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

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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.

The Original Banh Mi Factory [closed Dec 2007]

1325 Finch Avenue
416-631-0070

[closed Dec 2007]

The Original Banh Mi Factory (Banh Mi meaning Bread) is a bakery, dessert, soup, smoothie, and submarine eatery with free Internet, 3 large TV screens with Muchmore music playing and has a casual and clean ambiance.

It may claim to be Canada’s largest sandwich shop, but The Original Bahn Mi (Vietnamese for sandwich) Factory has much more than sandwiches. Along with a selection of tasty Vietnamese subs, the 7,600-square-foot restaurant has a menu featuring more than 125 items.

I went with my colleague Carmen for lunch there and i was shocked at the selection. They have Pho (Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soups), as well as a large Bubble Tea selection, home made baguette, sushi, a vast array of desserts, Thai dishes like cold salad rolls (veggie and shrimp). Prices are beyond superb for what you get. I ordered a 6″ sub with thinly sliced tofu, thinly sliced carrot, cilantro, rice noodles, and pickled vegetables. The homemade baguette bread was hot and fresh, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.

The place is a little kitcshy as it has two large TV screen with Much More Music playing movies like Grease and TV like Fame (all content on Much More Music is music themed). Also offers Internet access and has a large kiosk for freshly baked goods. The Original Banh Mi Factory resembles a bakery, sub shop, smoothie / frozen drink cafe with a smooth kiosk and professional blenders ready to make Bubble Tea smoothies.

A cool incentive of this place is if you spend more then $10 they will give you a free baguette to take home. In all reviews I’ve consulted, I am told that the Rose Cafe is the best when it comes to Vietnamese Subs, but this place is damn good to begin with. Baguettes (white or whole wheat) are made on the premises (which is a plus) and prices are quite reasonable.

Unfortunately the Pho dishes, which look large, satisfying, and healthy, are all beef based, since traditional Pho is comprised of raw beef that cooks with the veggies in the heated beef broth (GROSS). The place does remind me of McDonalds since it’s large, clean, and has a simple, fast food “look and feel”. They plan on having a drive thru window soon. They sell their famous Deli Majoos – cream filled pastries that taste like doughnuts. Since baked goods are made on the premises, expect all baked goods to be fresh and warm. You can see staff make all of the food since the kitchen is behind the cash but is open concept with clear view windows. Does resemble a bakery more than a restaurant. Nice front display with colourful looking dishes. Open concept dining room has high ceilings and is not crowded but feels very comfortable and seems too nice for fast food.

At present, they only accept cash but there is an ATM in the restaurant. Definitely recommended if you are in the Finch and Dufferin or Finch and Keele area during the day.

Boom Breakfast and Co.

 808 College Street
(416) 534-3447
new location at 1036 St. Clair West
(416) 657-3447

Boom is a trendy and comfortable breakfast joint along the College West strip at Ossington, just at the cusp of Little Italy and in the St. Clair/Oakwood neighbourhood. The Little Italy location looks like a classy but trendy diner with a old fashioned looking bar and nice 4 seater booths for privacy. In addition to brunch, they also serve “lunch and dinner” items like pasta, salad, burgers, and many veggie options.

As Boom is know for brunch, and having been opened for 2 years, we decided to go in a group (me, Justine, Pam, and Bryan). Pam ordered the Eggs Florentine and thought it was excellent. It came with very tasty homefries and a bit of fruit. Price and portion size were adequate. She thought service was excellent and the decor was modern & cozy. I liked the booths! Also, very clean looking.

Justine had the chocolate chip pancakes and thought they were somewhat tasty. She felt that they could have been a bit lighter and more fluffy (3’s Company is much better). She liked the egg decor on all the walls and the big egg near the entrance….She thought it was very playful. Justine found the prices to be very reasonable (under $6 for her pancakes. She thought the portion size for her pancakes were very good. She enjoyed the nice ambience…Booths made the place very casual and loungy, but they also had the bar area that had blue tiles as a backsplash and classy wooden tabletops…There was a mix of casual and upscale trendy. She thought it was nice to keep all types of people happy (the casual, laid back kind of person and the more yuppy type).

Bryan had the Tuscan eggs: poached eggs, grilled tomato on rye bread, fruit on the side. He enjoyed it, tasted fresh, light, and eggs were properly cooked. The price was standard. Ambience was fun and modern, upbeat and friendly. He liked the booths. The decor was simple and tasteful but not exceptional. He loved the College West location.

My order was a slight disappointment, unless you are anorexic of course. I ordered had the very berry crepe, which was light, thin, and full of fruit (stawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries). It came with a chocolate drizzle and it was excellent. I was disappointed because I asked the waitress if she could recommend something filling (Chocolate Chip Pancakes versus the Very Berry Crepe) and she recommended the crepes. Well, she was wrong. The crepe was tiny and I was not satisfied at all. Justine was generous to share her Chocolate Chip pancakes which were thick and delicious.

Open daily from 6:00am. Accepts all cards. Accessible on the College street streetcar (on College) and along the St. Clair streetcar (St. Clair location) and the Oakwood/Ossington bus.

Euro Crepe Cafe

582 Danforth Ave
(416) 462-2500

Euro Crepe Cafe is a relatively new place on the Danforth that serves both sweet and savoury crepes and other brunch fare. Given the fact that many places on the Danforth do not survive a year, Wendy and I thought we should stop and critique the crepe selection. Wendy loves savoury, while I love sweet so I think we could give our perspectives on this place from both the sweet and savoury point of view.

Upon entering Euro Crepe, we noticed that it was packed with people, amongst an airy “open concept” narrow dining area. With an open kitchen with a huge array of teas and coffees and a fresh fruit and veggie bar where crepes are made before your eyes, Euro Crepe already stood out. We were getting hungry as the host brought us to our table. The aroma of fresh coffee, tea, fresh fruit, grilled veggies and the sizzling of crepes being made before our eyes got us excited.

We sat at the back of the restaurant. Overall decor looks European, like a French cafe.

I ordered a strawberry and banana crepe with caramel sauce. Although the portion was small, it was delicious, fresh, and strawberries were sweet and juicy.

Wendy had the grilled veggie crepe with hummus & swiss cheese. It was extremely well portioned (big) & very tasty. The servers are not professional, ours forgot our requests for buckwheat crepes, so if you are ok with casual, sometimes forgetful service, then give it a go.

Euro Crepe serves both sweet and savoury crepes and European sandwhiches, salads and waffles. Some popular crepes include a breakfast crepe with bacon and eggs, and includes toppings like veggies, a variety of sauces. Another popular crepe is the grilled chicken breast crepe and Wendy’s choice (grilled vegetable crepe).

Euro Crepe also serves dessert crepes with ice cream, fresh fruits, caramel , marshmallows, cookie crumbs. They also serve a variety of espresso drinks (espresso, capuccino, latte, mocha, fresh juice, and a large variety of loose tea (I ordered vanilla black tea).

Service is kind of slow. Slightly kitschy (but nice) French art of cafes and other European cultural symbols on the wall. I must admit it is endearing to have cute and innocent servers who have been hired just because they are eye candy. They have a certain naievity that is cute and innocent, but at the same time, sometimes not very competent. It is odd when servers are not knowledgable about the fare they serve. There is no web site or take home menu at present but hopefully something will turn up on the World Wide Web soon. Accepts all cards.

Le Commensal

655 Bay Street (entrance on Elm St.)
416-596-9364

With 7 restaurants in Canada (3 in Montreal, 1 in the South Shore, 1 in Quebec city, and 1 in Laval) and 1 restaurant in Toronto, Le Commensal has been a leader in providing healthy vegetarian cuisine that is diverse in flavours, colours, textures, and palattes.

For over 30 years Le Commensal has been providing a large selection of options for vegetarians. The name, Le Commensal, comes from the word “commensal” meaning an organism that lives off another organism without harming each other. That is the true essence of vegetarian cuisine

Food is priced according to weight, so if you are hungry and the items you choose are hefty, expect to pay between $20-$25. From my last visit, i chose beet salad, sweet and sour seitan, chili, ratatouille, cous cous salad, hummus and tabouleh, strips of tofu braised in ginger. Although it’s a glorified cafeteria, food is piping hot, fresh, and full of flavour and colour. Overall decor and setting is tranquil, and relaxing. Food is labeled v (vegan), l (dairy), and o (eggs).

Le Commensal offers some take home meals including an assortment of sweet and savoury pies and quiches, fresh soups (broccoli, butternut squash, carrot, Indian lentil, minestrone, pea soup, tomato and barley, and hearty vegetable. In the past, I’ve bought tons of vegepate ( a veggie alternative to liver pate), and packaged marinated sweet and sour tofu and sweet and sour seitan.

Frozen meals include a meaty Bourguignon Stew (cubes of seitan, button mushrooms and pearl onions, simmered in a red wine sauce, with heavenly mashed potatoes) , Cacciatore Veggie Simmer (soy-protein simmered in a tomato and herb sauce, served over pasta), Chinese Stir-Fry (slices of seitan baked in a tomato and tamari sweet and sour sauce, served with garlic-saut饤 pasta.), Creole Jambalaya (rice seasoned with jalape񯠰eppers, garnished with beans, vegetables and chunks of soy protein), Greek-style Casserole (saut饤 tofu with garden vegetables seasoned with garlic, lemon, oregano, topped with basmati rice), the classic lasagne (drop dead delicious) with layers of fresh pasta with tomato sauce, creamy b飨amel sauce, and an assortment of cheeses, the three bean chili (a hearty dish of beans, chunky vegetables and Le Commensal Mexican style ground soy) , Le Commensal Thai Delight (strips of seitan in a tangy sweet-and-sour sauce, with a hint of chili pepper) , Vegetable Couscous (simmered vegetables and chick peas smothered in tomato sauce with couscous), the famous Veggie Shepherd?s Pie (seasoned ground soy with sweet corn and mashed potatoes).

You may notice that many items are sweet. This is because the chili, seitan, and the ratatouille has an added touch of maple syrup that accentuates the flavour of the dish. For Ontarians who dine at Le Commensal, it may give them a touch of Quebec maple syrup.

Be careful, you can choose low fat dining by opting for salads and light fare, there are some oily and rich, decadent dishes like the drop dead yummy lasagna, tofu burgendaise, and the seitan in the various sauces (sweet and sour, etc). Even though some chocolate cakes are vegan, don’t assume it’s fat free or sugar free. Be careful. Choose smaller plates (meals can cost $12-$16) while larger plates can cost more ($14-$23). Food is refreshed constantly and overall decor is clean, not cluttered, tasteful, and pretty relaxing. Considering it is a glorified cafeteria, they try to avoid making it resemble a food court by having it divided in sections and putting calm music, free water, and choosing colours and designs that make the place overal tranquil and not busy (like McDonalds, Subway, or other fast food chains).

Accepts all cards and has liquor license.

Fresh by Juice for Life (2007)-Brunch

 326 Bloor Street West /corner Spadina 
Phone: 416-531-2635 

894 Queen Street West/ corner Crawford 
Phone: 416-913-2720 

147 Spadina Avenue, corner Richmond 
Phone: 416-599-4442

Fresh by Juice for Life, in operation since 1996, recently offered a new brunch menu with a small variety of vegan offerings. If you like tofu scramble all wrapped up in a warm tortilla, or fluffy spelt flour vegan pancakes, then this brunch is for you.

Offered on the weekend from 9am-3pm, Fresh offers creative and healthy vegetarian and vegan dishes without compromising on taste, texture, flavour, and colour. For our Sunday brunch, Zam and myself both ordered the veggie tofu scramble with many sauteed veggies, wrapped up in a warm tortilla. In addition, we also shared the almond and walnut vegan banana flax seed pancakes with organic raw maple syrup. We both thought that the portion sizes were reasonable and were healthy and satisfying. Flavours are delicately blended so that they can be recognised on the pallette.

Bathrooms at the new Fresh (at Spadina and Bloor) are larger, cleaner, and esthetically pleasing. Careful not to clog (easy to do with too much toilet roll down the pot). Ambiance is pretty casual, good people watch, always seems busy can be loud at times. He loved the choice of drinks and meal suppliments. The new fresh is more spacious, can accomodate more people, looks slick and trendy, and definitely attracts more than the U. of T clientele. Times have changed and it looks like Fresh is following in Fressen footsteps. Brunch prices are under $15 if you have a beverage. Accepts all cards.