Best Breakfast in Toronto
By Elli Davis, April 4, 2012
Breakfast by Mark Watmough
For many, morning is their least favourite part of the day. Due to the everyday morning rush and chaos, many people seem to ignore how important the first meal of the day, breakfast, is. That, my friends, is wrong. Those of you who do wake up a bit earlier to enjoy a big, tasty, cooked breakfast or even visit a restaurant are doing it right. Toronto is not only home to many brilliant home cooks (like yourself, I am sure), but also a number of restaurants where you can enjoy a wide variety of amazingly delicious breakfasts. Do you want to know where to go? Read on.
Meaning and Brief History
The word “breakfast” literally means breaking the short fast of the night and finally eating after about eight hours. While it usually refers to the first meal of the day, the morning meal, some call all the typical food eaten in the morning, such as eggs or cereal, breakfast, regardless the time of the day at which they eat it. Now that it is clear what exactly the word refers to, an important question needs to be asked: when did people start to have breakfast, and how and where was it developed?
The tradition of breakfast goes all the way back to Neolithic era. It was very simple; large stones were used to grind grains to create a kind of porridge. However, breakfast similar to the breakfast we know and love today began much later, in the 19th century, when middle-class men started to work for more than a few hours everyday and needed energy. Those men began eating not only porridge, but also eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, butter, or jam, served with coffee or tea. The 20th century brought healthy breakfast into fashion, and with more women entering the workforce, there was no time to prepare a full breakfast in the morning, and breakfast cereals became a huge hit.
Benefits of Breakfast
Breakfast in Toronto by Rmburnes
Not even an increasingly widening choice of breakfast foods and restaurants seems to convince everybody to spare a couple of minutes every morning to eat their breakfast. Many say they have no time — they do not feel like stuffing their stomachs immediately after waking up or they may be trying to cut calories. Whatever the reason, skipping the first meal of the day is indeed a giant mistake on their part, as having regular breakfast has immense benefits. Breakfast may well be the most important meal of the day.
According to research, having breakfast decreases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, and even heart attacks quite significantly. “Eating first thing in the morning may help to stabilize blood sugar levels, which regulate appetite and energy.” When you eat breakfast, you tend to have a healthier overall diet, one that is more nutritious and lower in fat. Eating in the morning kick starts your metabolism for the day.
It is better to eat any breakfast than no breakfast at all, but of course, a morning meal containing sausages or bacon is not a healthy option and it is not a great idea to eat too frequently. On the contrary, the right choice of breakfast food gives our body just what it needs: energy, important vitamins, iron and fibre. Those who eat whole-grain cereals daily seem to benefit from breakfast the most. They are less likely to have blood sugar problems. Amazingly, a small bowl of breakfast cereal with milk provides at least 25 per cent of the daily requirement of several vitamins, and 17 per cent of your recommended daily iron intake.
Breakfast Around the World
Breakfast varies greatly from country to country. Some places have a breakfast that is similar to the typical morning meal in Canada, there are those that have, in my opinion, more healthy or delicious food for their first meal of the day than we do, and there are also places in which breakfast might seem quite strange. Have a look at some of the countries to see what the world usually eats for breakfast.
Maple Syrup by Katherine
Let me start with Canada just in case some non-Canadians are reading this article. Coffee, tea and juice are the typical breakfast drinks here, just like in many other countries. Since Canada is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, it is not a surprise that this product features on our breakfast menus prominently. Buckwheat or buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and bacon are perhaps the most well known Canadian morning specialty, but many prefer to eat oatmeal, toast, cereal, waffles or eggs for breakfast. There really is a lot to choose from.
No country in the world is more famous for its traditional breakfast than England. The well known full English breakfast consists of eggs, mushrooms, beans, tomatoes, sausages, bacon, and bread. Most of these ingredients are fried (it is often called ‘The Full English Fry-Up’) and full of fat, which is why nowadays many people opt for a piece of toast, oatmeal, or a bowl of cereal in the morning. As a matter of fact, more cereal is sold in Britain than anywhere else in Europe, proving that there is a shift toward healthier morning food. Do not worry: if you ever visit England, you will certainly get to experience the original breakfast, as the vast majority of hotels and pubs stay faithful to the tradition and include it in their menus. Regarding drinks, coffee is quite popular, but of course, for many Britons, a good morning cup of tea with milk is a must.
In Australia, it is all about the salty, sticky, brown spread of a very specific taste called Vegemite. The most typical breakfast food therefore is toast with Vegemite and a glass of orange juice. Cereal, warm oatmeal or Weetabix with hot milk are very common as well, however. Australians seem to prefer light and healthy breakfasts — good for them!
Italian Coffee by Margot Swift
Those who have visited Italy certainly know Italian coffee is among the best in the world. It would be a sin not to enjoy a cup in the morning, and Italians are well aware of that. The most common morning breakfast in the country therefore consists of caffé e latte (hot coffee with milk) or cappuccino and bread or rolls, butter, and jam (colazione), a croissant (cornetto), or cookies (biscotti). Overall, Italian breakfasts are very simple, sweet, and delicious.
Even thinking of French breakfasts makes me want to travel to France. On the breakfast menu in France, you will find café au lait, hot chocolate, orange juice, pastries such as croissants, pains au chocolat, pains aux raisins, or brioches, butter, chocolate, and jam, as well as cereal, yogurt, or fruit compote. Because it is sweet, it may seem quite similar to a typical Italian morning meal, but there are many, many differences. Try it yourself! I am positive you will not regret it.
Japanese Breakfast by Social Geek
Japanese breakfast might seem strange to us, but it is hard to judge if it is better or worse — it is just different. The most common morning dish in Japan is based on rice, seafood, or tofu — just like many other Japanese meals. Eating leftovers from dinner for breakfast is customary in the country.
Every region in Colombia offers something different, which makes it impossible to identify one typical meal eaten for breakfast. Perhaps the most famous morning dish comes from the Cundinamarca region and it is a soup made of milk, scallions, and cheese called changua. In other regions, hot chocolate and corn bread are frequently eaten.
Sometimes we find ourselves being a little lazy and instead of preparing breakfast at home, find it easier to just go out and enjoy something delicious in a restaurant. Luckily enough, there are many restaurants in Toronto offering everything you could possibly want for breakfast. Not all of them are equally good, however: some still use frozen fries, while others do not make good scrambled eggs or offer great pancakes. Here is a list of popular places that I believe offer high quality and very tasty breakfast food.
If you want your breakfast to be fresh and healthy, Lady Marmalade is the ideal place for you. The first restaurant was opened in Victoria in June 2005 and its owners, originally from Toronto, decided in 2009 that our city needs such a restaurant as well. All the dishes in this all-day breakfast place are organic; the restaurant supports local organic farmers and uses their products, including free-run eggs as well as organic St. John’s bread as often as possible. If you are a meat lover or you enjoy fried breakfast with fatty sauces, you are most likely not going to enjoy eating at Lady Marmalade very much, but if you want to protect your health, you will fall in love with it! Wondering what is on the menu? I suggest you try a bowl of organic, multigrain oatmeal topped with cardamom-baked apples, berry coulis, sour cream, and brown sugar, served with milk ($8.50) or white cheddar and spinach waffles with bacon, roasted tomatoes, scallions, tomato-orange cream and salad ($11.50). Bon appetite!
Since 1998, Aunties and Uncles has been one of the most popular breakfast and brunch destinations in Toronto. This small, friendly place seems to attract a high number of Torontonians every morning, so you have to get up pretty early (the restaurant opens at 9:00 am) to find a free table. Both upstairs and downstairs are usually packed and you may have to wait a good half an hour to be able to sit down. What this restaurant offers is certainly worth the wait, however. Who could resist banana oatmeal pancakes with maple syrup ($7.50), Belgian waffles ($7.50), cinnamon French toast ($7.50), or the special breakfast pocket that features scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, and caramelized onions ($8.75)?
Karines by Andrew Currie
This relatively new restaurant is like a dream come true for all vegans. The menu offers many items that are 100 per cent free of animal, gluten and dairy products. Breakfast is an exception, however, and customers can order true meat products such as bacon or sausage. As its vegan nature may suggest, Karine’s is very environmentally conscious and many of its regular customers bring their own mugs and food containers to take their meals away. Whether you decide to eat in or take out the meal of your choice, you might want to taste their breakfast specials (at only $5!) such as vegan pancakes, non-vegan pancakes, or even bacon and eggs. Other options are the breakfast parfait, which is granola and yogurt topped with walnuts, bananas, and honey ($6.99) or smoked salmon omelette ($9.99). If you are up for fresh, healthy, and nutritious food, do not hesitate to eat your first meal of the day at Karine’s.
Are you looking for a fancy place offering first-class gourmet food? Stop reading then, because you are not going to find any of that in Over Easy. This cosy restaurant offers a casual atmosphere and a wide variety of homemade breakfast food. You can choose from a range of omelettes or scrambled eggs, but you can also order a big breakfast consisting of three eggs, pancake, baked beans, sliced tomato, home fries, bacon, ham, or sausage and toast ($11.99) or try one of the specialties, such as an English breakfast ($9.99). If you want nothing more but enjoy your tasty breakfast, Over Easy will not disappoint you.
As its name suggest, Eggspectation specializes in dishes made of eggs. I have never seen a restaurant offering so many egg-based meals before. The menu features about 160 items, all of which have something to do with eggs. It is not all just scrambled eggs or omelettes either. True, this place is especially famous for its unbelievably tasty Eggs Benedict, which they offer in more than a dozen different ways, and you will not regret tying any of them, but you can also order something a little less ordinary. Consider having Eggstreme (smoked salmon, grilled tomatoes, and two eggs with capers, onions, and a toasted bagel, all for $14.29), Eggwhat (corned beef hash, two eggs, and grilled potatoes served with toast and chef’s fruit garnish for $9.99), or Uneggspected (a six-ounce Sirloin Steak and two eggs, served with chef’s fruit garnish, grilled potatoes, and toast for $15.99). Enjoy your Eggsperience!