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Restaurants

Aunties and Uncles

Posted by Trish Starling / Listed on September 23, 2012 / review policy

aunties and uncles torontoAunties and Uncles is now in its 14th year of operation and has earned itself quite the reputation. Located near College and Bathurst on Lippincott Street, this restaurant competes with other proximate brunch options like Maggie's and Sneaky Dee's, while remaining a popular favourite. Unfortunately, with the restaurant's reputation as Toronto's best brunch spot comes the near-guarantee of weekend wait time.

aunties and uncles torontoGreeted and politely seated after a 40 minute wait, we were promptly brought drip coffee ($2), a latte ($3) and fresh grapefruit juice ($3). The coffee packed the perfect punch after the wait, and the latte was flavourful and robust. The freshly squeezed juice was a heavenly antidote for what appeared to be the first arrival of the autumn sniffles.

aunties and uncles torontoThe brunch card offers standard favourites such as eggs, waffles and French toast, as well as salads and sandwiches. My friend opted for a healthy option of granola ($7.25) accompanied by yogurt, fruit and maple syrup. The apples came with a sprinkle of cinnamon, and paired well with the sweet watermelon and syrup.

aunties and uncles torontoNext up was a mouth-watering serving of Cinnamon French toast ($7.50) made with challah. Perfectly cooked, the outside was crisp while remaining exquisitely light on the inside. A big hit with the group, it got the high praise of "the best French toast I've ever had."

aunties and uncles torontoThe largest dish of the day was the popular Breakfast Pocket ($8.75), big enough to feed two moderately hungry patrons. A mix of all things breakfast, this sandwich was served on a hearty onion focaccia, with eggs, peameal bacon, cheese and caramelized onions.

The play of the hearty filling against the subtle tartness of the Dijon aioli created a sandwich strong in both size and flavour. For the side, we opted for the house potato salad--paired with a creamy dill sauce, it did not disappoint.

aunties and uncles torontoLast to the table was the Croque Monsieur ($8.25) served with a side of greens. A generous portion of Swiss cheese and thinly-sliced black forest ham paired nicely with a perfect sampling of Dijon, and sandwiched between the same perfectly cooked challah as the French toast. This meal was good to the last bite, and the greens were fresh, and served with a simple but satisfying vinaigrette.

aunties and uncles torontoAunties and Uncles is a pleasant eating environment, and the décor offers an inviting composite of country diner meets antique market. The patio out front is a decent size and makes for a coveted dining spot during the summer months.

aunties and uncles torontoDespite the restaurant's consistently full tables, the service here was fairly attentive and our coffees stayed warm (for the most part). All in all, I was more than impressed with the food, menu and value of this brunch favourite and understood quickly just why the patrons are willing to wait.

Aunties and Uncles is open 7 days a week, 9am-3pm, and no alcohol is served.

Writing and photos by Trish Starling

Discussion

38 Comments

fc / November 15, 2009 at 12:04 pm
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LONG, LONG waits to get in, they say 20 mins to everyone, but the reality is that it's double that time or more. Worst of all, if the host likes you, he'll move you ahead of others, making the wait that much more irritating. The food is great, especially for the price, but the attitude of the host and the laid back atmosphere while people are waiting is not for me.
sw replying to a comment from fc / December 29, 2009 at 04:46 pm
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I had a similar experience. We didn't end up eating there! I was hoping it was going to be good because of its review and how cute it is! But as soon as we got there the host ignored us for ten minutes!!! And then another couple walked in and he put them on the list right away. We had to flag him down but by that time we decided it wasn't worth it.
jameson / January 22, 2010 at 06:04 pm
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this place is awesomeeee
Prometheous / February 14, 2010 at 01:50 pm
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ummmm yea.... been there once... really nothing special. Definitely not number #1, but I guess its not too bad for the price. Doubtful I'll go back though.
Vancity Girl / February 17, 2010 at 12:04 pm
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Aunties and Uncles is so quaint and charming. Initially I was taken by surprise by the overall esthetics of it's exterior. It wasn't what I had in mind. The interior, however, was adorable. The omelette was delicious! I'm definitely going back before I fly back to Vancouver.

I went when it was relatively quiet so I didn't wait for long. The waiter did seem to favor the other tables but still cordial.
BCR / February 17, 2010 at 09:13 pm
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My boyfriend and I really didn't like the food - it was a while ago that we went, so I can't remember specifics other than general confusion as to why it was so popular. I do recall that the potatoes that came with the breakfast were actually a cold potato salad with a ton of dill.
steve / February 25, 2010 at 01:56 pm
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the line-up is looong but the food, atmosphere, and price are worth it. if you go early (before 1030am), you can get a good seat relatively quickly. the omelettes are always spectacular, the breakfast pocket is amazing, and nothing on the menu disappoints. maybe the service isn't always the best, but they're so busy it's no big deal. my favourite brunch in toronto.
philster / March 4, 2010 at 07:14 pm
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Glad I read these comments before visiting. It doesn't sound like the food is that spectacular. And even if it were, crap service is a deal breaker for me.
Rachel Falk / March 18, 2010 at 08:16 pm
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I am torn about this place; the food was delicious and they are right about their pancakes- melt in your mouth. However, I called one Friday to see how busy they were because I had read the other reviews. I was taking my elderly grandmother (79) out for brunch and I didn't want her to have to stand in line too long. I was told if I got there soon, it would not be busy. I expected to be there in about 1/2 an hour, but often when dealing with older people it is difficult to rush. When we got there, in about 40 minutes, there was already a line up of about 4 groups of two or three. I was prepared to go elsewhere because I realised we had come too late, but my grandmother asked me to see about the time. I spoke to the host and he said what the other reviewer said, "about 15 minutes." I was pleasantly surprised and we waited and waited for over 35 minutes. When the host came out I approached him and asked what was going on and he said, "Well, you said you were coming in 30 minutes; it's not my fault." I told him that I understood that, and that's why I asked him if we should bother to wait or come back another day and he replied, "What do you want me to do, kick someone out of there table?" I told him, no, but I expected he knew his business or should and could gauge how long people generally would take and give a more accurate time frame and if it got extended, at least come back and keep us informed. My grandmother is small and thin and it was a bit chilly out and he never apologised or offered a place for her to sit inside. He was not openly rude, just very blasé about the whole thing and if it had just been me and my friends, I would have shrugged it off, but his lack of concern for an elderly woman customer sitting outside in the cold for so long really bothered me. We were going to leave at that point, but a table just came open and she was tired and hungry and I didn't want her to have to walk to another restaurant with the possibility of having to wait again, so we took it. That is the reason I would likely never go back, but it is with regret because the meal was lovely.
sn / March 22, 2010 at 07:42 pm
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I visited the past weekend expecting a Toronto's #1 brunch experience, but was disappointed. It's just another greasy spoon with a long wait. The omlettes and sandwiches were good and worth trying, but not worth a 40 minute wait for first meal of the day.
Rachel / March 24, 2010 at 10:22 pm
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You know what, sn? You're absolutely right. I've checked out many of the other reviews and visited some of the places listed and they're all pretty good. The meal here was not something you couldn't find at a number of other brunch spots. I thought it was a good meal, but I was thinking that it was the ONLY place to go and also, everyone else who liked the food, raved about it, but now I realise I was just not seeing clearly. If you get there early, when it's not busy or you don't mind waiting then this could be the place for you. But I realise now, it is not for me. Besides, there were a lot of flies for the beginning of March; it makes me think twice about going there in the summer. I'm gonna try BOOMbreakfast this weekend; it's in my neighbourhood and a friend said it's very friendly. Any other suggestions?
steve / March 29, 2010 at 06:17 pm
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just went again today and had the special (a grilled cheese with peameal, caramelized onions, and a fried egg), and it was really great. no wait because it was a weekday i guess. i've seen the line-up on sundays, and i'm not about to get in it. but i understand the people who do--if it's your hangout, then it's worth the wait. service was totally fine too. i've yet to have a bad experience at aunties.
Iggie / May 24, 2010 at 12:39 pm
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Good food, horrendous service! But I guess when you've got line-ups out the door you don't care about taking good care of the customers inside.

We waited 40+ minutes for our food on my last (and final) visit. They ran out of the special my friend had ordered but didn't let us know. They just brought out a random, unordered dish along with everyone else's meal. The waiter then argued with us when we pointed out that my friend had ordered a vegetarian dish and the new one had chicken in it. (he insisted it was mushroom! What....ever)

Then they had the audacity to charge us for the meal that we hadn't ordered and that my friend couldn't eat anyway. They gave us ONE free coffee for our trouble. The waiter then bitched about the fact that we didn't tip him.

The food is nowhere good enough for me to put up with such obnoxious service. I don't know why they still have line-ups when there are such better spots in town.
Patricia Marie / June 1, 2010 at 05:30 pm
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Best brunch in Toronto, the food is amazing, fresh and homemade. Yes there is always a wait but if you are prepared for it I think it's more than worth it. It's not a place you go to for incredible service, I wouldn't take my parents here but for great brunch at a reasonable price in a fun atmosphere this is the spot!
s2k / June 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm
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Good food for the price and charming atmosphere, but definitely not worth the long wait and slow service.
Lori / December 29, 2010 at 01:07 am
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The cost of poor customer service is just that: THE CUSTOMER! That is why I come back to a place time and again. I can't believe people would be so tactless at the cost of the reputation of the establishment. After reading the reviews I have decided not to try this place on sunday. Hopefully the owner reads these reviews and realizes the impact they have.
Anna / February 11, 2011 at 12:05 pm
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Have been here a couple of times, the wait is long but from my experience the host was very friendly towards those waiting in line. They came out with a tray with pieces of toast and jam and offered it to us while we were waiting.

The pancakes are great, so is the breakfast pocket and the staff has often come to our table to talk to us and ask about the experience.

The only disappointment is when my friend ordered the breakfast burger, it was almost completely raw and bloody on the inside. Big turn off.
Jean gabin / March 1, 2011 at 01:30 am
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Hi everyone, is this place good for a date (atmosphere...)? Thank you!
Paul / March 27, 2011 at 10:42 am
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Just went to a&u for the first time. The breakfast pocket was scrumptious! The caramelized onions in the pocket under the pea-meal bacon and scrambled eggs were a nice touch. The home-fries were simply awesome! We arrived at the 9am opening time and had our choice of seats. The service was extremely friendly, in fact, as we were finishing a staff member brought us 1/2 an oatmeal pancake with a little dollop of butter and chocolate sauce on top to sample. Very tasty! Not sure what the whining is all about on this site. We look for places that are busy. Doesn't that suggest they're good? Plan your visit, take your time, be prepared for a wait, enjoy the knick-knacks and things strewn about, and savor the food.
DAVID / April 21, 2011 at 02:15 pm
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Well, how about telliing us WHERE THE HELL IT IS!!!!!!!
Joshua replying to a comment from DAVID / May 13, 2011 at 11:53 am
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There's a map on the right side of the page, David. Underneath it you can also find the address, phone number, and a link to the website.
kulsum / July 31, 2011 at 05:00 pm
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this place is closed for the past few weeks call before you go
Sarah C / November 6, 2011 at 04:42 pm
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This is my absolute favourite brunch restaurant in the city! Just so delicious!
EM / June 1, 2012 at 08:09 pm
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Nice picture. Uh, obviously not winter .....
Itanni / June 5, 2012 at 02:27 pm
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It was okay. But I was not impressed considering all the hype. I discussed it in more detail below.:

http://itannisworld.wordpress.com/?s=aunties&;submit=Search
notahipster / June 30, 2012 at 02:11 am
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It's like the breakfast version of moonrise kingdom. Uhmmm better than timmies? The tacos were pretty good for white people standards. I think the salsa was ketchup and maple syrup.
Sean / August 14, 2012 at 11:46 am
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Inspected on: August 8, 2012
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional Pass)
Number of infractions: 7 (Minor: 4, Significant: 2, Crucial: 1)
Crucial infractions include: Inadequate temperature control
Nova Scotia / April 18, 2013 at 09:40 am
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I ate breakfast there in February 2013. I had the banana oatmeal pancakes and thought they were divine. After seeing others' plates of food pour into the room, I wished I could order a sample of everything - it all looked so good.
AV / July 30, 2013 at 04:33 pm
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The food is all around teriffic.
Juna / August 28, 2013 at 11:45 pm
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The wait to get in is usually long. When we went we were lucky. I can't remember what I ordered, but I remember it was good. Almost as good as the atmopshere. I would recommend this place to any visitor to Toronto to understand the Toronto-feeling. I would also recommend it to anyone that lives here and hasn't been yet!
Foodie / August 31, 2013 at 09:48 pm
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I have never had worse omelette, and the service is bad. Waitresses were so grumpy and rude.
Poy / October 20, 2013 at 12:10 pm
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Exhausting wait, poor service, and my entire table agreed that the food was nothing worth writing a blog about.
Boo / February 12, 2014 at 05:21 pm
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Mediocre food, stale coffee and shitty service. Perhaps my expectations were a tad high from all the hype? I would never bother going back.
nalinggo / March 24, 2014 at 07:19 pm
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Waited for 55 minutes to get in. I just had to see what all the hype was all about and eventually couldn't be more disappointed. The waitress was so disorganized and rude. Terrible service. Mediocre food. I am not going back.
hungrytraveler / March 27, 2014 at 04:22 pm
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The food is not bad but it was not amazing either. I would probably go back if there were no lines (early) to try other dishes. But I cannot close my eyes for how dirty that place is. Plus, the house may colapse any day. As for the service, so much attitude! We ordered savory dishes and decided to try the french toast since we decided we would never be back to be squeezed in a tiny wobbly table again. The waitress almost said no. Really. As if we had used up our alloted time. I don't get the hype.
Quistian / April 15, 2014 at 12:47 am
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Ok all you Yahoos. Basing a review on one experience is NOT a good idea. Just for the record, I've been going to A & U several times per month for the past 7 years. Bottom line: this is a good place for a home cooked tasty meal at a very good price. That's it. Just remember... those long lines are because the average customer thinks the product is worth it. Restaurants with measurable wait times are doing something right. There will always be something to complain about but I find little wrong with the A & U formula.
adam the gay guy / April 16, 2014 at 04:10 pm
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Waited 5 minutes to be seated this morning.

Food was mediocre. Server had bad attitude for some reason.

Overall experience 2.5/5 not sure what the hype is about.
Wally Davies replying to a comment from adam the gay guy / April 16, 2014 at 04:42 pm
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Photo six says it all for me. You couldn't pay me to go in there.

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