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Breakfast around Queen and Woodbine - any recommendations?

  • g

My parents and 2 sets of aunts and uncles will be coming to Toronto this Saturday and would like to meet for breakfast (at 8:30 AM, so not brunch) in the Queen and Woodbine area. Keeping in mind that they are all in their 70's and not from Toronto (Cambridge, Hamilton and near Montreal), where would you recommend for them to meet, sit comfortably and have a decent breakfast? I'm not overly familiar with the Queen East/Beach area, and restaurants seem to come and go a bit there.

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  1. I live in the Beach and unfortunately, it's not the best area for finding great food (you'll find a general agreement about this in numerous threads on this board). Beach Side Grill (1922 Queen Street East) is the closest place to Queen and Woodbine but I've only been once and I don't remember it being that great. Maybe someone else has some more recent opinions about it. Sunset Grill (2006 Queen St E) near Queen and Lee usually has a decent breakfast (basic eggs, good potatoes, etc) but there is often a line up on weekends so it may not be ideal for an older crowd. Green Eggplant (1968 Queen St E), at near Queen and Waverley Road is popular and their breakfast is ok. It's comfortable and you usually don't have to wait. Whitlock's is across the street but I've never found it too great. I would avoid Mars diner - after a couple of mediocre experiences and bad service I can't really recommend it. Another one to avoid is Beacher Cafe, further down Queen. Very mediocre.
    Hope that helps!

    5 Replies
      1. re: Dimbulb

        I love The Tulip. Great all-day breakfast for a very reasonable price. I agree with currycue about Patisserie Zane, too.
        If you'd like something really wonderful, I'd take the streetcar west to Edward Levesque's Kitchen for brunch (beware, they'll be a line). http://www.edwardlevesque.ca/

        1. re: mummy2Luna

          I actually forgot about Tulip and Zane - I wasn't thinking west of Woodbine for some reason! I've only had coffee and pastries at Zane but they were very good. Tulip definitely has a good breakfast and sandwiches.

      2. re: ms. clicquot

        I wouldn't dismiss the Beacher so quickly, they have a new chef, the service is friendly, I found the eggs benny pretty good the last time I was there. Certainly, the relaxed neighbourhoody atmosphere and friendly service there would have provided a better experience than the poster had at the Cottage.

        1. re: JamieK

          I may give it another try if they have a new chef. The few times I've been in the past the service was quite slow (but friendly) and the food pretty mediocre. However, things can change so perhaps I'll check it out again soon and report back. I agree that it would have been better than the Cottage though, no matter what!

      3. Highly recommended (and at 8:30, you should be able to get seats on the patio) is Patisserie Zane, just west of Meat on the Beach. Love their quiches, ham & cheese croissants, chocolate / lemon / plain croissants, the list goes on. Very good French pastry shop and decent coffee.

        1. Leslieville is a bit of a trek, but at least it's on Queen (so it's one street-car ride): Bonjour Brioche

          I love this place... lighter breakfast with great food, not your typical egg/sausage breakfast place.

          2 Replies
            1. re: vacuum

              Please don't take a group of people to Bonjour Brioche, especially older folks. The place is very small and they would be hard pressed to accomodate any group larger than 4. Besides that, the service stinks! I'd 2nd the Green Eggplant recommendation.

            2. Given your criteria - how about Il Fornello? I think they have a breakfast buffet... I know it's there on Sunday but not sure about Saturday?

              If greasy spoon is okay - then I highly recommend the Tulip. Love it!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Apple

                Yes, agree with Il Fornello or The Tulip; both have comfortable seating, are not too noisy, and offer a menu that those with more traditional tastes will feel comfortable with. My husband's parents are similar in age to the op's relatives, and they enjoy both places, and though hubby and I might prefer to go elsewhere, the food is fine for us, too.

                1. re: Apple

                  although Il Fornello doesn't open til 9:30 am on Saturday and these folks want to dig in at 8:30.

                2. If they are not adventurous eaters, you won't go wrong with the Tulip. While I'm not a Tulip fan, they serve good diner food at great prices.

                  If they want something more interesting, Zane is lovely. However, if it's not a patio kind of day, there isn't any comfortable seating inside.

                  Unless Edward has undergone a personality transplant, I do not recommend Edward Levesque.

                  1. If you are up for a short walk (although it is uphill) how about Woodbine and Gerrard. The Upper Beach Cafe is recently open and has a great breakfast. Lots of seating. Service is a tad slow but worth the wait!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jes15a

                      I am sorry I disagree, jes15a. :(

                      We don't live far from there and we were thrilled to have a little breakky place up the street for our weekend b-fasts - much closer than Tulip. But we found it depressing - fruit salad was not fresh (why bother serving it?), service very indifferent and our eggs and bacon plus coffees cost us about $25 versus $13 at the Tulip for essentially the same thing. (tax and tip incl.) My neighbors have had the similar experience. It's too bad - we'd support a great little neighborhood business in a heart beat, too.

                    2. I say go for Tulip, especially if you're taking your parents/aunts to eat. It's a really relaxed (but busy) & unpretentious place. Everything about it (including the food) has such a coziness to it. There's lots of seating and it's bright. Everyone I have ever brought there has loved it. Here is their site, just in case: http://www.tulipsteakhouse.com (It comes off looking fancier than it is.)

                      1. Tulip would be my first choice. A close second would be the Sunset Grill (gotta love a place that uses Texas toast).

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Finnegan

                          Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and commentary. I forwarded several ideas to the group, and they chose the Green Eggplant. I decided to tag along, but when we arrived at the restaurant, we were told the server hadn't arrived, and that it would be at least 20 minutes before we would be served. We decided not to wait, and I was hoping the second choice would be the Tulip. Unfortunately they didn't want to jump back into cars to drive back west on Queen St., so we ended up 2 doors down from the Eggplant at the Cottage in the Beach. Very bad decision.

                          I'll start by saying the server was very nice, and certainly did a good job keeping the senior members of the family happy with juice, water and coffee. The coffee was nothing to get excited about - watered down and not much flavour. Most of the group ordered an eggs benedict variation , some with salmon, some with spinach and one with spinach and smoked salmon. I am not an eggs benny fan, but the little I know about this dish tells me that the eggs should be soft and runny, and the hollandaise sauce should be lovely and buttery. The eggs were almost poached hard (barely any dark yellow colour), and the sauce was congealed on the eggs and tasted artificial as in from a package. The home fries were frozen little squares of artificial potato.

                          My breakfast was to be 3 scrambled eggs with beans, sausage and peameal bacon. The eggs were way over scrambled, the sausage had been deep fried, and the peameal bacon was paper thin like regular bacon, and had been cooked to crispy. I can honestly say I have never had such a bizarre peameal presentation. Needless to say, when I left the siblings to carry on with their errands, I stopped at Patisserie Zane and picked up a wonderful croissant to enjoy in the car on the way home.

                          At least one good thing came out of the Beach breakfast experience!

                          1. re: gnr

                            I would have put Cottage on the Beach on the 'avoid' list based on my observations, however in fairness to them, I've never actually eaten there. I pass the restaurant on a daily basis and never see anyone inside. Given that even mediocre places down here can be busy, I'd say that's not the best sign! I'm sorry that you and your guests had a bad experience. I'm amazed that place is still in business! Glad you enjoyed your croissant at least.

                            1. re: gnr

                              Eggs Benedict is rather hard to make, which is why it's rare to find a decent place to eat it at. I've never had it anywhere that came close to the way my father made it. Especially the hollandaise sauce, it's difficult to get the sauce to just the right texture. It has to be cooked on a very low heat. Also, it should taste well the flavour of lemon, If you can't taste lemon, then they didn't do it right.

                              I would recommend a place called Sun Set which is at Coxwell and Danforth. It's got a good selection of basic breakfast stuff that you can't really go wrong with, and I've never had a bad meal there. You won't be disappointed with their peamale bacon either.

                              1. re: redcoconut

                                redcoconut - I think there is also a sunset grill on Queen Street - right in the Beach.
                                I am with you re: frustrations related to hollandaise - but I don't think eggs benny are that hard to pull off... if they can't do it - they shouldn't put this on the menu. Overcooked poached eggs or scrambled eggs are inexcusable - these are basic kitchen skills... I don't know how these people stay in business.

                                1. re: Apple

                                  Agree with you 100%. Last time I had Eggs Benny was at the New Yorker at Broadview and the Danny... Honestly it was similar to the description gnr gave of his experience, but I gulped them down because it had just been so long since I had them. The last time before that was at a hotel buffet. I used to deliver beer and they would let us have all you can eat breakfast if we got the beer in before 7 am. Same problem there too, the sauce seemed phony.