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Thompson Hotel

Hot Dining: Diner Time

The Counter at the Thompson Hotel

Seeking simple fare like a three-egg breakfast or club sandwich? These laid-back local hubs won’t disappoint.

1 Hip, new, and open 24 hours daily, The Counter features refined versions of greasy-spoon classics in a decidedly non-greasy space.

2 The restaurant that introduced the banquet burger ($10.99) to this city, Fran’s boasts 70 years of history and three always-open downtown locations.

3 Similarly long-standing, Patrician Grill offers no-nonsense eggs, BLTs, burgers and more in an unpretentious space.

4 Swan adds Queen West eclecticism to the diner archetype, thanks to its southern-style menu that includes fresh oysters from an antique Coca-Cola cooler-cum-shucking station.

5 Though slightly off the beaten track, Universal Grill nonetheless draws raves with its spread of classics like baby back ribs ($25) at dinner, and huevos rancheros ($9) for brunch.

TIFF List: 6 VIP-Friendly Lounges

The Toronto International Film Festival is ramping up for its 35th excellent year, with more than 300 movies showing between September 9 and 19. Follow this space in the days leading up to TIFF 2010 for features on much-anticipated premieres, the Bell Lightbox—the festival’s exciting new headquarters—and scads of sites at which to spot visiting celebrities. During the festival itself, we’ll bring you details on each day’s film offerings plus what to do before or after your screening.


Tomorrow: 5 Face-Saving Spas

Hot Dining: Scott Conant’s Taste of Italy

Scott Conant's spaghetti

In addition to many restaurants run by locally based boldface chefs like Susur Lee and Lynn Crawford, Toronto can now boast of attracting a culinary icon from abroad. This summer, New York chef Scott Conant opens the first international outpost of his well-reviewed Scarpetta. Like Conant’s seasonally inspired menu—featuring his signature spaghetti plus new recipes utilizing fresh, local ingredients—the 150-seat Italian establishment melds old and new, as natural woods, bronze and leather accents, and hand-blown glass chandeliers simultaneously evoke rustic Tuscany and up-to-the-minute Milan. In all, it’s both a complementary space within the new Thompson Hotel, and a dynamic addition to Toronto’s dining scene. Call for hours and to reserve. 550 Wellington St. W., 416-640-7778.