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.

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.

Sunrise Grill and Crepe

417 Roncesvalles Ave
416.516.5766

Only opened since October 2005, this place has become a hit with local folk. At 11:30am, we walked in to a completely packed place. Among all of the other trendier brunch spots in Ronscy Village, all others were empty while this one was clearly the packed place. Within 20 minutes of sitting down and getting comfy, there was a lineup of 6 people.

Roncesvalles village is becoming trendy these past few years with cafes, 2 new loft complexes (High Park lofts and Roncesvalles lofts), and the additions of high end restaurants and shops, this traditional Polish neighbourhood is becoming the next Bloor West village.

Sunrise Grill and Crepe was packed with locals, completely non-pretentious, unlike some places in Roncesvalles Village. Specializes in all day breakfast from 7am onwards. Close to Dundas West subway and in the heart of Roncesvalles village.

Only crappy thing was the surprise price increases not advertised on the menu. My fruit crepe which came with strawberries and custard was replaced with yogourt and they hiked the replacement of custard with healthier yogourt $2. The owner informed the waitress to tell me that the yogourt was organic (who gives a shit!) and that they will hike up the price an additional $4. The owner, clearly on organic crack needs to understand that indicating this price increase on the menu is essential. This happens rarely (invisible price increases on the bill when wait staff faily to warn you in advance) but when it does, it pisses me off.

Decor is cheerful in yellows and gold tones, comfortable non trendy tables and chairs and there will be a back dining hall (in development). I would definitely go back to this place, considering it serves breakfast all day without the trendy bullshit prices. All meals are cheap (under $8) and portions are large. I was quite pleased with my dish even though crepes are not something you eat if you are truly hungry. Wendy was quite happy with her dish (german apple cinnamon pancakes) and we will definitely come back when they are more settled in their pricing. Big portions, very cheap prices, and nice presentation (non trendy but very cosy “neighbourhood” ambiance. A definite place to come back. Accepts all cards.

Silver Spoon

390 Roncesvalles Ave
416-516-8112

This was the most completely impressive dining experience I’ve had in centuries. From the minute you walked in to the second you walk out & beyond, you feel completely spoiled in the luxury of the experience.

We were very fortunate to get a table last Saturday night without reservations. My boyfriend had read positive reviews of Silver Spoon, but we never expected to have such an outstanding experience – a really nice surprise. Reservations are highly recommended, Due to our lack of reservations, we were cautioned that they would need the table back by 8:00 pm. As we walked in at 6:30, we were not concerned. Within 30 minutes the place was packed as advertised.

Our host/server Kyle was extraordinary in his ability to make you feel welcome & completely attended to at all times. Our water was refreshed continually; he was ready with excellent wine suggestions, he did everything with a smile. You really felt that he meant it when he asked if you were enjoying your meal. I especially loved his attention to detail in everything he did, including how he cleared the table of all crumbs with a little sweeper device when removing dishes from the table. Without exception, Kyle provided the best service I’ve ever received in any restaurant – anywhere.

The décor is simple yet beautiful. High backed cream coloured banquettes, dark stained furniture, etc. The volume of the music is just right, loud enough to be pleasant, but not so loud as to drown out any conversation. The original art provides a welcome splash of colour.

Now for the food that blew us away! The breads offered are extremely fresh, & delicious served with oil & vinegar. Next, we were brought an amuse-bouche, always a nice touch that really adds a little something to the experience. For our mains, we ordered the red snapper with seasonal organic vegetables, and the free-range chicken served with the same veggie collection & served on a bed of heaven-sent squash risotto. The risotto was so exceptional; it could be a dish on its own. We savoured every last bite. The “piece de résistance” however, was the molten flourless chocolate ganache. It was served warm in a pool of English crème & some berries. This dessert is an absolute must. There is no better way to complete a meal. It was overwhelmingly fantastic. The portion sizes were all just right – not too big nor too small. We left completely satisfied.

Who needs the pretension of Sassafraz or Rain, or the price tags of Bistro 990 when you have the option of dining at Silver Spoon? The prices are not out of this world. They aren’t diner prices, but you definitely feel that you get your moneys worth on the whole experience from start to finish. There is no question – we will absolutely be coming back for repeat visits on special occasions. I haven’t felt that good after leaving a restaurant in ages. Everything was absolutely perfect about our visit, it was completely memorable and merits many happy returns.

Brass Taps Pizza Pub

 495 Danforth Av (416) 466-3403
157 Roncesvalles Avenue – (416) 536-6678
221 Carlton Street – (416) 966-9440
934 College St. (416) 533-4333

Some places specialize in specific type of food. Brass Taps is a toned down, casual version to Il Fornello. If you decide to dine at Brass Taps, don’t go for the burgers, wraps, or pub fare, since it’s just mediocre. Go for the gourmet pizza and the excellent Sunday brunch.

Centrally located in Greektown at Danforth and Logan and on the cusp of Little Italy at College and Ossington, this pub is known for its gourmet pizza (many different varieties and you can even build your own pizza and choose your own crust!) . Some Brass Taps Pizza Pubs play cheesy 80’s music and some hard rock and roll. Decor looks like your typical pub- bar stools, woodwork, and a large bar with an extensive selection of wine, beer, and hard liquor.

Also contains comfortable seating with large tables and booths as well.

They serve brunch Sundays from 11:30am-2:30pm and the menu is fairly extensive. I usually order granola with fruit and yogourt but since the menu has recently changed (perhaps due to new management?), I decided to have the Garden party egg white omelete.

The service is prompt and portions are big. I went with three friends and they had a mix of different items, French toast club sandwich with banana, peanut butter, and nutella, my other friend had a bagel with provolone cheese and red pepper, and another friend had a pizza frittata, which is an open faced omelete on top of pizza dough with pizza sauce and veggies.

All of our dishes arrived fresh and were under $10.00. Average price for brunch items was $5.95-$7.95. I received the wrong egg-white omelete, (I got a mushroom and cheese egg-white omelete). I told her kindly but timidly that I got the wrong item, so she re-ordered the omelete for me for free. Woo-Hoo.

The egg-white omelete was big and fluffy and had a lot of sauteed vegetables, and it came with roasted potatoes in a rosemary, garlic, and herb saute, and it came with four slices of toast. I did not eat the toast or potatoes but I was very satisfied with the egg-white omelete.

Soft drinks are expensive so be warned but portions are big, the 80’s music was absent that day but the overall ambiance was friendly and accomodating. I was thoroughly impressed. The server’s name was Shelley and she was super nice. Looks are deceiving because I would have never thought that this place served brunch- it simply looks like a pub. Many locations in Toronto. Extensive selection of vegetarian meals and excellent vegetarian pizza dishes. Please note that even though Brass Taps all share almost identical menus and the same name, they are not affiliated with each other. In sum, this beats the overpriced trendy il Fornello by a long shot. Some locations like the Little Italy location (on College street) offers free concerts (my friend Christy and I saw Shaye perform there), and other events. Very friendly service. Accepts all cards.

Easy Restaurant and Catering

1645 Queen Street West
phone number: 416-537-4893

After catching two movies at the Toronto International Film festival I made my way west (far west!) on Queen to Roncesvalles where Easy is located. It was 3 p.m. and I wasn’t sure brunch was still being served, but fortunately we were in luck.

A medium sized room that characterizes most trendy brunch places in Toronto was still relatively full at this time of the day. The menu was varied, ranging from your traditional eggs, bacon, and toast to the more lavish Spanish named meals. Of course, I couldn’t let something called Huevos Divorciados pass my by (especially having only eaten multigrain toast with low fat peanut butter and sugarless jam that day). This delectable meal came with two sunny-side up eggs served on a corn tortilla, with spicy salsa, guacamole, refried beans, black beans, home fries, and a salad. If that wasn’t enough I ordered a “Power Peanut” smoothie which consisted of cholocate, banana, and peanut butter. Suffice it to say, I was stuffed at the end of this one.

http://www.toronto-underground.com/food_drink/local/brunch.html

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