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Best of Toronto

The Best Greasy Spoons in Toronto

Posted by Liora Ipsum / June 9, 2014

greasy spoon torontoThe best greasy spoons in Toronto are fluent in both the flattop and the charcoal grill, specializing in all-day breakfasts and burgers, as well as humble comfort foods like tuna salad sandwiches and homestyle dinners.

Boasting a run-down kind of charm, these are bastions of affordable and familiar fare, and while finer establishments might cycle through new menus faster than you can form a favourite, these institutions are beloved for their dependability, great value and satisfying portions.

Here are the best greasy spoons in Toronto.

See also:

The Best Diners in Toronto
The Best All Day Breakfast in Toronto
The Best Old-School Burgers in Toronto

Top photo of Vesta Lunch by TWO7Rabbit in the blogTO Flickr pool

Avenue Open Kitchen

Avenue Open Kitchen

Situated in the Garment District, this reputable luncheonette is a haven for those that don't feel the need to eat fancy. During the day, the diner does brisk business serving up short-order standards like chicken salad sandwiches ($4.75), julienne salads ($9) and rotating blue plate specials. More »

Coach House

Coach House

This unassuming restaurant at Yonge and Wellesley is home to reliable diner staples. Order fresh-squeezed OJ alongside your all day breakfast or choose from an assortment of hot sandwiches ($8), the banquet burger ($5.50), and fish 'n chip dinners ($9). More »

Vesta Lunch

Vesta Lunch

At Bathurst and Dupont, this old girl has built its reputation on all-day breakfasts ($6.75) and late night souvlaki sandwiches ($7). Open since 1955, the narrow lunch counter operates around the clock making it a prime spot at odd hours. More »

Good Bite

Good Bite

This well-established diner has been serving Yonge and Eg since the '70s. Hallmarks on the retro menu include no-nonsense breakfasts ($8), chopped salads ($10), grilled cheese sandwiches ($4.25) and Hungryman-sized pork chop dinners ($11). More »

Bloor Jane Restaurant

Bloor Jane Restaurant

Part short order kitchen and part shrine to the Toronto Maple Leafs, this Bloor West Village greasy spoon has been serving up generous breakfasts and lunches since the '50s. Along with hot plate dinners and burgers, the menu devotes a section to triple-decker sandwiches ($10.50) served with fries, slaw and a pickle. More »

Gale's Snack Bar

Gale's Snack Bar

Home to ultra-cheap eats on Eastern Avenue, this divey diner is a mainstay for old-school favourites at retro prices. A cheeseburger slapped with Kraft singles will set you back only $1.50, while a hot turkey sandwich only costs $3. For dessert, try a float for $1.25, or a slice of pie for only 80 cents. More »

Skyline

Skyline

Slide into a red vinyl booth at this well-preserved Parkdale kitchen where the coffee is bottomless and three-egg breakfasts are available all day. A refuge from pricey over-hyped brunch options nearby, this kitchen sticks to classics like hot open-faced beef sandwiches ($11.25) drenched with gravy. More »

Jim's Best Western

Jim's Best Western

On Queen East, this no frills diner slings charbroiled specialties like Greek dinners and flame-kissed burgers. Best bets are the breakfast sandwiches like the namesake Western Deluxe ($8.50) and the thick-cut peameal on a kaiser ($6). More »

P&M Restaurant

P&M Restaurant

On Weston at Lawrence, this family owned and operated diner is known to draw line-ups for hearty breakfasts and Greek dinners from the grill. Home burger combos ($5) and pork souvlaki sandwiches ($6) are among the most popular options on the menu. More »

Discussion

27 Comments

Yonge and Wellesly / June 9, 2014 at 02:05 pm
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COACH HOUSE!!!! LOVE IT!
Chester / June 9, 2014 at 02:39 pm
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I'm sorry you can't put Vesta House on this list when you guys do your Dine safe article and their always on it.
The Lonely Troll / June 9, 2014 at 04:09 pm
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Tom's on WQW across from CAMH. Cant go wrong with The Canadian. Get it before 11A.
John / June 9, 2014 at 06:04 pm
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Patrican Grill should be on this list.
Sam / June 9, 2014 at 06:12 pm
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Vesta? You're joking, right? It's flunked more DineSafes than you can imagine!

Went to all of them. Good Bite was the best.
DJ Kennedy / June 9, 2014 at 07:07 pm
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How about Lakeview Restaurant at Ossington and Dundas?
East Ender / June 9, 2014 at 07:38 pm
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Detroit Eatery on the danforth!
PJ Kennedy replying to a comment from DJ Kennedy / June 9, 2014 at 09:43 pm
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uh, have you eaten there? food is subpar at best.

also, this is a list of "best greasy spoons" not "best unimaginative hipster hangouts"
Izzy / June 9, 2014 at 09:57 pm
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Zett's?? Not on the list??
Pourquoi?
Fob Rord / June 9, 2014 at 10:09 pm
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I wanna like Vesta Lunch, I've tried to like Vesta Lunch, it's just that every time I've been in there the place reeks of B.O.
Davy Gravy replying to a comment from Izzy / June 9, 2014 at 10:23 pm
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Maybe because it's not in Toronto? (And there's only one "T" in the name if you're talking about the brilliant Airport Road greasy spoon I'm thinking of.)
JenButNeverJenn replying to a comment from East Ender / June 9, 2014 at 10:26 pm
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I second Detroit Eatery!
pearlD. / June 9, 2014 at 10:33 pm
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Went to The Good Bite for Thanksgiving Dinner last year, an old habit of ours since our kids were little and we had no family in Toronto...only we used to go to the FRAN'S at Yonge & St. Clair r.i.p...Now we don't have kids at home and have one friend who also doesn't have family..it's been our 'joke' to pick a homey old place for years...so off we went to The Good Bite. Big Mistake...it's way past its prime and dinner was a disaster, tough turkey, canned cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes that tasted like instant..and they were sold out of pumpkin pie at 6:00 p.m....Why do we do this year after year?? As I said, an old habit, particularly for me as I grew up in the "Mom & Pop Diner" business...I may just have to cook my own this year...!! Some old habits might be best forgotten.....
Open / June 9, 2014 at 11:33 pm
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I like Zupa's on Adelaide.
robkori / June 10, 2014 at 02:33 am
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Vesta Lunch sucks. IT SUCKS!!!!!
I've tried to like it, trust me, and every now and then I wind up there.
But the food is disgusting.
I once ordered "poutine". They threw two slices of american processed cheese on the fries and poured some luke warm gravy over it.
Need I say more?
downtown / June 10, 2014 at 07:18 am
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I really miss the Victoria restaurant and wish it never closed down

I love the idea of having a good old fashioned meal of meat potatoes and vegetables
surly / June 10, 2014 at 09:13 am
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The Coach House gets me every time! A good old fashioned hot hamburger smothered in thick gravy and big thick-cut fries, all while squeezed into a little formica booth with the funnies page: HEAVEN. I only wish they stayed open past 3pm, but when you're that good you can set your own hours and people just accept it.
Anna / June 10, 2014 at 10:05 am
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Harry's Charbroiled in Parkdale (king west at Jameson). Looks scary from the outside but soooooooooo goooooooood. Great milkshakes, great cheap food and the staff are the best
dyan / June 11, 2014 at 10:30 am
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Lakeview's food is almost inedible!!!
graeme / June 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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RIP People's Foods.
Joe / June 12, 2014 at 03:59 pm
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Surprised The Tulip is not on list.
HASTINGS SNACK BAR / June 13, 2014 at 12:44 pm
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Why isn't this joint on this list?? Its been tucked away in leslieville with the same cook for 50 years! With 4.5/5 stars on yelp this place deserves to be recognized! ps its only open from 6-10am
Dutch replying to a comment from Roy / June 24, 2014 at 07:06 am
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I'd like to 2nd Roy on the New York Cafe. Roast Beef Dinner special is generous on the beef and very tasty, for less than a tenner.

As for Vestas, if you go 10 meters farther south on Bathurst, on the east side, you will find Apollo Eleven restaurant, a much nicer 'spoon' with fresh food and a good dinesafe record. Owned by a Greek family, so the dinner specials tend to be oriented towards various souvlaki, but you can always order anything off the menu. And they serve a mighty fine breakfast.

IMHO, Vesta's gets repeated votes only because it's one of the few open 24x7, and so it's a default draw for the late night crowd.
miss / June 25, 2014 at 12:36 am
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I miss The Stem at Queen and Spadina.... :(
Jay / June 28, 2014 at 04:41 pm
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People's Food on Dupont near Davenport was for me one of the best... I heard it closed recently :(
Fat porkchop / July 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm
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What! No dairy freeze??
Dave in Toronto / July 3, 2014 at 10:25 am
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Gale's is so well priced you think you're in some 70's time warp. The food is good. As mentioned Hasting Snack Bar on Hastings/Queens St East should be mentioned but the hours are crazy (morning only).
Regarding Hasting Snack Bar when the streetcar tracks ripped up the local intersection the politicians told the owner, don't worry the construction guys will eat at your place. The only thing he got was to watch the guys eat Tim Hortons right outside his window.

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