New Hampshire hound looking for Breakfast & Lunch (& Dinner) tips by Thompson Hotel
Staying at Thompson Hotel for a a few days - arriving early, so breakfast/lunch tips would be excellent, and "only in Toronto" dinner ideas welcome as well. LOVE a great bakery (used to love Wanda's Pie in the Sky when I visited in late 90's), as well as other regional/local type cuisines. Very open to "ethnic" but as a vegetarian Chinese is always iffy...
Thanks in advance for any ideas!
You waited until the tail end of your post to slip in the word "vegetarian". Are you vegetarian/vegan? Please establish this before the replies start flying in or you may have to wade through a number of meaty options.
Also, a word of advice: unless you sleep like the dead, bring earplugs and sleep aids to the Thompson, especially if your stay includes a weekend. Admittedly, I was a guest during December, when holiday cheer was in full swing, but I was positively blown away by the sheer volume (as in noise level) of people staggering back to their rooms between 1 and 4 a.m. The staff were kind and acted swiftly, but over the course of 2 nights, I didn't get more than 6 hours of sleep. Request a room at the end of the hall, as far away from the dinging elevator as possible.
If you walk north on Bathurst up to King Street West, you have two bakery options close by.
1. If you go one block west of Bathurst, on the NW corner of King W and Tecumseth is a cafe/bakery called Wagamama. They serve great coffees, muffins, pastries, cakes, cookies, etc. and offer soup and sandwiches at lunch (served on homemade bread - yum). (FYI, this is my go-to cafe, and through regular visits, have gotten to know the owner.)
2. If you go one block east of Bathurst, on the north side of King W by Portland is a cafe called Zoe's. Must admit I've only visited a few times since I frequent Wagamama, and IMO, the food was just OK. But they are also open for breakfast and lunch, and maybe you'll enjoy it more than me.
On the same strip along King, also near Portland is a small alleyway, through which you'll find an Italian restaurant named Buca. You'll be able to find lots of reviews on this board.
And of course, you have Scarpetta, the Counter and Wabora at your doorstep right at the Thompson. I LOVE the polenta at Scarpetta and highly recommend it!
I know you are staying at the Thompson, but please don't eat at Scarpetta. Way overpriced and the food is decidedly meh. (stalk my posts for my full diatribe on Scarpetta)
I am not sure if you are vegeterian, and if you are, the following will likely not be applicable
If you like oysters, Starfish at Adelaide and Church area is excellent - very fresh oysters and excellent seafood
BeerBistro for a wide selection of beers,, excellent mussels and I think a very "Toronto" experience
Mixed reviews here,, but one of may favourite places is Origin (King & Chruch) - small sharing plates, great atmosphere. The duck breast is incredible
Further away (Broadview and Danforth) is Globe Bistro which is excellent and big on local fare
Sadie's Diner is a vegetarian/vegan cafe at Adelaide & Portland, one block north of King.
Woodlot at Bathurst & College is the hot new restaurant and has a separate vegetarian menu. Mains around $20. Dinner only
Cafe 668 on Dundas west of Bathurst is Asian vegetarian fusion in a fancier than usual space.
Lunch & dinner.
Wanda's is now in Kensington market and not far from the hotel.
And Urban Herbivore (vegan) is across the street.
Their other restaurant Fressen at Queen West & Portland (same link) is dinner & brunch only. Better than Fresh but not as good as it used to be.
64 Oxford St, Toronto, ON M5T1P1, CA
885 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6J1V9, CA
478 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V2B2, CA
Fresh on Spadina (east side) just south of Queen West. As vegan as can be - I'm not a vegan, or even a vegetarian, but I love their food. The brown rice bowl with grilled tofu nuts and sprouts and tahini sauce is great. Their fresh pressed juices will bring you back from the dead. But bring ear plugs - the staff is comprised of pierced and tattood 18 year olds who like garage bands played VERY loud. Not conducive to good digestion.
for the atmosphere (and some of the meaty foods) i quite like prague deli which would be north and a touch west of where you are. some of my favourite things include their czech pancakes (rise to an inch thick) and their cream puffs. love any baked goods with the plum jam in it too.
thor espresso at bathurst/niagara (bottom of a condo) serves fantastic espresso and is increasing its food offerings weekly. might be worth to check it out for a quick bite/sip. it's a tiny place but quite comfy.
not sure when you're actually here... but a great (chef/foh from another resto opening a new place) option opening up in a week will be khao san road. she is from pai and will be focusing on northern thai cuisine with lots of vegetarian variations. they're located east of spadina along adelaide.
are you an ovo-lacto vegetarian or a pescatarian? or other? i find that a lot of our "local" restaurants tend to have a heavy focus on meat, particularly pork, and it being the middle of a frigid winter do not have the best access to great produce. your location would also require a reasonable amount of travel to really experience some of the great ethnic options we have since you're kind of in a newer condo-centric area.
Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions. Just wanted to give you an update on where I ended up going:
- Did walk up to Wanda's Pie in the Sky for breakfast/brunch. As good as I remembered, though their system for reheating pies and quiches wasn't working very well - took a while and was uneven. Still, crust and pies great.
- Dinner #1 at Harbord Room. Great atmosphere (table cramped for 6, but we were fine) and a very positive, boisterous energy; fun menu. Got a bunch of veggies and composed winter salad. Everything good, but the winter salad really stood out.
- Dinner #2 at Buca. Beautiful, elegant - though so much more "serious." Got ravioli - like I've never had ravioli before. Al denta, flavors melded perfectly. Inspired glass of wine picked to pair with pasta. They really know their stuff. Gelato/sorbetto perfect.
In all, great time and thanks for the tips -- I'm really bummed I didn't make it to Wagamama.
89 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA
604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA