Tibet Kitchen (1544 Queen West, at Fuller, 416-913-8726) Traditional Tibetan breakfasts for $6.50 per person, including all taxes, tip and tea or coffee. Average main at breakfast $5. Open Monday to Friday 4:30 to 10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 11 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
You've got to figure that Parkdale, with the largest Tibetan population in North America, has its share of Tibetan businesses. Three restaurants are now open to serve a population of 3,000 or so plus a plethora of curious locals, so the competition is beginning to get a little rough, particularly at breakfast.
Tibetan breakfast is simple and straightforward. At Tibet Kitchen, the first in the 'hood to open on weekend mornings, there's no need for a menu. We're offered two eggs, any style, a standard breakfast-sausage link, two rounds of delicious hot, greasy balep korkun (a fried flatbread similar to Indian poori) and a bowl of curried potatoes and chickpeas, plus coffee, sweet tea or traditional Tibetan salt tea. The styrofoam plates are a bit offputting, but presumably they're in use because the place is so busy on Sundays.
Across the street at the 1959 Restaurant and Café (1439 Queen West, 416- 536-3068, Rating: ), breakfast is very similar. We're presented with a plate featuring a hard-boiled egg; a choice of potatoes in a smooth, flavourful curry, or chickpeas in a mild tomato-based sauce; and a different style of Tibetan flatbread that reminds us of those fluffy sticks of fried bread from Chinatown - all accompanied, of course, by the ubiquitous Tibetan tea, a blend of black tea, milk, salt and plenty of butter.
For only $5 per person, both restaurants offer tasty, hearty breakfasts in a peaceful, community-oriented atmosphere. And they won't think any less of you if you admit to not liking the tea.