Lakeview is one of Toronto’s oldest and most venerated 24-hour diners. When I tell people I’m going there for a meal during the day, the most popular responses are that they haven’t been there before midnight or not when near blackout drunk.
The place owes much of its popularity, lines stretching out the door on late weekend nights, to its location near the intersection of popular bar streets Ossington and Dundas as well as hotspot central park Trinity Bellwoods. That, and daily $4 pints, $14 pitchers, $3 mimosas and $4 caesars.
The long bar and stools are still outfitted with chrome, Hamilton Beach milkshake blenders behind it and retro ones as decoration in the windows where neon blares the words “Always Open.”
Deep fried mac n’ cheese balls ($6.50) make for a crunchy, gooey appetizer or late night snack, served with smoky Storehouse BBQ sauce.
There are a dozen classic diner sandwiches on the menu, including their signature Lakeview Clubhouse Stack ($13), a whole wheat triple decker stuffed with their unique, flat-pounded cornflake chicken, strip bacon, lettuce, tomato, and a sweet chili mayo. As with pretty much any item, add-ons and substitutes are wholeheartedly accepted.
Classic breakfasts are served all hours of the day and night, like the Ossington Massive ($14), three eggs and silver dollar pancakes served with Quebec maple syrup, sweet maple sausage, strip and peameal bacon, baked beans, mushroom and a fried tomato. All brunches are served with greens and house potatoes.
Poached eggs aren’t available 24 hours a day, but at a more civilized hour you can get a chicken and waffle benny ($14.50) with their cornflake chicken on fluffy waffles with a ton of hollandaise, sausage gravy and syrup.
They’re known for their short but epic list of burgers with all sorts of cheese, bacon, egg, and veggie fixings, paired with equally epic disco fries or poutine. The Porky’s Revenge ($17) is a pig lover’s dream, topped with pulled pork, strip and peameal bacon, melted cheddar, and served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and pickle like all burgers.
The only thing they might be known for more are shakes, including a famous apple pie version ($8).
It's thick and sweet, made with real pie chunks.
No arguments with a four-dollar caesar, served in a big glass with plenty of ice, a frilly celery stalk and lime.
The restaurant is shaped like a narrow U, bar and tiny tables on one side, larger booths on the other, each one outfitted with a coat rack.
Iconic charm, low prices and a hip buzzing neighbourhood atmosphere can always be found at the institution that is the Lakeview.