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Three Toronto questions

Hi.... I visit Toronto about once a month, and have found a lot of food and places to love. But still uncertain about a few things.......

1. Best espresso? I've heard about Il Gatto Nero in Little Italy; Moonbean Coffee in Kensington Market has been my default.

2. Best Vietnamese? Some of the tiny joints up and down Yonge are OK, and Chinatown too, but would appreciate more choices.

3. Best very-early-Sunday-morning breakfast? Most brunch places don't open til 10; I usually end up at the Senator Diner, but would love other early options downtown.

Thanks a lot!

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  1. 1. My favourite espresso: I Deal Coffee - either on Nassau in Kensington Market, or on Ossington between Dundas and Queen.

    2. Chinatown East: Hanoi 3 Seasons (have the grouper), and Mimi's.

    4 Replies
    1. re: estragon

      Mimi's?...I went once and thought it was great, awsome beans as a side to eggs, the next time I found the staff to be rude and totally unaccomadating, we wanted to wait at the bar and have coffee while a booth opened up and our other 2 diners showed, they said no, wait outside rudely, I know it is small, but, we left, I have since heard first hand stories of roaches running over the tables...off the list...

      1. re: Recyclor

        I have a feeling you're thinking of the little breakfast place next to the steam bath on Bathurst. The Mimi's estragon referred to is a friendly, family run Vietnamese place on Gerrard. They serve the tastiest BBQ pork, imho.

        1. re: Delish

          My bad, sorry!...I was referring to the place at Queen + Bathurst...

      2. re: estragon

        If you make it to I Deal...also on Ossington, Golden Turtle Vietnamese, great pho...

      3. 3. Aunties and Uncles. Lippincott (just east of Bathurst), a smidge north of College. Or Bonjour Brioche (though some may disagree!) at Queen and Degrassi.

        1 Reply
        1. re: TorontoJo

          Pho Vietnam, Kennedy near Lawrence, amidst all the discount furniture stores and general crap in the area, is excellent, not just for pho, but other Vietnamese dishes as well. Clean, modern and usually crowded.

        2. 1. b Cafe is decent, on Queen StE, just east of Church. Limited hours open.

          2. I usually eat Vietnamese food at the greasy, slightly dirty joints, as quick cheap meals, so I'm not sure if my opinion is up to par, but.....I really really enjoyed Vic Hong (Chinese-run) up in Scarborough on Silver Star, south of Steeles. It's next to Starwalk Buffet, and close to Pacific Mall.
          The service was pretty slow (they served one table at a time), but the quality of the food was really good compared to my usual $5 pho. I had vermicelli with BBQ pork and shrimp on sugarcane. Others had pickled pork with vermicelli, and their "special" pho.

          My "BBQ" pork was actually grilled, really really nicely. Thinly sliced, but moist and tender. The noodles were just right, and the shrimp on sugarcane was massive! Worth the wait. The pork was really really good....
          The pickled pork was peppery and a bit too spicy for me. The pho broth was delicate and clean (not greasy), beef was tender, and the dish came with extras like turnip and red onion, which is a bit unusual.

          The decor is kind of strange. It reminds me of Dr. Seuss, or those games for children from the makers of Cranium.

          3 Replies
          1. re: jinxed

            Vic Hong used to have a location in Richmond Hill, and we visited it at least once a month. The kids loved all the BBQ dishes, the little noodle packages, and even the pickled radish (in fact, we often ordered an extra plate of that to share). Their spring rolls are top notch, and I'm a huge fan of their pho, especially the "center vietnamese" style - a spicy but not hot broth (featuring anise amongst other flavours).

            We still visit the Scarborough location, just not as often, as it's about a half-hour drive.

            1. re: jinxed

              "but the quality of the food was really good compared to my usual $5 pho.."

              .. how much are their phos then?

              1. re: jennjen18

                The dishes aren't expensive, maybe a dollar or two more than the super-cheap places I usually go to for pho. I think my dish was $8, and the pho was $6 or 7....not really any difference in price, so I was pretty pleased since I enjoyed my meal. I wouldn't say that it's a "must-visit", but the food was very very decent and I'll eat there again.

                I'll definitely try the spring rolls next time! I love pickled radishes, and that's one of the things I look forward to when I go for K-BBQ!

            2. For Espresso I would have to go with Mercury in Leslieville. Absolutely addictive.

              1. I agree with Pho Vietnam -it seems like on odd location, on Kennedy, but it's not far south of the 401, so it's easy to get to, and it is always high quality, a notch above the average cheap places, IMHO. The decor is very nice - like they got a designer in , instead of buying cheap formica. The staff is always friendly, and service is very fast. It's essentially the same menu as at all the other vietnamese places: pho, bun, spring rolls, etc. But a lot of it is just a little nicer than most, for around the same price - in other words, cheap eats that taste great! They make a chili lemongrass shrimp dish (I think it can be ordered with chicken too), with a spicy kind of paste, of chopped up lemongrass, chilis and lots of garlic, which is delicious. Their spring rolls are very good, and they even make a very good pad thai. Also, like most vietnamese places, they make various milkshakes and frozen drinks - I haven't tried them at too many places, but the strawberry frozen drink at Pho Vietnam was better than any strawberry milkshake I've had in my life.

                1. 1. Bulldog coffee http://www.bulldogtoronto.com/
                  best coffee . the owner won the barista competition in seattle a coupel of years back.
                  they do great latte art as well.

                  3. bonjour brioche (queen and bathurst) does an amayzing breakfast

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Epicure3333

                    Did Bonjour Biotch open a second location? Unless they've moved recently, they're actually at Queen a bit east of Broadview, which is a long trek indeed from Bathurst.

                  2. 2. Pho Phuong at brock and dundas. i haven't tried their pho but everything else i've been quite thoroughly impressed by (except the curried beef). pho hung in chinatown and golden turtle by queen west just don't do it for me. the phos are beginning to lack in depth and the love of my vietnamese food life, spicy duck noodles, just aren't done right. pho phuong does it fantastic and has a bunch of viet breakfast items that i don't usually see on other menus in the apps section that are wonderful! love the crispy pancake (did wish it had a bit more meat), flour rice roll with vietnamese ham and pickled pork, duck noodles (of course), and lovely bun!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                      Sounds very interesting! Is it on Dundas or on Brock? Are the breakfast items available all day? Would like to try it when I'm in the area. Thank you.

                      1. re: ace123

                        I haven't been there, except to the steam bath, but is has to be on Dundas, as Brock is residential.

                        1. re: ace123

                          as jayt90 says, it is on dundas just past brock going west.

                          breakfast items are actually in the apps section so you can get them anytime. my last visit i did a late lunch of only apps/breakfast items.

                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            actually, miss pinstripe princess, pho phoung is east of brock on dundas on the south side.


                            Chow!
                            HL.

                      2. 2. try vietnam noodle star on midland and finch in scarborough (might be a little bit far .. but t'is another option). you might also wanna check out a pho thread here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/374112

                        1. 1. Bulldog, see an earlier post for the link.

                          3. Daybreak (Church & Carlton). Delicious diner breakfast, and good service to boot. They should be open by 8 on weekends, if not earlier.

                          Bonus: Bulldog and Daybreak are within a 30-second walk of one another.

                          1. I agree with TorontoJo, Bonjour Brioche (Queen & Broadview) and Aunties & Uncles (Bathurst & College) are great brunch spots. BB usually opens fairly early and gets packed if you get there after 9.

                            There's a new espresso bar on Bloor, east of Bathurst, called Espresso Bar. They seem to have gotten good reviews.

                            1. Best Vietnamese - Green Bamboo...located Sheppard and Midland. Good price and the extra large Pho is massive. Serves up alot of other good dishes too.

                              1. 1. Il Gatto Nero. Hands down.

                                2. I second the vote for Mimi's at Gerrard near Broadview. Xe Lua a few doors down makes an excellent pho, and Pho Hung at Bloor/Avenue and Spadina/Dundas is good on an all-round basis.

                                3. Ler Petit Dejeuner on King near Jarvis is my favourite, though they're not open until 10am so that rules them out.
                                At that time of day, your best bet is a greasy spoon - my personal fave is the New York Cafe at Broadview and Danforth (two eggs and two slabs of peameal for $6.95!)... you could also try Sneaky Dee's at Bathurst/College - they open at 9am on Sundays and make a yummy huevos rancheros.

                                1. Mercury on Queen E just west of Carlaw makes the most incredible espresso and coffee! Unforgettable, truly!
                                  I don't do Vietnamese, sorry
                                  Morningglory on King East of Parliament, excellent! Great quality basic ingredients well prepared! I love their ham and there homemade ketchup too. Also, great coffee

                                  1. I have an answer for 1 and 2

                                    On Dundas east...east of jarvis..there is a little middle eastern espresso joint...and they are by far the best I have had and cheap too! Not just italians can make a good espresso!

                                    2. Vietnamese - ahn dao on spdina just south of college on the east side.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: somechick

                                      Second the Anh Dao recommendation, not so much for pho as for the specials and the do-it-yourself fresh rice paper rolls with grilled shrimp and beef (I can never remember what that's called).

                                      1. re: gimel

                                        Trying to reply to KevinB's earlier comment....

                                        Vic Hong has one of the most unique dishes in Toronto, which I've not seen anywhere else. Satay soup, with amazingly spicy broth, pho style, with a choice of meats.

                                        1. re: Snarf

                                          i've had a pho satay... how would that differ?

                                    2. 1- Caffe Brasiliano
                                      849 Dundas Street West, Toronto- (416) 603-6607

                                      1. hanoi 3 seasons on gerrard at broadview is a great place. a very warm place that is a little more refined then your typical vietnamese. mimi's is alright as well.

                                        breakfast- you might want try zorba's on the danforth/pape, three eggs, bacon or sausage, homefries, toast, a modest greek salad and coffee for $4. Not the most elegant place but it serves good food.