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Many Mouths to Feed: Our 2011 Dining Guide

Whether your palate is daring or demanding, Toronto’s incredibly diverse dining scene satisfies every craving.


With the continuously growing influence of North America’s local- and slow-food movements, it’s only natural that sustainable, regionally appropriate cooking has taken hold in Toronto.

On the menus of many restaurants you’ll now find a profusion of Canadian-sourced and responsibly farmed ingredients, from Alberta’s renowned beef to East Coast seafood to vegetables harvested in Ontario’s fertile “Greenbelt.” And though simple meat and potatoes still offer us comfort on a plate, Canadian cuisine can also be very classy. (more…)

Hot Dining: Great Brunch Spot

Jak's Kitchen has a variety of tasty, fresh brunch dishes.

Anyone who loves brunch (and really, who doesn’t?) should make a stop at Jak’s Kitchen. This isn’t your average pancakes-and-eggs joint though: open Tuesday to Sunday, this restaurant offers a variety of tasty, unique breakfast and lunch dishes daily. Some favourites include the C’est Bon omelette (smoked salmon, goat cheese, arugula, and spinach), banana bread French toast, and the Croque Monsieur (capicola, gruyere, and diablo sauce). Even better, it’s a great bang for your buck, with dishes ranging from $7 to $13. Also open for dinner. 479 Bronson Ave., 613-230-2088.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Poached Breakfast Bistro. Photo: Penny McKinlay

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada. Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook. Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.


Poached Breakfast Bistro shares a downtown location with late-night hangout Flint, and it’s got some really inventive and delicious brunch food that is beckoning line-ups out the door. Recommended by Saskatoon-based food blogger Penny McKinlay, this bistro serves up a few must-have dishes. (more…)

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: Saint John, New Brunswick

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner is our series highlighting the best local restaurants across Canada.  Have a tip for your city? Let us know on Twitter or on Facebook.  Today we are featuring top restaurant picks in Saint John, New Brunswick.

The patio at Saint John Ale House.


Hot Dining: Common People

Jane's On The Common. Photo: NS Tourism

•    Perched on the second floor of the Atlantica Hotel on Robie Street, Seasons boasts a commanding view of the Halifax Common. Long a popular bistro/wine bar, the restaurant closed on January 2 for a dramatic format change. It will reopen, just in time for the Canada Games, on January 27. The proprietors are being tight-lipped about changes, but you can expect the flavourful cuisine and attentive service that have always been hallmarks.

•    At the northwest corner of the Halifax Common on Robie Street, Jane’s on the Common specializes in hearty comfort food, emphasizing local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Exhibit A: weekend brunch specialties like Nova Scotia smoked salmon eggs benedict or line-caught haddock with eggs and sourdough toast.

Hot Dining: Women’s Kitchen

The area around Church and Bloor streets is a little more welcoming thanks to three recently arrived women—restaurateurs Therese DeGrace and Karen Balcom, and their cheerful boîte, Lola’s Commissary. Within a Victorian-era townhouse featuring huge windows, exposed brick and reclaimed wood fixtures, chef DeGrace combines international influences in both tapas dishes and homestyle entrees like baked orrechiete ($13) and braised short ribs ($21). The restaurant’s weekend brunch also earns praise for sumptuous cheesecake-stuffed French toast ($12) and numerous poached-egg options served with a side of Lola’s “sexy potatoes.”

Hot Dining: Meaty Midday

Hoof Café (photo by Paul Kittmer)

Torontonians have been in the throws of a serious sausage-and-salami swoon ever since meat master Grant van Gameren set down his Black Hoof late in 2008. The eatery’s nose-to-tail charcuterie is so sought-after that van Gameren and business partner Jen Agg have opened a second site to handle the carnivorous overflow. Brighter than its predecessor, with modern country–style decor, a polished wood bar and tin ceiling, Hoof Café offers bar snacks and artisan cocktails while you wait for an evening table at its sister space across the street. Better yet, make the café a destination for weekend grazing—its charcuterie-centric brunch spread is the talk of the town, with offerings like cherry jam- and bone marrow-stuffed beignets ($6), pigtails with grits ($13) and foie gras-topped French toast ($23).

Best of Brunch

Weekends are meant for leisurely pursuits, and a long, languid meal is an ideal way to spend time in Toronto. Relish comforting, familiar fare while soaking up the local ambience at these restaurants.

The Drake Hotel's Corner CaféDRAKE CORNER CAFÉ
THE SCENE Located in the deservedly hyped West Queen West hotel where the city’s hipsters (artists, musicians, style makers) gather to exchange cutting-edge ideas, it’s as much about the cultural substance as the sustenance here.
ORDER UP Pastry chef David Chow’s hand-rolled blueberry scones have been declared the city’s best by foodies and critics alike. The curious combo of chicken and herb waffles may raise eyebrows, but it’s a surprisingly savoury selection. And for sheer amusement, order one of the vibrantly coloured smoothies with equally bright names, such as the “raspberry beret” or “famous blue raincoat.”
GO Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Eggs Benedict at Le Papillon on FrontLE PAPILLON ON FRONT
THE SCENE Traditional Quebecois and French fare is the specialty at this Old Town staple. Bright, street-facing windows shed pools of light into a dining room with exposed brick, red leather-clad seats and pink floral banquettes.
ORDER UP Although the menu abounds with mains such as Atlantic salmon, steak frites and tourtière, Le Papillon was originally conceived as a creperie back in 1974. Choose from nine tantalizing concoctions, ranging from the regional crepe bourguignon (French beef ragout marinated in red wine from Burgundy) to veggie varietals like crepe aux asperges (asparagus and cheddar cheese in a béchamel sauce).
GO Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Frank<br>photo by Edward PondFRANK
THE SCENE At the Art Gallery of Ontario, this Frank Gehry-designed resto boasts walls paneled with Douglas fir—one of the architect’s trademark materials—and is furnished with minimalist Danish tables and chairs. A zigzag bar and an installation by famed American painter and sculptor Frank Stella set the vibe for cultured comfort cuisine.
ORDER UP Highlighting locally sourced ingredients, executive chef Anne Yarymowich’s menu has many mouth-watering dishes, including the roasted buttercup squash and cheddar souffle served with caramelized russet apples and an apple cider reduction. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the chocolate-espresso bread pudding served with brandied sour cherries and vanilla whipped cream.
Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

THE SCENE Housed in a converted turn-of-the-century warehouse, the interior upholds an airy feel with minimal adornment. Imposing, factory-sized windows bathe the room with light, casting flecks of shimmer off the stainless steel communal table that faces the open kitchen.
ORDER UP Tuck into a croissant with nutella and banana or get your caffeine fix with fresh doughnuts served with chocolate-espresso dip. Fortifying yourself for a big day? Try the Kentucky hot brown: bourbon-glazed turkey, French toast, double-smoked bacon and tomatoes served with béchamel sauce.
GO Saturday 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

And if the lineups are too long at those restaurants, fret not! There are dozens more eateries in the city that are eager to appease your appetite. Among them:

BONJOUR BRIOCHE Drop by this Leslieville boîte for flaky Parisian pastries and chocolate croissants that are worth the calories. (Tuesday to Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

EDWARD LEVESQUE’S KITCHEN Be prepared to wait patiently at this Leslieville hot spot where locals line up early for the banana pancakes. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

Joy Bistro's Eggs TeddyJOY BISTRO Hungry hordes congregate at this yellow-fronted space for a gluttonous selection of eggy mains: Benedict, Benentine, Florentine, Norwegian and house-favourite Teddy (poached eggs, peameal bacon, grilled onions, spinach and tomatoes on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce). (Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

LE PETIT DÉJEUNER This small, bohemian bistro with sparkly green booths serves honest fare like light and crispy Brussels-style waffles and heavenly apple coleslaw. (Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

OKAY OKAY This retro diner with all the trimmings—TVs with dials and worn leather booths—serves generous portions of fluffy blueberry and banana pancakes or eggs Brunhilde, a poached-egg dish with asparagus, smoked salmon, hash brown patties and horseradish hollandaise sauce. (Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

SWAN Red-leather stools, Formica tables and a vintage Coca-Cola cooler nod to the nostalgic diner ambience, while the small menu offers comforting omelette specials. (Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.)

Weekend Roundup, November 20th to 22nd

Whether you’re craving wild elk meat, festive holiday cookies or a classic Eggs Benedict, we’ve found a plethora of delectable events to please your palate.


Friday: Gourmet Food & Wine Festival

Friday: Indulge at the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.

Friday, November 20th
Sip shiraz like a sommelier and savour fine edibles among a sophisticated crowd at the city’s most popular Bacchanalian extravaganza, the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo.

Laugh out loud at the wacky family dynamics on stage in My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding, an original Canadian musical-comedy based on a true story.

Watch some movies with a cause at the annual Breast Fest Film Festival, a compelling initiative that endeavours to raise awareness of issues surrounding breast cancer, showing at the Royal Ontario Museum. (more…)