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Restaurants

Littlefish

Posted by Dar Mustafa / Reviewed on December 8, 2009 / review policy

20091208_littlefish_01.jpgLittlefish in the Junction is a brunch spot I've been meaning to make the great swim across town to. Armed with two friends to split a cab and swap food with, I realized that these waters are not as wide as they first seemed.

20091208_littlefish_09.jpgThe place reminds me of my best friend's cottage - the one that is accessible only by boat (get it?) - and comes close to picket-white calmness that I've seen in movies. With simple pastel-hued furniture, radiating of delicacy and neatness, and containing much history in its walls.

Case-in-point: I overhear the staff talking about "cat-paw bricks," and like the nosy cat lady I am, I have to ask. Apparently, the old-timey methods of brick production found them left to dry outside, and in a prime position to be defaced by curious paws. This means the brickwork is quite old (and 100x cooler).

Littlefish
LittlefishIt's worth noting that leisurely Saturday brunches are an unbelievable luxury for me, this Saturday being the first I've had off in about 3 months; the price I pay for my irregular work hours and leisurely weekday brunches, I take it. It seems fair, but it also seems like I just won the lottery or something when I get up after 10am and plan my day around this meal.

LittlefishI've also gotta mention that despite opportunities aplenty, I have never had huevos rancheros before. In honour of my dear friend Kate, sitting at home with a baby too young to have brunch (or food) at all, I am inspired to order her favourite dish ($12), perhaps by the same divine forces that inspire her to call me in the middle of it.

It's a bit more basic than I've witnessed in the past, but definitely satisfying enough to quell my fears of "did I make the right choice!?"; inevitable when dining with friends who order the thing you almost did.

The cheese and egg melt together in a creamy, stringy mess contained by the tortilla and smothered in all the right garnishes - though I was maybe expecting some beans in there. As this is my first time, I can't be certain if I was supposed to.

LittlefishMuch like our server predicted, our forks are getting passed around the table like nobody's business, ensuring nobody misses anything.

LittlefishHolly has gone for the basic breakfast ($7); the stars of which are little sausage patties, emphatically recommended by our server. I push my mental block (re: eating tube-shaped meats) aside and try a little piece. I'm in luck! Because, as I just said, they are shaped more like mini-burgers, which I superficially feel much better about.

LittlefishI haven't had a sausage in years, but these are very tasty; they taste very fresh, a little spicy and look hand-assembled. Holly is crazy about them, like the practically incandescent caraway-free rye toast ("no seeds! Just the way I like it"), and home fries. "Make sure you get some onion in there," she says, as I scavenge around on her plate. "It's nice and charred... the best part."

LittlefishArdi's stack of strawberry-rhubarb French toast ($8) comes drizzled with cinnamon crème fraiche, and is a dense and sticky delight. My pangs of envy are soothed by the generous samples she gives me, one last (and sizable) piece acting as the perfect dessert morsel to my cheesy breakfast. A proper balance of sweet and savoury (ie. high levels of savoury) is achieved, which I enjoy for a moment, and throw back out of whack with a large piece of Devil's Food cake for the road.

LittlefishThe cake is a little richer (though that's probably my chocolate-aversion talking) and stiffer than I expected, but the fondant icing is surprisingly not; a thick and creamy white chocolate paste that I keep eating, even after I've had my fill of the cake.

Never do I try this at home. I think it's a vacation thing.

Littlefish

Discussion

36 Comments

junctionj / December 9, 2009 at 10:11 am
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i stopped off here one morning to grab a coffee and muffin, not realizing that it's more of a sit-down place. the coffee was so-so (they definitely need a lesson from crema across the street). the muffin was pretty small for $2 but it tasted homemade. $12 for huevos rancheros seems pretty steep when you only get one wrap. have you tried the one from the beet?
junctionista / December 9, 2009 at 11:39 am
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Nice place, was there yesterday.. great addition to the area.
Jessie / December 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm
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I love this place and it's just another reason why I adore the junction. But really, a cab to get there? It's perfectly accessible by taking the Junction 40 Bus from Dundas West Station, which will drop you practically at Littlefish's door. Common now!
junctionisto / December 9, 2009 at 12:47 pm
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i wasn't overly impressed with this place. kinda pricey for what it is. best to stick with simple stuff like the 2 eggs & bacon or pancakes. ditto on the coffee remark.

LW / December 9, 2009 at 01:09 pm
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Check out Yasi's Place for another great Junction brunch spot - 299 Wallace Ave, a couple blocks east of Lansdowne. http://www.yasisplace.ca/
SJM / December 9, 2009 at 02:49 pm
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The huevos rancheros at Swan on Queen West include beans and look much different than the one pictured here. Apparently Swan's is really good - and it's huge.
Dar replying to a comment from SJM / December 9, 2009 at 03:27 pm
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My bad, guys. I think that the "Huevos" (as it was specifically named) on the menu were intended to be more Mexican-style eggs, as opposed to the full out "Huevos Rancheros" (ie. "ranch eggs") which do seem to usually be a bit more elaborate.
$12 *does* seem a wee bit high especially in relation to the other dishes, but it was yummy and very filling, for what it's worth.

Sorry for the oversight!
Dar replying to a comment from Jessie / December 9, 2009 at 03:41 pm
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Also:
You're right, Jessie, I have taken the Junction bus before and it is very reliable; I don't usually take cabs unless in extreme circumstances, but on this day, with 3 people, to take the TTC would end up being just slightly cheaper and would take about 3 times as long. :-)
Drea / December 9, 2009 at 05:07 pm
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Thanks for the review - I've been meaning to check them out. I've heard mostly good things about Little Fish, however it does take some time to find yr footing when opening a new eatery. They could use a sandwhich board outside - I often walk by without realizing it's there.
Gloria / December 9, 2009 at 05:17 pm
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Nice photos! The ones on the main BlogTO page totally made my mouth water.
Danielle / December 9, 2009 at 06:19 pm
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Mentally noted and tucked away for later usage, the basic breakfast looks delish.

But since this was brunch, was the coffee free refills?
Dar replying to a comment from Danielle / December 9, 2009 at 09:38 pm
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'twas! (free refills) :-)
Crema Geoff / December 10, 2009 at 10:41 am
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I don't think Junctioneers quite understand how big of a deal it is that this guy has opened in the Junction. Kerry has opened some incredibly unique and successful businesses in Toronto; Ok Ok diner in Leslieville, The Lincoln, The Mockingbird to name a few.
Slightly ahead of the curve and a bit different fits in perfectly with the Junction in my opinion.
I ate at Littlefish with my family and I thought the meal was exceptional. Homemade sausage patties, crisp (not mushy) potato homefries, homemade salsa & guac.
The extra effort & attention to detail is there and I certainly appreciate it. I also thought the prices were very reasonable & the atmosphere very warm & comfortable. Staff were attentive and friendly.
Lola / December 12, 2009 at 08:48 am
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Great to see a new eatery in the junction however they need to work on delivering a consistent and good product. We went there at 2pm on a weekday and were the only customers. We received barely warm hot chocolate that we had to send back (the server may have been new and admitted he didn't know how to make it) and the muffins were just okay (small for 2.00 and nothing to brag about compared to Crema's or the Beets muffins). Unfortunately, my husband also witnessed someone in the kitchen licking a mixing utensil and putting it back in the batter - not cool and while he should have said something, he was too disgusted and walked out. Homemade is one thing, but don't foodsafety is critical. That said, I'm willing to give them another try for brunch because I'd like them to succeed.
Jason / December 14, 2009 at 02:04 pm
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I enjoyed my first experience at Little fish. I enjoyed their mexican spicy hot cocoa a lot. $28 for two of us including tip is reasonable considering the meal was delicious. I will be going back.
mrbrunch / December 18, 2009 at 02:31 pm
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This is a good new place, best place to go directly in the Junction for brunch if it's too far and cold to go to Yasi's.

There is a bit of finding it's feet, the coffee is sometimes not that hot, egg orders wrong...but it's new. for a place that has been open about a month these are minor and it's a totally great addition to the area. Staff are really friendly too.

D Steeles replying to a comment from Lola / December 18, 2009 at 03:40 pm
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Licking mixing utensils? Disgusting. Shows a complete lack of respect for food safety and more importantly, customers. I'm a chef in a well known bistro downtown and had I ever witnessed that from one of my staff, that person would have been fired on the spot. Totally unacceptable.
Sharon replying to a comment from D Steeles / January 20, 2010 at 08:27 am
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I totally agree. Restaurant was recommended by a co-worker but after that comment NO WAY. Hope this staffer was let go.
Elena / March 28, 2010 at 11:16 pm
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kinda grossed out by the utensil licking comments. but will try to put that out of my mind for the next time i go. i've been there twice now, and have no complains. the banana pancakes are amazing. as are the bacon one (yes, the bacon strips are actually in the pancake). nice atmosphere and friendly staff as well.
jim / May 8, 2010 at 02:42 pm
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good service, yummy food..way better than the beet.
Colette / May 28, 2010 at 08:32 am
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I absolutely love Littlefish and think it's the best restaurant on that strip of Dundas, regardless of cuisine. The staff is SO friendly and the place is always immaculately clean. The food is absolutely delicious. What I like most about Littlefish is that it lacks the pretentiousness of many of the other highly-rated brunch places but still offers the same quality of ingredients and creativity in the dishes. The daily scramble is always wonderful and I think the prices are very, very fair. I actually have to stop myself from going there every single weekend!
MexinTo / September 16, 2010 at 01:05 pm
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As a Mexican born, I am tired to see huevos rancheros on menus when they're not even close to the real thing. Huevos rancheros should be serve in fresh, light fried corn tortillas and salsa roja (roasted tomatoes, onions, serrano chiles, salt and pepper salsa). The side dishes are refried beans and slices of fresh avocato. That's a real breakfast. Don't forget cafe de olla (coffee with a hint of cinnamon).
Linas / December 20, 2010 at 11:39 pm
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I have been there and it is fantastic.

Huevos Rancheros - They specifically say on the menu that it is there take on Huevos Rancheros. It is not traditional, and it's meant that way. I actually asked about it when I went there (obviously I didn't read the menu properly) it was explained to me in this way.

By the way, their take on Huevos Ranchers (non-traditional) is really delicious!
Joyce / May 1, 2011 at 02:32 pm
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There was a line up so we waited patiently on the sofa. When a table was available the food came fast and was nice, unfortunately there was a line up and they wanted us out quickly so our waitress told us there was a line up and if we didn't want anything more.... well my friend was still finishing her tea and we had just finished our meal.So we left even though she had not finished her tea. It did leave a bad taste in what would have been a nice brunch otherwise.
Jess replying to a comment from LW / May 28, 2011 at 01:58 pm
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Anything east of keele is not the junction. Nice try though.
Jess replying to a comment from mrbrunch / May 28, 2011 at 02:05 pm
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LW and MR Brunch, Yasi's is NOT in the Junction. The Junction is Dundas Sw W East of Runnymede, West of Keele.
Jess replying to a comment from Lola / May 28, 2011 at 02:08 pm
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Who eats hot chocolate and a muffin when they go out for breakfast? Live a little. Maybe you'll be less bored if you're less boring.
Alison / August 19, 2011 at 07:44 pm
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Don't listen to any negative comments about this restaurant, it is an excellent choice for lunch. If you are a food lover try and get on their evening night out list. They do a great dinner the last Thursday of every month. Ask Cary about it. This is a fab place and I will tell everyone I know to go here.....and Locomotive.
Jessica / September 25, 2011 at 01:10 pm
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the best! We love littlefish. we have been there Twice this weekend! what an addition to the junction. so awsome. Banana pancakes are the best!
Rania / January 12, 2012 at 05:40 pm
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I went to this place a couple weeks ago and I wasn't really impressed. I heard from so many people that this place was amazing....and honestly it really wasn't. I got the 2 eggs, home fries and sausage. The sausage was tasty and looked more like kebab but was seriously dry. The home fries alone were good, but the onions that were supposed to accompany them were completely burnt and not edible. The eggs were decent, but again nothing special. The biggest issue I had with them, was their no outside drinks allowed rule. This was the first time I was checking out this spot with my friend from NYC and she had purchased a coffee from Crema and they would not allow her to have it at the table with us. I understand that this is their policy but this is our first time eating there, give us a warning and let us be...we won't bring outside drinks the next time we are there....but no! They told us we couldn't order until we did something with the coffee, which in the end was the waitress taking it to hide behind the cash until we were done....that is messed up! Will I go back now....probably not...the food wasn't great and the no outside drinks policy left a bad taste in my mouth. It could have been handled differently.
trent / May 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm
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this place is the brunch place in the Junction. great service and great food. our second time there and food was amazing,service was pleasant and perky but not overwhelming, and prompt. If i wanted a coffee from Crema, I would have crossed the street. Try coffee at littlefish.
Anna / September 22, 2012 at 05:06 pm
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I've been meaning to try this place for ages and was a little disappointed. I loved the decor and found the seats comfy but we waited 45 mins for our food and then it was luke warm. I'll give it another try though.
fidd / November 10, 2012 at 07:00 pm
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Super consistent breakfast/lunch spot. Decent, filling and affordable, basic breakfasts, and items like the Stinky Frenchman are well worth trying if you're craving something savoury. One request, Littlefish, ...how about some fruit?
Benedict Harris replying to a comment from Jess / December 27, 2012 at 12:47 am
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THen it's a good thing this place is west of Keele!
Benedict replying to a comment from Jess / December 27, 2012 at 12:48 am
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I MADE A MISTAKE YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT YASI'S. OH GOD HUMILITY IS PAINFUL.
Sen / December 19, 2013 at 08:09 pm
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The breakfast burrito is pathetic and served solo for close to 13 dollars. I'm not sure I've missed something here, but it was a real disappointment.

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