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Skyline Restaurant

Posted by Tanja / Reviewed on March 27, 2009 / review policy

The Skyline RestaurantThe Skyline Restaurant in Parkdale is the kind of oldschool diner that's been around for ages, and while it tends blend in with all the other shops, one thing about it always catches your eye -- the nostalgic glowing neon sign that hangs outside.

Even last night, as I waiting for friends outside, I watched as a pair of cyclists pulled over to snap a photo of that classic neon. Of course, a sign doesn't keep the place open all these years, especially in a city that is losing spots like this at such a staggering rate. So then, being the diner junkie that I am, I decided to round up some friends and finally check out the Skyline menu.

The Skyline menu has got all the diner fare standards, some greek dishes, a "Campbell's Soup selection", assorted floats and sundaes, and the largest liquor menu I've ever encountered in my life (no, seriously). From starchy comfort food to thirteen types of whiskey, this place has every mood swing covered in three laminated pages.

The waitress seats us, quickly brings over some water and gives us plenty of time to be indecisive with the menu. When we finally make our picks, she offers to write up separate bills, making life that much easier for our party of five.

Hot Chicken PlateThe Hot Chicken plate ($8.50) is my usual diner favourite. It's done a little differently everywhere you go and this was one of the better takes on the dish I've seen in a while. A huge heap of juicy roasted chicken piled on two thin slices of plain white toast and covered in just enough brown gravy. The side of smashed potatoes were creamy and very much the real thing. Actually, good enough that they shouldn't bother drowning 'em in so much hot butter. The side of vegetables consisted of chopped green beans which were pretty much flavourless -- only worth having for the sake of eating some greens.

From the daily specials menu, we decided to get the recommended Special #1: Corned Beef & Cabbage ($9.75). All specials also come with a salad and drink to start you off, followed by dessert and coffee after the meal.
Salad and JuiceThe salad was a simple iceberg, tomato and cucumber mix. Dressing options were French or oil/vinegar. It was pretty basic but impressively crunchy and fresh.

Drink-wise, OJ arrived along with the salad and we couldn't help but laugh at the tiny little juice glass. The plates here may be hefty, but the juice portion was totally oldschool. In an impromptu height competition, the fries were easily double the size of the glass.Monster Steak Fries

Corned Beef SpecialAs for the Corned Beef & Cabbage, we were pretty surprised to see the corned beef wasn't the canned variety we were expecting. Pictured here, several delicious slices were piled over an even bigger heap of chunky cabbage, looking pretty mouthwatering, but proving to be more food than we could handle.
Corned Beef with Cabbage!
Dessert with the special is either jell-o or pudding. My co-diner grins like a schoolgirl as she orders up the jello.

"With whip cream?" asks the waitress.

"Of course!"

JelloNow, while I refused have any of the dessert, myself, I'm told the whip cream was, in fact, real whip cream and in no way, the spray-whip we expected.

I'm beginning to see how attention to detail is probably what's kept the Skyline's following in tact all these years.

Deluxe Banquet BurgerAll burgers are offered on their own or "deluxe" which adds fries and coleslaw with all the trimmings. Pictured here, we ordered the Banquet Burger ($5.25), fully-loaded and deluxe-ified ($2.75). It didn't disappoint. The patty was a good size and juicy though perhaps it hardly really matters in a burger this stacked with fresh toppings.

PoutineAs for the sides, the massive steak cut fries brought us right back to childhood. They were average, and better with gravy, but don't even bother taking that to the next level by ordering Poutine ($4.25). We picked up a side of the Quebecois fave just to give it a try and it received a thumbs-down around the table. A few shreds of meager mozzarella does not a good Poutine make!
Hot Liver PlateOn a more daring note: The Hot Liver plate ($7.75). This one is served just like the Hot Chicken, but you had better love liver to order it. The friend who ordered this badboy was not prepared for the a big thick slab of liver that was about to grace her tastebuds with it's bold presence. Buttered mashed potatoes have never been so necessary.
Club SandwichAnd finally (are we still eating?), the Club Sandwich with fries and cole slaw ($9.25 + 75 cents for cheese). Highly recommended for a lighter choice that'll still hit the spot. Did I mention the size of those steak fries?

We didn't really have room for anything more at this point, but we wanted to know what a "Chocolate Soda" ($3.50) was. Chocolate SodaTurns out, it's a chocolate float made with ice cream and plain soda... or was it Coke? We couldn't tell. I blame the liver.

We paid our bills at the cash and agreed that in spite of some weak spots, the Skyline was a lot better than anyone had thought it would be. If you're up for some stick-to-your-ribs food and aren't intimidated by the locals (if you are, well, head east, kids), this is a decent spot for dinner.

Food photos by Tanja Tiziana. Neon photo by Aefa Mulholland.



Hamish Grant / March 30, 2009 at 10:35 am
Sean Galbraith / March 30, 2009 at 10:37 am
mmm I love the Skyline. Definitely a great value.
Jonathan / March 30, 2009 at 11:58 am
Dang - I always just walk by this place - gonna have to try it!

Jonathan Castellino
Torontonian / March 30, 2009 at 12:40 pm
I grew up on this type of restaurant in the '50s and later.
They disappeared in the '80s and now are making a comeback.
Meat and potatoes menus are all I need and fancy-schmancy stuff
can be for the arrivistes. I'm waiting for one of them to do
a real Scotch Broth soup--not the Campbell's kind--for their
Kaleb / March 30, 2009 at 01:18 pm
This is my neighborhood breakfast joint. Probably not much for a vegetarian for dinner but for breakfast its simple and perfect! Always quick and super nice.
tenny / March 30, 2009 at 01:33 pm
there was a diner on bloor i frequented once upon a time that did the salad + mini drink thing. but it was juice OR dessert, so not nearly as exciting as the skyline. enticing review, this one.
radmila / March 30, 2009 at 03:58 pm
I love the skyline...I've watched Gus and Spiros go from young men to old men behind that counter.
Whenever I drive by, I look in the window for one of them to be standing there.

The Skyline is part of my childhood.
Michael / March 30, 2009 at 08:10 pm
Kudos to Tanja for this series of reviews of places that average folks can afford & feel comfortable in. Postings such as these make clear the difference between blogTO the bullshit-ist.

I will definitely check out the Skyline.

Rock On
Tanja replying to a comment from Michael / March 30, 2009 at 08:18 pm
Thanks, Michael.
Bubba / March 30, 2009 at 11:08 pm
greasy spoons are the bestest!
Rosie / March 31, 2009 at 10:00 pm
I LOVE Skyline! Louie is the best! Try the greek poutine, and the greek salad. It's now closed on Tuesdays.. Best restaurant EVER
Ian / April 2, 2009 at 07:06 am
"and the largest liquor menu I've ever encountered in my life (no, seriously)."

Welcome to Parkdale! :)
mr / April 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm
I have only ever eaten breakfast here and boy does it heal a hangover! two eggs, two pieces of rye toast, three stripes of bacon, homefries and coffee. Oh and if you go before 11am all that is only $4.99. I have never made it before 11am, but I will not stop striving for that. btw, if you get there at 11:01, it's over - so wake up early and catch a parkdale deal!

Now that I have seen some of the dinner items, I am for sure hitting up the skyline when I feel like home cooking with a side of jell-o.

yeesh / May 14, 2011 at 02:17 am
WHIPPED cream , GAHD ! not "whip cream" , but "whipPED cream" ... jeeeez
Teena / September 17, 2011 at 07:38 pm
Had a homeburger there today ... it was good!
dave / July 5, 2012 at 02:36 pm
the breakfast here is very much a greasy spoon style serving, but after a night of a few beverages...it is the perfect cure to a hangover. only thing that drives me insane about this place is...they make a single batch of homefries to get them through the breakfast rush. the minute they're out, breakfast is served with french fries...which just doesn't cut it for me. how long does it take to boil a few potatoes, season and through them on the cooktop? anyway, great if you get there early enough, well priced and the owners always give great service.
strathmore / July 9, 2012 at 04:17 pm
I easily ate out this place a hundred times a year via takeout orders of breakfast or banquet burgers for 15 years. ('91 to '06)

I lived across the street and loved this place. I spent 3 years in the late 80s eating at a similar place on The Danforth called Motorama the two places were similar from the decor to owners heritage and a simple, satisfying product.

I miss this style of diner since leaving T.O.
Chuck / July 22, 2012 at 07:14 pm
60's and 70's this was our hangout. For herself it was fries and gravy with a cherry coke.

I purchased her ring at Monty's Jewelers a few doors down the street.
L. Campbell / July 23, 2012 at 12:37 am
Alexander Campbell Ltd.- 1965 The Skyline was as great in the 60,s as l can see now being 2012. Remembering when l was going to Parkdale collegiate all the time us students would gather there. Food was great too. But for a soda we would go to Dairy Dell close to O'Hara Ave. Them were the days my friend.
Paul replying to a comment from L. Campbell / June 9, 2014 at 02:28 pm
Then surely you must remember the Green Dolphin, or the "Green D" as most of us at PCI knew it in the 60's and into the 70's. Not sure how long it's been gone as I moved to the West Coast in '73. It was the best! Then there was the Northway, across the street on the north side of Queen, just east of Lansdowne. It was OK in a pinch. So sad that places like these are rapidly becoming extinct.
mike in parkdale / June 9, 2014 at 03:13 pm
Yep, hundreds of breakfasts and lunches at this place over the years.

one critique of the article - the photos are really taking the depth of field a bit too far. like 5% of the milkshake photo is actually in focus.

It's a club sandwich - the human eye can focus on an entire club sandwich at the same time.

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