MAGGIE'S (400 College, at Bathurst, 416-323-3248) Complete meals for $15 per person, including all taxes, tip and a bottomless cup of coffee. Average main $12. Open daily 7 am to 5 pm. Unlicensed. Debit and cash only. Access: small step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
There's quite a din inside this unassuming little restaurant, jammed as it is with tightly packed tables for about 50 diners. It borders on claustrophobic, and lengthy wait times can cause impatience verging on annoyance.
But if space and time are of no concern, Maggie's offers an all-day breakfast exceptional in size, choice and execution, with particular regard for vegetarian and vegan customers.
Oceana Benedict ($11.95) consists of three perfectly poached eggs served on a crisp potato pancake liberally blanketed with smoked salmon.
Given a choice of hollandaise or "Gypsy" sauce, the latter tomato and garlic relish is highly recommended, if only to complement the wonderful garlic-coated frites. Served with slices of melon, pineapple, orange and strawberry, the dish approaches gluttonous.
The falafel platter ($11.95) is also an enormous amount of food. Three slightly overcooked chickpea balls sit on a bed of mixed greens along with generous mounds of thick hummus and tabbouleh, served with a plate of pita wedges, a little pitcher of tahini sauce and delicious sun-dried tomato tapenade.
After the success of the first visit, we eagerly return to sample the Texas burger ($6.25) and a second vegetarian option. After a long wait, the burger arrives well before the other dish and turns out to be a disappointing pre-made patty on a ho-hum bun. Mushroom Delight ($11.95) is a dull plate of lightly sautéed portobello slices and herbed firm tofu covered with flax and sunflower seeds. The bitter flax and heavily embedded herbs defeat the fresh ginger, and the dish cries out for a little rice and sauce.
Maggie's serves upwards of 400 breakfasts a day, and it's easy to see why. With choices ranging from multiple omelettes and Benedicts to vegan French toast stuffed with apples, they should skip the burgers and stick to what they do best.