Toronto is a city of brunchers. But what are you to do when you’re a bruncher who doesn’t like eggs? Stay away from the conventional chains and head over to my five favourite brunch spots in the city.
Aunties and Uncles
The Deal: Okay, so Aunties and Uncles is hipster central, but there’s a reason for it – it is amazing! Tucked just off College on Lippincott, this itty-bitty independent spot is open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, and offers a small, but utterly fantastic menu.
The Food: The central elements that breed happiness at A&U are the challah bread and the hash browns, sauteed with onion and bacon. Ultimately, you want these in or with any meal you have there. My favourite thing to eat there is the brie, walnut, and pear sandwich on challah – it is unbelievable, and come with a side (pick the hash browns!). Last time, however, I got the soup of the day – spicy tomato and yam – with a side of challah toast and a side of hash browns. One of the smartest food decisions ever made.
If You Like Eggs: My friend swears by the breakfast pocket.
The Deal: Another College Street favourite, Caplansky’s is a Montreal-style deli is famous for its outstanding smoked meat, family-run attitude, and tempting cooking/smoking aromas. They also have a new food truck making the rounds at places like Food Truck Eats.
The Food: One of my favourite dine-out breakfast/brunch egg alternatives is lox or smoked salmon with cream cheese and a bagel. Yeah, it’s simple, but when the quality’s there, it’s a hard meal to beat. Caplansky’s Bagel, Lox and Cream Cheese Platter ($12) is the best I’ve found in the city, because of their incredible smoked salmon, and because they use Gryfe’s bagels (the best bagels in the city). However, nothing beats their smoked meat, and if that’s what you fancy, order the Smoked Meat Hash ($11) without the eggs. Trust me, it’s amazing.
If You Like Eggs: The LEO (Lox, Eggs, and Onion, $12) looks like a good concept!
The Deal: Okay, I’m obsessed with College for brunching. Also on College, at Euclid, Kalendar’s vibe, decor, and overall atmosphere certainly contribute to why Kalendar is such a fabulous spot. Oh, and their coffee is great.
The Food: I love brunching at Kalendar because their non-egg options are unique and fabulous. In particular, I’m talking about their five ‘nannettes’, oven baked round naan bread topped with five different, delicious food combos. Smoked salmon fiend that I am, I love naan two, with smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill, capers, and red onions ($8.95). Naan three is also amazing, due to it’s chevre cheese and caramelized onions. They’ve also got ‘scrolls’ which are Kalendar’s crepe-style roti stuffed with Mediterranean-inspired ingredients, like artichokes, eggplant, and hummus.
If You Like Eggs: They specialize in omelettes, and apparently do a mean eggs napoleon.
The Deal: Sister of the Black Hoof, Hoof Cafe is the wildly popular Dundas West hoof-to-tail brunch concept that is an adventure for foodies.
The Food: Like Black Hoof, Hoof Cafe has a small, but excellently diverse charcuterie-style menu with great daily specials. My friend, Sarah, and I shared the special ‘bone marrow, strawberry-dusted beignets’, and then I dove in head first by ordering the tongue grilled cheese. It was great, if not a tad heavy on the tongue, but was so flavourful, and really enjoyable. There are some ‘safe’ menu items, but quite a few tasty adventures up on the board, depending what’s fresh and available. They don’t have a pre-set menu, so it’s an ever-evolving experience, although there are certain staples. If you like coffee, you should definitely order a french press.
If You Like Eggs: Their eggs benedict are usually a winner, according to a Hoof veteran, who last had the suckling pig benny.
School Bakery and Cafe
The Deal: Hurrah, we’ve moved on to Liberty Village! School, known for its incredible baked goods, also serves a mean breakfast (along with excellent lunch and dinner options).
The Food: School has a really diverse menu of crepes, waffles, and pancakes, perfect for the egg-hater. The lemon and raspberry pancakes (pancakes of the day when I was there) were utterly fantastic and perfectly lemon-y, and the maple syrup comes in a shot glass, which appeals to the hangover side of brunch.
If You Like Eggs: The Potato-Sausage Omelet ($12) and You’re the Boss Eggs ($9) are definite fan favourites.
So fear not, egg-haters of the world! You can go out for brunch and have a nice selection of delicious food to choose from. Happy brunching!