5 new brunch destinations in Toronto

Boozy French toast, bao BLTs, and other ways to start your day


The Chase Fish & Oyster

Seafood is unquestionably the Chase Hospitality Group’s thing – so of course it’s splashed all over the new brunch menu at its flagship spot near King: The kitchen turns out a quite-nice king crab cake Benedict (though perhaps not flavourful enough to justify the $29 price), does an elevated deli platter with smoked salmon, creme fraiche and rye ($18) and crushes morning-after seasickness with a bacon-and-oyster Hangtown Fry ($17). But if seafood is not your thing, don’t fret: The best thing I had on a recent midday visit was an ultra-flavourful and hearty veggie frittata  ($13) packed with squash, celeriac and feta. Soft, smushy pancakes with caramelized banana in a nutty brown butter sauce ($15) means fans of sugary breakfasts won’t go home disappointed, either.

10 Temperance, at Yonge, 647-348-7000, thechasetoronto.com

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Natalia Manzocco

Drake One Fifty’s hefty breakfast skillet.

Drake One Fifty

The queues for the Drake Hotel’s weekend brunches are legendary. Ditch the crowd and head where it’s dead on weekends – the Financial District, where the Drake’s high-rolling sister sibling has also adopted chef Ted Corrado’s weekend menu. Highlights include a hefty breakfast skillet ($17) with thick-cut bacon, cornbread and a BBQ bean puree (it makes the dish – trust me) and a solid smoked-salmon Benedict ($17), along with vodka, gin and tequila Caesar options. But I can promise you one thing – you won’t want to sleep on their otherworldly blueberry scones ($11 per basket).

150 York, at Adelaide West, 416-363-6150, drakeonefifty.ca.

Kanpai

They stay open until late cranking out fried chicken and budget Jameson shots – and now, the kitchen staff at Cabbagetown’s favourite Taiwanese snack bar roll out of bed early on weekends to undo the hangovers they helped create. All the Asian fusion flourishes and hip-hop references you love are here in the morning, too: There’s the Shimmy Shimmy Yao ($12), a Taiwanese pancake topped with an omelette and maple bacon, or the Sure Shot Skillet ($14), which pairs Taiwanese sausage with Japanese chili-spiced home fries and buttered sweet toast. 

252 Carlton, at Parliament, 416-968-6888, kanpaisnackbar.com

Maple Leaf Tavern

Thanks to an exhaustive renovation, this once-dicey watering hole on Gerrard was recently reintroduced to the city as a brass-and-marble hall of cocktails and artisanal meats (the latter via chef Jesse Vallins). Cementing its transition into bougie respectability, the tavern launched a Saturday and Sunday brunch service last month, with a menu of fancy fry-ups like beef shoulder and salami with bone marrow baked beans ($19), bacon-topped buttermilk waffles ($14), or salmon crudo with beet and horseradish ($16). Bonus: A menu of lower-alcohol “day drinks”!

955 Gerrard East, at Pape, 416-465-0955, mapleleaftavern.ca

Loka

Chef Dave Mottershall is mildly pork-obsessed (in fact, he even showed us how to make DIY pancetta), so naturally, his brand-new brunch menu would feature a board of housemade salumi ($15). Loka’s locavore nature also shows up in dishes like tempura-fried onion shoots and garlic scapes ($12) or pickled arctic char (1$6). But the ginger chef’s East Coast roots are showing in what might be their signature brunch dish: French toast laced with Newfoundland screech and topped with smoked maple syrup ($15). Yes, b’y!

620 Queen West, at Bathurst, 416-995-9639, facebook.com/LokaSnacks

nataliam@nowtoronto.com | @nataliamanzocco 

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