Serving up sizzle: Great breakfast restaurants in Toronto

Many breakfast lovers will stop at nothing to stand in line for the best Bennies, crispy bacon or delectable pastries. Others want to by-pass the crowds and lineups, opting instead for a simple, quick and easy brunch menu for dining and dashing. Here is a list of great Toronto brunch bistros:

Otto's Bierhalle

1087 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1H3

Pop by this breakfast spot that brings the best of the quintessential British pub to the streets of downtown Toronto. Co-founders Davy Love and Nav Sangha have designed a menu that riffs off English classics and Indian pub cuisine (read: smoked bacon, cheesy beans on toast, and tandoori chicken on chickpea, cumin, coriander and green chilli waffles). Expats and locals alike flock to this spot for a brunch that will provide all the comforts needed on a blustery Toronto day (while motown, funk and soul stream from the juke box).

Mildred's Temple Kitchen

104-85 Hanna Ave, Toronto, ON M6K 3S3

Rated as one of Toronto’s top brunch spots cross-city, this bright, minimalist and sprawling bistro specializes in modern classics with a distinct spin. The Veda’s choice features poached eggs on a croissant, smoked salmon and bernaise, while the pulled pork skillet is filled with rice, beans and saucy shredded pork, topped with two eggs, and served in a cast iron pan. Wait times can crop up, but while the spot doesn’t take breakfast reservations, an ideal option for a large group is Mildred’s Breakfast with the Gang prix-fixe brunch, which can be reserved for groups of 10 or more.

Lady Marmalade Restaurant

265 Broadview Ave, Main, Toronto, ON M4M 2G8

Heralded as some of the best breakfast fare on the east side, this Leslieville spot has a distinctly eclectic vibe: from sleek restaurant to colourful urban diner to charming country kitchen. Beloved menu picks include the crepe croque monsieur, the Moroccan scramble (garnished with kale, spinach, avocado and about 14 other ingredients), and the huevos rancheritos. Meat-lovers, don’t miss out on the Yucatan pulled pork poutine, while those with a sweet tooth might opt for the baked bread pudding – a truly drool-worthy spin on French toast.

The Drake Hotel

1136 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3

Birthday brunch with the pals? This oh-so-hip Queen West hotel is the spot to host it. Not only does The Drake accept weekend brunch reservations, they also host multiple spaces for whatever vibe you’re keen on: the patio Sky Yard, the parlour-esque lounge, or the bright, family-friendly restaurant in the back. Top picks from the breakfast menu include the signature Drake benny, served with hand-carved country ham and arugula on a buttermilk biscuit, and the cinnamon-raisin-bread French toast.

Johnny G's Cafe

478 Parliament St, Toronto, ON M4X 1P2

Johnny G’s diner in Cabbagetown fuses a quaint greasy spoon vibe with all the breakfast classics, deliciously rendered. The Grand Slam breakfast will satisfy that quintessential American meal you’ve been craving, while a selection of creative, rarely seen Benedicts also pervade the menu: The Parisian (fried mushroom or tomato) is a must-try, as is the crab meat topped Eggs Imperial.

Easy Restaurant

1645 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6R 1A9

With a few locations across the city, Easy Diner is everyone’s favourite all-day breakfast joint. Yes, that means weekend waits can get up there, but the perfectly rendered brunch fare is well worth it. Steak Divorciados (butterflied steak topped with salsa, black beans, guac, and a toasted baguette) is a long-time crowd favourite, while lighter options like the West Coast toast (smoked salmon, poached eggs, hollandaise, dill and black caviar) ensure balanced options for everyone. Sweet-minded folk: don’t miss out on the brioche French toast – it will change your life.

Never mind pearls, Victorians know the real treasure to be found in oyster shells is the fresh, briny taste of the ocean. Whether you chew or swallow them whole, enjoy garnished or baked, once you get a taste for fresh BC oysters, you’ll be hooked. The next time the craving hits, here’s where to go for your shellfish fix.
Caesars are a staple in Canadian cuisine; they're right up there with poutine, Nanaimo bars, maple syrup and Kraft Dinner. The unlikely combination of vodka, Clamato and Worcestershire sauce with some celery, asparagus or even bacon thrown in for the grand finale, doesn't sound like it should work. But it does. Here's where to go in Victoria to enjoy some of the best Caesars in town.
Charcuterie, a French method of cold meat preparation, has taken off in Victoria and the results are delicious. The intense flavour created by the curing of pork and other cuts of meat, pairs wonderfully with artisanal cheeses, pickles and condiments for an elegant and social snacking experience. If you're looking to get in on the culinary fun, head to one of these charcuterie hotspots.
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