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KOS Restaurant (Kensington)

Posted by Trish Starling / Reviewed on September 1, 2012 / review policy

KOS TorontoKOS restaurant has two locations in Toronto, one of which is at the corner of Bellevue and Nassau St. in Kensington Market. Here, it's tucked away from the hustle-bustle and provides a more generic counter-point to the more innovative offerings at The Bellevue across the street.

I'd argue KOS' prize feature is a toss-up between the large patio and the All-Day Breakfast menu available Mon-Sun starting at 9am.

KOS Restaurant TorontoOn this particular Wednesday afternoon, I arrive ahead of my friends and am pleasantly greeted by a server who promptly brings me a coffee ($1.75), water and menus to peruse as I await my company. The coffee is a bit weaker than I'd like and certainly doesn't match the strength I pine for on this particularly drowsy day.

As my friends arrive we search the large menu that boasts well-varied lunch items such as the Chicken Quesadilla ($9.95), Banquet Burger ($8.95) and three forms of Club Sandwiches ($9.95). However, we came for brunch, and make our selections from the All-Day Breakfast portion of the menu.

After a short wait, first up is the Mushroom and Cheese Omelet ($7.95). With our choice of feta, goat, mozzarella or cheddar, we opt for goat cheese and are pleasantly surprised with the generous helping of cheese that's found in the centre of the omelet. This may be this meal's saving grace - despite its crisp cheesiness, we find this dish otherwise un-spectacular.

KOS TorontoSecond to the table was one of KOS' Mexican-inspired dishes - Ranch Eggs ($8.95). Requested without meat, this dish is tasty enough, and features a crunchy flour tortilla with a flavourful sautéed salsa, topped with three fried eggs. Its salad accompaniment is generous, crisp and entertained with a garlicky homemade Italian dressing.

KOS TorontoNext is my own order of Eggs Florentine ($8.95). Differing from a more traditional Florentine, KOS' version comes with a grilled tomato that unfortunately destroys any hope this dish has to begin with. The mealy tomato and sautéed spinach renders the English muffins soggy and nearly inedible. The hollandaise is thin, and its bright almost neon colour is off-putting. A potato-lover, I am somewhat satisfied with the predictable-yet-good home fries that accompany this dish.

KOS Restaurant TorontoThe final order is the Veggie Eggspress ($7.95) which may best embody what a joint like KOS is best at doing - a simple, greasy breakfast. Unfortunately, the toast is "buttered" with margarine, which I suspect may have been the culprit for the disappointing hollandaise on the Eggs Florentine.

KOS isn't exactly an aesthetic charmer. A simply decorated European sports bar, it has maintained its cred based on its location within the Market and its frequently available tables during weekend brunch rush. The friendly staff and comfortable patio make it a place to eat, rather than be impressed by gourmet ambiance.

KOS Restaurant TorontoKOS Restaurant TorontoKOS has a fully-licensed bar and is open for All-Day Brunch, Lunch and Dinner. Menu items quoted here increase by $1 during weekend hours.



Micah / September 1, 2012 at 10:51 am
I took my Dad here last year for an outing shortly after he was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. It was a rare morning when he had the energy to walk and he found the patio space appealing. With encouragement from my mom and me, he decided to "go for it" and order a screwdriver along with his meal. When everything arrived, we all took a sip of his drink which turned out to be so weak as to taste only like overly sweet concentrated orange juice. He called the waitress over and politely inquired about his cocktail. She, with equal politeness, told him she'd mixed the drink herself and that indeed it was more than just orange juice. Though surprised she didn't offer to make him a new drink, my dad thanked the waitress anyway. She smiled, walked into the kitchen, and promptly started to make fun of my father with the rest of the staff--seemingly to have forgotten we were seated only feet away from them (or maybe she knew we were in ear-shot?). She never checked in on us again, and I had to get up to find her in order to get the bill once we were done. When my father paid her, she brought back his two dollars' pennies. The whole experience was surreal, perverse and terribly sad. I know this woman couldn't have known my father would shortly be dead, but in case she ever reads this...may I encourage you to treat your customers like it's a pleasure to know them, and mix their drinks like it's the last one they'll ever have.
tp1943 / September 1, 2012 at 11:52 am
When I first read this comment I found myself astounded that a server could be so totally "ignorant". I hope this man gave her a $0.01 tip. Having read this person's experience I shall never waste my time supporting this establishment. I visit Kensington Market on occasion for an eating experience.
ROB / September 1, 2012 at 01:09 pm
Micah,after reading your post I'll make a beeline away from this establishment whenever I'm in the area. I hope the waitress,staff,and management read your post and are thoroughly ashamed.
Michelle / September 1, 2012 at 02:39 pm
First, can we please write something, anything about Kensington Market without referencing the damn Bellevue? I've tried going there twice now and was sorry I wasted my money. Long wait, crap staff, bad food, uncomfortable seating. Hipster Heaven. No thanks.

KOS is the best. Reviewers need to think about restaurants in the context of what they are. Did you really think you'd find textbook correct hollandaise in a diner? And no, actually, they use butter unless you ask for margarine, which they'll happily provide, as they will any other change you ask for. If you wanted strong coffee, you should have asked.

Finally, sorry to the person who had a bad experience but what exactly did you say to the waitress? Was is "is there any vodka in my drink?" That is totally insulting. You could have said "my drink is weak, would you mind topping it up?" Also, the walking into the kitchen and laughing cannot possibly be true. The wait staff do not enter the kitchen. Food is passed to them through a window.

What I HATE the most is people who don't have the balls to be direct about things but bitch about it later all over the place.
EM / September 1, 2012 at 09:20 pm
I'm sorry but I totally believe Micah's story. The service in Toronto is generally crap, actually verging on terrible. The servers are so rude and unaccommodating I can't believe it. I've had bad service experiences at KOS as well.
Gloria / September 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm
@Michelle: Wait staff may not enter the kitchen normally. But it's not physically impossible.

You know what's also not normal? Laughing at your customer, even if they asked something that questions your service. Ergo, bad customer service stories obviously cannot be possibly be true.
Jason / September 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm
Grow some balls and bring up poor service at the time to the staff at the restaurant. Management should be told and if they are good managers, they will be legitimately thankful to have heard your complaint. One side of a story from one unhappy customer is not a reason to avoid a restaurant. Sorry about your dad.
Gulp. / September 1, 2012 at 11:10 pm
Toronto Dining Tip: Your server always wants to know when your drink is weak.
Ah replying to a comment from Michelle / September 2, 2012 at 02:12 am
You must be that server
Saddy / September 2, 2012 at 08:24 am
Micah. Sorry to hear about your father.

Although a restaurant shouldn't be judged by just one experience. If a waitress brings you your two dollar change in pennies, any hope of recovery stops there.

But I will bet the owner would have appreciated being notified of the experience so that they could fire the staff involved.

If you every walk by there again let us know if they still work there.
Saddy / September 2, 2012 at 12:33 pm
Oh on another note, we don't need whiney customers
m / September 2, 2012 at 03:01 pm
Holy crap. Crappy food , crappy service. I'm avoiding that crap.

Looks like the owners/staff are leaving posts, eh? Sorry to hear about your dad's terrible experience there, Michelle. I am really appalled. I went there once and had the eggs florentine - and this review nailed it. Soggy, tasteless, unappetizing. The worst breakfast I've ever had at a restaurant.
fffilm replying to a comment from EM / September 2, 2012 at 08:53 pm
That's a pretty broad generalization, isn't it?
opl replying to a comment from Jason / September 3, 2012 at 10:09 am
Riiiight, just before your food arrives now that's a smart idea. Also, do you know what makes blogs or reviews like this so important in this day and age of the internet? It tells everybody where not to eat. One strike and you are out in my opinion. Restaurants are in the food and service Business and once the service fails, it does not matter what the food tastes like. Diners will never forget bad service. Remember there are 1000s of other restos in the city.
Andrew / September 3, 2012 at 11:00 am
I love this place!
The staff is amazing, I've never had a bad experience there. I've going to Kos for about 2 years now. They're always nice to me and my friends. The last time i was there for a friends birthday, the server brought us free shots, she was honest about what she thought was good on the menu, and super funny.

The caesars are amazing, they put a little bit of red wine in it - It's definitely worth the price.

They also offer $12 Pitchers

Trish replying to a comment from Michelle / September 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm
Unfortunately if you put something on your menu, you are suggesting it is worthy and edible. It is not up to the diner to interpret a menu for what may or may not be good. It's mere existence on the menu should suggest that the establishment stands behind that option, and is the best it can be.
paul / September 3, 2012 at 05:06 pm
blah blah blah $12 meal.
jane st. jane / September 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm
This is a bush league breakfast. Save your money.
Micah replying to a comment from Saddy / September 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm
This is much appreciated, Saddy. (Clever name, too.) Many, many thanks.
Sam / October 1, 2012 at 04:23 pm
I had been at Kos many times, Food is good, staff is friendly and charm, always during weekend brunch full. (they must be doing something right) During the last 2 years of being a costumer of Kos I never had a bad experience, all my friends loved it and family too.


@Michelle> I hate people with no balls too!
Rob / April 22, 2013 at 03:27 pm
Let's for a moment focus on the reviewing Kos as the restaurant it is. Firmly in the unpretentious category with a large welcoming deck/patio and cozy in door seating. The food is terrific; the eggs Florentine were poached to perfection, with fresh spinach; the veggie eggspress which I had with over easy eggs again has arrived at my table cooked to perfection with delicious brown beans and crisp rye toast. My other breakfasting companions also had similarly well cooked, delicious meals. A word about the service, it's prompt and friendly and the coffee cup is never empty nor are they rushing you out the door. Kos is a great place for a simple breakfast any time of the day. As for poor Micah and family, no doubt your experience was a poor one but as for the rest of you bandwagon jumpers try taking a page from Michelle's book and focus on food.
Allie / June 11, 2013 at 12:37 pm
This is the first restaurant I ever went to in Toronto. There was glass in my water, the cup was broken and shards were floating in it. I noticed after I drank some. When I told the waitress she took it away without a surprise look, concern, or appology. The staff was quite rude, and unhelpful, the food was unmemorable. I have never had another dining experience like that since I've been living here now for 3 years. I do not reccomend eating here in other words. / March 7, 2014 at 09:11 am
Well I guess I don't have to spend the weekend figuring this one out!
Dave / December 4, 2014 at 11:08 pm
I've been here a few dozen times over the past 4-5 years (I lived down the street). Never a complaint. And had I complained about anything it would have very likely been taken care of. This is one of my favourite breakfast places in the city.

To be frank, I'm sick of the bias or otherwise way overstated comments (user reviews) on this site. Even pubs/cafes/whatever I personally KNOW to be solid and upstanding get some of the most scathing and heedlessly condescending comments. According to commenters on blogto: there are literally NO restaurants in Toronto worth giving a chance.
sara / December 30, 2014 at 09:13 am
We recently visited kos and I was appealed by the food we were served. I ordered the "pulled pork with carrot and cabbage chulut." I received burnt pulled pork on a hamburger bun with lettuce. I protested to the waitress. Where is the carrot and cabbage chulut? She went back to the kitchen and brought me a small dish with saurkraut! I almost laughed. My hubby ordered hamburger with fries and he says it was oversalted. In the end I gave my "sandwich to my dog." We are never going back again.
Danielle / August 6, 2015 at 05:41 pm
@ Michah,

If you ever read this post, please accept my heartfelt condolences. I have never been to that location but the one at Bathurst and Dupont has the same attitude along with the same bland food, which of recently, has increased by a LOT. I just called to ask about a burger and was told it would be $7.95. That is before taxes. I wouldn't mind if their attitude was better along with the service. Even when the place is empty, when is more often than not, it takes 20 minutes to get a lousy burger. The owner has a personality disorder and takes it out on those customers who dare challenge the final product. A friend went to pick up a burger for me and on the box, she wrote me a note about the fact that the burger appears to be smaller since the french bread is longer. WOW !!! I will be posting that photo up on Yelp and all other sites that ask for ratings. For that money, I could be eating at a decent place where customer service is still considered paramount if one wants to retain business and is relying not only on repeat customers but word of mouth. The internet is a game changer !!! :)

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