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cafe, mediterreanean, cheap, good coffee: Toronto

Headng up to Toronto. Seeking some recommendations. Brunch near kensington market. inexpensive dinner spots (cafes or bistros with patios ideally). suggestions for distillery district?

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  1. ok, I don't know you, so this may not be appropriate - but really, one of my favourite brunch spots is "Sneaky Dees" - it's at the corner of College and Bathurst and I will warn you, it looks a little scary but I think it's delish (and cheap!) There is also a place called Mimi's on Bathurst just north of Queen - great brunch, "interesting" atmosphere...

    as for cafes with patios - you can't really lose if you head into Little Italy..I'd rec. Utopia (nice patio, cheap food, large selection of everything..) I've also enjoyed Kensington Kitchen and Momo's on Harbourd recently for something a little different..

    Distillery - hmmm, not my fave place to eat (save Perigee, which is amazing, but $$$) Balzac's Coffee is nice for the atmosphere (though I prefer the coffee at Jet Fuel on Parliament, or Bull Dog on Granby)..I might avoid a "sit down" dinner at the distillery restaurants and grab a sandwich/baked goods instead.

    happy eating!

    1. The little bakery at the Distillery (on your left as you come in the Trinity Street gates) has lovely scones and sometimes meat pies. (Perigee is sensational, but requires advance reservations and could total $200/person.) I find the other spots too much buck for the bang.

      I've had very happy experiences with brunch at Bellevue Diner at 61 Bellevue in the Market. Also nice around there are Free Times for veggie/Jewish food (320 College), Aunties + Uncles for banana pancakes(4 Lippincott), Maggie's for all-day brunch (400 College), Oasis for offbeat tapas (294 College).

      One of my fave and I think underrated places with patios is Caffe Volo for Italian food at 587 Yonge (about halfway between Bloor & Wellesley).

      2 Replies
      1. re: SarahBHood

        here are the considerations as of now: kensington kitchen. balzac's as you mentioned. coffee mill up in the fancy part of town. Kalendar on College. Also possibly Green Mango, Butler's Pantry Cafe, Jules, 7 West Cafe. Oh and the By The Way Cafe (that's near the Kensington Market, right?). What do you think??? Also anything on Queen W. that should be considered if we're in that area (I know about the Red Tea Box and that is it).

        1. re: ebina49

          I would cross off Kalendar (nothing special, and there are many better places on College St.) and Green Mango (very chain-y).

      2. Whatever places you decide to investigate, let me suggest one additional step: the city runs a web site that publishes the results of recent health inspections (http://app.toronto.ca/food2/index.jsp).

        May sound a bit anal, on my part, but trust me - it's worth it. A couple of the places mentioned above have had less-than- stellar records, and at least you'd be going in with your eyes open.

        1. any in particular i should stay away from for health reasons>?

          1. What about Bonjour Brioche at 812 Queen East at Degrassi? They're great. Pulp Kitchen at 898 Queen East at Logan does an amazing vegan brunch from 10am on weekends. Their fresh juices, namely the Pink Drink, are amazing! Morning Glory Cafe at 457 King, east of Parliament has a lovely brunch from 9am on weekends. These are all just a short stroll from The (pricy) Distillery.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mummy2Luna

              Hey, Sarah! It is Sarah, right? It's Kyra.

              C'est What (two blocks west of the St. Laurence Market) does great food, and has a really good beer selection. It's cheap, too. Their lamburger and their fries are delicious- thin and crispy.

              Trot through the St. Laurence and pick up things to eat. I usually get the chicken parmigiana sandwich at Carousel Bakery instead of the peameal, but they're both good. So are the eggplant sandwiches at Mustachio's.

              1. re: lissar

                Hi Kyra! Good recommendation with C'est What - it's great!

            2. For coffee, I just learned that Niche (http://www.nichecoffee.com/) on the Danforth is pretty good. Their website looks as if they serve just the right things at a coffee shop. There's a string of posts here (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...) which you can see that others quite like this little place too!

              1. For coffee everyday gourmet in the St. Lawrence Market is great, by Kensington market a cheap but great lunch at Shai's Cafe on Baldwin they also serve a good cup of coffee. Their is also Mars Food for a late night snack at Bathurst & College on the weekends. In the distillery district there is Balzacs they have great fair trade coffee's. I personnaly like going to Diplomatico for espresso in Little Italy it just feels right.