Note: Restaurants come, go, and change menus frequently. Please check the website for each of the below before visiting for the most up-to-date information
Brunch, is the most important meal of the day. I love brunch and when I recently moved to a new neighbourhood in Toronto, I realized that the only brunch spots I frequented were the ones in my old neighbourhood (Liberty Village). I needed to find some new go-to places that were around me and on the quest to find places near me, I may have expanded this to finding the best brunch instead.
So I set out on a mission. I curated a list which I called my “Brunch Bucket List” of places I needed to go and try to consider for inclusion in this blog post. I’m a strong believer that I can’t just recommend places I haven’t tried myself! Each of these places on this list was tried and tested by me, and no, no one paid me to write good things about them! Although this is only a small fraction of the yummy brunch joints in Toronto, these are definitely some you need to try.
School was probably where my Toronto brunch love affair started. Located in Liberty Village, School’s restaurant is school themed, with juice in beaker glasses and progress report receipts. They have a great patio in the summer months and serve yummy, fancy twists on breakfast classics. The orange-infused french toast coated in rice crispies is my favourite but the bacon and cheese french toast may just cure your hangover. Be prepared to wait in line if you don’t get there at the opening on weekends.
Location: 70 Fraser Avenue
Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-3pm, Saturday-Sunday 9:30am-3pm
Menu: Available here
Special notes: No reservations
Known for its Middle-Eastern sharing dishes that they serve at lunch and dinner, Fet Zun only recently (as of 2023) came out with a brunch menu that is to die for. If you’re looking for breakfast that includes the delicious flavours of Middle-Eastern cuisine, this is for you!
Located downstairs of the Beverly Hotel on Queen Street West, Ration has some delicious and creative twists on brunch classics and serves Strange Love coffee (one of my favs). I got the eggs benny!
Located at Church and Wellesley, Smith is the cutest, three-floor, restaurant in an old converted house. I sat in the ballet studio area which had mirrors on the wall, a ballet bar, and pointe shoes as decorations. I don’t know if they purposely sat me there due to my love of dance, but I loved it. The menu has a mix of sweet and savory and has daily waffle and pancake specials, which I had (see above). This was one of my favourites on this list for sure.
Part of the Oliver & Bonacini restaurant empire, Lena’s menu is inspired by South America. The ambiance of the place is a cute, yet classy cafe which makes for a cozy and bright brunch spot. Lena’s wasn’t on my original list of places to try but it took me by surprise when I ended up there. Their avocado toast with chickpea spread and oven-dried tomatoes were simple but delicious and I’m eager to go back and try some of their other unique and exotic brunch items.
This Dundas West diner has a mix of the old-school diner vibe with a modern twist. Old School is a venture that was created by the chef behind School which also made this list and the menu definitely is just as impressive. Serving unique twists to old classics, like latka egg benedict and cheesecake stuffed french toast, I can’t wait to go back here to try more menu items! I ordered the brown sugar, bacon, and banana waffles, and also tried the blueberry hill pancakes (photographed above). The best part was that we walked in at noon on a Saturday and got a table with no problem, which is rare in a yummy Toronto brunch restaurant.
Location: 800 Dundas West
Hours: Saturday-Sunday 8am-5pm
Menu: Available here
Special notes: Make reservations
Another Toronto favourite, The Ace was a brunch spot I was eager to try, despite the location that is a bit out of the way unless you’re visiting the far West End of Toronto in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. The Ace is a cute diner that will often have people waiting outside for its opening on weekends. Their brunch menu has all the favourites as well as a weekend omelet, waffle, and other specials. I had the french toast made with thick-sliced baguettes and topped with caramelized bananas and french blueberries.
Location: 231A Roncesvalles Avenue
Hours: Saturday-Sunday 9:30am-3pm
Menu: Available here
Special notes: Reservations not available
I have been waiting to go to Saving Grace for a while now, however, it’s often very busy and hard to get into. Expect to wait! This converted old house serves a simple, yet delicious menu. I had a half order of both the pancake and waffle specials because I couldn’t decide which I wanted (lemon and blueberry waffles and pumpkin and walnut pancakes), both were delicious! One thing to note is that they don’t have a liquor license so if you’re wanting a boozy brunch this isn’t the place for you.
Location: 907 Dundas Street West
Hours: Open Monday-Friday 9am-2:30pm, Saturday-Sunday 10am-2:30pm
Menu: Available here
Special notes: No reservations are available. When you arrive (if it’s full), you’ll need to put your name on the wait list hanging inside and wait outdoors until it’s your turn to be seated.
Another Liberty Village favourite, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen is known for its buttermilk blueberry pancakes served with maple syrup and whipped cream. Mildred’s also has a great patio in the summer months and is a fan favourite across the city, not just in the West End. When I first visited here and had the eggs benedict, I wasn’t completely blown away but when I returned to give it a second chance to live up to its hype, I ordered the famous pancakes and was nothing short but impressed.
This adorable and spacious brunch spot is just off King Street West and serves a modern spin to Middle Eastern cuisine. They have a vegetarian-forward menu that doesn’t lack flavours, spices, and colour. We had the qatayef pancakes which had ashta cream, rose, pistachio, pomegranate, and date syrup. They were so delicious. Then I also tried green shakshouka which was loaded with flavor. Definitely, a great spot if you’re looking for something different.
These are just a few of many brunch spots in the city and I would love to hear your favourites! Share them below in the comments.