While a Sunday opener requires little luxury to satisfy, there is much to be said for a first-class kick-off to a weekend wind-down – enter high-end brunches in Toronto.
‘Cause there can be a lot more to brunch than Benny and a Bloody Caesar. In fact, many of the city’s finest chefs wear their Sunday best on their menus. Opening up your wallet just a little wider to appreciate the final sprint can make Monday mornings a lot easier to swallow.
So don’t wait for Mother’s Day to get a little fancy on Sunday afternoons. Between their quality, their creativity, and their weighty-but-well-earned price tags, here are the best high-end brunches in Toronto available every weekend. Though if you tackled this list over the course of a year I wouldn’t hold your financial sensibilities against you…
Buca – Yorkville
The newest edition to the Gentile roster is the brunch menu at his Yorkville location and it is nothing short of a crawl-off grand-slam. It’s also one of the more unique brunch menus you’ll find in the city, with many items a pleasantly unexpected option for a Sunday afternoon. If you want to double up for dinner, the Bombolone is just stacked with mouth-watering mortadella, soppressata, and mascarpone. It is of course topped with a fried egg for good measure. While you won’t want to just order “eggs”, you’ll find them of the duck and hen variety accompanying a chickpea crêpe, atop a swordfish sausage pasta or mixed into your table-side-prepared risotto. Their prized paper-thin pizzas are also available as is a tight selection of sweets; definitely get the chianti-poached pear. Be prepared to spend more than a few shiny pennies but be just as prepared to not regret it for a second.
The Ritz (TOCA)
Ya, it’s $85 per person, but guess what: it includes unlimited baked brie, any-style eggs, cold cuts, oysters, lobster tails, a chocolate fountain, and more. With the fixed price also comes an all-inclusive Mimosa and Bellini bar. You read that right. Take Monday off.
I know, it’s kind of a dick move to put a private club on this list. But between the atmosphere and the quality and selection of food – not to mention the “all you can eat” factor – it really is worth figuring out a mooch angle if you’re not a member. There’s smoked fish, tons of delicious greens, killer quiche, and a fine flow of oysters. It’s also critical not to forget the crêpes in the corner and the omelette station guarded by hotplates in the back. If you don’t know a member, maybe just go old-school and try the shoulder-tap?
The Brickworks isn’t just for weddings, organic produce, and nature walks with your golden lab; it’s also for awesome brunch. Belong’s brunch menu kicks off the cold with a coconut yogourt parfait and hands off the hot half with quinoa oatmeal. Though it’s a short and sweet selection, it keeps a hell of a pace. Pulled pork shoulder with cornbread and smashed avocado, buttermilk biscuit Benny with ham or trout, and some of the best blueberry pancakes you’ll ever have. If you’re a fan of cured meats, you’ll also want to try their Bricklayer’s Board. Feel free to wash it down with a Niagara Peach Tea Whiskey Smash spiked with a gracious 2oz of Wisers.
Le Select Bistro
The French know what they’re doing with brunch and that comes across loud and clear at this Wellington Street brasserie. Knowing when not to mess with a good thing, you’ll find a consistent A-class crew on their Sunday menu: benny avec croissant, roast-beef risotto, seared scallops, goat cheese salad, and heartier options like their exceptional steak tartare, lamb burger, and braised brisket brioche sandwich. And you know you’re in the company of an almost unbeatable brunch when the first thing on the menu is “Champagnes”.
As far as The Distillery goes, this is your first stop for a step above. Though “stepping” is not something of which you’ll be doing a lot after this meal. While they do have some light-ish stuff like a Greek yogourt fruit parfait, a great mushroom and artichoke omelette and a refreshing “Niçoise” spin on tuna tartar, they throw their big weight around on the heavy stuff. Namely items like the Wagyu hache, their double-bacon cheeseburger, and their braised beef poutine. It’s a fine splurge in all respects.
The King Edward Hotel
Their brunch is as delicious and upscale as the name would suggest. For $53 per person, you can stuff your face with fresh juices and carved fruits, breakfast pastries, Bennys, bacon and bangers. Their seafood selection is also fantastic with plenty of smoked salmon, scallop ceviche and crab to have you humming Little Mermaid tunes for hours. The only drawback: it’s only from 11:00am to 1:00pm.
I don’t need to tell you much about this place; last year you voted it your favourite brunch in Toronto. The food here is still fresh, impeccably prepared, and of top shelf taste. There are no guarantees on exactly what you’ll find chalked up for any given brunch, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll find some classic Bennys on homemade biscuits, sensational pancakes, and red meat that should tie you over well into dinner…on Monday. Oh, and I know what I said about Caesars, but these ones are next level.
For this King West posh-pit, the brunch menu isn’t as expensive as you’d assume, with the average dish hovering around $12. It’s also wonderfully diverse with a delicious array of vegetables, fruits, juicy chorizo, and of course a choice of nine cheese orders that come accompanied with fresh sourdough bread and sugary jam.
Mildred’s Temple Kitchen
While Mildred’s serves up great food with all their menus, their brunch hits a special spot. If your crew is light you can go à la carte with options like their hella-good huevos, house-made crunchy granola, or the more adventurous big brunch skillet. If your numbers crack 10 though, you’ll get their $25 “Brunch for a Gang” prix fixe that loads you up with biscuits, scones, poached eggs, pancakes, and a savoury goat’s cheese tart. Either way you go, it’s all good.
The Old Mill
This is the definition of “Oldie but a Goodie”. Well, I’m not sure if they’ve been doing their buffet brunch since 1914, but it’s been around for a while. For $35 a head (+ tax and drinks) you get a full display of meats, seafood, salads, and of course the egg-based classics. They’re also a great spot for holiday meals with the family. It’s a bit of a hike, but worth it for the old-school glamour.