There was much good eating to be had this past month, as we checked out a selection of restaurants both old and new. If you haven’t been to Delux Restaurant (92 Ossington Avenue) for their awesome Cuban lunch, don’t delay. Above is the roast pork dinner featuring sweet fork tender pork, fried plantains and rice and beans.
1554 Queen Street West
Brunch for two with all taxes, tip, plus coffee and juice: $40
I have a love/hate relationship with the brunch at Mitzi’s Sister. I love the homey, laid back vibe, the friendly servers, the eclectic tunes, and the constantly changing garnishes on what is likely my favourite brunch menu in the city. If it weren’t for the hate bit, I’d be here every weekend. But the hate thing is something I can’t get over. It’s got nothing to do with the place itself, but everything to do with the clientele. Mitzi’s Sister seems to double as a daycare centre on weekend mornings, where local hipster parents come with their kids and pretty much set them free.
Now before I get piles of cranky comments, let me be clear. I don’t have a problem with well-behaved kids who can sit politely through a meal. I don’t have a problem with breastfeeding. And I understand that kids have short attention spans and lots of energy to burn. What I have a problem with is the Parkdale locals who let their kids literally run around the place, annoying other patrons and making life dangerous for themselves and the servers while the parents sit by oblivious, comparing tattoos and discussing their guitars. I watched a kid make it out the door and onto the street one day before his father clued in that he was gone and rushed frantically around the place looking for him. I witnessed a toddler wander into the kitchen, only to hear the crash of plates as the server avoided knocking her over. When I’m looking for a quiet breakfast that doesn’t include top-of-the-lungs screeching, I tend to end up somewhere else.
People don’t really think of Parkdale as being a foodie paradise. And yes, if you’re looking for high-end health food items, organic meat or artisanal bread or cheese, you’d be mostly out of luck. But as one of the most multi-cultural neighbours in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, we’ve got a lot of variety working in our favour.
Most folks tend to think of the ‘Dale as a low-end neighbourhood full of nothing but greasy spoons and burger joints. For sure, we’ve got two of the best. The Gate (1206 King Street West) sits at the corner of King and Dufferin and offers up filling breakfast, burgers and some damn fine fish and chips. Peggy, the waitress who’s been working the tables here since the late 60s when she came to Toronto to be a go-go dancer, tells regulars to help themselves to coffee. Further west along Queen, The Skyline (1402 Queen Street West) is about as retro as you can get in terms of diners, with that famous neon sign out front, and fast and efficient service inside from the flurry of activity that is Doris, once voted “best waitress in Toronto”. Other places that serve up a mean burger or all-day breakfast includes Harry’s Burgers (160 Springhurst Avenue) and Stavros (1530 Queen Street West).