Riverside Eats & Shops | Brunch Spots on Queen Street East

Enjoy this guest blog by Chef Scott Savoie (@TOfoodTourGuy)

If you’re thinking about heading out to The Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside taking place in Jimmie Simpson Park as part of the Beaches International Jazz Festival on July 8, 9 & 10th… here is the skinny on some of the best brunch spots in Riverside.

Ah Brunch! That lazy, laid back meal… somewhere between breakfast, lunch or dinner. It screams weekends, relaxation and hanging out with friends or that special someone. A great way to while away a few hours lingering over stimulating conversation, great food and mid-day mimosa’s or a Bloody Caesar if your anything like me.

The origins of brunch are a bit hazy, some say it was founded in England as a meal served to nobility after the hunt, others think is was invented by fasting Catholics who wanted to feast after church service. Still others believe it became popular as the many women who had entered the work force after the war could have a break and enjoy a meal out with their families. Either way we are just glad it happened!

The east end of the city is known as the brunch capital of Toronto. There are many great spots to get your fix and as Brunch can be somewhat of a daunting task I thought I would share a few of my favorite spots here in Riverside. If you’re in need of a big cup of WAKE UP JUICE…that’s chef speak for coffee or tea.. you might want to check out The Cannonball Coffee & Bar, they have a beautiful back patio and make a great cup of Joe and just so you know… their GRILLED CHEESE is to die for! Darkhorse Espresso Bar is well known in Riverside and lives up to the high praise of coffee aficionados. If coffee is not your thing you can grab a JUICE or SMOOTHIE at Pulp Kitchen, they also offer some great gluten free & vegan options.

Last but not least I love the SAUSAGE ROLLS & CROISSANTS at Broadview Bakery and Deli and I have a real weak spot for the CREAM SCONES at St. John’s Bakery.

If grab and go is not your thing and you are looking for a spot that offers more of a full menu with table service then be sure to check out these local favorites…

Aft Kitchen & Bar

686 Queen Street East

Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays — 10AM to 3PM

Aft Kitchen & Bar – If you’re looking for Brunch with a Southern twist to it look no further than Aft. Paul and his team do a really great job of dishing up old fashion southern food & hospitality. Known for their Texas style BBQ it’s a place that is sure to please. My 2 fav dishes there are the KENTUCKY HOT BROWN…House-Smoked Chicken, Roma Tomatoes & Mornay Sauce. Served open-faced on Thick-Cut Toast, topped with Double Smoked Bacon and the BRISKET HASH…Slow-Smoked Beef Brisket with Shredded Potato Hash, pan fried with two Sunny-Side Eggs, & Toast. Be sure to try the SMOKED BLUEBERRY MARGARITA… it is so good it will curl your toes. Just remember its first come first serve as they don’t take reservations.

Brisket Hash

Riverside Eats Bruch Aft Bar Blog

Kentucky Hot Brown

Riverside Eats Bruch Aft Bar Blog

 An Sibin

709 Queen Street East

Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays — 10AM to 3PM

If it’s a traditional IRISH FRY UP served up with Brenan’s Irish Sausage and Black & White Pudding you’re looking for or one of Chef Av’s brunch creations… you won’t be disappointed. This s not another one of those Irish Pubs in a Box that seem to be everywhere… this is the real craic. When you walk in you’ll notice that this is like a home away from home for the Irish. Many Irish Expats have made this their local and that Irish accent from your server or barman is the real deal…a lot of the staff are from the emerald isle. If you’re not doing the Irish breakfast then here are some suggestions on what you should put in your bellies. WHISKEY, DILL & ORANGE CURED SALMON served with house made Irish Soda Bread, citrus crème fraiche, pickled red onion & capers or the crispy BUTTERMILK WAFFLES topped with Bushmills BBQ Pulled Pork, poached eggs, fresh berries and pure maple syrup. If you’re craving something Mexican try the RANCHERO WRAP, 3 scrambled eggs, Dry cured Chorizo Sausage, Jack Cheese and Black Beans in a flour tortilla with Salsa Fresca, Sour Cream and house cut Corn Chips. A real bit of Ireland in Riverside.

Bonjour Brioche

812 Queen Street East

Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays — 8AM to 4PM

If your idea of the ideal brunch is in a little French café and patisserie then look no further. This cash only French bakery and café has been the go to brunch spot in Riverside for many years and judging by the lineups outside it is still going strong. What do I eat when I’m there for brunch? The Daily Quiche, the Croque Madame or the Tart du Jour are always delicious and the Croissants and Pastries are out of this world. If you can’t get to Paris at least come here.

  The Peasant Table

782 Queen Street East

Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays — 10AM to 4PM

How about brunch with an Italian Twist? If you want to Mangia Benne (Eat Well) this is the place to go. The casual, warm and cozy atmosphere will make you feel right at home. Chef Boris, the owner, and his team bend over backwards to show you the best of Italian inspired good food and good cheer. A relative newcomer on the scene, they have taken over the old digs of the former Table 17 and are fast becoming a local favorite. Chef Boris who spent many years cooking in some of the finest restaurants all over Europe, has a way of blending flavors to create truly spectacular food. My personal favorites include the Agnello, Homemade Lamb Sausage, Smashed Potato, Sautéed Rapini and Poached Organic Hen Egg. The Frittata, a Mushroom, Potato and Onion Omelette served with Wild Boar Meat Balls covered in slow simmered Sugo. The SKINNY PANCAKES, if you’re a crepe lover these are a must try…and last but not least I really like the option of being able to create my own plate with a build your own breakfast option that lets you choose from about a dozen different items. This place is truly a neighborhood gem.

Prohibition Gastrohouse

696 Queen Street East

Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays — 10AM to 3PM

A fixture in the neighborhood for many years, “PRO” as the locals call it is an upscale casual gastro pub with friendly service and great atmosphere. They are passionate about what they do and it shows. Some of the dishes that you should try are the Breakfast Poutine, The Chicken & Biscuits, and the best freakin’ Truffle Mac & Cheese in the city. Here is something you should know, they bake their bread in house and it is fabulous. Trust me I have met the baker and he is very passionate about what he does.

The Donald

Riverside Eats Brunch Prohibition Gastrohouse Blog

2 soft poached eggs, duck confit, truffled hollandaise, home fries, artisanal greens, jalapeño applewood cheddar biscuit

Chef ScottAbout the Author | Chef Scott is the Founder and Chief Eating Officer of Toronto Food Tours Inc. He is a World Traveled Chef + Culinary Instructor + Toronto Lover + Story Teller + Stroke Survivor. He has been leading food tours in the GTA since 2010 and is a staunch supporter of the Riverside community, local events and charities. Follow him on Twitter @TOFoodTourGuy

Toronto Food Tours #foodtoursTO)


Twitter and Instagram: @foodtoursTO


With all these great options (and more!) available during The Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside, it’s definitely hard to pick just one, but not to worry, you’re always welcome back for more! Be sure to snap and share a picture of your experience in any of our neighbourhood spots with hashtag #‎RiversideTO.

The Riverside Eats & Shops is your handy everyday guide to some of Riverside’s best, including:

Big thanks to Beaches International Jazz Festival for bringing the awesome Sounds of Leslieville & Riverside to Riverside!