I am so glad that Alexa Clark accepted to participate in my top 5 Toronto places for a weekend Toronto. Alexa writes for CheapEats Toronto and has a blog called Unsweetened. I ask her to tell us the best places to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Three of her suggestions qualify as cheap eats. To have eaten at Kultura, I can attest that this is a worthy indulgence.
Where to Eat in Toronto this weekend?
Le Petit Dejeuner
Still one of my favorite brunch spots in town and based on the weekend crowds around 11:30, I’m not alone. However if you sneak into Le Petit Dejeuner before 11pm or after 1pm chances are good you’ll be delighted by the funky space and wonderfully prepared meals. The menu is exclusively breakfast and brunch items including grilled sandwiches, but it’s nothing like a greasy spoon. The Toast Champignon is a great savory way to start your weekend, but I often go with the sweeter Eggy Fried Bread – which is a caramalized French Toast served with fresh fruit. The Apple Pancakes are also lovely and I usually add a side of peameal bacon just to round them out. They also make excellent coffee, one of the ways I measure the quality of a brunch spot.
Le Petit Dejeuner 191 King St. E
The Fish Store & Sandwich
This tiny little store front makes the best fish sandwiches in town. By far! I’ve even had a long conversation with someone from the James Beard Foundation about how it’s one of his go-to places to eat when he comes to town. It is not, however, fine dining. In fact, there are only 4 seats and the tiny spot is decorated a bit like a shoreside blue tiki hut. But it is so very worth it to get such fresh fish, prepared with a very gentle hand and wonderful seasoning on fresh panini from an Italian bakery across the street. There is a different fish sandwich special everyday and that’s usually what I order since these guys aren’t going to steer you wrong. However many of my friends go for the tuna every time. That’s tuna steak not tuna salad.
The Fish Store & Sandwich, 657 College Street.
Granowska’s Bakery and Cafe
With great perogie, sandwiches and lunch specials you can get a bit of a feel of the traditional Roncesvalles neighborhood when it was almost exclusively Eastern European families. Walking into Granowska’s feels more like walking into bakery than a restaurant, but that is part of the charm. And the steady stream of customers popping in to buy pączki provide a great people-watching opportunity. No matter what you get for lunch, finish up with a pączek – a traditional Polish filled-doughnut (pączki is the plural, pączek singular). The rosehip are my favorite and they have mini-pączki too if you are worried you won’t have room after lunch.
Granowska’s 175 Roncesvalles Avenue
Cava is open and beautiful, with accents of the Spanish taverna to keep us in the mood. It’s just north of St. Clair, tucked into a little courtyard on, but almost hidden from, Yonge Street. It’s a fantastic spot for a casually romantic meal, or an evening with a good group of friends. The primarily Tapas-style menu allows for sharing and great conversation especially if you are just starting your exploration of Spanish food. Chef Chris McDonald obviously has a lot of fun in the kitchen and it shows both on the menu and the plate, for example, his Chipotle-caramel popcorn is a playful and flavorful way to start your meal. The Charcuteria plate is one of their most popular dishes, and pairing that with a selection of tapas makes for a great group meal. My favorite option is to leave my meal up to the kitchen. While Chef’s-choice is often an exclusive offering for VIPs or special guests, at Cava this is a standard offering to everyone and you can get it with or without wine pairings. Make sure to check out Xococava next door, it’s Chef Chris’ sweet playground – an adult candy store – where he adds unusual flavors to chocolate truffles and ice creams.
Cava, 1560 Yonge Street
Just east of King and Jarvis, Kultura has made one of the many historic buildings in this neighborhood warm and exotic without losing the old stone charm. There is a lounge-style bar on the ground floor, and upstairs there are 2 floors of dining. The menu is an exploration of cuisines with some items reinvented and all reinterpreted like the Indian Samosas with truffled paneer and Mushroom Orecchiettie with a pear chutney. I always order something new when I am there, mainly because there is always something new on the menu or the specials which tempts me away from what I planned to order. Everything is prepared and plated beautifully and the service has always been a delight. The food, space and decor all meld together to create an intimate dining experience, even when you are with a group.
Kultura, 169 King St East
Thanks Alexa for participating. Your recommendations inspire me. I went to Kultura in 2008 and I still remember the great meal I had there. Remember that you can read Alexa on Unsweetened and follow her on Twitter.