A chilled-out Sunday brunch is sometimes the best way to beat the winter blahs. Hunker down nicely at any of these places.
LEVITY (1331 Danforth, at Lamb, 416-463-0438) Laid-back neighbourhood café and bakery dishes up straightforward sandwiches, soups and salads in a relaxed room decked out with oddball kitsch. Very Vancouver. Best: creamy veggie quiche; the McLevity -- a toasted poppy-seed bagel spread with sweet mango chutney and stuffed with sharp cheddar and tart green apple slices; mildly curried egg salad sandwich kicked with red onion and sided with mesclun dressed with delicious poppy-seed cream; house-made buttermilk scones, lemon squares and pecan tarts. Complete meals for $15 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of house plonk. Open Tuesday to Friday 8 am to 6 pm, Saturday 9 am to 6 pm, Sunday 10 am to 5 pm, and for brunch Saturday and Sunday till 2 pm. Closed Monday. Beer and wine. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
SAVING GRACE (907 Dundas West, at Bellwoods, 416-899-9186) This deceptively anonymous space -- white-on-white walls, minimalist decor, 20 seats tops -- offers stylish salads and sandwiches at wallet-friendly prices. Once word gets out about their no-reservations weekend brunches, west-siders will line up overnight. Best: super brunch menu of corn cakes with fiery mango chutney; grilled croissant with melting Brie, pear and walnut with honey-basil-dressed greens. Complete meals for $10 per person, including taxes and tip. Open Tuesday to Thursday 9 am to 3:30 pm, Friday 9 am to 3 pm, for brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, holidays and first Tuesday of the month. Fully licensed. Cash only. Access: 2-inch step at door, five steps to washroom. Rating: NNN
TOURNAYRE PATISSERIE (1856 Queen East, at Woodbine, 416-693-7997) Pistachio-hued Parisian cafe in the near-Beach serving light all-day brunches and lunches. Terrific take-away pastries, breads and tarts, too. Limited seating means midday lineups on the weekend. Best: house-made croissants stuffed with Black Forest ham and melted Gruyère, or studded with toasted almonds and filled with almond cream; sweet pear, smoky bacon and blue cheese quiche with blueberry-dotted greens doused in super Dijon vinaigrette; sandwiches on straight-from-the-oven baguette like roughly textured terrine with caramelized onion and arugula; shortbread-crusted lemon custard tart and swoon-some pain au chocolat. Complete meals for $13 per person, including all taxes and tip. Open Wednesday to Friday 8 am to 5 pm, Saturday 8:30 am to 5 pm, Sunday 8:30 am to 4 pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday and holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor. Rating: NNNN
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