Brunch. It’s the kind of meal that needs to be enjoyed sparingly and with good friends. The meal where you either recount and piece together the events of last night or catch up with old friends who like to sleep in just as much as you do. It’s the kind of meal you have when you want a steak but also don’t want to give up on the omelettes and pancakes yet.

So whether you’re curing a hangover or catching up, here’s a list of places you can do both.

Photos by Cindy La

best-brunch-toronto
Leña
Leña is the kind of restaurant that can take toast and turn it into something beautiful. The Garbanzo Toasts are covered in a chickpea spread, seasoned with smoked paprika for a little kick and topped off with avocados and oven-dried tomatoes. If you need something more filling there’s always the brisket burger. Charred cucumbers, bitter-leaf endive and cremoso cheese all topped off with romesco – a red pepper and hazelnut based sauce.

Leña also has The Full Gaucho, their version of a full breakfast. This includes their specialty spiced eggs served with blood sausage, dry-cured ham, mushrooms and potatoes – all pan-fried.

Their menu includes a wide range of perfectly aged meats, assorted charred vegetables and even something sweet like their Dulce de Leche Parfait and Seville Orange Crepes. All of which pair nicely with their grapefruit mimosa or freshly pressed fruit juices.

Lipstick and Dynamite
If you’re vegan, brunch can difficult what with all the eggs, meats and cream based sauces going around. But Lipstick and Dynamite has you covered with an all vegan brunch menu that looks tasty to anyone.

Yes, they have ‘eggs’ benedict. The Dynamite Benny comes scrambled tofu in place of eggs covered in their very own vegan hollandaise. Underneath the sauce and tofu is a healthy portion of spinach and vegetarian ham which all sits atop two pieces of red pepper corn bread. If that’s still not enough, you get a salad on the side.

There’s also a vegan twist on a classic breakfast made with scrambled tofu, home fries and ‘bacon’ or ‘sausage.’ This also comes with sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, tomato salad and of course, toast.

Want something more exciting? Not entirely vegan yet? Get a breakfast burrito with jalapeño Havarti or vegan daiya. Their rancheros are also vegan optional, but still delicious either way.

best-brunch-toronto
Liberty Commons at Big Rock Brewery
If you’ve ever had to grab a last minute pack of beer for a party because the LCBO and Beer Store were closed, then you might know about Big Rock Brewery. Not only do they have huge selection of beautifully crafted beers, but every weekend from 10am to 3pm they’ve got a brunch to cure the hangover after a night of too much taste-testing.

For a twist on a classic you’ll find their Yorkshire Eggs Benny. Poached eggs sitting on Yorkshire pudding drenched in the original Big Rock lager hollandaise sauce – the home fries are just a crispy bonus. The Brewmaster’s Brunch, their largest menu item, is a massive plate of breakfast meats and eggs topped with mushrooms, black pudding, baked beans and fried bread. More than enough food to soak up last night’s liquor. For something lighter, there’s always the Mango, Grape and Avocado bowl. Along those three tasty fruits is a mix of pressed yoghurt and spent grain granola.

Something to wash it all down? Try the G+G Radler, a 12oz mix of the Grasshopper, one of Big Rock’s oldest brews, and grapefruit. And at $6 a pop, it’s easy to justify ordering that second round.

The Lakeview
A 24 hour brunch menu with 20 items – ten of which are all variations of eggs benedict. They’ve got things as simple as bagels with peanut butter and jam to their own take on the classic Eggs in a Basket dish.
But don’t settle for simple. Be free, with Freedom Toast. A baguette dipped in eggs and stuffed with brie, Havarti and peameal freaking bacon. Oh, and served with Quebecois Maple Syrup.

The syrup is so good you might as well try it with the Ossington Massive breakfast too. This comes with buttermilk pancakes, three eggs, maple sausage, strip and peameal bacon, fried tomatoes, baked beans and whole wheat or rye toast. Yes, that sentence was a mouthful but at least it was a tasty one.

OB-Yonge-Front-Eggs-Benny - Photo by Cindy La-min
Oliver & Bonacini Café Grill, Yonge & Front
Firstly: $5 mimosas and Caesars from 10am to 4pm. Enough said? Not yet.

They’ve got eggs benedict but, instead of English muffins you’ll be cutting into a flakey cheddar scone. You can also go the extra mile and substitute that ham with some smoked salmon for just three bucks. Love hollandaise but looking for something… beefier? Enjoy a colourful plate of braised beef short rib hash that comes with poached eggs, mashed potatoes, spinach and caramelized onions – all of which pairs nicely with a healthy dose of hollandaise.

Their hangover cures also include sweet tooth cures. Try a Peanut Butter & Jam French toast with mascarpone, vanilla ice cream and fruit compote. But for the perfect mix of sweet and salty, the Fried Chicken & French Toast with organic maple syrup is a must-have.

best-brunch-toronto
Bannock
Once only a Sunday affair, Bannock now serves its creative brunch menu every Saturday too!

Bannock gets its name from a classic Métis bread recipe which can be dense and full when baked or fluffed and light when fried, and is an integral part of Pouya’s Shaksuka, which features poached eggs in a tomato sauce surrounded by charred eggplant, avocados, wheat and berry tabbouleh, and – of course – fried bannock bits.

The Canadian comfort food restaurant also takes something as simple as scrambled eggs and makes it truly their own. Their Smoked + Scrambled dish takes the classic breakfast and mixes in smoked salmon and mustard greens for a tangy twist.

You can’t go wrong with buttermilk flapjacks and maple syrup. Especially not when served with fried chicken, fresh snow peas and radishes for some added colour and an amazing flavour contrast.

Bannock also showcases their creativity in their very own Caesar recipe. Habanero infused vodka and Canadian imperial sherry mixed with cumin, and a sriracha lime salt rim to top the late morning off.

Hot House Café
Now, if you just can’t decide what brunch item is best for you and want the chance to try everything, the Hot House Café has brunch buffet for just $24.95.

Hot House has everything from roast beef and steamed mussels to scrambled eggs and bacon. While you’re there though, you have to try to the omelette bar with all sorts of gourmet toppings. They also have an entire dining table of assorted freshly baked breads – this includes croissants, bagels and scones. Even build your own salad, or better yet choose from one of their nine pre-prepped salads.

Don’t forget dessert. There are brownies and cakes, fresh fruit salads, hot apple crumble and so much more. You can even make your own Belgian waffle and smother it in hot fudge or berry sauces.

The service starts at 9:30 a.m. but if you stick around until 11:00 you’ll enjoy your meal to the sound of smooth, live jazz.

Easy Restaurant
For all people who love brunch too much to wait for the weekend Easy Restaurant is here for you. The all-day diner has a great selection of classic breakfast items and creative entrées.

The breakfast burrito is bursting at the seams with flavour. Easy Restaurant takes a whole wheat tortilla and packs it with re-fried beans, scrambled eggs, chipotle salsa Monterey jack cheese, cilantro and caramelized onions. All this comes with either home fries or a salad, and a side of guacamole if the spice is too much.

The Huevos Divorciados, the house specialty, is a corn tortilla with two sunny-side up eggs inside topped with red or green salsa and beans. On the side is a salad or home fries with guacamole, ancho jam and a toasted baguette.

Easy Restaurant also has five omelettes each with their own personality and taste and each worth multiple tastes. Brioche French toast and gluten-free Belgian waffles are a great option for the sweet toothed brunch lovers.

Related:
Oliver & Bonacini Just Launched a Massive Brewpub in Liberty Village

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