Toronto is a big city. And one of the things it does really well is brunch! I’m not sure if you know this about me or not, but after coffee, brunch is my second favourite meal of the day! For that reason, I wanted to try highlight a few of Toronto’s best brunch spots. It was a hard task because there are so many options, and I’m on a mission to try as many as possible. But these five are the ones I remember the most as being amazing meals and that I wouldn’t hesitate to return to in a heartbeat. Without further ado…
1. Portland Variety – Located in Toronto’s King West neighbourhood at King and Portland, this hip eatery offers brunch every day of the week! Their smashed avocado toast is out of this world and is always a hit. In the mood for something sweet? Try the lemon ricotta pancakes. The rich, velvety pancakes melt in your mouth and pair perfectly with the blueberry compote and sweet cream cheese mousse. Feeling more savoury? My favourite is the huevos – a scrumptious bowl of fluffy scrambled eggs, refried beans, chilaquiles sauce, avocado, queso and tomatillos. It’s the kind of meal I often dream about when I’m hungry! Don’t forget to order a flat white and a local 587, a brunch cocktail made with seasonal fruit juice, beefeater gin, lime & prosecco, to round out your meal!
2. School – As soon as you walk into this adorable restaurant, located in Toronto’s Liberty Village, you’ll be welcomed by the amazing smells wafting in from the bakery and kitchen up front. At School, it’s always brunch time, because this restaurant doesn’t even open for dinner. Are you a cheese lover? Then you have to try the Super Cheesy Bacon French Toast w/ Loads of Gooey Cheddar-Jack + Ontario No.2 Maple Syrup. Yes, it’s indulgent, but most of School’s dishes are. You are combining two meals, remember? I’m a big pancake fan so I had to try the Black ‘N’ Blue Flapjacks. Black and blue refers to the perfect mix of blueberry and blackberry compote, which is then topped off by a delectable brown sugar butter and of course Ontario maple syrup. School also offers house made hot sauce and freshly squeezed juices, which are served in an adorably clever lab beaker!
3. The Drake – Best-known for it’s unique takes on the classic Caesar, this West Queen West spot is an institution. Order up some of their famous housemade scones and a scorched marshmallow latte to start. Can’t decide between sweet and savory? Have a little of both with the chicken & waffle. Crispy, melt-in-your-mouth chicken is perched atop a fluffy waffle and topped with niagara cherries, cress, creme fraiche and maple syrup. It’s truly a party in your mouth! If you’re not that adventurous, try the Drake benny. The eggs are always poached to perfection and you can substitute the country ham for either smoked salmon or oven-roasted mushrooms to keep things interesting.
4. Farmhouse Tavern – The name of the game at Farmhouse Tavern is local. They serve up truly unique dishes made with seasonal farm-driven food, Ontario craft brews and VQA juices. Located in the Junction Triangle, this charming tavern has a rustic interior decorated with antlers, rusty licence plates and mismatched furniture. You’ll feel like you’ve truly left the big city and walked into an old country farmhouse. The chalkboard menu changes daily, based on what’s in season. If you are lucky enough to dine on a day when they are serving the Mother & Child Reunion, don’t hesitate. Order it immediately. This indulgent dish was worth every calorie. Served on a butcher block, the dish consisted of a crispy skinned duck leg atop a crispy crouton, a soft-boiled, deep fried duck egg and a smattering of rich duck pate. Oh yeah, and I think there was a little salad as well. Honestly, you won’t need to eat again for days. It was that good!
5. Lady Marmalade – Located in trendy Leslieville, this hip eatery always has a line a mile long to get in – but trust me, it’s worth the wait! If you’re an eggs benny fan, look no further. Lady Marmalade offers so many ways to take your benny, you’ll have a hard time deciding. Will it be the benny with roasted vegetables and aged cheddar? Or perhaps you should try the benny with brie, avocado and bacon? Maybe you’re feeling like the benny with ‘cochinita pibil’ pulled pork & citrus red onions. Still don’t see anything you like? Lady let’s you build your own benny as well! No matter how you build your benny you won’t be disappointed. Not a fan of eggs benedict? Not to worry. The menu is pretty large so you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy. Perhaps it’ll be the daily baked bread pudding, which is their version of french toast. Or the moroccan scramble, either organic tofu or 2 eggs, baby kale, spinach, tomatoes, olives, onions, spiced chickpeas, avocado, toast & salad. Whatever you decide on, pair it with a bottomless cup of coffee or splurge and order a peanut butter banana shake! Oh, and don’t forget to bring cash. The lady does not accept credit.
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