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Breakfast downtown

meateater May 10, 2005 09:29 PM

Does anybody know a good greasy spoon downtown for breakfast? I am also looking for a good place to get a stack of pancakes. Could be two different places.


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  1. c
    coffeelover RE: meateater May 10, 2005 10:15 PM

    Fran's qualifies as a "greasy spoon" and they have a variety of pancakes. I don't think their food is very good though. They have a location at Yonge and College and another by the Eaton's Centre; I think at Yonge and Victoria (416-304-0085) in the Pantage's Hotel. There is a new restaurant at the Eaton Centre called Eggspectations (Tel:(416) 977-3380). I've never been but I heard it's not bad. Click on the link for the website + menus. I might be flamed here for saying this, but I really like the pancakes at Golden Griddle (Tel: (416) 977-5044). They're at Yonge and Carleton. They have a website with menus: http://www.goldengriddlecorp.com/


    Link: http://eggspectations.com/

    4 Replies
    1. re: coffeelover
      westhead74 RE: coffeelover May 10, 2005 11:03 PM

      I believe that Fran's is @ Victoria & Shuter - Yonge is parallel :)

      Golden Griddle also has a 24 hour location @ Front & Jarvis.

      There is also the Senator on Victoria south of Dundas and the George St. Diner at the corner of Richmond & George (East of Jarvis).

      1. re: westhead74
        Maureen RE: westhead74 May 11, 2005 10:02 AM

        There is also a Golden Griddle on Carlton, just east of Yonge, south side

        1. re: Maureen
          meateater RE: Maureen May 11, 2005 11:40 PM

          thanks everybody.

      2. re: coffeelover
        julesrules RE: coffeelover May 11, 2005 10:59 AM

        I went to Eggspectations recently. I found the service a bit off, and they didn't answer the phone when I called (twice) but weren't busy when we got there. The menu was also laid out funny (not like the website), with variations on French Toast appearing at least 3 different places. I was confused as to what "English Cream" meant too (it turned out to be unwhipped, light cream poured over the French Toast). The French Toast was more like toast sided with scrambled egg - they had not soaked the bread. That said, the fruit that came with the Pagé Special was great - several types including papaya and strawberries and they were all ripe, except the honeydew. Was not entirely convinced the mango was fresh, but I prefer that to hard unripened fruit anyway. Real maple syrup.
        While this review sounds pretty negative - I would definitely go back! It appears that JJ Mugs and the Pickle Barrel are both gone due to renovations. While none of these are great options or chow destinations, there's really not a lot of choice for breakfast in the area on a weekday. We were headed down to the Marché for crepes, in desperation, when we saw it and were glad to find it. And they have newspapers too.

      3. l
        Leslieville RE: meateater May 10, 2005 11:22 PM

        Daybreak at Church and Carlton does a good breakfast and I really like their pancakes. You can get pancakes with your eggs or seperately. Ive never yet been able to finish a breakfast there, and thats without getting the toast that comes with it.

        1. j
          Jo RE: meateater May 11, 2005 08:21 AM

          Mars on College, east of Bathurst is the classic old diner in the area -- fits both your needs. Another great option is Aunties and Uncles. Less of a greasy spoon, though. And there's a place on the north side of Queen, around John, that is a real dive-y greasy spoon. I can't recall the name, but there is a sign out front that says "Open Kitchen". Food is cheaper than Mars, but not as good IMO. I want to say it's the Swan, but can't be certain. Perhaps another chowhound could help out.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Jo
            Yongeman RE: Jo May 11, 2005 08:30 AM

            Gotta go with Jo's suggestion--the Mars. I've been going there for about 30 years. Still the same corned beef hash, great homefries, served with dark rye toast and coleslaw. Jimmy on the front counter grill. My wife loves the french toast.

            1. re: Yongeman
              stephen RE: Yongeman May 11, 2005 07:24 PM

              I moved here from Manhattan, and am always up for a good diner especially because my Grandfather had two of the on the New Jersey shore.

              My partner took me to Mars right away, and I loved it; but we stopped going after the sitting under black mold dripping condensation in the back one day last year.

              Frankly the place was scary for the overall dirt and grime factor... If this has changed, please post and I'll go back tomorrow!

              If only we had a few more decent coffee shops in the downtown core...

            2. re: Jo
              marno RE: Jo May 11, 2005 03:31 PM

              The place you are referring to on Queen W., I believe, is Stem Open Kitchen. It's alright. Average diner food, cheap prices.

              Incidentally, there is also a place called Swan on Queen. Very different -- uber-trendy breakfast food, and always a lineup. Its pretty good, but definitely not even close to being a greasy spoon!

            3. g
              gbsm RE: meateater May 11, 2005 11:27 AM

              For a greasy spoon selection, try The Canary (Cherry street, south of Front) near the Distillery (actually, it's the other way around -- the Distillery is near The Canary -- must acknowledge who was there first!). If I remember correctly, the Mother's Special includes eggs, bacon, sausage, ham and a pancake. Check the hours before you go. I think they close at 2 pm.

              4 Replies
              1. re: gbsm
                Brain of J RE: gbsm May 11, 2005 12:37 PM

                Just a note about The Canary. I love a good greasy spoon as much as the next guy, but The Canary is a bit scary and the food isn't all that great. As well, they have a terrible health inspection record; see their dine safe entry on www.toronto.ca

                1. re: Brain of J
                  Maureen RE: Brain of J May 11, 2005 01:18 PM

                  I don't find Canary "scary", but the food is mediocre, I agree. Didn't know about the bad record with health inspectors...

                  1. re: Maureen
                    Brain of J RE: Maureen May 13, 2005 01:01 PM

                    Sorry, it's been renamed "The New Canary Grill".

                  2. re: Brain of J
                    Maureen RE: Brain of J May 11, 2005 01:31 PM

                    I've been unable to locate Canary on the website for Food inspection. How do you enter it in?

                2. f
                  Frances in Toronto RE: meateater May 11, 2005 12:12 PM

                  I saw a "Sunset Grill" on Yonge around Adelaide or King. Haven't tried that one personally, though.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Frances in Toronto
                    Aardvark RE: Frances in Toronto Oct 4, 2006 01:34 PM

                    The Sunset Grill at Yonge and Richmond is pretty good. Also, the George Street Diner is a typical greasy spoon diner on Richmond just east of Jarvis.

                  2. t
                    Tina12 RE: meateater May 12, 2005 11:47 AM

                    My favorite greasy spoon is not exactly downtown but maybe it's convenient for you. It's the Purple Onion on Keele just south of St. Clair. I love it. Classic greasy spoon menu and the place is fairly clean too.
                    Best for breakfast but their burgers and steaks are pretty good too.

                    1. j
                      jill RE: meateater May 12, 2005 12:02 PM

                      Try the Senator, on Victoria just south of Dundas. They have great breakfasts - their egg dishes include beans (so I've seen but not eaten) and they have great blueberry pancakes.... mmm, pancakes......

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jill
                        Janice RE: jill May 14, 2005 08:00 PM

                        Senator is a bit pricey, though. be warned! I had their huevos rancheras and a capuccino this week and it was the best part of $20.

                        To be honest, I think Frans has the best breakfast! College Street near Bay, or Victoria Street at Shuter.

                      2. g
                        Gregory RE: meateater Jul 15, 2005 08:08 PM

                        Not sure what your boundaries for 'downtown' are, but as a greasy spoon breakfast officionado, I can offer a few options from around the Annex (Bloor W and Spadina)....

                        1) Don't EVER go for the eggs/bacon/taties breakfast at Future Bakery. I don't know anyone who has ever had the taties warm. On the other hand, the crepes are a sugar-whack to the forehead... always good.

                        2) Kilgour's always does a bang-up job on the greasy spoon breakfast, nice window seats, and they never let the coffee cup get to the bottom.

                        3) At College & Clinton, Cafe Diplomatico is ONLY empty in the morning, where you'll get good service, and it's clean... well, except for the bathrooms. Great patio for people-watching.

                        If anybody ever wants to start a 'greasy spoon breakfast club' - say, for a group breakfast a month - I'd be in.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gregory
                          Fredster RE: Gregory Oct 3, 2006 11:28 PM

                          greasy spoon breakfast club? I'm in! Did you start it yet? let's do it!

                        2. f
                          food_lover RE: meateater Oct 4, 2006 01:38 PM

                          a good breakfast place that I love in the Annex is Mel's. It's on bloor just west of Spadina.

                          1. f
                            food_lover RE: meateater Oct 4, 2006 02:35 PM

                            well I've breakfast many times at Mel's many times with friends and we all have enjoyed ourselves there. It tends to be busy but the food was worth the wait.

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