HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Diners/Greasy Spoons - what are your best recommendations?

I love greasy spoons/diners as the food is filling and cheap. My family and I, including my grandparents, parents kids, etc etc. love to get together on a Sunday afternoon for some good diner food.

If you have any recommendations in the GTA that will be great! We live in Scarborough but will travel for great diner food. The kids can make a trip out of it.

I like Zoulpy's on King St West, just east of Sherbourne. I used to eat there a lot when I worked in that area.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. My current fave is The Bus Terminal. I don't have the exact address, but it's on the Danforth, A few doors east of Coxwell, on the north side. Primarily a breakfast and lunch place, they close around 6 weeknights and 4 on weekends. Great all day breakfasts and general diner food. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but you really have to see this place.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Leslieville

      I second the Terminal. Closest thing to the real deal in my limited experience. Deeelish, greasy, not expensive food served with personality.
      In the same area (Coxwell and Queen) you can find less greasy/tasty, not a lot more expensive but consistent and competent diner fare served with indifference at The Tulip.

      1. re: neighborguy

        Try the Motorama, North side of Danforth around Donlands and Jones.

      2. re: Leslieville

        Along with the Terminal, I have a soft spot in my heart for the New York Cafe at Broadview and Danforth. Not healthy eating, but oh so tasty.

        1. re: Pincus

          The New York Cafe's a bit of a stand-by for us, especially if someone wants ribs. I don't know where they source their ribs, but they are so good, not greasy. The most 'diner'y part of the Cafe has to be their quirky service.

          My gang loves that when there's a group of us, and the coffee cups need to be refilled and refilled, the table usually only gets charged for another one or two cups (one night there were something like 15 fill-ups over 3 coffee-drinkers in our group).

        2. re: Leslieville

          Has anyone eaten breakfast at the Bus Terminal lately?

          1. re: prima

            Yes. For a greasy spoon breakfast, I quite enjoyed it.

        3. Vesta Lunch on Dupont. Love the signage "Reputable since 1954." Makes you wonder what the pre-'54 regime was like...

          3 Replies
          1. re: Kagemusha

            Just a warning about Vesta. About a year ago, I had my absolute worst restaurant experience there. The service and our food were so awful, that other people sitting by us at the counter remarked on it. In fact we all started joking about it. It may have been a one-off bad day for them, but it left me wondering how they've stayed in business so long.

            1. re: Kagemusha

              Vesta tastes good when it's one in the morning and you are really hungry. The better option is Peoples Foods on Dupont a block west of Davenport. Really good diner food for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Although I haven't had them for a over a year--their onion rings used to be really good.

              1. re: mikeb

                People's is my favourite too. It changed ownership a couple of years back, but has continued with the same high standards - and it has the best (fluffiest) pancakes in town! Too bad the syrup is 'table' rather than 'maple'.
                And it's consistently the cleanest Diner I've found.

            2. Try the Patrician Grill at 219 King St. East, between Jarvis and Sherbourne. It's a family run place, with friendly but efficient service. The tables are booths, and there are stools along the counter which give the place a very traditional diner vibe that's real, not contrived in some boardroom.

              Big bacon and eggs breakfasts are cheaper before 11am. They also have a lot of burgers and meals like shepphard's pie. And they even have beer!

              Unfortunately they are not open Sundays, though.


              1 Reply
              1. re: Gary

                second that, also the skyline at landsdown and queen, parkdale. best club sandwich (skyline special)

              2. Victoria Restaurant on the southeast corner of Queen & Victoria. Cheap comfort food - club sandwich, meatloaf special (which I think they have every day), eggs, soups, etc... I believe they are open 24 hours, BUT... closed on Sundays.

                1. The Mars Cafe on College E. Bathurst. I usually go for breakfast, but they have diner-type dinners.

                  1. IO concur with The Victoria Restaurant but also loves Steve's at Bathurst and Wilson.

                    1. The George Street diner at the corner of Richmond and George (east of Jarvis). Good breakfasts and seem to have other reasonable fare given that the place is pretty busy (at least on the weekend when I've been there).

                      1. I love Daybreak. Great breakfast foods, with superb omelettes, it's cheap and filling. It's on the SE corner of Church & Carlton.

                        1. On the AVOID side of things -- Lakeview Lunch at Ossington and Dundas. Great building, bad food, horrible service.

                          I second the Patrician Grill recommendation.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Super Nintendo Chalmers

                            Another place to avoid: Zet's on Airport Rd / 409, across the street from the FedEx hangar.

                            1. re: climacus

                              Sorry I disagree Zets is amazing food, for super cheep prices, its been around since the 70's(if im not mistaken) and is packed 90% of the time.
                              they have a pritty big asortment of food (mainly greek and burgers) and you get so much for such a low price and the food is to die for! especialy their greek salad.

                              1. re: climacus

                                Having previously worked at the airport, I have pretty fond memories of Zet's (especially the souvlaki). I thought their food was good and reasonably priced.

                            2. i'm partial to johnny g's on parliament myself. if you're going for the grease experience, get the fries instead of home fries because they have wonderful fries. if you want to go healthier, the salad instead of homefries works too, nothing particularily exciting, just your average salad.

                              1. I know it's a bit of a haul, but Steve's diner up at Bathurst & Wilson (actually, just North of Wison on Bathurst). It's been in the same family for the past 40ish years. Classic menu and consistent service and food quality.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Ubervache

                                  In the same hood (Wilson west of Bathurst)is Bagel World. Dairy only; Best eggs and onions with a twister bagel in Toronto. First rate lox as well. It is self-service.

                                  1. re: sherry f

                                    Same neighborhood...Times Square diner at Sheppard and Wilson Heights...has booths stools, the individual juke boxes at each table...very retro. Been there for 50+ years....very generous portions and good quality food for breakfast lunch and dinner.
                                    Busy on weekend mornings tho...aim for noon onwards. Great greek salad.

                                    1. re: murphcansurf

                                      I'll second Times Square Diner. It's my local diner where I know I can get a great breakfast any time of the day, and their homemade hamburgers are excellent!
                                      Friendly service, draft beer on tap, old-fashioned family-style meals, authentic diner ambience, and they're in the process of expanding and renovating into the failed pizza store next door.

                                    2. re: sherry f

                                      I like Bagel World too, but I wouldn't consider it a greasy spoon; more like a deli.

                                  2. The Couch House at Wellsley on Yonge. Fabulous Bacon and eggs. Every component is perfect. $5 before 11:00AM. You won't be dissappointed. Cool Sand mural on the wall that's very 70's.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: food face

                                      I agree wholeheartedly - their Peameal bacon and eggs is also very good. To prevent confusion, poster has the right location but it's The Coach House.

                                      1. re: Sherm_TO

                                        Yes right you are. It's not a house with a couch. It's the house of the coach!

                                    2. People's on Dupont is my neighbourhood 'greasy food' place and it has definately gone downhill since Kay, Dennis, Stephanie and Greg sold it to the present owners...I've lived in the neighbourhood since 1972 and my family and I have eaten there since then (they used to have a place on Avenue Road called McMaster Char Broil) The 'vibe' is the same but the food, particularly the Pancakes make us long for the 'old days'...The Vesta is another oldie and fairly reliable but no booths!! At one time they both were neck and neck for the absolute best 'toasted danish'...a forgotten delicacy I fear!!.
                                      We now eat fairly frequently at The Pour House....not bad at all....service is both quick and friendly....a welcome relief from some of the other 'restaurants' that occupied the premises previously (anyone remember The Red Raven...'Dreadful' was the 'best' you could say!!!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: pearlD

                                        I remember The Red Raven well - it was a dive, but it was my local dive, and the owners were super nice. They opened up a thai resto near Bloor and Bathurst after their stint at The Red Raven - I don't know if it's still there... I played many games of pool at the Raven, and drank many pitchers of beer. Your mention of it really brought me back!

                                        1. re: pearlD

                                          Can't disagree more on Vesta - it's adorable old-diner looks has lured me back twice, both times getting HORRIBLE food!
                                          THE WORST toasted western sandwich of my life - so bad that I couldn't manage more than 2 bites before throwing it away. (and even a bad toasted western is normally nirvana for me)
                                          Fries with gravy were soggy with bland, tasteless, skunky gravy.
                                          Seriously, it's just awful!

                                          1. re: TorontoTips

                                            We must have gone to the same high school... Just had a toasted western on brown with fries and gravy yesterday at Mars on College. (The restaurant not the science and innovation centre.) The only thing more old-fashioned about the way it tasted was the decor. 100% diner straight out of the 50's.

                                        2. People you are speaking my language.... I love great dinning but I love my eggs.

                                          Try KOS (AKA the college st dinner), or Picadilly grill (formerly KOS) both at College and Bathurst and both better than Mars. Or get greasy and old school at The Stem (Spadina and Queen). All get especially big marks for the hash-browns.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: nose_food

                                            Isn't KOS at Bathurst and Dupont?

                                            1. re: piccola

                                              Yup, on Bathurst just south of Dupont. It's actually pretty good.

                                              Kos Cafe
                                              1070 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5R3G9, CA

                                          2. This is probably as much a sentimental attachment as a foodish one, but I like the Big Baby Breakfast at Mel's on the north side of Bloor at Borden St. I've also had excellent morning meals at Maggie's on the north side of College just east of Bathurst - I've had better service there than at most greasy spoons.

                                            The best breakfast I ever had was actually at a place called Kosmo's in Montreal; it only seats something like ten people, all at the bar, but I've never had such yummy (and obviously unhealthy) hashbrowns in my life.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: markdsgraham

                                              I love Mel's. Best hashbrowns ever - never found any as crispy.

                                            2. I think it is called the Bloor-Jane Diner (as that's where it is:)
                                              Simple, classic diner, been there for many many years
                                              The owner cooks and his wife serves you
                                              Old fashioned booths and they still use an old cash register:)

                                              1. I have been hearing good things about Chew Chew's. A new diner on Carlton east of Sherbourne.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: MindGrinder

                                                  I just ate at Chew Chew's with my 3 year old, he loved it -- being 3 the train mural on the outside sold him, he had a kids meal (burger/fries/ice cream & a chocolate milk..it was a treat, ok!) and was very happy, he thinks we should go every night...my thoughts were more average, the service was really great, the food nothing bad at all but nothing special, I had a home made cheese burger & fries + pop, total before tip $17.00, if they had a poutine I might be more excited...

                                                  1. re: Recyclor

                                                    Kid's do have their quirky preferences. My son has been eating in breakfast places all his life. When he was about 3, we asked where he wanted to go for breakfast and he said, "The place with the steak. The one with the quiet waitress." We couldn't figure out where he was talking about and finally after many Saturdays in our favourite spots he said, "This is the place!" It was The Stem. Steak is sausage and the quiet waitress just one of the great people in this place who all have known my son since he was a baby. It was already special to us and this just sealed it. It's been The Steak Store, ever since.

                                                    1. re: Recyclor

                                                      chew chews has a whole selection of poutine, like 10 maybe? saw them on the menu when I went for breakfast a few days ago! I love it there.

                                                  2. Amazing Ted's on Old Kingston Rd....lots of formica tabletops and booths, a counter with revolving stools, huge pies, liver and onions, swiss steak, and a dang good breakfast menu. Quick service too boot. A scarborough institution

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Finnegan

                                                      Although I'm from Scarborough, I definitely need to be more familiar with my hometown!... I'd never been to the Old Kingston area (the closest I've come would be to West Hill school) but so glad I did thanks to this thread.
                                                      Decided to lunch close to home today and try Amazing Ted's rather than make a usual trek downtown.
                                                      I was undecided on their pancakes and french toast and the lady was nice enough to offer one of each, even though that choice wasn't on the menu.
                                                      My sis went for the sausage sandwich with fried onions in it.
                                                      My pancake was delicious and as large as the plate it was served on:) The french toast was all right, but it would have been better if they used a thicker cut of bread rather than the thin white slices.

                                                      My sis enjoyed her sanwhich but said that if they had used the large deli sausages, it would probably taste even better than the skinny breakfast sausages they used.

                                                      The only bad selection made was with the blueberry pie. I gave it a chance because they mentioned they made their own crust but that the filling was from a can. Unfortunately the filling was very gelantanous and the crust very blonde in appearance and not even close to being flaky :(
                                                      On the bright side, the service was extremely friendly and attentive: I never once had to ask for my coffee to be refilled.

                                                      A great place and glad to have supported a local eatery

                                                      1. re: Finnegan

                                                        i have nothing but the fondest memories of Ted's. great breakfasts and the BEST COFFEE on the city. A second home to U of T Scarborough students.

                                                      2. I work next door to the Kingsbrae Diner on King East, by River St. Excellent all day breakfast and their wings are getting a minor reputation.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Sherm_TO

                                                          Sad to say, but the Kingsbrae is closing this week (April 25).

                                                        2. If you're out in Mississauga, I love Skyway Jacks, it's seconds from the 401/Erin Mills on Mississauga Rd.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: EatWellOrDie

                                                            I've been to Skyway and it was he most mediocore breakfast I've ever had. To top it off, I was given a dirty, reused bottle of No Name table syrup for my gritty pancakes. It was just gross.

                                                          2. Hi Loveto,

                                                            I really love Sneaky Dees at College and Bathurst . . . They have really great nachos and they have great wings!! . . . and If you want a really good omelette that's about the size of your head for $6.75 which includes homefries and toast! . . . It is the spot!! . . . The owner is really nice and all the servers are very friendly . . . Their bacon is really good too . . . Oh, I almost forgot . . . you can get a daily breakfast from 11-4 which includes 2 eggs, choice of meat, homefries and toast for $3.50 . . . It really is quite the deal!!

                                                            The food tastes way better than the place looks!!


                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: snackboy

                                                              I second this 100 percent. By far one of my fav cheap eats and I love the giant saucy wings.

                                                              1. re: JennaBean

                                                                Sneaky Dees nachos. The King's Platter, is that the one I love so much? Something like that. Oh, why did I read this?? :)

                                                            2. I love Eggstacy Diner right across from Pusateri's on Bay & Yorkville. When I need breakfast food for supper, that's where I go. I get the Steak and Eggs with pancakes and bacon and homefries and I have food for days. Their coffee cinnamon syrup for the pancakes keeps me coming back.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Fizz

                                                                I have only been there once, but it was during the film fest. The food was cold and service exceptionally slow. I'm willing to try it again, but I don't think they know how to handle really busy days.

                                                              2. I'll say Sky-Jack's in the Streetsville/Mississauga area. Good food, great prices. Eggs benny comes in threes...

                                                                1. The Three Coins in Richmond Hill is a great breakfast spot. Real hash browns - not deep fried imitations - good eggs and bacon. I'm going there tomorrow!

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: KevinB

                                                                    OK so now I must try this place. My father used to go there 50 years ago and even though I live in the Hill I've still never been. I've heard their burgers are good too.

                                                                    1. re: KevinB

                                                                      This is right around the corner from me, I must give it a go! It definately has the old school diner look from the outside! :)

                                                                    2. I'm all about Johny G's on parliament,

                                                                      1. My fave is The Avenue Open Kitchen on Camden near Richmond and Spadina. Only problem for your purposes is that it's tiny.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: mightyshrimp

                                                                          I second the AOK. Great club sandwich, great specials. It's tiny and their waitress can be a bit, um, hit and miss, so I mostly get take-out, which is always fast.

                                                                        2. Way far away, but in the west end, the Dundas Street Grille (just east of the 427) is the best place in the west end. Consistently lined up out the door. I have yet to find a better breakfast in west toronto

                                                                          1. I've been going to The Good Bite, on Yonge St, north of Eglinton, east side.
                                                                            Expect lineups on weekends going out the door.
                                                                            They have breakfast specials till 11am. Inexpensive.
                                                                            Open daily and closes around 9ish.

                                                                            1. The Tulip on Queen @ Coxwell...really good.

                                                                              1. Camden Open Kitchen on Camden (runs west off Spadina between Richmond and Adelaide) is a great little place. A one of a kind in TO.

                                                                                1. I don't know what type of diner you are looking for, but my family has been going to Fran's for 3 generations for breakfast...

                                                                                  1. The Purple Onion (Dundas St. @ Pacific) is an amazing greasy spoon...

                                                                                    1. vesta lunch at bathurst and dupont is axcellent

                                                                                      1. Bobby's Hideaway on Mississauga Rd has great food, good quality and good size portions for a reasonable price.
                                                                                        I also love Sunset Grille. Good, fast, and cheap.

                                                                                        1. I love Mr. Onions (Keele just South of St. Clair).

                                                                                          1. Donlands Diner at Donlands and O'Connor does a mighty fine breakfast.