Ottawa’s top-tier spots for delicious French toast

French toast, or pain perdu, has become a brunch staple that is so much more than just a way to reclaim stale bread. Often topped with refreshing fruits and yummy maple syrup, these places provide unique takes on the classic French dish that will keep you coming back for more.

Bakers Street Cafe

1
385 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K2A 0E7

Brunch aficionados don’t mind waiting in line on weekends for the outstanding breakfast that the Baker Street Café has to offer. The rock ‘n’ roll brunch at this 1960s London-inspired café includes hearty options like homemade sausage patties with sautéed mushrooms and decadent delights like cinnamon raisin, poppy seed or classic French toast. The café’s not-so-secret star attraction that distinguishes it from any other brunch spot in town is a homemade toasted cinnamon bun served with scrambled eggs and fresh fruit.

Benny's Bistro

2
119 Murray St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5M5

Named in honour of the owner’s beloved dachshund hound, Benny, this Bistro has crafted up a French answer to a North American tradition: gourmet brunch. Settle into the sophisticated yet relaxed bistro surrounded by blue, red and yellow walls and prepare yourself for some truly extravagant French toast. Stuffed with aged white cheddar and topped with a roasted apple compote, brown butter oat crumble and salted caramel, it’s like no other pain perdu in town.

Wilf and Ada’s

3
510 Bank St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1Z4

Ottawa foodies love the idea of this made-from-scratch diner that sources many of its ingredients from local farmers and showcases Ottawa artists. Long line-ups are not uncommon on weekends as Wilf and Ada’s menu attracts regulars and newcomers year-round with revolving dishes that change according to the season’s harvest. The top-notch French toast also varies, but is usually served on house-made bread and made with buttermilk batter, fruit compote and maple syrup.

Union Local 613

4
315 Somerset St W, Ottawa, ON K2P 0J8

Southern-style resto and speakeasy Union Local 613 is part of a community of Ottawa restaurants, which value local culture and create unique takes on common food and drink recipes. The communal seating and casual, dimly lit ambiance reflects the restaurant’s community oriented approach to great food. For a show-stopping item, sample the soulful malted French toast with banana custard, bourbon whip, braised pineapple, cocoa nibs, mint and bacon.

Stoneface Dollys

5
416 Preston St, Ottawa, ON K1S 4M9

A South African restaurant in Little Italy might seem confusing, but in fact, it does everything right, from weekend brunch to daily lunch and dinner. The French toast is one of the best in town and is made using homemade banana bread, sourdough or brown molasses bread and is served with maple syrup and fresh fruit. Come back for dinner sometime to try the traditional South African chicken or tofu bobotie.

Manx Pub

6
370 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K2P 1N1

Tucked in a cozy basement, The Manx is a casual spot that offers delicious meals and a wide selection of craft beers. The pub is also a hub for the local arts scene with regular live music nights and fiction and poetry readings. It’s known for fun nights out and mornings spent recovering with the help of some hearty brunch. The banana bread French toast comes with fresh berries, whipped cream and maple syrup.

Black Thorn Cafe

7
15 Clarence St, Ottawa, ON K1N 5P4

Located in the former home of a carriage mechanic in a building that dates back to the 1870s, this ByWard Market spot has retained its historic charm. Make yourself comfortable on the patio, by the bar, or in the back room by the fireplace and enjoy some French toast made with cranberry focaccia that’s been coated in a spiced batter, crème anglaise, bacon or sausage and warm maple syrup.

Jak's Kitchen

8
479 Bronson Ave, Ottawa, ON K1R 6J7

Keeping with recent trends of sourcing local, seasonal and organic produce, Jak’s Kitchen only provides the best available ingredients and prepares them with a thoughtful, personalized take. The casual setting will make you feel right at home while you enjoy the tasty banana bread French toast with cinnamon apple compote, maple syrup and whipped cream.

Gezellig

9
337 Richmond Rd, Ottawa, ON K2A 0E7

Why not treat yourself to some brunch and a mimosa at this beautifully converted 1950s bank building with high ceilings and tasteful art pieces covering the walls? Gezellig is Dutch for cozy and sociable, and the restaurant definitely creates a welcoming atmosphere that will make you want to stay and chat with friends all day. Savour some egg bread French toast Chantilly with a seasonal compote and maple syrup.

Urban Pear

10
151 Second Ave, Ottawa, ON K1S 2H6

Have an upscale gourmet brunch at this Glebe restaurant that aims to only serve fresh Canadian ingredients. The green walls and subtle art pieces add a charming touch to the urban and trendy setting. The stuffed French toast is an elaborate concoction of many delicious flavours: cinnamon poached pears, triple-cream brie, fruit compote, vanilla infused maple syrup and caramel cream cheese.

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