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Best diner in Toronto

I am looking for an authentic old style diner, with good food, in the downtown core.

A place with a good club sandwich, good meatloaf and a good atmosphere.


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  1. Patrician Grill.

    Although, I've only had breakfast there.

    4 Replies
    1. re: spades

      Second Patrician Grill. They have a meatloaf special on Fridays, if I recall correctly. And I can definitely vouch for the club!

      1. re: Minnow

        Anyone have any thoughts on the Stem? Someone suggested that one to me too.

        1. re: garycooper

          I like the Stem a lot, but it's definitely more of a "breakfast place." I mean, they have a good club sandwich, but you won't find stuff like a meatloaf special there.

          I would probably third Patrician...

      2. re: spades

        second that!
        the place has the look and the feel without the grimminess of some of diners...
        their burgers are great and try to get in on the breakfast special...
        they're usually a bit more busy on fridays...

      3. Avenue Open Kitchen - 7 Camden Street

        1. Have you been to the Senator? On Victoria, south of Dundas. Classic old atmosphere, but the menu is a bit more contemporary.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TorontoJo

            Not really a Diner but there is a terrific(home style/diner cooking) restaurant on the south side of Queen Street East (across from St. Michael's Hospital) . Don't know what it's called but they have the the kind of stuff I think you're describing. Not much on atmosphere 'tho,...I second the Senator ...it has both good cooking and atmosphere but it is more costly.

            1. re: pearlD

              Victoria Restaurant. I used to eat there a lot when I worked at Maritime Life across the street.

          2. The Stem and Patrician Grill are both good. There is also Vesta on Dupont and Dangerous Dan's.

            1. There is also Steve's at Bathurst and Wilson (might be a little far out - but still a good diner/truck stop. What about the Lakeview Diner on Dundas?

              6 Replies
              1. re: cinnamon_girl

                truck stop????? Bathurst Street, as i know, is not a highway! LOL...

                1. re: Fredster

                  That is what it is called - Steve's Truck Stop and I didn't make it up - but it sure is a damn good greasy spoon. (I think it's left over from when Wilson and Bathurst used to be farm country. It's an institution.)

                  1. re: cinnamon_girl

                    It actually was a very popular 'truck stop' and 'cinnamon girl' is right...the original Steve's was on Bathurst Street just south of the 401 going East. They were known for their PIES which were terrific....the truckers used to stop for a fast meal and a slice of the pie, also filling up their thermos bottles of coffee before they got back on the road.

                    1. re: pearlD

                      Do they still serve good pies at their new location?

                      1. re: Brain of J

                        I don't know... I was there for breakfast a couple of times and wasn't looking for pies at the time...I have some friends who live near Steve's and I'll ask them if the pies are still as good as at the old location...will post when I find out.....

              2. The Village Restaurant in Forest Hill Village (Spadina, between St. Clair and Eglinton) makes a great club sandwich with real turkey. Other old-time favourites like liver and onions, chef's salad (The Big Salad a la Seinfeld), good breakfast specials.

                1 Reply
                1. re: FlavoursGal

                  The Detroit Eatery on the Danforth. They have excellent burgers and corned beef sandwiches. Although I haven't had it their club is also suppose to be great.

                2. Zuppa's on Adelaide W - excellent breakfast, great lunch specials as well

                  1. Surprised nobody said Zoulpy's on King East @ Princess. Good food, portions, I swear they have the 24 hour soccer channel, very relaxed pace except for the fast service. They don't rush to turn over the table at... all. Definitely takes me back to the 70's diner feel. There's a little patio out back of the place, but I've not eaten on it so can't speak to how nice or not it is.

                    1. The George Street Diner at George and Richmond (East of Jarvis). Haven't had the meatloaf or clubhouse but their breakfasts are good and it's pretty busy on the weekends.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Aardvark

                        I was going to add george too. Great peameal (not dry and dull like carousel)

                        1. re: Aardvark

                          Me three - they make a great club sandwich and the breakfasts are quite good.

                        2. Well, for a place that definitely has atmosphere (good or not depends a lot on your standards!), and a good club sandwich, you might consider the Vespa Lunch at Bathurst and Dupont. It's just a counter (and I don't know if they serve meatloaf), but they also make a variant on the club called a "Hollywood" - BLT on one side, chunky chicken salad on the other. Messy, but delicious. Skip the fries and get a double helping of their vinegary coleslaw. Varied clientele, to put it mildly.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: KevinB

                            There's Peoples Foods at Dupont just west of Davenport...not as good as it used to be however there are still line-ups on Sunday mornings. The Avenue Diner on Davenport just west of Avenue Road is still as good and usually very busy. Does anyone remember the "Majestic" or the "Webster'?....those were very cool spots in the 60's! Both were on Avenue Road near Av & Dav....ah...fond memories of the 'old' Yorkville.........

                            1. re: pearlD

                              Ah, People's Foods .. when I was a student at U of T back in the late 70's, there was many a late Friday or Saturday night (actually, early Saturday or Sunday mornings!) when a group of us would end up there, as much for the show as the food.

                              And, also, the lamented Bloor Street Diner, which actually served very good food all night long, in an atmosphere of chic/cool at 3 am.

                              And finally, Giorgio's Pizza a few steps down from People's - possibly the cheesiest pizza I've ever had, with a great, really tasty sauce, and fantastic salads. Sadly missed.

                            2. re: KevinB

                              It is the VESTA Lunch....and you are right about the 'clientele'....Try it later at night and you'll see a 'truly' varied clientele! (But that being said... it's my neighbourhood...and I love it!)

                              1. re: pearlD

                                Earlier someone mentioned Steve's Truck Stop - as far as I know they are not known for the pies....it used to be the place for breakfast about 15 years ago.
                                The last couple of years the food has really slipped, not the institution it used to be.
                                Another good spot is Donlands Restaurant, very reliable, good size portions.

                                1. re: millygirl

                                  Steve's was indeed known for the pies..back when it was further south on Bathurst Street and yes, 'breakfast' was and still is good, but I do agree that the present Steve's 'food' is lacklustre at best. Good 'diner' food can be found at The Good Bite on Yonge Street (north of Eglinton).

                                2. re: pearlD

                                  That place has been around forever...my dad ate there as a student in the sixties!

                                  1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                                    Mars Diner on College...i don'ty think they'v cnahged the decor in 50 years. Also the Avenue Road diner is pretty authentic

                                    1. re: Finnegan

                                      I stopped going to Mars when we sat in the back and the yards of mold on the walls and ceiling skeeved me out completely. Would like to go back if it has been cleaned up a bit... I love diners, but filth is filth.

                                3. re: KevinB

                                  Vesta lunch actually... Vespa's a scooter

                                4. Hastings Snack Bar on Hastings and Queen(near Leslie) for breakfast i.e. peameal bacon,eggs,homefies&toast,has the value.Son of original owner has been at it since the 1950's(Johnny) and is somewhat of a local historian.Only open 6am till noon,he is close to 70 years old and can't seem to retire...
                                  Ahh the Vesta 24 hrs.of anything goes,I prefer the Apollo just steps away,same side just south of Dupont on Bathurst.Tighter hours though...When I did truck Inter-city in the '80s and had to deliver to the plaza at Bathurst and Wilson,it was always breakfast at Steves south of the 401,The ramp was right there back to the highway but the diner effect died when they moved...