Lakeview Lunch

1132 Dundas Street West
phone number: 416-530-0871

After having visited a bunch of the trendier brunch places in recent weeks, Lakeview Lunch went in a bit of different direction. A typical 50’s style diner with booths and old movie posters lining the walls, I half expected personal jukeboxes at our eating station reminiscent of good old Lime Rickeys.

The menu was large serving an all day breakfast ranging from your typical eggs,toast and home fries to across the globe omelettes like the “Tel Aviv” or the “Athens”. The good thing about the breakfasts was that they came with baked beans, a personal favourite addition to any breakfast. The lunch menu was also quite large and we debated getting a cappacino milkshake.

I ended up settling for the Lox Eggs Benedict which was your typical eggs benedict with hollandaise on an english muffin with some lox. Nothing special and the lox weren’t that tasty. The homefries were flat and soft but not too bad. My friend chose a sandwhich off the lunch menu consisting of avacado, cheese, and some fancy mayo served on a huge bed of fries. He said it was delicious and from the bite I had I would have to agree.

For other reviews on Lakeview Lunch check out:

http://www.toronto-underground.com/index.html?/food_drink/local/fusion.html

http://www.martiniboys.com/pages/reviews/lakeview.htm

Saving Grace

907 Dundas Street West
*new phone number (July 2005)*: 416 703-7368
old phone number: 416-899-9186

Saving Grace ranks up as the best brunch place I have eaten in Toronto and it all boils down to one item on the menu. No matter what one says about decor, ambience and wait time (not that there is a problem with any of that here), the most important factor in a restaurant is still the food. Saving Grace kicks ass in this respect.

The menu item I am refering to is the toasted raisin bread sandwich with avacado, old white cheddar cheese, lettuce, and rosemary mayonaisse. To be honest, I was not even the one to order this delectable treat (I lost again), but my brunch compadre was fortunate enough to make the correct choice. One bite of his sandwich sent me over the edge. Since that time, I have tried, with varying degrees of success to imitate this fine specimen of food; however, nothing I do comes close to wonders that are this sandwich.

Other notes on Saving Grace would be the amusing waiter who kept refering to me and my friend as “babe” throughout the meal. I liked this touch. The closeness of the tables provides a very residential touch to the smallish room, and allows you to check out the orgasmic expressions of all who taste “The Sandwich”.

Other reviews on Saving Grace:

http://www.toronto-underground.com/index.html?/food_drink/local/cafes.html

http://www.eye.net/eye/issue/issue_05.11.00/foodanddrink/food.html

Bonjour Brioche

 

 812 Queen St. East   Toronto, ON
416 406-1250

Having risen early (6:30 a.m. on a Sunday!) for an “all-staff meeting” for work, I was rarin’ to eat some good brunch by 10 a.m. Bonjour Brioche did not dissapoint. Located just west of Hello Toast on Queen St., Bonjour Brioche has a slightly upscale menu and also serves as bakery, with baguettes and ‘brioches’ (sweet buns with a different something inside). After waiting about 20 minutes we were seated in the shade on the patio, which is on the side of the restaurant. Scanning the menu, I was recommended the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and topped with caviar. However, upon further inspection I went with the ‘Tart of the Day’ which consisted of roasted garlic, mushroom and asiago cheese. I’m not sure how a tart differs from a quiche as they seem very similar, but this one was rich and tasty. Brigette also tried a tart but her’s had spinach, ricotta and olives inside. Her’s was milder tasting but also delicious. Marina had the omelette of the day which consisted of smoked salmon and creme fraiche, while Mark (not Polger) had the french toast which was incredibly rich and sweet (maybe too much so). Everyone came away fully satisfied.

http://www.toronto-underground.com/index.html?/food_drink/local/brunch.html
http://www.martiniboys.com/pages/reviews/bonjourbri.htm

Cafe Demetre

 400 Danforth Av
(416) 778-6654

188 Eglinton Ave East
(416) 485-4610 

3280 Dufferin Street
(416) 789-CAFE (2233)

2962 Bloor Street West
(416) 234-CAFE (2233)

If you are looking for a trendy hotspot for desserts (cakes, pies), home made ice cream, sundaes, granitas, gourmet coffee, ice cream floats, come to Cafe Demetre. This place is a chain and it located in many neighbourhoods in Toronto and outside the GTA. Expect to see people who dress up for dessert. Prices are not cheap but portions are huge and made for the gluten in you. There are few healthy selections.

I usually order the yogourt in a tall glass with seasonal fruit and granola or the fruit grannitas which are pureed fruit,and crushed ice. Service is kind of slow (it’s very busy) but staff are friendly and accomodating.  The decor is bright and colourful and filled with Disney paraphernalia.

It has an almost child-like quality to the decor, fun, colourful, funky chairs, almost 1950’s diner style dessert hangout. Many cake varieties with huge “take home” portions that leave people full. A great place to take someone on a date but the place can get noisy and rowdy on a Saturday night. Expect lineups on the weekend, even during the winter.

By The Way Cafe

400 Bloor St. W.
(416) 967-4295

Located right at the corner of Bloor and Brunswick, right spack dab in the Annex, this quaint little cafe is quiet, dimly lit, intimate, and serves vegetarian friendly fare.

It also has a beautiful wall mural and has the ambiance of a romantic cafe. There is an identical lunch and dinner menu (prices are slightly higher for dinner) and there are daily dinner specials. Dinner specials range from $12-$16.

The place is small and the prices are a bit high for me, but there’s something special about this cafe. SIMPLICITY!

There is a large summer terrace (patio) that is available all year around (it’s heated during the winter.) They also have a marketing technique where you can join a mailing list and you get a coupon for a free entre on your birthday. Offer is only available the month of your birthday from Sunday through Wednesday.

Soft drink prices are retarded ($3.00 for a small) and the menu is mostly Mediterranean. I usually have the Mediterranean combination platter with hummus, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh and Israeli salads. The platter comes with pita and it $9.00.

The last time I went, I had the honey carrot ginger soup (all soups are vegetarian, unless specified) and the veggie burger. The veggie burger ($10.00) came with fries but I substituted it for grilled zucchini and peppers for an additional $3.00.

I also had the option to order the veggie burger with a bun or pita (I chose pita.) Wendy had the chicken breast stuffed with chevre, and pesto. The dish was served with aromatic rice. Wendy also ordered the African lentil soup and when I tasted I thought it was one of the best soups I’ve had in a long time. Wendy’s chicken dish was $16 and our soups were $4.

Presentation is beautiful at By The Way Cafe.

By The Way Cafe also serves weekend brunch with a variety of dishes including eggs, omeletes, waffles, sandwiches, soups, and French toast. Unofrtunately they charge extra for egg white omeletes (+$1.50) and substituting salads for their standard fries and toast (which comes with every egg dish) (+$2.50). Nonetheless, the food is outstanding and service is stellar, BUT it’s TOO expensive. Accepts all cards and Interac. Beautiful heated outdoor terrace open most of the year.

Pappas Grill

440 Danforth Ave,
469-9595
 

Web site: http://www.pappasgrill.com

Located right in the heart of the Danforth, Pappas Grill serves fresh traditional Greek fare and Italian cuisine as well. Call it Gree-talian or Euro Fusion. Located on two “half” levels, plus a semi-basement dining hall, this spacious restaurant has that “open concept,” “airy.” feel. Those two terms are overused but the space really gives the illusion that Pappas’s Grill is a large place, when in fact, it’s not that big.

The menu is super large with many items. Unfortunately, there are very few vegetarian items. I love the exposed brick surrounding the restaurant, the many plants, art, olive oil decorative bottles, and the high ceilings and windows.

On my first visit I ordered a whole pizza called Hearts and Sole with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce. It was yummy but did not have enough tomato sauce for my liking. Pappas Grill also has an extensive wine list and many desserts. There is a wine list but not dessert menu. Each night there are about 5-6 cakes and pies to choose from. Some include chocolate mousse and various cheesecakes.

On my next visit, I decided to avoid pizza since it was not really Greek. I ordered two appetizers; an order of Spanakotiropita- a pie consisting of spinach, leek, feta, and egg wrapped in thin sheet pastry ( known as filo dough). Most places call it Spanokopita. It was super delicious and not too greasy. I also ordered the Eggplant Patriota, which was simply two slices of grilled eggplant with a brushchetta topping, talk about Greek fusion (Greek + Italian).

There are not many vegetarian options as the Vine Leaves (Dolmades or Dolmodakia) are sadly not vegetarian. As well, the Mousaka only comes in the meat version. However, there is an Italian flavour to this Greek establishment as they have a Grilled Vegetable sandwich and a large assortment of pasta dishes.

My cousin ordered a Pork souvlaki that came with salad, rice and roast potatoes. His partner ordered the grilled Atlantic salmon topped with sautéed spinach, served with rice and steamed vegetables and she said it was fabulous.

There is a nice bar on the upper dining level and it overlooks the main floor. The restaurant is very “open concept” High windows make the place very bright and cheerful. The food is very good (according to my cousins) and the overall ambiance is really nice. Prices are between $10.95-$15.95 for most meals. There is an extensive brunch menu for the weekend (Sat/Sun 11am-3pm) and their large lunch menu is only valid Mon-Fri from 11am-3pm.

Sunset Grill

2006 Queen E
(416) 690-9985

2313 Yonge Street
(416) 482-4229

1422 Dundas Street West
(416) 532-1571

1602 Danforth Avenue (near Coxwell)
(416) 466-0648

1 Richmond Street West
(416) 861-0514

2200 Bloor St W
(416) 763-1444

I went to this diner with my friends on an early Sunday morning. Be warned, go early because the lineups start after 11:00am. They serve breakfast all day long but breakfast specials end at 11:00am. The place is non-pretentious, noisy, has that “greasy spoon” feel and has a large menu of classic breakfast food. The only problem is that there is very little selection for the vegetarian person. The only vegetarian breakfast items are fruit salad and yogourt and cereal, all served a la carte. I ordered the fruit salad with an order of yogourt. The portions were decent and I was satisifed. The second time I visitid Sunset Grill, I had the frittata, a yummy egg white omelete with mushroom, onion, and green pepper. It was not greasy, and light and fluffy and very fresh.

My friends had typical breakfast fare: eggs, bacon, and toast with coffee. The tables are close together and the place is very noisy. The place is bright and seats many tables. There are no bells and whistles, no super cheery waitresses, just good, honest, fast, reliable service. The prices are cheap (<$10) and the food is flavourful. I would not go back because I could not eat very much but it is definitely a hit with my carnivore friends. They only accept cash. 😦