? The small space can only hold up to 20 people. If you do manage to snag a table, you’ll find a rotating menu of specials that’s previously featured poached eggs with peameal bacon and tomato chutney and arugula on English muffins, topped with avocado crema. If you can’t beat the crowds at Saving Grace, head down the street and try your luck at The Federal, though you might not fare much better. Try their steak and eggs or Gold Standard Sandwich among the cozy, carefully curated decor, featuring old church pews, vintage light fixtures, and red-and-black tiled floors.
The Good Son is a trendy Queen West hangout that’s overflowing with vintage decor. But if you think the old clocks, artwork, and mirrors covering every square inch of the walls is a lot to take in, just wait until you see the menu. Yes, you can get classics like French toast and eggs benedict here, but with Top Chef Canada’s Vittorio Colacitti in the kitchen, it would be a shame not to try something a little different, like the steak tartar served with a soft-boiled quail egg or wood fired breakfast pizza. If you’re craving a little southern hospitality, there’s The County General just down the street at Queen and Shaw. They serve just what you’d expect from a southern neighbour—down-home seasonal cooking and loads of liquor. For brunch, that translates to caesars and fried chicken thigh sandwiches.
If you’ve never ventured into Liberty Village, midday might be the time to do it. With high ceilings, sleek and modern fixtures, and industrial-looking floors, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen isn’t your typical breakfast spot. The high-end atmosphere is completed with an elegant yet eclectic menu of lighter fare, like crunchy granola and salads, as well as heavier items, such as the Big Brunch Skillet. But the new kid on the block is School. And although the bookshelves, chalkboards, and exposed brick walls give it an academic vibe, the food here is far above anything you’d find in a cafeteria. Cure your hangover with their hashbrown poutine, bacon cheddar burger, or super cheesy bacon French toast.
(Mildred’s Temple Kitchen)
True to its name, Beast Restaurant is for hardcore carnivores. Just north of King West, on Tecumseth Street, the stark white walls and bare tables give it a fairly minimalist vibe, though the food made here is anything but. Beast serves a hearty, meat-heavy brunch every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. But even though dishes like peameal bacon benedict and fried chicken thighs, and biscuits with sausage and gravy take centre stage here, there are a few vegetarian friendly dishes on the menu, too.
While many of the brunch spots featured on this list have rotating menus of fresh seasonal fare, Aunties and Uncles is known for its consistent, reliable menu, which includes their famous breakfast pocket, banana oatmeal pancakes, and cinnamon French toast. The restaurant has been open for nearly two decades, making it a veteran to Toronto’s brunch scene. But its solid, longstanding reputation also means you’ll be lucky if you snag a spot inside this quaint little restaurant brimming with antiques.
Dupont’s Rose and Sons might look and feel like a casual diner, but its intriguing and well-prepared dishes elevate it to foodie’s paradise. Some of the most impressive dishes meals here are the Lox Bagel and Scram on Lamb. But for something a little sweeter, there’s the ricotta pancakes served with sour cherries and maple syrup. If you’re a barbecue fan, head around back to Rose and Son’s sister restaurant Big Crow. With its picnic table seating, wood-panelled walls, and open-flame grill, it looks a bit like a backcountry cabin, and it has the fare to match. For brunch, expect to find grilled pork belly and eggs, a hot smoked salmon platter, and fried egg tostada on the menu.
Smith might look rather subtle from the street, but the decor inside is striking. With all-white walls, dramatic light fixtures, and mismatched china, it’s the perfect mix of eclectic and elegant, and it has an equally interesting menu to match. For brunch, they serve open face smoked salmon sandwiches, brisket hash, poached salmon cod, and fried chicken sandwiches. Only serving brunch on weekends, this village hot spot can get busy midday, but with three floors and two patios, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a seat.
If you’re in Cabbagetown, try MerryBerry, a bright, quirky bistro that’s all about early risers. In addition to their breakfast menu, which is served all week long, they offer special brunch items on Saturdays and Sundays. Here, you can enjoy a gourmet grilled cheese, open-face brunch sandwich, or even build your own omelette. The nearby House On Parliament knows how to put together breakfast foods, too. This popular neighbourhood pub is known for its Sunday prime rib dinner, a weekly affair for some locals. But its weekend brunch menu is equally hearty. Every Saturday and Sunday, the Cabbagetown institution serves everything from liver to wild boar with their eggs. For the faint of heart, they’ve got French toast and eggs benny too.
For an East End brunch infused with southwestern flavours, head to The Wren, a Old West-inspired pub located on The Danforth between Greenwood and Coxwell. During the week it might be all about the local craft beer, cocktails, and Chorizo Gumbo Pot Pie, but on Saturdays and Sundays, they bust out an equally mouth-watering all-day brunch menu. It features midday comfort-food classics such as brisket hash, breakfast burritos, and burgers, so make sure you show up hungry. If you’re looking for classics like pancakes, bacon-and-eggs, or eggs benny, Hollandaise Diner covers all of the breakfast bases. Located further east, just past Woodbine, the casual space is bright and airy, open seven days a week, and serves bottomless drip coffee—what more could you need?
Specializing in Belgian-Canadian comfort food, Le Petit Dejeuner is a cozy, family-run restaurant famous for its breakfast and brunch items. In fact, it might be one of the best places in the city to go for authentic waffles. They’re served au natural or topped with items like fresh fruit and peameal bacon. There’s also variations on brunch classics like eggs benny, where they swap out the English muffin for waffles. A little further west, at King and Church, you’ll find Origin, a trendy spot with an urban, industrial vibe, but a cosy place to have brunch nonetheless. Their brunch menu is a long list of artfully presented items, including duck confit French toast and egg white frittata, that taste as good as they look. But the best thing about Origin? They take reservations, so you’ll have no pre-brunch anxiety about whether or not you’ll get in.
(Le Petit Dejeuner)
If you’re in Riverside on a Saturday or Sunday, you’ll undoubtedly spot a line of brunch-goers trailing out the door of Bonjour Brioche, a French cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch. But line-ups aren’t the only reason to show up early—popular items on the menu have been known to run out by late afternoon. This Queen East hot spot specializes in Parisian staples like quiche and toasted brioche, alongside fresh pastries, tarts, and baguettes, which are all baked in-house—and worth every calorie. The restaurant’s reliable menu has remained the same for decades, so you can be confident they know what they’re doing.
Brunch in Leslieville generally means one thing: Lady Marmalade. This week-round breakfast spot offers locally-sourced organic food whenever possible, and a menu that will appeal to carnivores, vegetarians, and gluten-free folks alike. Serving everything from a poached egg BLT and hash brown poutine to cheddar and spinach waffles, it’s the perfect place to eat if you’re going with a group of friends who are all looking for something a little different. Combined with the food, the restaurant’s fun, cheery decor makes it the perfect place to start your day. A little less recognized, but equally worthy of attention, is Edward’s 1290. This casual Leslieville kitchen serves your greasy spoon standards, but it’s known for its farm fresh seasonal fare, so consider trying one of the daily soups or omelets while there.
The Green Eggplant might be one of the most popular restaurants in The Beaches, and brunch is no exception. But don’t be fooled by its name—this place isn’t just for veg heads. In fact, they actually describe themselves as a Mediterranean grill. Its giant brunch menu features omelets, French toast, and fresh takes on classics, like lobster grilled cheese. With a range of kid-friendly options, you can bet lots of families come here on weekends. But the restaurant’s vintage-inspired light fixtures and exposed brick walls keep the vibe mature enough for groups of adults, too.
(Photo from La Cubana)