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Where can I get good diner food?

Linas Nov 17, 2009 11:59 AM

My girlfriend and I have been looking around for a good diner in Toronto, and even the west-suburbs, without much luck. Anyone know any good places? We watch "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" often and salivate over the availability of such food in the US, we know that there MUST be places like this here.

I've been using Chowhound for about 20 minutes now and already wrote a review for the Lakeview Restaurant on Dundas at Ossington, if you want to check it out.


  1. CeeQueue Nov 17, 2009 01:22 PM

    There's some good info in this thread:


    1. b
      Boodah Nov 17, 2009 03:40 PM

      Steve's Diner in North York on Bathurst/Lawrence.

      1. CanadaSweetheart Nov 17, 2009 04:34 PM

        Oooh you have to check out The Tulip http://www.tulipsteakhouse.com/index.... .. it's on Queen East at .. Coxwell-ish? Don't be fooled by the website - it is a real diner and its decor looks like it's been around since it opened for business 80 years ago. I was a bit put off by its appearance when we first went but I have never been disappointed. Their steak and eggs brekkie is delicious (REALLY good steak)..

        The other diner option which for breakfast, in my opinion, cannot be topped is Mars on College Street. Hands down, the tastiest breakfast in Toronto. We always get the.. I think it's called the Homerun which is pancakes, bacon/sausages, eggs, toast, coffee. Alright, we only eat that once a month otherwise we'd live in stretch pants. But it's got great ambience, filled with hipsters and oldsters alike. It's the consummate diner, right down to the wobbly counter stools.

        2 Replies
        1. re: CanadaSweetheart
          TorontoTips Nov 18, 2009 06:23 AM

          Went to The Tulip this week - what happened? Sadly,. my former fave greasy-spoon has slipped.

          My S.O. and I shared a hot beef sandwich and an Ontario turkey dinner and were really disappointed. The meat in both cases tasted like several days-old leftovers clearly reheated by steaming on the flat-top, and the garlic mashed potatoes used raw/undercooked garlic that overwhelmed the potatoes and left us breathing noxious gases on our neighbours all afternoon. Even the beef AND turkey gravy BOTH had much less flavour than I remember from past visits.

          The home-fries were excellent, you get lots of food, and I agree it's a great steak joint or breakfast place, but quality has slipped on the "diner food" so don't expect a euphoric Triple-D type of experience.

          1. re: TorontoTips
            food face Nov 18, 2009 03:57 PM

            I think the Tulip is a gem for only a few items on the menu. I think the steak is really nice for the valule. The burger looks incredible and I'm hoping it's as good as it looks as I will be getting that next time I'm there. Their cream pie is delightful too.

        2. jayt90 Nov 17, 2009 07:01 PM

          The food is great and the ambience 60's at Collegiate Lunch, in the east end. A quiet place, not like noisy busy U.S. diners.

          Collegiate Lunch
          1024 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Z5, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: jayt90
            haggisdragon Nov 18, 2009 06:31 AM

            I went there a while back for the burger on your rec jayt90. Excellent burger. It was in between lunch and dinner and I was the only eating customer in the place (there was a semi homeless looking person with a coffee).

          2. munchieHK Nov 18, 2009 06:39 AM

            I really enjoyed Terminal at the Coxwell subway. Good, unpretentious, friendly and filling. Old fashioned comfort food done well.

            1. c
              currycue Nov 19, 2009 11:51 AM

              Have you been to the Senator as yet? (www.thesenator.com


              Hands down the best combination of ambience and good food. The Lakeview is gorgeous, the food is dreadful. Too bad about Flo's in Yorkville, but even when the original diner was still standing, I preferred the Senator anyway.

              1. s
                sarnya Nov 19, 2009 12:36 PM

                I live near Shanghai Cowgirl so I've been there a number of times. I'm surprised nobody's mentioned this place. It's been around for ages and there's always a handful of people in there.

                I find that it's hit or miss... I've really enjoyed any breakfasts and lunches I've had from there but dinner is always just okay. I know some people who love the place so I figured it's worth mentioning.

                3 Replies
                1. re: sarnya
                  currycue Nov 19, 2009 01:15 PM

                  Ages? I think it's been there since the early 'aughts at the oldest.

                  1. re: currycue
                    sarnya Nov 19, 2009 04:32 PM

                    Well I've only lived in Toronto (on Queen West) for 3 years and have seen a lot of restaurants come and go in my neighbourhood. It's been open for almost 8 years... that's a pretty long time. I know it's no Katz's Deli in NYC but for some restaurants in this area, it is ages.

                    1. re: sarnya
                      currycue Nov 20, 2009 08:02 AM

                      Too bad The Stem diner closed recently (Queen & Spadina). It had been there since 1953. The atmosphere was definitely what you would be looking for, however the food was pretty mediocre just like Mars, Patirician Grill, Lakeview, etc.

                2. s
                  szw Nov 20, 2009 08:27 PM

                  I live by Tulip and I'm not a fan anymore. The food is also quite expensive for what it is IMO. My favorite diner is by far Zet's, on airport road right across from pearson. Open 24 hrs, I like the homemade burger but the steaks and the souvlakis are the most popular I think. I live by greektown but Zets has better souvlakis than I've had anywhere else.

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