Live music brunch in Toronto
When the best of two worlds collide, the result looks a lot like scrambled eggs, bacon, dancing on a Sunday afternoon. Yes, I'm talking about live music brunches, where the gloriousness of the weekend brunch is paired with live music, and often, dancing.
Not the best cure for a hangover, of course, but I've found that starting your Sunday with a live music brunch is one of the best ways to get in good spirits for the upcoming week. Bluegrass and pancakes--really, that's all it takes.
Here are some places in Toronto that offer live music along with brunch.
This is Sunday brunch--salsa style. Lula Lounge on Dundas west of Dufferin offers not just live music from Luis Mario Ochoa's Traditional Cuban Quartet, but also beginner salsa lessons for anyone at the "brunch party." The $25 cover (free for kids 12 and under) includes a buffet with staples including scrambled eggs and bacon, as well as specialty items including vegetarian Cuban black beans and spicy chicken or beef stew. Starts at 11 a.m., with music beginning at noon.
The Dakota Tavern
The Dakota Tavern's Bluegrass Brunch is a wranglin' good time with family-style wooden tables and all the eggs, pancakes, fruit, sausages and potatoes you can eat. The bluegrass bands are always fantastic, which is a good thing since I've never been able to keep up a conversation over the strumming, singing, and foot stompin' going on onstage. Bluegrass Brunch is every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $18 for adults and $7 for kids.
Dominion on Queen
Sunday is Rock-a-billy Brunch at Dominion on Queen, where Alistair Christl and guests serve up some rock n' roll while you enjoy your favourite brunch fare from Dominion on Queen's menu. Every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Queen East just west of Sumach, and yes, there's a dance floor.
Free Times Cafe
Bella's Bistro serves up authentic "Jewish food" every Sunday for its "Bella! Did Ya Eat?" Sunday brunch. Ah, just like home. With a buffet full of blintzes, lox, bagels, gefilte fish, salads and more, along with Klezmer music and Yiddish bands, there will be nothing left to kvetch about. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., $19.95 per person and half price for kids 12 and under.
While it has changed its name from the Regal Heights Bistro to DeSotos, the Sunday Jazz brunch still holds true. An area favourite, jazz bands strike up at 11 a.m. while you devour your eggs benny or spinach frittata. On St. Clair between Dufferin and Oakwood, no cover and brunch is Ă la carte.
Yes, they serve breakfast at the Rextaurant! And they call it breakfast too, appropriate since it starts at 9 a.m. Of course, the Excelsior Dixieland Jazz Band doesn't take the stage until 12 p.m., which is the absolute earliest I'd order my Sunday eggs and toast. No cover.
Hot House CafĂŠ
"We will have our Sunday brunch until the end of time," the owner tells me. The live jazz Sunday brunch at this touristy restaurant is a top contender for widest range of fare, with a buffet of steamed mussels, baked chicken, stir-fry, pasta and more, along with bacon, eggs, and other regulars. Live music is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., $18.95 for adults and kids under five are free.
This one is for those of you who are still rolling out of bed at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. La Palette, which has recently moved to Queen West near Portland, has live music from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., during which you can order from its brunch menu. Jazz trumpet band Rambunctious is a frequent performer, along with folk/gypsy/punk band Lemon Bucket Orkestra. No cover.
Graffiti's Bar and Grill
It might look a little rough around the edges, but few spots are more fun that this Kensington Market spot on a Sunday. Stop by between 11am and 3pm for some live tunes and surprisingly good food (served a la carte) including omelettes and a variety of non egg offerings.
Boots & Bourbon
The new option on the east side, this Queen and Broadview country bar gets things started at 11am most Sundays (best to call first to confirm it's happening) and rings in at $20 per person for an AYCE feast. Ordering a-la-carte is an option too.
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