1088 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Phone: 647 436-0666
Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 4 pm
Noon is in the process of re-vamping their menu with new items. They used to have smoothies, not as good as “Easy” but were well known for them. They are also known to have one of the best pancakes (chocolate chip or banana, or blueberry) but on my last visit, they ran out of pancake batter.
I guess they are in the midsts of “reorganizing”. They ran out of home fries and their espresso machine was not working the last time i went there for brunch. Seems like a disorganized business, but the food was wonderful.
For my meal, i ordered a grilled vegetable with goat cheese grilled panini sandwich) with a side of greens.
With friendly service and great food, it’s worth going.
Some tips to follow: don’t go to Noon at noon, it’s too busy. We waited in line for 30 minutes and our food took a long time, since there are only 2 waiting staff and 2 cooks. The art on the walls was missing, due to the artist taking his/her art for a show. The place definitely looked like it was in a state of transition.
Aaron and Wendy’s dishes were not hot like mine, but cold (Wendy complained of her toasted sandwich that was cold) . I loved my dish, could not complain. They do not do egg white omeletes so i was not happy.
Service was friendly and they were able to get us quickly to a 3 person table. In sum, i would try Noon again, i am still hopeful, it is a kick-ass place. In addition to breakfast, they also serve lunch, soups, salads and sandwiches,
They have a liquor license and a patio (weather permitting). They serve red and white wine, beer and cocktails.
Smoked salmo served is Applegirth and they serve Beretta Organic Farm meats. Pastries are from Madeleine’s patisserie across the street.
Noon Restaurant is known as the home of Build Your Own Breakfast located at 1088 Bathurst Street in Toronto’s Annex district. Interac and Cash are accepted. In my view, it’s also known as a place that cannot manage its inventory. Noon offers pick-up, catering, and week-day reservations. At the time of our visit, they had a conditional pass
At first glance, Tinto looks like a lovely place, with 2 levels, many vegetarian items, and an overall great atmosphere.
Unfortunately, our experience was most disappointing. Although the actual food was excellent, our service was slow and horrible. With very few egg dishes, with mostly vegetarian options, organic fair trade coffee, in a short and long format menu.
The long form looks like a scholarly, peer reviewed journal article with bibliographic references, footnotes (very tongue and cheek). It was rather entertaining.
Food is Latin American inspired, incredible, great portions. Tinto has a lofty space on 2 levels. It has a comfortable decor of hues of red and earth tones. It is very spacious with hardwood tables and chairs. The overall “look and feel” won me over. Tinto works with local suppliers to offer local food. They offer free magazines to read, all-day breakfast and brunch, soups, amazing funky salads, grilled wraps, sandwiches, pastries, and hot and cold beverages.
For my meal, I ordered the black bean with goat cheese, grilled pepper and eggplant, with a side salad of greens.
To conclude, if you live a vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, Tinto is the place for you! Tinto also hosts the occasional documentary film screening or spoken word night on its upper level. They hold many workshops in activism, poetry, storytelling, songs, and prose.
92 Ossington Ave.
Aaron, Brandon, and I went to Delux for Brunch sometime ago after one of our runs. Delux is a French-Cuban restaurent and replaced The Sparrow. Inside, it’s funky like a loft-style condo, with high ceilings, ultra modern with exposed brick,funky art (think Andy Warhol).
Marble tables with dark wood surround the place. Located in funky hipster Ossington and Queen area, very up and coming neighbourhood for foodies and art farts and hipsters. The only problem was that it lacked signage and the restaurant has that “we’ve just opened” feel to it. The plus-side is the food came promptly so we didn’t have to have to whip out our laptops and play party poker to kill time or even start nibbling.
The brunch and dinner menu but a bit pricey. For my brunch i had the buttermilk French toast (without the challah-scandal) and the apple compote mixture was small (I would have liked more of the apple portion). It was accompanied with maple syrup. I was disappointed that they did not serve lattes, just the old original espresso drinks.
Aaron and Brandon started with the breakfast doughnuts (fresh and homemade, dusted with cinnamon sugar. The menu claimed the doughnuts were filled with cocoa cream but it was actually on the side as a dipping sauce.
They both opted for the cidar-brined pork and potato and caramelized onion frittata with smoked bacon and green salad 2 eggs “en cocotte” with fine herbs and buttered breadcrumbs and grilled toast.
Other items at Delux include granola and yogourt with fresh seasonal fruit, typical and expected at every brunch establishment. They also served caramelized banann and nutella crepes with maple syrup and chantilly cream (yummy but too rich for me). Other offerings include soft boiled eggs with grilled bread and smoked bacon.
I ordered the buttermilk French toast with apple compote (too little, not enough for me) with maple brown butter (not really butter), a really thick maple syrup. Other items for those not into eggs was the croque monsieur with grilled ham, gruyere cheese with potatoes and greens (perfect for Wendy as she does not eat eggs).
Lastly, the Cubano sandwich, a slow roasted pork with gruyere cheese, pickles, red onion, grainy mustard, and chipotle mayonnaise and a side of greens.
Delux serves a variety of beverages, including mimosa, organic fair trade coffee, espresso drinks (unfortunately no flavoured lattes), organic tea, and fresh juices)
Service was friendly but kind of slow. They took a long time to bring us the menu when we requested a dinner menu. However, they were friendly, pleasant and the ambiance was worth a second visit for sure.
238 Augusta Ave.
Hibiscus Organics is an organic, dairy, wheat, egg-free vegan cafe located in funky (and up and coming) Kensington Market on Augusta Avenue. Hibiscus Organics used to be more of a gift shop with stationary, some take out specialty gourmet food items but when Wendy and I went there in November, it looked as though they set up some tables.
It is a small cafe, very small (like 3 tables, 12 seats) and people do stay and get comfy, but it’s more of a place for light meals, coffee, and dessert, not proper 6 course meals. Hibiscus serves a variety of sweet and savoury gluten free crepes (made from buckwheat) and a variety of vegan ice cream in many flavours. Salads are healthy, vegan, organic, and most are raw.
This small cafe has an elegant decor. With antique wood bookcases with herbal teas and oils. The place is barely 500 square feet so when another review claimed 12 seats, I thought barely, but you could “fit” 12 seats in this cafe.
They serve vegetarian and vegan crepes with 15 filling ingredients to choose from (including seasonal fruit) plus soup and several cold salads such as quinoa tabouli, pasta, potato and others.
For dessert there is an excellent selection of vegan cookies, brownies, and homemade soy ice cream along with coffee and tea. Food served is mainly for take out but there are 3-4 small tables and when Wendy and I went for lunch, we sat a bench facing the cash register. Fancy oils and gourmet products, bulk rice and grains are tastefully arranged on the walls.
Wendy and I both ordered a mixed salad with beans, quinoa, veggies, with dried cranberries, with the amazing aroma of sesame oil and lemon (or lime). We also enjoyed a cold salad of marinated tofu with green beans saturated in balsamic vinegar. Since I was having a colonoscopy the next week, i could not eat anything RED or have dairy or have any NUTS. Wendy’s dish had the sunflower seeds, beets, and I took out the dried cranberries in my dish since I was told not to eat anything red.
Hibiscus also serves organic smoothies and sodas. Some deserts include soy ice cream like ginger masala (trendy), chocolate-raspberry pseudo cupcakes, cookies, and square. Opened Mon-Sat noon-7pm, Sun 2pm-7pm. Not wheelchair accessible as you need to schlep up a set of 5 stairs. Very cosy, calm, and not pretentious. We definitely left feeling healthy, fresh, light, yet happily satisfied.
River is a classic French restaurant located in the heart of Roncesvalles Village. It offers an amazing menu with large portions and much selection. I had passed this place many times and i had heard they serve a wonderful brunch and they also hire street kids to work and gain responsibility. I thought it was wonderful to read about programs that help disadvantage youth jump-start their lives again and i was impressed River participated in this type of program.
Although River is known for its dinner, Aaron, Brandon, and myself went for a lazy Sunday brunch. River serves an assortment of pastas (smoked chicken linguini, pesto farfale, banana curry penne), and salads (caesar, baby spinach, and field greens). Sandwiches include a grilled burger, grilled portobello burger, and cajun chicken club. Mains include pan fried salmon fillet, grilled rib eye steak, chevre and basil stuffed chicken breast, grilled pork tenderloin, grilled portobello mushroom caps, and lamb.
The brunch menu is very small and mostly comprises egg dishes. It could definitely be expanded. However, the portions are large and food is amazing and very fresh. For my brunch, i ordered the egg white omelete with pesto, spinach, mushroom, and oka cheese. It came with yummy salad, delicately spiced home fries, but no toast (odd). Brandon ordered the eggs florentine (two poached eggs on a toasted English muffin with spinach, hollandaise sauce) and it came with a side of salad and delicious home fries. Aaron ordered the big breakfast (two eggs any style, bacon, peameal, sausage, served a side salad, toast, and home fries. Heart attack on a plate.
River’s brunch is offered Sat + Sun from 11am-3:30pm. This place also participates in the “All Aboard” Youth Venture program that offers employment opportunities for homeless youth so it allows them to re-build their lives and it allows them to re-integrate back into society. Other brunch items include salads, chicken wraps, French Toast, breakfast burrito, an 8 ounce hamburger, and different varieties of Eggs Benedict.
River offers many vegetarian selections. Also serves an extensive wine list, extensive alcoholic coffees, cocktails, mixed drinks, domestic and foreign beers, and organic fair trade coffee with free refills . Accepts all cards. Offers catering, corporate functions, and parties (weddings, birthdays, baby showers, social gatherings, and Christmas parties). Open Thursday through Sunday for dinner 5pm-10pm and Sat/Sun for brunch 11am-3:30pm. Closed Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Fully licensed and accepts all cards.
Yes, this place is called “B”, simple and sweet. The “B” could mean anything, like breakfast, brunch, or beautiful, or it can simply be just that, the letter “B”.
Aaron had previously went to “B”, a simple cafe right where Ronscy Village starts just south of Bloor where Dundas splits and heads eastward. B is a small cafe, aka Mitzi’s style with only about 5 tables. It’s cosy and homey and has the menu written on a chalkboard (like Mitzis) but they do accept Interac and the prices are FAR less expensive than the crazy trendified Mitzis. As well, you won’t have to line up for an hour to get into Mitzis.
Many veggie options for me as I ordered the tofu scramble ($7) , accompanied with a side of delicately spiced home fries and a choice of toast (I chose rye). Aaron ordered the omelete with duck and apple sausage, home fries, and toast. With extra special and friendly service, unlimited coffee, a selection of espresso drinks that were actually affordable ($2.50 for lattes), and the funkyness of Queen West (minus the trend), i was very impressed with “B”.
Menu is small and simple. I noticed that they had the granola and fruit and yogourt options as well as oatmeal, omeletes, pancakes or waffles, and an assortment of breakfast squares. Reminds me of a very small Yasi’s Place since both are on the edge of trend, but without the trendy prices, maybe it’s because both are on the edge of gentrified neighbourhoods.
On my second visit with Wendy, i had the French Toast with berries and brie and portions were perfect (not too large and not too small). In sum, it was a nice brunch and I would definitely go back to try out more of their menu. Wendy was quite impressed with her meal (tofu eggs with duck and apple sausage and rye toast. My fruit was carved out in a very artistic fashion and presentation was beautiful. Wendy commented that these cooks were real culinary chefs. Both our dishes had the letter “B” carved out of a cucumber (or onion). Prices were very reasonable, included tax, service was fast and extra friendly. We really felt pampered and there were no complaints.
“B” accepts cash and interac but no credit cards. “B” is funky with white walls, great art for sale, and is located right at Dundas and Roncesvalles across from the Starbucks in the old bank building.
969 Bloor Street West
Nazareth is a small narrow restaurant run and owned by one person, Nazareth. Conveniently located at Bloor near Ossington (near Queen of Sheba) this place is a hidden gem in the Bloor corridor between Christie and Lansdowne. The owner is friendly, enthusiastic, and warm. The capacity of the place is not all that large. There are five to six tables arranged in a columnar fashion against the west wall of the restaurant. Seating a group bigger than 5 ? 6 people can be a challenge. The dimly lit atmosphere, paintings and local art covered walls in addition to the visible clientele make it all a true Ethiopian dining experience.
The menu is small, with essentially three choices, beef, chicken or veggie. The platters are huge and can be pleasantly satisfying for two people. The prices are very reasonable. For the two of us (veggie platter + two teas) we paid $13 including tax and tip. Our veggie platter was only $7.50 and it was just enough for two people. It comprised sauté¥¤ chollard greens, peas, two types of mashed lentil dishes, boiled spiced cabbage, and salad.
The Ethiopian spiced tea (black tea) was amazing. It was similar to Indian Chai this tea was essentially Darjeeling or Ceylon or Earl Grey with cardamom, cloves, and ginger. Unlike most Ethiopian restaurants, the food was served hot , as opposed to most places that serve their dishes warm. Another observation was that our injera (like thin sourdough spongy pita) was served warm. Most Ethiopian places serve their injera cold and clammy.
Pria and Martin ordered the tibs dish, which was essentially different types beef cubes with salad and other vegetable dishes. For their meal they had to order another dish but for us, it was just enough food.
The flavours at Nazareth are much better than any I have tasted so far. She cooks the meal right when you order it, as opposed to having it pre-cooked and heating it before serving. This adds an intangible aura of freshness and a distinct irresistible flavour that I have not found anywhere else. I have eaten there for the past year, while frequenting other Ethiopian places on the occasion and have always returned to Nazareth. It could also be the ambiance coupled with her food makes it all the more authentic. Only being served by one person makes it feel more authentic.
The last time i went to Nazareth it was $26 for 4 people (the big veggie platter for 4 people) with a side of salad and the ceremonial Ethiopian coffee. We did not feel ripped off (like other Ethiopian restaurants in the city) and portions were large and plentiful. On this particular visit, Nazareth went crazy on the salt and we found chunks in our food, but overall, the food was piping hot, not too spicy, and perfectly portioned.
Late night dining .. all the way to 1.00 am . As long as she has food in the kitchen she will serve you. On Thursdays and weekends, the place acquires a more bar type atmosphere after 11.00 pm. The music is turned up a notch, with the demographics composed of a casual, super friendly, gregarious and a non-pretentious crowd. Dinner is still served in this atmosphere. Accepts all cards. Liquor license.
1325 Finch Avenue
[closed Dec 2007]
The Original Banh Mi Factory (Banh Mi meaning Bread) is a bakery, dessert, soup, smoothie, and submarine eatery with free Internet, 3 large TV screens with Muchmore music playing and has a casual and clean ambiance.
It may claim to be Canada’s largest sandwich shop, but The Original Bahn Mi (Vietnamese for sandwich) Factory has much more than sandwiches. Along with a selection of tasty Vietnamese subs, the 7,600-square-foot restaurant has a menu featuring more than 125 items.
I went with my colleague Carmen for lunch there and i was shocked at the selection. They have Pho (Vietnamese beef and rice noodle soups), as well as a large Bubble Tea selection, home made baguette, sushi, a vast array of desserts, Thai dishes like cold salad rolls (veggie and shrimp). Prices are beyond superb for what you get. I ordered a 6″ sub with thinly sliced tofu, thinly sliced carrot, cilantro, rice noodles, and pickled vegetables. The homemade baguette bread was hot and fresh, crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.
The place is a little kitcshy as it has two large TV screen with Much More Music playing movies like Grease and TV like Fame (all content on Much More Music is music themed). Also offers Internet access and has a large kiosk for freshly baked goods. The Original Banh Mi Factory resembles a bakery, sub shop, smoothie / frozen drink cafe with a smooth kiosk and professional blenders ready to make Bubble Tea smoothies.
A cool incentive of this place is if you spend more then $10 they will give you a free baguette to take home. In all reviews I’ve consulted, I am told that the Rose Cafe is the best when it comes to Vietnamese Subs, but this place is damn good to begin with. Baguettes (white or whole wheat) are made on the premises (which is a plus) and prices are quite reasonable.
Unfortunately the Pho dishes, which look large, satisfying, and healthy, are all beef based, since traditional Pho is comprised of raw beef that cooks with the veggies in the heated beef broth (GROSS). The place does remind me of McDonalds since it’s large, clean, and has a simple, fast food “look and feel”. They plan on having a drive thru window soon. They sell their famous Deli Majoos – cream filled pastries that taste like doughnuts. Since baked goods are made on the premises, expect all baked goods to be fresh and warm. You can see staff make all of the food since the kitchen is behind the cash but is open concept with clear view windows. Does resemble a bakery more than a restaurant. Nice front display with colourful looking dishes. Open concept dining room has high ceilings and is not crowded but feels very comfortable and seems too nice for fast food.
At present, they only accept cash but there is an ATM in the restaurant. Definitely recommended if you are in the Finch and Dufferin or Finch and Keele area during the day.
808 College Street
new location at 1036 St. Clair West
Boom is a trendy and comfortable breakfast joint along the College West strip at Ossington, just at the cusp of Little Italy and in the St. Clair/Oakwood neighbourhood. The Little Italy location looks like a classy but trendy diner with a old fashioned looking bar and nice 4 seater booths for privacy. In addition to brunch, they also serve “lunch and dinner” items like pasta, salad, burgers, and many veggie options.
As Boom is know for brunch, and having been opened for 2 years, we decided to go in a group (me, Justine, Pam, and Bryan). Pam ordered the Eggs Florentine and thought it was excellent. It came with very tasty homefries and a bit of fruit. Price and portion size were adequate. She thought service was excellent and the decor was modern & cozy. I liked the booths! Also, very clean looking.
Justine had the chocolate chip pancakes and thought they were somewhat tasty. She felt that they could have been a bit lighter and more fluffy (3’s Company is much better). She liked the egg decor on all the walls and the big egg near the entrance….She thought it was very playful. Justine found the prices to be very reasonable (under $6 for her pancakes. She thought the portion size for her pancakes were very good. She enjoyed the nice ambience…Booths made the place very casual and loungy, but they also had the bar area that had blue tiles as a backsplash and classy wooden tabletops…There was a mix of casual and upscale trendy. She thought it was nice to keep all types of people happy (the casual, laid back kind of person and the more yuppy type).
Bryan had the Tuscan eggs: poached eggs, grilled tomato on rye bread, fruit on the side. He enjoyed it, tasted fresh, light, and eggs were properly cooked. The price was standard. Ambience was fun and modern, upbeat and friendly. He liked the booths. The decor was simple and tasteful but not exceptional. He loved the College West location.
My order was a slight disappointment, unless you are anorexic of course. I ordered had the very berry crepe, which was light, thin, and full of fruit (stawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries). It came with a chocolate drizzle and it was excellent. I was disappointed because I asked the waitress if she could recommend something filling (Chocolate Chip Pancakes versus the Very Berry Crepe) and she recommended the crepes. Well, she was wrong. The crepe was tiny and I was not satisfied at all. Justine was generous to share her Chocolate Chip pancakes which were thick and delicious.
Open daily from 6:00am. Accepts all cards. Accessible on the College street streetcar (on College) and along the St. Clair streetcar (St. Clair location) and the Oakwood/Ossington bus.
319 Augusta Avenue
From the makers of Azul and Canteena comes a cool and hip new rice bar in Kensington market called Rice Bar. Brock Sheppard’s Rice Bar brings together urban chic minimalism, a touch of pretentiousness, and a funky atmosphere into a small and simple eatery with earth tones and an overall cosy ambiance. With an open concept kitchen, dark hues, and high celings, Rice Bar feels like a neighbourhood bistro and your home kitchen wrapped into one.
The menu definitely brings together a combination of flavours, spices, and twists on traditional rice dishes. At first glance, it does look like they stole the last page of the menu from Fresh by Juice for Life’s rice and noodle dish list. The difference is, Fresh’s rice and noodle dish menu has items from the late 1990’s and very little has been updated. Rice Bar’s rice dishes are creative as they fuse different ethnic flavours together in funky combinations.
Prices are slightly on the higher side considering it’s a rice dish, but our dinner was for Wendy’s birthday so I overlooked the prices and hoped the portions would make up for it.
Wendy and I ordered from the “design your rice bowl” since nothing stood out from the menu for us. Wendy got to choose a protein, type of rice, vegetable, sauce, and garnish. She ordered the chicken with the olive, vanilla & basil sauce on brown rice with pumpkin seeds. The service & price were great but the bathrooms were forgettable.
I ordered the rice noodle dish with grilled tofu, baby bok choi, and spinach in a tamarind and chipotle sauce. Unlike Wendy’s dish which was more “dry”, my dish was very saucy, almost soupy, which was perfect for me. In disappointment, I did find the portion lacking (i expected more) but i was overall very happy with my meal. When servers measure things with plate size, it’s all bullshit. Plate size DOES not infer that your meal is large.
For dessert we ordered two rice puddings; the green tea wasabi white chocolate rice pudding and the ribbous vanilla rice pudding. The pudding were very very strange. First of all, forget the concept of pudding in the traditional sense. This pudding was not comfort food. Forget about the creamy rich, mousse-like texture and think of pudding as a casserole. Our two pudding came in two log-like rectangles of cooked and flavoured rice. The green tea wasabi rice was green in colour and had strong accents of wasabi. It was laced in a white chocolate drizzle. I thought this was some kind of joke ( a creative one, though). Wendy and I looked at each other and thought how thoroughly pretentious it was to present rice pudding as a clump of cooked and flavoured with a little drizzle of white chocolate sauce. The ribbous vanilla rice pudding was even more pathetic since it was also served as a rectangular lump with a nice vanilla bean aroma and laced with brown string-like nodules (ribbous?). We shared both desserts but thought how ridiculous they were. I guess we are so ethno-centric that we are not aware of rice pudding from other countries or Rice Bar was trying too hard to be cool. We think the latter.
For our beverages, I ordered the extra hot “macha” green tea latte with soy milk. I was thoroughly disappointed with my “infant” size cup of tea. I know that classy restaurants do not serve items the size of The Keg Mansion, but customers do not deserve to be ripped off by “baby” sized portions of drinks. I thought it was illegal for her to serve me a drink that pathetic in size. If you’re thirsty, or you want a soothing drink, don’t bother. You’ll be ripped off because it’s organic or natural and it gives them a reason to be deceitful.
Other menu items to note is the Korean pizza – a scallion crepe with pesto, avocado and shrimp. Other rice dishes include dragon bowl of rice noodles in coriander pesto broth with baby bok choy and spicy Korean kimchi and chicken (or shrimp or tofu). The best part of Rice Bar is the design-your-own bowls; you choose the rice (jasmine, brown basmati, infused, infused or rice noodle). You choose your protein: chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu. Then select a sauce, ranging from green coconut milk curry, lemongrass or a soy, sesame and ginger mix. Lastly, throw in your veg choice ? baby spinach, black beans, bok choy ? you even choose your garnish and any extras.
To conclude, I do plan to go back and try other dishes besides the rice bowls. I always believe it’s important to try a place at least three times before making conclusions. Hours of operation are Tue. to Sun.: 11:00am – 10:00pm. Accepts all cards.