Discover this quaint and historic neighbourhood in the locally approved way: over eggs Benny and mimosas. 

Whether it’s to fuel up before a New Year’s adventure or you’re looking to continue Friday night’s festivities into Saturday or Sunday afternoon, brunch is an essential meal. Cozy vibes and stick-to-your-ribs comfort foods pair perfectly with frothy lattes and bubbly mimosas during a Toronto winter. 

Here are six of my picks for the best spots to brunch in Cabbagetown, a downtown neighbourhood with unique shops and historic Victorian architecture.  

House on Parliament

Any restaurant serving up a brunch poutine is going to get a second look from me. So I love that Shootine is the first item listed on the House on Parliament’s brunch menu. At the House, they swap out fries for crushed Yukon Gold potatoes and sub in hollandaise sauce for poutine gravy. Then they add any style of eggs you like, bacon, caramelized onions and, in keeping with poutine tradition, a healthy serving of cheese curds. In addition to this unique ode to the Quebec classic, the menu here also features a hearty helping of English-style classics, like Scotch eggs and a “proper breakfast sandwich.” 

Likelihood of a line:  7/10

Johnny G’s Cafe

Brunching has become practically a religion in Toronto. That has brought with it an influx of uber-trendy, highly Instagrammable spots with menus to match. And that is cool and all, but what I love about a neighbourhood like Cabbagetown is that it’s more concerned with its roots and keeping it real. And no other restaurant on this list may embody that Cabbagetown feeling more than Johnny G’s Cafe. No neon signs with ironic sayings or pop-star mantras here. No one proclaiming “Rosé all day.” What you’ll find is all-day breakfast and a solid selection of eggs Benny, including Florentine, Neptune and Parisian. 

Likelihood of a line:  4/10

Stout Irish Pub

Yes, I am very familiar with the standard brunch beverage protocol. Mimosas, Caesars and coffee are the go-to drinks for everyone’s fave meal. But who made these so-called rules, anyway? 

I dare you to head over to Stout for a full Irish breakfast (complete with baked beans and mushrooms) and try not ordering a beer from their incredible selection available in cans, bottles or on tap. Trust me and save the mimosas for one of those days you decide to stay in — it is way easier to mix prosecco and OJ at home than it is to brew an IPA! 

Likelihood of a line: 6/10

Red Cranberries

Toronto winters can be chilly, but that doesn’t stop the brunch-loving masses from venturing out during even in slushy conditions. Visitors and brunch newbies, here is a pro tip for winter brunching: choose a spot that radiates warmth and coziness (literally and figuratively) from the outside in. A perfect example of this is Red Cranberries. 

If you look up comfy in the dictionary, you may find a photo of their dining room. Cozied up in one of their upholstered booths, surrounded by warm wood walls, you’ll linger over that plate of fluffy pancakes and fresh fruit before heading out into the magical, snow-covered streets. 

Likelihood of a line: 7/10

Chew Chew’s Diner 

I’m not going to make you groan with a corny choo choo train pun when talking to you about Chew Chew’s Diner. But indulge me as I express my love for a great restaurant name and theme. Chew Chew’s is a train-inspired resto that has been serving up fun and food in Cabbagetown since 2008. All the expected brunch staples are on the menu, including an amazing assortment of egg dishes (13 omelets and nine Bennies, last time I counted). Another pro tip? Don’t leave without ordering a milkshake. 

Likelihood of a line:  7/10


Getting to Cabbagetown:

Take the Line 1 Yonge-University subway to College station, then catch the 506 Carlton streetcar eastbound to Parliament Street.