Breakfast and brunch lineups can trail halfway around the block in Toronto, and the neighbourhoods that border on Queen Street West offer some of the city’s most popular brunch spots. Offering more than your standard brunch fare of bacon and eggs, these restaurants practically turn breakfast menus into an art form. These 10 hot spots are just a sample of the creative brunch restaurants throughout the city.
Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Mitzi's Cafe | Courtesy of Mitzi's Cafe
Located on Sorauren just north of Queen, Mitzi’s is an incredibly popular brunch spot – with a unique open-air kitchen – known best for its spiced potatoes. Serving brunch all day, Mitzi’s menu includes favourites such as omelettes, challah French toast, and golden buttermilk oatmeal pancakes. Options vary weekly, so you can come back regularly and try something brand new every time.
Bar, Boutique Hotel Restaurant, Restaurant, Contemporary
This West Queen West cultural hot spot has many different identities: a boutique hotel, a restaurant, a corner café, a street-level patio and a rooftop patio, and the basement nightclub and live performance venue known as the Drake Underground. There’s also the Drake General Store across the street. For brunch, The Drake offers a variety of options, including potato pancakes, the Drake Benny, chicken waffles, and “dessert for breakfast,” which consists of whatever in-house baked goods are available that day.
Easy Restaurant, West Queen West | Courtesy of Easy Restaurant
Occupying the corner where Queen West meets Roncesvalles since 1999, Easy Restaurant has been a favourite of Toronto breakfast enthusiasts from the beginning. Serving a mix of diner- and Mexican-inspired dishes, Easy has a laid-back atmosphere, complete with diner booths and retro movie posters. Their signature dish is the Huevos Divorciados, which puts two sunny eggs on a corn tortilla with spicy green and red salsa, refried black beans and a side of guacamole, ancho jam, and a toasted baguette – with salad or home fries. There are breakfast burritos, a breakfast quesadilla, and some more standard brunch fare like French toast, omelettes, and waffles.
Luna Cafe is a lovely, vintage-inspired neighbourhood spot located in an old converted house. Slightly off the beaten track on Dovercourt, it’s a cozy – but usually bustling – option for brunch, lunch, or a mid-afternoon snack. The breakfast menu includes egg dishes, pancakes, homemade granola, and more. They use organic ingredients and are well known for their friendly service.
Found on Tecumseh, between Queen West and King, Beast offers both brunch and dinner. You can choose from dishes such as the Beastwich (fried chicken thigh, pimento cheese, pork sausage gravy, and fried egg) or the Mad Maple (fried chicken thigh, Beast bacon, Ontario maple syrup, and fried egg). You can also order a plate of maple-bacon donuts or sticky toffee pudding to polish the grease off with something sweet.
A multi-purpose space, Parts & Labour offers good ol’ brunch comfort foods with a twist in the Parkdale neighbourhood. Their pancakes come with either a side of pork belly and egg or seasonal fruit with whipped cream; you can also opt for the hearty P & L Burger (with bacon onion jam, Monterey Jack cheese, dill mayo, lettuce, and an egg bun). They also have an array of brunch cocktails.
Bar, Bistro, Gastropub, Restaurant, Contemporary, $$$
Located on Queen West in Toronto’s fashion district and created by Fidel Gastro’s Street Food Company, the rock-n-roll-themed Lisa Marie operates as a restaurant, bar, meat market, event space, and brunch spot. Famed for his decadent sandwiches, founder Matt Basile has created a menu that includes options like the Double Pancake Pork Burgers and the Bacon Explosion Benedict, which come with your choice of salad, duck fat home fries, or pad Thai fries. If you’re craving something sweet, try their generous stack of decadent Nutella® pancakes with marshmallows.
At The County General, you can choose from grilled cheese, French toast, and Spanish fried rice with sides of fries, corn bread, bacon, or breakfast sausage. There is also a range of lunch options, mostly sandwiches, and a limited number of cocktails. They procure ingredients from Ontario farms and producers, and they pride themselves in creating a friendly and lively restaurant environment – with a cowboy rock-n-roll vibe.
With one location in the Junction, along with a bar in Bloordale, Café Neon on West Queen West strikes a balance between being a café and a restaurant. You can come in for a coffee or a fresh-pressed juice, along with one of their all-natural, baked-in-house pastries, or you can get their Breakfast Plate any day of the week with eggs your way, a choice of bacon, chicken sausage patties or veggie beans, with toast, greens, and potatoes. If you want to sample Café Neon’s infamous buttermilk blueberry pancakes, you have to head over on the weekend.
Swan by Rose and Sons is known for its cozy, retro vibe as much as for its creative brunch menu. It’s the fifth restaurant opened by the Rose family under the direction of Anthony Rose. You can choose from all-day breakfast options or a lunch menu that includes soups, sandwiches and salads. Try their Brisket and Cornbread or the Avocado Toast, described as having “soft and sexy eggs, Thuet sourdough, greens and stewed sweet and sour peppers.” There are also many signature cocktails to complement your meal, as well as beer and wine.