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The Where List: Canada’s Best Classic Diners

Toronto's Senator diner. Photo by Danielle Scott.


Zak’s Diner has all the trappings of a ’50s-style space: jukeboxes, cushy booths, and great shakes, which make it a perfect lunch and dinner spot for the kids. Located downtown in the lively ByWard Market—and open 24 hours—it’s also a hit with the after-hours crowd looking for all-day breakfast.


Moderne Burger serves up house-made burgers, hand-cut fries,  milkshakes, sodas and floats in a space reminiscent of popular 1950s jukebox hot spots. Try the steak burger with sautéed mushrooms and crispy bacon, then wash it down with a cherry coke.


Grab a table at Whistler’s busy Southside Diner where chicken pot pie, meatloaf and the classic Reuben sandwich are always on the menu.


Since 1964, diners in Halifax have headed to the Bluenose II Restaurant on Hollis Street whenever they need a greasy breakfast, no-nonsense Maritime fare or Greek favourites. Friendly, bustling and inexpensive, the Bluenose is everything a neighbourhood diner should be.


Set in Edmonton’s historic Whyte Avenue area, Da-De-O is a 1950’s-retro-style diner serving up delicious Cajun and Creole Cuisine. Striving to bring patrons an exciting taste of New Orleans, Da-De-O offers customers a friendly atmosphere with fantastic food, great music, and service befitting the Cajun tradition of Southern hospitality.


The Senator, now in its 80th year in operation, is a time-tested diner that is popular for its large breakfast and lunch menus featuring all the favourites. For dinner, enjoy entrees like pan-roasted Atlantic salmon or macaroni and cheese. At the other end of the spectrum, Toronto’s newest diner is a decidedly modern take on the classic concept. The Counter at the Thompson Hotel combines posh decor with a menu that puts a refined twist on casual bites. Plus, it’s open 24 hours a day.


Turning the traditional diner concept into a fun and quirky eatery, Spoons Diner is  known for its  funky atmosphere and home-style cooking. Serving up oh-so-good breakfast and lunch with locally inspired dish names as Blue Bridge Wrap, the Wharf St (Sand)Witch or the Georgia Strait Salmon Sticks, and homemade burgers like “Rub My Tummy and Gimme a Nap!” Located in the Super 8 Hotel, 2915 Douglas St, 250-382-5111.


Though you may have to wait in a lineup, Diner Deluxe‘s homestyle menu and bright ’50s-themed make it worth the wait. You’ll find breakfast served all day, as well as contemporary takes on comfort food like meat loaf, macaroni and cheese. Meanwhile, for a no-frills classic diner experience head to Kane’s Harley Diner for milkshakes, burgers, hotdogs and cinnamon buns.

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