Noon

1088 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Phone: 647 436-0666

Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm

Noon is in the process of re-vamping their menu with new items. They used to have smoothies, not as good as “Easy” but were well known for them.  They are also known to have one of the best pancakes (chocolate chip or banana, or blueberry) but on my last visit, they ran out of pancake batter.

I guess they are in the midsts of “reorganizing”.  They ran out of home fries and their espresso machine was not working the last time i went there for brunch.  Seems like a disorganized business, but the food was wonderful.

For my meal, i ordered a grilled vegetable with goat cheese grilled panini sandwich) with a side of greens.
With friendly service and great food, it’s worth going.

Some tips to follow: don’t go to Noon at noon, it’s too busy.  We waited in line for 30 minutes and our food took a long time, since there are only 2 waiting staff and 2 cooks. The art on the walls was missing, due to the artist taking his/her art for a show.  The place definitely looked like it was in a state of transition.

Aaron and Wendy’s dishes were not hot like mine, but cold (Wendy complained of her toasted sandwich that was cold) . I loved my dish, could not complain. They do not do egg white omeletes so i was not happy.

Service was friendly and they were able to get us quickly to a 3 person table. In sum, i would try Noon again, i am still hopeful, it is a kick-ass place. In addition to breakfast, they also serve lunch, soups, salads and sandwiches,

They have a liquor license and a patio (weather permitting). They serve red and white wine, beer and cocktails.
Smoked salmo served is Applegirth and they serve Beretta Organic Farm meats. Pastries are from Madeleine’s patisserie across the street.
 
Noon Restaurant is known as the home of Build Your Own Breakfast located at 1088 Bathurst Street in Toronto’s Annex district. Interac and Cash are accepted. In my view, it’s also known as a place that cannot manage its inventory.  Noon offers pick-up, catering, and week-day reservations. At the time of our visit, they had a conditional pass

Tinto Coffee House

 89 Roncesvalles
416-530-5885

At first glance, Tinto looks like a lovely place, with 2 levels, many vegetarian items, and an overall great atmosphere. 

Unfortunately, our experience was most disappointing.  Although the actual food was excellent, our service was slow and horrible. With very few egg dishes, with mostly vegetarian options, organic fair trade coffee, in a short and long format menu. 

 The long form looks like a scholarly, peer reviewed journal article with bibliographic references, footnotes (very tongue and cheek).  It was rather entertaining.

Food is Latin American inspired, incredible, great portions. Tinto has a lofty space on 2 levels. It has a comfortable decor of hues of red and earth tones. It is very spacious with hardwood tables and chairs.  The overall “look and feel” won me over.  Tinto works with local suppliers to offer local food.  They offer free magazines to read, all-day breakfast and brunch, soups,  amazing funky salads, grilled wraps, sandwiches, pastries, and hot and cold beverages.

For my meal, I  ordered the black bean with goat cheese, grilled pepper and eggplant, with a side salad of greens.

To conclude, if you live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, Tinto is the place for you!  Tinto also hosts the occasional documentary film screening or spoken word night on its upper level. They hold many workshops in activism, poetry, storytelling, songs, and prose.

Delux

 92 Ossington Ave.
416-537-0134.

Aaron, Brandon,  and I went to Delux for Brunch sometime ago after one of our runs. Delux is a French-Cuban restaurent and replaced The Sparrow. Inside, it’s funky like a loft-style condo, with high ceilings, ultra modern with exposed brick,funky art (think Andy Warhol).

Marble tables with dark wood surround the place. Located in funky hipster Ossington and Queen area, very up and coming neighbourhood for foodies and art farts and hipsters. The only problem was that it lacked signage and the restaurant has that “we’ve just opened” feel to it. The plus-side is the food came promptly so we didn’t have to have to whip out our laptops and play party poker to kill time or even start nibbling.

The brunch and dinner menu but a bit pricey. For my brunch i had the buttermilk French toast (without the challah-scandal) and the apple compote mixture was small (I would have liked more of the apple portion). It was accompanied with maple syrup. I was disappointed that they did not serve lattes, just the old original espresso drinks.
 Aaron and Brandon started with the breakfast doughnuts (fresh and homemade, dusted with cinnamon sugar. The menu claimed the doughnuts were filled with cocoa cream but it was actually on the side as a dipping sauce.
They both opted for the cidar-brined pork and potato and caramelized onion frittata with smoked bacon and green salad 2 eggs “en cocotte” with fine herbs and buttered breadcrumbs and grilled toast.

Other items at Delux include granola and yogourt with fresh seasonal fruit, typical and expected at every brunch establishment.  They also served caramelized banann and nutella crepes with maple syrup and chantilly cream (yummy but too rich for me).  Other offerings include soft boiled eggs with grilled bread and smoked bacon.

I ordered the buttermilk French toast with apple compote (too little, not enough for me) with maple brown butter (not really butter), a really thick maple syrup. Other items for those not into eggs was the croque monsieur with grilled ham, gruyere cheese with potatoes and greens (perfect for Wendy as she does not eat eggs).

Lastly, the Cubano sandwich, a slow roasted pork with gruyere cheese, pickles, red onion, grainy mustard, and chipotle mayonnaise and a side of greens.

Delux serves a variety of beverages, including mimosa, organic fair trade coffee, espresso drinks (unfortunately no flavoured lattes), organic tea, and fresh juices)
Service was friendly but kind of slow.  They took a long time to bring us the menu when we requested a dinner menu. However, they were friendly, pleasant and the ambiance was worth a second visit for sure.

Hibiscus Organics

 238 Augusta Ave.
416-364-6183

Hibiscus Organics is an organic, dairy, wheat, egg-free vegan cafe located in funky (and up and coming) Kensington Market on Augusta Avenue. Hibiscus Organics used to be more of a gift shop with stationary, some take out specialty gourmet food items but when Wendy and I went there in November, it looked as though they set up some tables.

It is a small cafe, very small (like 3 tables, 12 seats) and people do stay and get comfy, but it’s more of a place for light meals, coffee, and dessert, not proper 6 course meals. Hibiscus serves a variety of sweet and savoury gluten free crepes (made from buckwheat) and a variety of vegan ice cream in many flavours. Salads are healthy, vegan, organic, and most are raw.

This small cafe has an elegant decor. With antique wood bookcases with herbal teas and oils. The place is barely 500 square feet so when another review claimed 12 seats, I thought barely, but you could “fit” 12 seats in this cafe.

They serve vegetarian and vegan crepes with 15 filling ingredients to choose from (including seasonal fruit) plus soup and several cold salads such as quinoa tabouli, pasta, potato and others.

For dessert there is an excellent selection of vegan cookies, brownies, and homemade soy ice cream along with coffee and tea. Food served is mainly for take out but there are 3-4 small tables and when Wendy and I went for lunch, we sat a bench facing the cash register. Fancy oils and gourmet products, bulk rice and grains are tastefully arranged on the walls.

Wendy and I both ordered a mixed salad with beans, quinoa, veggies, with dried cranberries, with the amazing aroma of sesame oil and lemon (or lime). We also enjoyed a cold salad of marinated tofu with green beans saturated in balsamic vinegar. Since I was having a colonoscopy the next week, i could not eat anything RED or have dairy or have any NUTS. Wendy’s dish had the sunflower seeds, beets, and I took out the dried cranberries in my dish since I was told not to eat anything red.

Hibiscus also serves organic smoothies and sodas. Some deserts include soy ice cream like ginger masala (trendy), chocolate-raspberry pseudo cupcakes, cookies, and square. Opened Mon-Sat noon-7pm, Sun 2pm-7pm. Not wheelchair accessible as you need to schlep up a set of 5 stairs. Very cosy, calm, and not pretentious. We definitely left feeling healthy, fresh, light, yet happily satisfied.

River

 413 Roncesvalles
416-535-3422

 

River is a classic French restaurant located in the heart of Roncesvalles Village. It offers an amazing menu with large portions and much selection. I had passed this place many times and i had heard they serve a wonderful brunch and they also hire street kids to work and gain responsibility. I thought it was wonderful to read about programs that help disadvantage youth jump-start their lives again and i was impressed River participated in this type of program.

Although River is known for its dinner, Aaron, Brandon, and myself went for a lazy Sunday brunch. River serves an assortment of pastas (smoked chicken linguini, pesto farfale, banana curry penne), and salads (caesar, baby spinach, and field greens). Sandwiches include a grilled burger, grilled portobello burger, and cajun chicken club. Mains include pan fried salmon fillet, grilled rib eye steak, chevre and basil stuffed chicken breast, grilled pork tenderloin, grilled portobello mushroom caps, and lamb.

The brunch menu is very small and mostly comprises egg dishes. It could definitely be expanded. However, the portions are large and food is amazing and very fresh. For my brunch, i ordered the egg white omelete with pesto, spinach, mushroom, and oka cheese. It came with yummy salad, delicately spiced home fries, but no toast (odd). Brandon ordered the eggs florentine (two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin with spinach, hollandaise sauce) and it came with a side of salad and delicious home fries. Aaron ordered the big breakfast (two eggs any style, bacon, peameal, sausage, served a side salad, toast, and home fries. Heart attack on a plate.

River’s brunch is offered Sat + Sun from 11am-3:30pm. This place also participates in the “All Aboard” Youth Venture program that offers employment opportunities for homeless youth so it allows them to re-build their lives and it allows them to re-integrate back into society. Other brunch items include salads, chicken wraps, French Toast, breakfast burrito, an 8 ounce hamburger, and different varieties of Eggs Benedict.

River offers many vegetarian selections. Also serves an extensive wine list, extensive alcoholic coffees, cocktails, mixed drinks, domestic and foreign beers, and organic fair trade coffee with free refills . Accepts all cards. Offers catering, corporate functions, and parties (weddings, birthdays, baby showers, social gatherings, and Christmas parties). Open Thursday through Sunday for dinner 5pm-10pm and Sat/Sun for brunch 11am-3:30pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Fully licensed and accepts all cards.

B

 2210 Dundas
416-533-2987

Yes, this place is called “B”, simple and sweet. The “B” could mean anything, like breakfast, brunch, or beautiful, or it can simply be just that, the letter “B”.

Aaron had previously went to “B”, a simple cafe right where Ronscy Village starts just south of Bloor where Dundas splits and heads eastward. B is a small cafe, aka Mitzi’s style with only about 5 tables. It’s cosy and homey and has the menu written on a chalkboard (like Mitzis) but they do accept Interac and the prices are FAR less expensive than the crazy trendified Mitzis. As well, you won’t have to line up for an hour to get into Mitzis.

Many veggie options for me as I ordered the tofu scramble ($7) , accompanied with a side of delicately spiced home fries and a choice of toast (I chose rye). Aaron ordered the omelete with duck and apple sausage, home fries, and toast. With extra special and friendly service, unlimited coffee, a selection of espresso drinks that were actually affordable ($2.50 for lattes), and the funkyness of Queen West (minus the trend), i was very impressed with “B”.

Menu is small and simple. I noticed that they had the granola and fruit and yogourt options as well as oatmeal, omeletes, pancakes or waffles, and an assortment of breakfast squares. Reminds me of a very small Yasi’s Place since both are on the edge of trend, but without the trendy prices, maybe it’s because both are on the edge of gentrified neighbourhoods.

On my second visit with Wendy, i had the French Toast with berries and brie and portions were perfect (not too large and not too small). In sum, it was a nice brunch and I would definitely go back to try out more of their menu. Wendy was quite impressed with her meal (tofu eggs with duck and apple sausage and rye toast. My fruit was carved out in a very artistic fashion and presentation was beautiful. Wendy commented that these cooks were real culinary chefs. Both our dishes had the letter “B” carved out of a cucumber (or onion). Prices were very reasonable, included tax, service was fast and extra friendly. We really felt pampered and there were no complaints.

“B” accepts cash and interac but no credit cards. “B” is funky with white walls, great art for sale, and is located right at Dundas and Roncesvalles across from the Starbucks in the old bank building.

Nazareth Restaurant

 969 Bloor Street West
416-535-0797

Nazareth is a small narrow restaurant run and owned by one person, Nazareth. Conveniently located at Bloor near Ossington (near Queen of Sheba) this place is a hidden gem in the Bloor corridor between Christie and Lansdowne. The owner is friendly, enthusiastic, and warm. The capacity of the place is not all that large. There are five to six tables arranged in a columnar fashion against the west wall of the restaurant. Seating a group bigger than 5 ? 6 people can be a challenge. The dimly lit atmosphere, paintings and local art covered walls in addition to the visible clientele make it all a true Ethiopian dining experience.

The menu is small, with essentially three choices, beef, chicken or veggie. The platters are huge and can be pleasantly satisfying for two people. The prices are very reasonable. For the two of us (veggie platter + two teas) we paid $13 including tax and tip. Our veggie platter was only $7.50 and it was just enough for two people. It comprised saut饤 chollard greens, peas, two types of mashed lentil dishes, boiled spiced cabbage, and salad.

The Ethiopian spiced tea (black tea) was amazing. It was similar to Indian Chai this tea was essentially Darjeeling or Ceylon or Earl Grey with cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Unlike most Ethiopian restaurants, the food was served hot , as opposed to most places that serve their dishes warm. Another observation was that our injera (like thin sourdough spongy pita) was served warm. Most Ethiopian places serve their injera cold and clammy.

Pria and Martin ordered the tibs dish, which was essentially different types beef cubes with salad and other vegetable dishes. For their meal they had to order another dish but for us, it was just enough food.

The flavours at Nazareth are much better than any I have tasted so far. She cooks the meal right when you order it, as opposed to having it pre-cooked and heating it before serving. This adds an intangible aura of freshness and a distinct irresistible flavour that I have not found anywhere else. I have eaten there for the past year, while frequenting other Ethiopian places on the occasion and have always returned to Nazareth. It could also be the ambiance coupled with her food makes it all the more authentic. Only being served by one person makes it feel more authentic.

The last time i went to Nazareth it was $26 for 4 people (the big veggie platter for 4 people) with a side of salad and the ceremonial Ethiopian coffee. We did not feel ripped off (like other Ethiopian restaurants in the city) and portions were large and plentiful. On this particular visit, Nazareth went crazy on the salt and we found chunks in our food, but overall, the food was piping hot, not too spicy, and perfectly portioned.

Late night dining .. all the way to 1.00 am . As long as she has food in the kitchen she will serve you. On Thursdays and weekends, the place acquires a more bar type atmosphere after 11.00 pm. The music is turned up a notch, with the demographics composed of a casual, super friendly, gregarious and a non-pretentious crowd. Dinner is still served in this atmosphere. Accepts all cards. Liquor license.