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15 Brunches You Want To Eat Now, April 2014

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Brunch is a tricky one. It's the meal that can be eaten at any time of the day. The shift few self-respecting servers want to work. And often, seemingly the best answer to any regrets of the previous evening. Lining up with a hangover in tow feels like a questionable endeavour – sometimes just to pay $15 for plain ol' bacon and eggs, no less. Yet, the Holy meal garners more reverence and venom that any of its counterparts put together. In no particular order, here are the city's essential spots. Of course, waiting to be challenged and disputed. — Nelson Tam


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Universal Grill

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1071 Shaw St., Toronto
ON, Canada
(416) 588-5928
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This Dupont and Shaw diner lines ‘em up during brunch in a neighbourhood without much competition. Time your visit accordingly and you can have eggs and Caesars then stick around for dinner where Rajah’s Dry Rub Ribs have been bringing back regulars for over 17 years.

2. Rose & Sons

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176 Dupont Street, Toronto
ON M5R 2E6, Canada
(647) 748-3287
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As you may have previously read on Eater, Anthony Rose is the king of The Holy Trinity of Dupont. But Sons was his first. And the communal booths still cram in Annex crowds every weekend anxious to swim into elevated breakfast fare like duck confit hash or fried chicken with grits and poached eggs.

3. Beast Restaurant

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96 Tecumseth St, Toronto
ON M6J 2H1, Canada
(647) 352-6000
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Scott Vivian’s animal-eating friendly bistro has been making Instagrammers dizzy with his heart-defying Beastwich, a monstrosity of fried chicken, sausage gravy, soft fried egg, and buttermilk biscuits. Need more to celebrate? Brunch hours were recently extended, running from Friday to Monday.

4. Drake Hotel

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1150 Queen St. W., Toronto
ON M6J 1J3, Canada
(416) 531-5042
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Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Drake empire continues to grow with Drake One Fifty and the forthcoming Drake Devonshire Inn. However, in its early days, brunch helped establish this Queen West “hotbed of culture,” with its coveted café patio seating.

5. Barque Smokehouse

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299 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto
ON M6R 2M3, Canada
(416) 532-7700
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“Smoke it if you got it” seems to be Chef & Owner David Neinstein’s philosophy with his 500-pound smoker from Tennessee. Most dishes on the Roncesvalles smokehouse’s card have at least one ingredient coming from the smoker – like the much-celebrated brunch offering of smoked duck pancakes.

6. Lisa Marie

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638 Queen St. W., Toronto
ON M6J 1E3, Canada
Ole! Matt Basile brings the same flare from his food truck Fidel Gastro to hungry Queen Westers in this “brick and mortar with the heart of a pop-up.” Brunch crowds regularly rejoice in a revolving menu of ambitious offerings – where, apparently, size does matter.

7. Union Restaurant

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72 Ossington Ave., Toronto
ON, Canada
(416) 850-0093
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Almost five years in, this Ossington eatery would fit in just as naturally at home in Paris, where chef Teo Paul trained before returning to Toronto. The rear patio is the perfect spot to let a hangover fade over a little hair of the dog. Maybe while waiting for seafood frittatas or some BBQ rib benedicts.

8. Swan

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892 Queen Street W, Toronto
ON M6J 1G3, Canada
(416) 532-0452
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Sucking down raw oysters and horseradish Caesars in this 50s-style diner may be the perfect prelude to a weekend wander down Queen West. Don’t feel like walking? Bring a blanket and step over to nearby Trinity Bellwoods park for some post-brunch cloud counting or people watching.

9. The King Edward

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37 King St. E, Toronto
ON M5C 1E9, Canada
(416) 863-9700
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If you prefer a classier setting to enjoy a Sunday brunch – and perhaps carry a slightly weighty wallet – the King Eddy Hotel’s white linens may be where you feel most at home. With stations serving everything from charcuterie to smoked seafood to smoothies, you can be sure to get the royal treatment.

10. FARMHOUSE tavern

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1627 Dupont Street, Toronto
ON M6P 3S8, Canada
(416) 561-9114
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Toronto Life ranks this Junction Triangle spot as one of their top “hedonistic brunch” spots. And when the menu includes a dish that involves deep fried duck eggs and duck prosciutto, it’s hard to argue the point. You can be sure the term “farm fresh” certainly doesn’t mean boring and bland here.

11. The Huntsman Tavern

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890 College St., Toronto
ON, Canada
As The Grid recently reported, The Huntsman Tavern is one of few spots in town offering a brunch menu 7 days a week. If you’re one of many lamenting the close of previous neighbourhood joint Hadley’s, relax: chef Eric Hadley has brought some of his classic brunch offerings with him.

12. Lady Marmalade

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898 Queen St. E, Toronto
ON M4M 1J3, Canada
(647) 351-7645
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East Enders have been lining up on Queen Street for this brunch boîte’s delicious offerings since it first landed in Leslieville almost five years ago. Bringing some of the successful touches from the original Marmalade in Victoria, BC, David Cherry has been satisfying the hoards for almost five years now.

13. Bonjour Brioche

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812 Queen St. E., Toronto
ON M4M 1H7, Canada
(416) 406-1250
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Well before the gentrification of Queen East, there was Bonjour Brioche, providing a great brunch option in an area almost entirely lacking of them. Though its neighbours have changed, they haven’t – still offering hot helpings of Croque Madames and baked French toast to committed regulars.

14. Chantecler

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1320 Queen St W, Toronto
ON M6K 1L4, Canada
(416) 628-3586
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Antique plates, a vintage four-burner stove, lettuce wraps – this 26-seater might just be Parkdale’s most charming restaurant. But it’s also tasty and innovative. In fact, its new brunch menu cheekily combines western and eastern classics – while offering one of the city’s best turnip cakes this side of the 401.

15. Aunties & Uncles

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74 Lippincott St., Toronto
ON M5S 2P1, Canada
(416) 324-1375
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If you have lived near Little Italy in the last 10 years, chances are, at some point you waited in line at neighbourhood brunch stalwart Aunties and Uncles. It’s almost a rite of passage. But once seated, you’ll forget everything in anticipation of the comfort creations coming out of the cozy kitchen.

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1. Universal Grill

1071 Shaw St., Toronto, ON, Canada
This Dupont and Shaw diner lines ‘em up during brunch in a neighbourhood without much competition. Time your visit accordingly and you can have eggs and Caesars then stick around for dinner where Rajah’s Dry Rub Ribs have been bringing back regulars for over 17 years.
1071 Shaw St., Toronto
ON, Canada

2. Rose & Sons

176 Dupont Street, Toronto, ON M5R 2E6, Canada
As you may have previously read on Eater, Anthony Rose is the king of The Holy Trinity of Dupont. But Sons was his first. And the communal booths still cram in Annex crowds every weekend anxious to swim into elevated breakfast fare like duck confit hash or fried chicken with grits and poached eggs.
176 Dupont Street, Toronto
ON M5R 2E6, Canada

3. Beast Restaurant

96 Tecumseth St, Toronto, ON M6J 2H1, Canada
Scott Vivian’s animal-eating friendly bistro has been making Instagrammers dizzy with his heart-defying Beastwich, a monstrosity of fried chicken, sausage gravy, soft fried egg, and buttermilk biscuits. Need more to celebrate? Brunch hours were recently extended, running from Friday to Monday.
96 Tecumseth St, Toronto
ON M6J 2H1, Canada

4. Drake Hotel

1150 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON M6J 1J3, Canada
Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Drake empire continues to grow with Drake One Fifty and the forthcoming Drake Devonshire Inn. However, in its early days, brunch helped establish this Queen West “hotbed of culture,” with its coveted café patio seating.
1150 Queen St. W., Toronto
ON M6J 1J3, Canada

5. Barque Smokehouse

299 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto, ON M6R 2M3, Canada
“Smoke it if you got it” seems to be Chef & Owner David Neinstein’s philosophy with his 500-pound smoker from Tennessee. Most dishes on the Roncesvalles smokehouse’s card have at least one ingredient coming from the smoker – like the much-celebrated brunch offering of smoked duck pancakes.
299 Roncesvalles Ave., Toronto
ON M6R 2M3, Canada

6. Lisa Marie

638 Queen St. W., Toronto, ON M6J 1E3, Canada
Ole! Matt Basile brings the same flare from his food truck Fidel Gastro to hungry Queen Westers in this “brick and mortar with the heart of a pop-up.” Brunch crowds regularly rejoice in a revolving menu of ambitious offerings – where, apparently, size does matter.
638 Queen St. W., Toronto
ON M6J 1E3, Canada

7. Union Restaurant

72 Ossington Ave., Toronto, ON, Canada
Almost five years in, this Ossington eatery would fit in just as naturally at home in Paris, where chef Teo Paul trained before returning to Toronto. The rear patio is the perfect spot to let a hangover fade over a little hair of the dog. Maybe while waiting for seafood frittatas or some BBQ rib benedicts.
72 Ossington Ave., Toronto
ON, Canada

8. Swan

892 Queen Street W, Toronto, ON M6J 1G3, Canada
Sucking down raw oysters and horseradish Caesars in this 50s-style diner may be the perfect prelude to a weekend wander down Queen West. Don’t feel like walking? Bring a blanket and step over to nearby Trinity Bellwoods park for some post-brunch cloud counting or people watching.
892 Queen Street W, Toronto
ON M6J 1G3, Canada

9. The King Edward

37 King St. E, Toronto, ON M5C 1E9, Canada
If you prefer a classier setting to enjoy a Sunday brunch – and perhaps carry a slightly weighty wallet – the King Eddy Hotel’s white linens may be where you feel most at home. With stations serving everything from charcuterie to smoked seafood to smoothies, you can be sure to get the royal treatment.
37 King St. E, Toronto
ON M5C 1E9, Canada

10. FARMHOUSE tavern

1627 Dupont Street, Toronto, ON M6P 3S8, Canada
Toronto Life ranks this Junction Triangle spot as one of their top “hedonistic brunch” spots. And when the menu includes a dish that involves deep fried duck eggs and duck prosciutto, it’s hard to argue the point. You can be sure the term “farm fresh” certainly doesn’t mean boring and bland here.
1627 Dupont Street, Toronto
ON M6P 3S8, Canada

11. The Huntsman Tavern

890 College St., Toronto, ON, Canada
As The Grid recently reported, The Huntsman Tavern is one of few spots in town offering a brunch menu 7 days a week. If you’re one of many lamenting the close of previous neighbourhood joint Hadley’s, relax: chef Eric Hadley has brought some of his classic brunch offerings with him.
890 College St., Toronto
ON, Canada

12. Lady Marmalade

898 Queen St. E, Toronto, ON M4M 1J3, Canada
East Enders have been lining up on Queen Street for this brunch boîte’s delicious offerings since it first landed in Leslieville almost five years ago. Bringing some of the successful touches from the original Marmalade in Victoria, BC, David Cherry has been satisfying the hoards for almost five years now.
898 Queen St. E, Toronto
ON M4M 1J3, Canada

13. Bonjour Brioche

812 Queen St. E., Toronto, ON M4M 1H7, Canada
Well before the gentrification of Queen East, there was Bonjour Brioche, providing a great brunch option in an area almost entirely lacking of them. Though its neighbours have changed, they haven’t – still offering hot helpings of Croque Madames and baked French toast to committed regulars.
812 Queen St. E., Toronto
ON M4M 1H7, Canada

14. Chantecler

1320 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L4, Canada
Antique plates, a vintage four-burner stove, lettuce wraps – this 26-seater might just be Parkdale’s most charming restaurant. But it’s also tasty and innovative. In fact, its new brunch menu cheekily combines western and eastern classics – while offering one of the city’s best turnip cakes this side of the 401.
1320 Queen St W, Toronto
ON M6K 1L4, Canada

15. Aunties & Uncles

74 Lippincott St., Toronto, ON M5S 2P1, Canada
If you have lived near Little Italy in the last 10 years, chances are, at some point you waited in line at neighbourhood brunch stalwart Aunties and Uncles. It’s almost a rite of passage. But once seated, you’ll forget everything in anticipation of the comfort creations coming out of the cozy kitchen.
74 Lippincott St., Toronto
ON M5S 2P1, Canada