Skywhores Unite!!! Presents Munchin’ n ‘ Brunchin
Sometimes vacations are just not possible. I’ve lucked out in the sense that I can travel to almost any location that holds interest to me and have a contact, a hook up, or just knowledge of. But the main part of a vacation for most is just kicking back alone or with friends, shooting the breeze and relaxing. If you can’t travel what better way to relax then by brunch. I know..a far stretch.
Brunching is my favourite time of the week. Maybe its my love of Golden Girls, though I never saw them brunch, the best times were when they were sitting at the table throwing ‘jabs’ at each other. Dinner’s and lunches are cute but can be quite costly and competitive. Brunches, however, are far and few usually and as long as they supply the basic essential omelette, its a good start.
I’ve decided to write about my favorite brunch spots in Montreal and Toronto.
Anyone who’s lived, studied, or visited in Montreal knows this city means business when it comes to brunches. Its the perfect way to catch up or depending where, a quiet place to read a book, drink coffee and start your day.
Here’s my chosen few.
Le Cartet (Old Montreal : 106 McGill : 514.871.8887)
Depending on what your looking for, this pretty much covers it. Make sure to arrive either early or late as this is one of the popular spots in the city with reason. The food is good, decent price, filling platters and even boasts a small grocery store in the entrance. Definitely a place to show to tourists as the decor is minimal but effective. An old loft feel with wooden beams and art on the walls.
L’Avenue (Plateau : 922 Mount-Royal Ave E : 514.523.8780)
If you’re a local and haven’t been here is like saying your Quebecois but never tasted Poutine. Brunch all week until 3pm. The plates could feed a family, the music is usually what ever is on point with the youth. The decor is eclectic, just watch out for the motorcycle in the air. I’m waiting one day for that to drop. The line ups for this one can last an eternity, so choose a weekday and make sure to visit the bathrooms.
Griffintown Cafe (Griffintown : 1378 Notre-Dame W : 514.931.5299)
I’d say one of my favourites. The food is great but its the decor I like the most. Spacious, old NY style loft feel with brick walls. Friendly staff of what I presume look like art students. The food leans towards the southern cajun cuisine and my good friend Carl LOVES the cheese and macaroni… I tasted it and I can see why. As American food usually is heavy, prepare to want to just sit back afterwards. Line-ups are small, but steady flow, so no worries.
Le Cafe Souvenir (Outremont : 1261 Bernard Ave : 514.948.5259)
Ok, I have to be honest. I’ve never been here for brunch but my friend lives by it and he’s got good taste so just trust me, trusting him. The decor is great, atmosphere is a positive. The staff are friendly on the verge of jokester’s, not too much though. The evening food is great so I’ll vouch for my friend I’m sure the brunch is too. Plus there’s a patio…hello?
Le Petit Cafe Byblos (Plateau : 1499 Laurier E : 514.523.9396)
This is the cutest place with a different appeal. A persian appeal. I haven’t been in a while but when I drove by it was pretty busy. The location is beautiful and the food tastes great.
Faberge (Outremont : 25 Fairmount W : 514.903.6649)
I’ve only been here once, when they just opened but it was a nice ambiance, cute waiters, great portions and price. There was no line up, but then again I’m a night owl. Give it a try, I did with no regrets.
Le Place Milton (McGill Ghetto : 220 Milton st. : 514.285.0011
Not the nicest of places nor the best in quality, but man is it cheap and quick. Plus its right around the block with a cute patio in the back. McGill students live by it, and as past graduates showed me, they still have fond memories and always visit when in town.
Kam Fung (Chinatown : 1111 St-Urbain : 514.878.2888)
Yeah, I included it. It may not be brunch fare for the non-asian, but its a meal loved and adored by millions and whens the peak time? Sunday during brunch hours. Make’s sense? Though I’ve had far better, but for Montrealer’s on the island this is the main choice. I always go around 2pm as the line up subsides. If you go before, after taking a number, prepare your ears for an onslaught of Chinese numbers being screamed at a high pitch volume through a speaker. My Chinese friends would say the food’s not fresh anymore or we’re eating what’s left, I beg to differ. The food’s good and filling if you order right.
Now as i work in T.O. I tend to spend a lot of time there. I’ve grown to love this city. At first i was disappointed by the number of brunch places offered. Some friends I made would go to places like Chez Cora or Eggspectation’s. THE HORROR!!! Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with these places, but the art of brunch is to support the underdog’s.
So I brought a local friend to a local fav of mine. When he entered the place, he looked around and asked me, “what is this place”, with such a look of disgust. I was amazed at his actions as in my opinion and the opinion’s of many that this place had a homely charm as if you were being fed by your grandmother. He stayed and he was pleasantly surprised with how good the food was as it wasn’t just your regular eggs and bacon joint. Needless to say I chose not to date him.
Toronto has a long way to go in the brunch department but its a sure bet with the ones I’ll mention leading the pack.
Saving Grace ( 907 Dundas st W : 416.703.7368)
The smallest of the small, the cutest of the cute, one of the tastiest of the tastes? Ok I’m pushing it, but its damn good. The timing can be off as in the winter I’ve waited forever but in the summer I’ve walked right in. Can’t explain why but all in all, never disappointed.
Easy Breakfast (Parkdale : 1645 Queen st W : 416.537.4893)
At the very end of Antique Row on Queen street, is this laid back diner, where ‘you’re welcome’ is replaced by ‘cool’. The Huevos brunch is a mexican treat that my friend loves but I just enjoy the regular fare here. Quite enjoyable.
Swan (Trinity Bellwoods : 892 Queen st W : 416.532.0452)
Great portions and a 50′s look. I was waiting for Joanie and Chachi to come in at any moment. The omelet of the day when I had it, rocked. Afterwards, cross over to Trinity Bellwoods Park with a coffee in hand.
Shanghai Cowgirl ( Queen West : 538 Queen W : 416.203.6623)
4am or 11am this place brings it all the time. Don’t know why I keep coming back here, most likely due to its proximity. The food is great, the service friendly, great patio in the back and I have yet to see it closed…though I’m sure they do have their hours. Another point…I love their bacon and its not even like they serve a different kind, I just do. Call me strange maybe its cause I usually go here after a stint of drinking and the salt in the bacon tastes oh so good!
So if you really want to know a person, perhaps date, brunch. Its inexpensive and it starts later in the day but finishes early enough to either continue or think of excuses to leave.