Tuesday, October 13, 2015Mostly Cloudy 12°C

Saving Grace

Posted by Nicole Stamp / Reviewed on April 4, 2008 / review policy

Saving GraceBrunch at Saving Grace feels like visiting a friend who has a better apartment than you, but isn't smug about it. The small, high-ceilinged room seats twenty people (many, but not all, of the hipster variety) at bright plywood tables, and a few more can oversee the room from a raised bar at mezzanine level. Most Sundays, the place is packed- but it's only a 15-minute wait, and the servers are always smiling. In the bright, airy little space, the atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed.

Corncakes with Apricot Chutney ($7.75) are tasty and filling; three dense cornmeal pancakes, bursting with whole corn kernels and green onions. Their slight saltiness makes an excellent counterpoint to the sweet tang of the spiced chutney. On the side is a salad that overwhelms my delicate snowflake of a palate- mature romaine leaves streaked with a harsh, tart house dressing. It's the Tommy Lee Jones of salad- leathery, acerbic, and too intense for brunch.

French Toast with Caramelized Bananas ($7.75) is a winner- three slices of crusty sourdough, lightly eggwashed and topped with lots of maple syrup and soft, sweet banana chunks. The bread is Frenchy but not at all spongy; it still has lots of toast texture, and deserves a big thumbs-up on that. A side order of Chipotle Sausage ($2.50) is nicely cooked, crispy outside and juicy inside, although the chipotle flavour is vague at best (this sausage, in other words, didn't make it into the chipotley crue).

Count on a chill, friendly vibe and a tasty meal; Saving Grace is definitely a solid Toronto brunch spot. The restaurant is unobtrusive from the street, so if you're the one giving directions, be specific- otherwise, your friends will pad up and down Dundas like lost kittens 'til you play cellular telephone triangulation and rescue them.



juana / February 19, 2010 at 03:39 pm
well.. i don't know about the 15 minute wait - we waited over an hour on a sunday.. and likely it wasn't too cold of a winter day. Though they are only open till 3pm (and should be till 4 to accomodate latecomers..) it was well worth the wait. The place is tiny and gets super crowded, but it has the most amazing food. The french toast is to die for, which I ended up finishing off from someone's plate at the table next to us who said 'I know this may be weird.. but do you want to finish this? I'm stuffed and it's sooo amazing'. And it was. Everything there is awesome and the dishes are creating. Lots of stuff for vegetarians. I'll be back.. a million times!
sam / May 21, 2010 at 05:06 pm
The service is terrible. Terribly SLOW.
Mark / May 25, 2010 at 11:10 am
I liked the vibe of the place - light and airy but not too perfect. Our party of 4 was seated straight away at prime time Sunday - we opted for the bar overlooking the seating area. The plates coming out were clearly greeted with oohs and aahs - we had a sneak preview of the dishes coming out by virtue of our perched location. The lattes and smoothies are enormous - I'm not sure how one could pack away one of those on top of a brunch. The americano was respectable if not best in class. The buttered baguette was superb. The only negative was the use of very out of season fruit on the pancakes - the peaches looked more like apples with texture to match.
Rob Johnson / July 30, 2010 at 10:22 pm
Went there for brunch today and am still regretting it. I'm over being sick but my wife is still in the throes (throws?) of the heave. She had pancakes and the burned part was facing down but they were so oily that she had me check it out. Sure enough, when I pressed down with a fork, memories of BP, Texas T, very crude pooled to the surface. I had the scrambled eggs and the chipotle sausage, yes a different dish, although I too have been throwing up all afternoon. Both of us had nothing else to eat so I am not throwing unjust stones here. This is my first review and enjoy the quirky nature of the reviews here on blogTO but warn others and only hope that they don't get sick.
Erin / February 26, 2011 at 02:54 pm
The service couldn't have been better and the atmosphere is fantastic. :)
Bruce / March 14, 2011 at 11:34 am
As always amazing - I used to go quite regularly a few years ago and now the place is starting to show its age but the food has not lost its shine! Incredible brunch. I took a few friends that had not been before and they RAVED! Get there early or you will have to wait - but it is well worth it!
Rosa / March 29, 2011 at 11:38 am
Yum. I went several years ago and I was one of those people aimlessly looking for the place. I found it and I can't wait to go back this weekend.
Maria / August 7, 2011 at 11:41 am
Simply the best brunch I ever had! I'll be back to try all the other dishes and I'll be recommending it to all my friends.
Kevin / August 20, 2011 at 01:36 pm
I think this is my favourite place to eat in Toronto. The food is incredibly good. Do yourself a favour and try the sweet or savoury french toasts - they're both unbelievably delicious. Like, I still kind of can't believe how good they are.
Sarah replying to a comment from Rob Johnson / November 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm
You could actually have had stomach flu or norwalk virus. Sounds suspicious that you didn't eat the same thing and were both sick. Just saying.
mel / February 11, 2012 at 01:56 pm
Not only the worst service, its tiny and the doors are always opening, letting in the frigid cold. Server threw menus at us (chill on the attitude!) and the sauce on my japanese pancake special was so sick I almost puked upon tasting it. Foodies beware, the dishes do not offer a balanced palate and the service will make you regret ever wasting your time.
My Le Nguyen / February 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm
Terrible service!! We came for the good reviewed on the food but never got a chance to taste it because no one paid attention to us. They threw the menu at us and we were waiting there for 15 minutes for some one to come to even ask us what we wanted to drink. After awhile, my husband can't wait any longer and he motion for the waitress that we're ready, but she just smiled and that's it. She ended up taking the order of a couple that came after us.
When we were going through the reviews, some say the service is terrible and some say the service is great...so I'm not sure what is going on...is there some sort of code for good service here? Bottom line, don't know what the food is like yet, but if you don't want to ruin your beautiful weekend, do not come here!!
Very / March 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm
I ate here once and found not one, but TWO long black hairs in my eggs. I've never been back and I don't plan to.
Logan / July 24, 2012 at 09:47 am
Might be a nice idea to add the hours of operation in these reviews.
Robyn / September 9, 2012 at 08:45 pm
Went there today and although there was a bit of a wait, it was totally worth it. The food was mouth watering. I had the savoury french toast with gruyere, apples and red onions. To die for! My wife had the poached eggs with polenta gnocchi and tomato sauce. Our friend had the waffles with banana, blueberries and hazelnut butter. All three meals were delicious! There were several options on the specials menu that also sounded delish. Would definitely go back again.
Jose replying to a comment from Robyn / November 5, 2012 at 08:10 pm
mmmm waffles.
Tallulah / December 2, 2012 at 01:33 pm
Just came back from Sunday brunch - I read all these before, and warned my party of 4 that if we didn't get there early enough there wouldn't be space...alas they didn't listen to me and we got there *just* as the last table was filled and waited at least 50 minutes. I'm not sure if any meal is ever actually worth waiting in the rain for an hour for, but everything was certainly very, very, very good, with friendly, efficient service :D
Jay / December 8, 2012 at 04:27 pm
I just enjoyed a Saturday brunch. Waited outside a half-hour to get a table but was well worth it. Friendly, smiley service and unpretentious customers. I throughly enjoyed my Savoury French Toast (with apples, gruyere, red onions - served with greens and roasted potatoes). The tastiest Toronto brunch I've had yet - and not too hard on the wallet.
Jay / December 8, 2012 at 04:27 pm
I just enjoyed a Saturday brunch. Waited outside a half-hour to get a table but was well worth it. Friendly, smiley service and unpretentious customers. I throughly enjoyed my Savoury French Toast (with apples, gruyere, red onions - served with greens and roasted potatoes). Possibly the tastiest Toronto brunch I've had yet - and not too hard on the wallet.
Jay / December 8, 2012 at 04:27 pm
I just enjoyed a Saturday brunch. Waited outside a half-hour to get a table but was well worth it. Friendly, smiley service and unpretentious customers. I throughly enjoyed my Savoury French Toast (with apples, gruyere, red onions - served with greens and roasted potatoes). Possibly the tastiest Toronto brunch I've had yet - and not too hard on the wallet.
Barun / January 16, 2013 at 03:26 pm
Saving Grace is very good palace for food lover man. I like this so much. I am always want to come in here with my friends to enjoy there food. It's great.
dharmemdra / January 16, 2013 at 03:41 pm
i think this is my favorite place to eat & party in saving grace.is very nice place to enjoy at the moment.count on a chill, friendly vibe and a testy meal. saving grace definitely a solid Toronto brunch spot.
Samuel / January 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm
This definitely has to be my restaurant of choice for its cool cuisine and food of different delicacies.It provides nice ambiance with serene environment at all occasions. This is a place you can irresistibly decline to visit given its offers and nice staff who are always happy to serve you....Thanks for your service.
Galaxy S3 case / January 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Most food has its origin in plants. Some food is obtained directly from plants; but even animals that are used as food sources are raised by feeding them food derived from plants.
tonmoy / January 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm
Saving Grace is a place where food loving people can satisfy their appeal of food and enjoy the delicious presentation of yummy foods. They have a great hand for cooking which attracts people to come more and more and to enjoy their services.
Ariful Hassan / January 17, 2013 at 03:33 pm
brunch items looks quite good, hope they taste good also.I'd love to have french toast.Expect to visit Saving Grace someday.
kimberly / January 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm
Simply delish!! My experience at Saving Grave was just so homey. The food was great. The place has such a lovely atmosphere. Everyone is so friendly and the place just smells like down home cooking. The best food around.
ANTUR / January 28, 2013 at 01:52 am
Thank Nicole Stamp for sharing this valuable blog post. I have experience in Saving Grace, this place is most loving for people who are food loving. Really their food is great.
ghazal / January 30, 2013 at 05:27 am
Mouth watering recipes, offered by saving grace. This place is highly recommeded by me, and especially for food lovers and people who like to eat variety of foods.
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Alice / May 28, 2013 at 02:34 pm
After I read this review I was so excited to go and try the food. Unfortunately once we go there the service was terrible. The server forgot my coffee, the forgot the cream, then the kitchen messed up our order. So my friend's food came and then mine came 20 minutes later. On top of it the food was not of great quality, I have made better breakfast for myself. The pancakes were the only good item we received. I would not go back or recommend anyone to go back.
Ryan / June 24, 2013 at 06:14 pm
Tried out Saving Grace for brunch today after finding them here on the blog. I can see what people mean about the service but I think the food quality more than makes up for it. Relax, enjoy the atmosphere and savour the creations on their menu :) I'll definitely be back for the french toast with carmelized bananas!
danileather / September 27, 2013 at 10:46 am
I got to agree with you.. Its a very nice pos
Men Jackets |
Greg Marshall / September 30, 2013 at 06:15 pm
Excellent fare; intolerable noise! We came seeking pancakes and, after a half-hour wait, we're quite pleased with the menu. I opted for the Carrot Cake Pancakes (with honey cream cheese and walnuts) and a smoked turkey sausage, while my wife chose the German Apple Pancakes with bacon. Both were superb, as was the coffee! The noise within the small space (seating about 20 on two levels) was reminiscent of downtown dance clubs - hardly suitable for Sunday brunch! We loved the food, but vowed never to return. Sad....
gr1 replying to a comment from Greg Marshall / October 24, 2013 at 05:34 pm
THE INTROLERABLE SUFFERING OF OTHER PEOPLE CONVERSING. maybe you and your wife should contribute to the noise. looking forward to hitting this place up this weekend.
gr1 replying to a comment from gr1 / October 24, 2013 at 05:35 pm
intolerable, whatever.
tipsfordieting / March 28, 2014 at 05:27 am
Struggle is the father of all things. It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself above the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle. If you do not fight, life will never be won. Do you agree
Steph / May 9, 2014 at 05:53 pm
Instead of posting a story I will share factual information on timelines of my visit yesterday. A Thursday. Late morning. Was not that busy. No wait. At one point there were 4 empty tables.

11:49 seated, handed menus, given water - no offer for coffee
12:04 after flagging down waitress, order coffee and food (yup 15 mins later)
12:14 remind bus woman we are still waiting on the coffee (yup 10 mins later)
12:18 coffee arrives, no sign of my chai latte
12:24 (20 mins after ordering) I'm notified they are out of chai. I stick with water. But they don't refill my glass for the rest of the visit
12:32 food arrives
Around the same time, two girls who were seated AFTER the man beside us who ordered pancakes the same time we ordered, get THEIR pancakes, but he hasn't got his.
12:40 man asks about his pancakes
12:55 I leave. Never got a water refill. Had to flag down for a coffee refill and the man still had no pancakes.

Breakfast place should bring coffee immediately. And offer refills regularly. We waited 29 minutes for a cup of coffee at a BREAKFAST place.
Water should never be empty
People should not get other peoples food
You should tell me less than 20 mins later that you are out of chai and offer alternative

This is about my fourth time there. I don't mind waiting for a table. Or food. But the service in general is actually terrible. Waiting for coffee and water is ridiculous. No sense of urgency.
Several tables were left unbussed which meant new customers had to wait or sit at a dirty table and ask for it to be cleared (as the man beside us did).

Love the food. It's great. But I won't be going back based on service alone.

Bring the coffee!
Sarah / July 20, 2014 at 11:18 am
Tried to go for brunch here a few weeks back and there was a sign on the door saying "now closed Sundays"...how can a brunch spot not be opened on the busiest brunch day of the week. Broke my heart Saving Grace.
Marie / August 2, 2014 at 02:05 pm
I found the food at Saving Grace to be mediocre at best. Making eggs, bacon and taters isn't rocket science. Most people can do a pretty decent job of it. My dish was one of the more interesting one's (or so I thought), but it was so spicy it didn't taste like much else than heat. Additionally, I became very sick after eating it - I have food sensitivities to be fair and this may not be the restaurant's fault, but it didn't help with my perception of it.

The coffee and tea were fine and we didn't have a problem with the service, but we found the room rather suffocating and sweat so much our clothes were soaked through. The roaming fruit flies made it even more annoying, not too mention the thick film of dust on the broken ceiling fans.

My husband found a hair in the milk for his tea and his salad dressing tasted like it was mainly vinegar.

The line up and popularity of this place is so out of proportion with what they offer. It reads as hipster love and no substance. I loved that it was a small local place, but resented the fact that we were made to wait past their actual opening time for food that was sub par in an environment that was kinda unpleasant to say the least. Not worth the $40, nope.
Sean / August 7, 2014 at 03:23 pm
Just got back from brunch at Saving Grace. The food (pancakes) we're really good, but the service was lacking. The servers never really come out into the restaurant so we didn't even get water or menus without having to chase someone down. It seems as though all of the staff just hang out in the kitchen. The place has a lot of potential but really needs to revamp its service in my humble opinion.
Claire / August 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm
I'm with Sarah. I went on a Sunday in the winter and they had a sign indicating they weren't open on Sundays until the spring. Then I went on a Sunday well into spring and they had a sign saying they were now closed on Sundays. I went again yesterday (a Saturday) and they had a sign saying they were closed on Sundays AND Saturday, August 23rd. They also never seem to pick up their phone when they ARE supposed to be open, so it's kind of hard to verify. They're great when they're open, but I haven't successfully been there in 2014...
Rebecca / January 16, 2015 at 11:23 pm
For those who complain of bad service... Ever worked a serving job?
Of course there is no excuse for being ignored in a restaurant and servers should own up to their mistakes and be honest, but sometimes, SOMETIMES, when you screw up the rotation because you just have to have that one specific table because obvz it's better than every other table in the restaurant, or interrupt servers in the middle of one of the million tasks that they are balancing for their other tables, or send them away with tons of ridiculous food modifications and requests, they forget things. You will find that many servers are genuinely trying to provide the best experience for all customers, but not unlike you, servers are HUMANS. They get overwhelmed. They forget things. And so if you've been sitting at your table for awhile, you might mention it to someone and practice a little empathy. It's possible that you are dealing with someone who hasn't been serving for a long time or is experiencing a lack of confidence and is feeling flustered on that particular day, for whatever reason. Brunch is always busy and you are not any more entitled than the other customers in the restaurant. Expect that during busy times you might have to wait a little while. And believe it or not, there are actual humans in the back of the restaurant as well. Look around you at all of the people waiting to eat and then realize that at many restaurants there are fewer cooks than front of house staff. And they're back there trying to deal with your food modifications.

So please, please, practice empathy.

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