The top 10 boozy brunch restaurants in Toronto
Boozy brunch restaurants in Toronto can be roughly split into three categories: places that are geared towards getting you sauced while offering some food to soak it up; those that are food-centric, but have a decent bar offering anyway; and those magical places that go the holistic route of designing cocktails that are only available at brunch (meaning day drinking is the only way to try them). Even more pleasing to see is the arrival of all-you-can-drink options. Either way, they'll start your day off right (by setting yourself up for a well-deserved afternoon nap).
Here are my picks for the top restaurants for a boozy brunch in Toronto.
King West's Weslodge has, since opening, established itself as something of a mainstay for boozy nights, lunches, and, most importantly, brunches. Forget about the sides of duck bacon and fingerling potatoes with truffle vinaigrette ($6), and head straight towards the juiced-up mimosas (with Cointreau - $11), curried caesars ($13), and a solid selection of bubbly by both the glass and bottle.
This laid-back Bloorcourt bar offers a dedicated brunch cocktail list, featuring standards such as caesars, mimosas and bellinis, alongside tropical sorbet floats and blueberry bourbon iced teas at only $6.75. The brunch itself is an unfussy affair, with most dishes coming in at between $9-$11. For those trying to appease friends with dietary restrictions, thankfully almost everything on the menu can be made vegan.
Jay Myers' bar program at Hudson Kitchen offers a unique brunch cocktail: The Pineapple Express. Combining malt powder, Sailor Jerry's spiced rum, cream, salted pineapple syrup, and creme brulee tea, it's a refreshing take on the creamy coffee cocktail. The patio overlooks the increasingly bustling Dundas Street West scene, and the food is pretty spectacular too (try the chorizo and eggs). It's a touch pricier than most of the other spots on this list, but a worthy upgrade if you're looking for a little decadence.
The Dakota Tavern
The Dakota isn't known for fabulous cocktails or a selection of wines by the glass. Rather, this noisy haunt offers a boozy brunch by way of the excellent soundtrack, courtesy of the live bluegrass music on offer. The upbeat tempo and raucous atmosphere, in combination with the all you can eat fare ($18) sets the tone for a morning/afternoon of sheer indulgence. Enjoy the $5 mugs of Beau's, or the 'Beau Jay' ($6.50): half Beau's, half OJ.
Blansdowne's Whippoorwhill tavern offers probably the best dedicated brunch cocktail list of the lot, with brunch standards alongside drinks like the Martin Picard ($9), a pork belly-infused bourbon caesar, or the Whiskey, You're the Devil ($9), which meshes Jameson with Nutella syrup, egg whites, espresso, and chili.The menu itself offers a wide variety of options, from quinoa porridge ($9) through to steak'n'eggs ($24) and albacore tuna sandwiches ($14).
Brunch at the Queen East outpost of the County General offers up lashings of buttermilk options, by way of pancakes, biscuits, fried chicken, and even a buttermilk ranch sauce atop the french toast. Booze is plentiful, with bar manager Veronica Saye's spiked sodas complementing the extensive rum selection, as well as the excellent caesars on offer.
The excellent caesars or smoked sours (both $10) will set the mood for one of Barque's epic brunches. Stacks of pancakes smothered in smoked duck or the benedict (both $14), poached eggs on cornbread topped with barbecue hollandaise. Huge bonus points for offering a comprehensive kids menu.
Classic French bistro fare needs no more than a simple selection of bubbly drinks, and Le Select excels in this department, offering up mimosas and bellinis (both $7.75), champagne, Cremant de Bourgogne Rose, and the fabulous Deus beer from Champagne ($40 a bottle). Helpful wine pairings are also offered with the foie gras and cheese plates, which never hurts.
Brunch at the Lakeview is a 24-hour affair, with an extensive list of benny options (check out the Philly Cheesesteak at $14.50) and sides to accompany the outrageously cheap caesars ($4) and mimosas ($3). There's a great selection of draught beers and local wines if you fancy something a bit more straightforward too.
TOCA at The Ritz-Carlton
Something of a baller option, TOCA's buffet brunch ($79 per person) seems like a steep price point, but for those with an appetite, there's no question that you can get your money's worth here. All-inclusive bellinis and mimosas will get you started, and you can line your stomach with lobster tails and oysters, smoked fish, artisanal cheeses, pastries, and an omelette bar that will cater to your every eggy whim.
Did I miss any? Leave your favourite spot for boozy brunch in the comments.
Photo of Barque by Ryan Spencer.