The Best New Brunch Restaurants in Toronto, 2011
The best new brunch restaurants in Toronto carry on the glorious tradition of finding bigger and better things to do with hollandaise. With so many brunch options in the city already, the best of the new offerings have to get more creative than the typical bacon and eggs. For some restaurants that means adding a little pumpkin spice to their waffles or frying up a duck hash, and for more than a few it translates to whipping up their own ketchup and preserves.
The stars of the Toronto brunch scene — that is, the Mitzi's, the Lady Marmalades, the Edward Levesque's — have built loyal followings based on their unique twists on classics, balance of sweet and savoury options, and solid reputations for plain good food, and the best of the newbies all seem to place priority on these same qualities. That and great hollandaise, but that goes without saying. Here is the list of the best brunch restaurants that opened in 2011.
Rustic, cozy, and offering fried chicken thigh sandwiches for brunch. It’s no wonder Country General garnered a regular weekend brunch wait list almost immediately after opening in October. Brunch highlights include homemade smoked ketchup, Croque Madame, and the occasional server willing to sling cowboy talk.
The Ace on Roncesvalles finally got its revival late 2011, and hungry patrons celebrated with cheddar biscuits and Huevos Rancheros. A long way (but not too far) from its original diner glory, the revamped restaurant went with a classic, comfort food brunch of steel-cut oats, eggs, French toast, and homefries.
I’m fairly sure Barque Smokehouse became so popular so quickly in large part because of its Bacon Caesar cocktail. So simple, so genius, and so perfect for a leisurely midday Sunday meal. Unfortunately, Barque Smokehouse, like others on this list, has been thoroughly discovered, but its Barque Benedict with smoked brisket and BBQ hollandaise make it worth the inevitable wait.
L’Ouvrier took brunch to a slightly hoity-er place during the fall of 2011 with its menu of homemade scones and creme fraiche, oysters and horseradish, yogurt and wildflower honey. Still, the Dundas West restaurant managed to appeal to the comfort-food-fans too, with its fried egg sandwiches, classic French toast, and BLT. Brunch enthusiast of all creeds, alas, were catered to and content.
Those mourning the loss of Straight Lounge were appeased Summer 2011 with sheep ricotta pancakes and French toast with caramelized bananas. All else at Smith brunch is pretty much straight-up (not a pun) comfort food, with waffles, omelettes, eggs benny and Huevos all on the menu. It’s no spinning party, but it works.
Yes, it’s in a community centre, but don’t confuse what you’ll get here with a typical cafeteria brunch. (Do cafeterias serve brunch, anyway?) With head chef Eric Wood at the helm, unique flavours are combined to make maple-bourbon pears to go with your pancakes, shrimp and sausage grits for your eggs, and free cinnamon custard for just about everything. While the menu may be leagues above what you’ll find in any old community centre, the prices, fortunately, are not.
An ethical brunch, and tasty at that. Fanny Chadwick’s hasn’t been shy about letting people know about its local sourcing and hormone-free meats, though most customers seem more taken with its build-your-own-benny brunch option. Almost everything at Fanny Chadwick’s is natural and homemade, right down to the ketchup for the hash and the marshmallow for the hot chocolate.
A risky move, perhaps, to open right by Bloor Jane Restaurant, but The Good Fork won over Bloor West Villagers with its menu of unique brunch options. The Good Fork’s French toast croissants, pumpkin spiced waffles, and deep fried poached eggs are among its can’t-find-just-anywhere-options, and with two floors of seating, the risk of an excessive wait is a much reduced.
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