Breakfast certainly does get the shaft when it comes to meals. Toronto food bloggers take extreme closeups of decadent desserts and long-simmering meats – the kind of foods that warrant a Sunday afternoon at home. Oatmeal, cereal and eggs just aren’t as pretty or as impressive. We all know how to boil an egg. Yet how often do we do such things now that life is more geared towards the pace of our upgraded Smartphones?
Lest you surrender to a lifetime of cold milk and cereal, we do have an alternative (and it doesn’t have a Golden Arch in sight). Grab yourself a breakfast that gives your soul more than a reheated egg burrito. These restaurants are geared towards providing you with hot and tasty ways to start your day on the right foot. The next time someone chirps at you, “Good morning!” you may be tempted to reply, “It certainly is, isn’t it?”
These Toronto restaurants set you up with the kind of breakfast you would make for yourself if your morning wasn’t so hectic. From Mitzi’s Cafe in Roncesvalles, where the coffee is always flowing and the pancakes are substantial, to Bonjour Brioche which will have you dreaming of croissants, there are so many opportunities to do the morning right.
Brunch is great and all, but there are so many more chances to do breakfast. Go on. Become a morning person.
On a small corner in Leslieville, the little Bonjour Brioche Bakery Cafe brings the taste of a true French patisserie to life. Known mostly for its brunch menu options, Bonjour Brioche is a great choice whether you crave a piece of quiche or the sandwich du jour. Try something decadent like the Croque Madame sandwich with toasted brioche, ham, gruyere cheese and a fried egg. Or, consider a lighter dish like scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and horseradish cream. With quiche du jour, omelet du jour and a lot more du jour, you could come back often and never get bored. End your meal with sweet decadence in the form of one of the pastries made in house. From the service to the setting, everything here is simple and relaxed.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Whether you are pressed for time or have the opportunity to linger, Bonjour Brioche executes breakfast perfectly. Mais oui.
Courtney’s expert tip: Menu items are all spectacular, but I beg of you: order the bread. A warm brioche with homemade jam as you sip your coffee is the thing that dreams are made of.
Read more about Bonjour Brioche Bakery Cafe →
Vegan pancakes dusted with cinnamon? Eggs smothered in hollandaise? Gluten-free waffles drizzled in chocolate? Karine’s has it all. A hodgepodge of flavors, menu items borrow from Mediterranean and Lebanese cuisine, while providing the breakfast standbys that Canadians have grown to know and love. Vegan French toast is stuffed with house-made mixed berry preserve. Eggs Benny options offer Mediterranean sauces if you want a break from the traditional Hollandaise. It is a satisfying all-day breakfast that is heavy on the portions, so much so that it may last you all day. So that’s what “all-day breakfast” really means.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Dietary preferences are all respected with delicious options for the omnivore, vegan or gluten-free breakfast consumer.
Courtney’s expert tip: While you are there, pick up a vegan cupcake. You will need one of these in your life later.
Read more about Karine’s →
Photo courtesy of Tom Purves
Open 9 am to 3 pm every day, Aunties & Uncles takes the guesswork out of breakfast. It also takes out the boredom. People stand in blizzards on weekends in the hopes of this French toast. Banana oatmeal pancakes rouse similar cries of happiness, as sandwiched between the pancakes are thickly sliced bananas and savory oatmeal. Aunties & Uncles does remind you of the kitchen of your funky aunt and there is limited seating. In the summer, a patio opens up to give more people the opportunity to gorge on cheesy eggs. There is amazing house-made ketchup that you might find yourself licking off your fingers. Order conservatively, as the massive portions and thickly sliced challah toast will fill most bellies the first time around.
Recommended for Breakfast because: On a trip to Toronto, you must visit family. Aunties & Uncles will give you home-cooked breakfast fare without the arguments.
Courtney’s expert tip: The breakfast tacos are a must, they are stuffed with house-made chorizo sausage. Even if you are a master at breakfast when was the last time you made your own sausages? Wash it down with a rich hot chocolate to make sure there is a high point to your day.
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For those who didn’t excel in high school French, Le Petit Dejeuner means, quite simply, breakfast. This Belgian-Canadian style eatery has been busy cracking eggs since 2003 with hefty portions of everything that you are craving or ever will crave. The Hungry Gal has two eggs, toast, potato rosti, apple coleslaw and bacon. Crepes and waffles come sweet or savory. The waffles are crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. There are also the Croques: Monsieur, Madame and Bolognese. Within walking distance to the St. Lawrence Market, this is is a good place to fuel up prior to a long day of sampling. (No matter what day of the week you happen to be there.)
Recommended for Breakfast because: Fast service for amazing breakfast items before you hit the street for some epic Toronto sightseeing.
Courtney’s expert tip: Weekends are ridiculously busy, so do try to drop by on a weekday if you can.
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If school were always this fun, there would never be dropouts. School has giant clocks to remind you of the time, but by the throngs of businessmen and women ignoring it, you know that it is more for decor than function. Weekdays never looked so sumptuous, with pancakes stacked one on top of each other, like books used to be in your first version of school. The black and blue blueberry sauces tumble over the top, drowned in brown sugar butter. Super cheesy bacon French toast doesn’t shy away from gooey cheddar cheese (thank goodness, with the word “Super” in its title). On the weekends, they add more options, but they also get more patrons. Your call.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Pancakes date back to prehistoric times, but they have rarely been this good.
Courtney’s expert tip: The doors open at 10 am and if you come early, you will not only have a guaranteed seat but also a fair crack at the pancakes. It is wise to pace yourself. After all, you have a whole day in front of you.
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Photo courtesy of The Grapefruit Moon
Grapefruit Moon is certainly a prime University of Toronto spot, which means that the tables get as cluttered by textbooks as they do by food. This restaurant supplies its customers with ample laid-back comfort food. Their all-day breakfast that will have carnivores and vegans alike coming back for more. Get cozy and order a morning glory burger, piled high with a pork patty, Swiss cheese, bacon and a sunny side up egg. The vegan morrow is also impressively filling, with tofu scramble, sauteed vegetables and vegan cheese on toast. Served from 10:30 am, if you like what you taste come for even more selection on their Saturday and Sunday brunch. Vegan poutine with caramelized onions and a fried egg will be sure to soak up any remnants of a hangover.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Greasy and comforting breakfast and brunch items and four important words: house-made hot sauce.
Courtney’s expert tip: You can order online takeout on their website if you want to stay in your pajamas.
Read more about The Grapefruit Moon →
Photo courtesy of Jodi Pudge
Even after Toronto breakfast favorite, Lady Marmalade closed, the restaurant did not lose its popularity. Lady Marmalade reopened on Broadview in September 2018 to give patrons more of what they coveted. Daily breakfast is still as conscious as can be, with free-range eggs and meats, organic bread and local produce. Get down and dirty with some AM poutine smothered in miso gravy or hollandaise, poached eggs or veggie pulled pork or just some classic bacon. For the more virtuously inclined, there is a fresh fruit crepe with Balkan yogurt and house-made granola. The coffee is excellent from Acropolis Organics & Pilot Coffee Roasters.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Christina Aguilera would have been even more excited in her song of the same name if she had tried the eggs benny.
Courtney’s expert tip: Even during the week, you may experience a line. Don’t make it longer by forgetting your cash. This place doesn’t accept cards, but there is a bank with an ATM just a couple of doors down.
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Photo courtesy of Courtney Sunday
Mitzi’s Cafe is the type of place you go when you have time to linger. If you are pretty sure you are lost in the middle of a residential area, you are in the right spot, as Mitzi’s is tucked onto an offshoot of Roncesvalles. On weekends, you will see hipsters congregating outside the doors in eager anticipation for an unrushed experience of mismatched mugs and phenomenal food. Space is limited but a small patio does open in the summer. Menu items change daily so you can’t go in with any expectations, except to have some of the fluffiest of pancakes and most inventive egg dishes of your Toronto life. One of the seasonal choices was an oatmeal pancake with eggnog creamed cheese drizzle & gingerbread cookie crumble. It is rare to see a crumb left on a plate.
Recommended for Breakfast because: That Mitzi gets around and thank goodness, as no one can do a pancake better.
Courtney’s expert tip: Grab a homemade muffin to go. Once you have been outdone by breakfast, this will make for a nice reminder of your morning (and PS, they are great).
Read more about Mitzi’s Cafe →
Photo courtesy of Stacy Spensley
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin wrote, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” We believe that it is a truth universally acknowledged that a good person in possession of some spare time, must be in want of a brunch. Emma’s Country Kitchen doesn’t just save the goods for the weekend but has an all-day breakfast that may have you reconsidering your day job. (That’s what personal days are for!) You can get your bennys on fluffy homemade biscuits or you can choose their house-roasted granola parfait piled high with berries. Even if you don’t eat a doughnut there, it is a must to take one of their many beauties home.
Recommended for Breakfast because: Doughnuts, eggs benedict and mimosas on a weekday? Yes, please.
Courtney’s expert tip: If looking at pictures of glazed doughnuts decorated with Froot Loops makes you happy, then you might want to consider following Emma’s Country Kitchen’s Facebook page.
Read more about Emma’s Country Kitchen →
Photo courtesy of Maman
If you have a thing for uber-cute French patisseries, get thee over to First Canadian Place in downtown Toronto. Maman hails from New York and is the place to grab a slice of lavender blueberry loaf cake and an on-point latte to get on with your day. Or, if you want to be more European, grab a seat at one of their rustic wooden tables and stay awhile. Have a quiche Marie with peas, roasted fennel and goat cheese or nibble at a Mediterranean platter with hummus, mixed olives and toast. It is the ultimate place to read the paper in downtown Toronto.
Recommended for Breakfast because: A rustic French kitchen, adorable coffee cups and ambiance up the wazoo.
Courtney’s expert tip: Finding Maman can be a little bit of a struggle in Toronto’s underground PATH, but look for the French-inspired bicycle outside the door as your landmark.
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