Torontonians, myself included, love to brunch on weekends and dining at a new venue is always a treat. That’s not so difficult to do, as the city has so many brunch options to choose from. Most recently, I tried a popular hangout in Toronto’s west end, Saving Grace, located in the city’s Little Portugal neighbourhood.
This spot is renowned for its great food as well as its famously long line-ups on the weekend. Having been forewarned, my friend and I arrived on a Saturday, a few minutes before the 10AM opening and within minutes, there were at least 10 people behind us.
Saving Grace is a very small restaurant in what used to be a residential home. The small, high- ceilinged room seats about 20 people at closely placed tables. Servers were constantly smiling and attentively serving customers in this bright and airy space with whitewashed walls and sparse décor. No one seems to mind the close quarters or long line ups, though, because this space is all about the food.
Serving brunch seven days a week, the menu consists of a variety of egg dishes, French toast, sandwiches and salads. The chalkboard on the wall always lists the specials of the day. After careful consideration and much thought, I ordered the savoury french toast, which lived up to my expectations. Made with melted Gruyere, baked apples, and caramelized onions, the flavours were spectacular and I also enjoyed the large salad that came with it. My friend ordered the pancakes with fruit, which was also a hit. Four small, dainty pancakes came served with sliced fruit and maple syrup: not too filling and just the right amount. The freshly squeezed juices were also delicious: the pink grapefruit is not overly tart, and the pear and ginger is perfectly refreshing on a hot summer morning.
I was seriously impressed with the food and am already planning my next appearance, but I haven’t decided whether I’ll have the Old White Cheddar Sandwich, which comes with bacon, tomato, avocado, lettuce and rosemary mayo on a toasted whole wheat raisin bread or the Rajasthani scrambled eggs with spicy red onions, tomatoes, chickpea masala, and spicy paratha.
Saving Grace is open for brunch at 10AM on weekends, and 9AM weekdays.
907 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON
+1 416 703 7368
Google map: bit.ly/PrM358
* Giulia is our Been there local for Toronto. You can see her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places/canada/toronto/index.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/GiuliaFalsetti
I am obsessed with The Magnolia Café, and so is the rest of Austin. The Magnolia café is really a classic all-American diner, and it is common knowledge this is simply the best diner in Austin: as their slogan states, “Everybody knows, Everybody goes”. And you must go! Pulling into a diner one would always expect to order a huge burger with mountains of chips or, given that we are in Texas, tacos, enchiladas or fajitas smothered in melted cheese: you will not be disappointed by the giant size of the Magnolia’s freshly prepared plates of these classic dishes. But there are plenty of places to have good burgers and fajitas in Austin, so I really would not look any further than the Breakfasts which are served 24 hours a day! I love Eggscape which is two eggs over “a mini mountain of seasoned home fries and sausage, topped with cheddar/jack cheese”, although the Flaco Taco (scrambled egg, avocado, cheese and bacon in a tortilla) is potentially a healthier option. A breakfast at the Magnolia Café would not be complete without at least one pancake with a selection of toppings of your choice – I have Buttermilk pancake with chocolate, pecans, bacon and lashings of maple syrup every time, but they also come with a variety of fresh fruit. As you would expect from an American diner, your coffee cup is replenished the minute you finish the last drop so if you do make a visit at 4am, you won’t need to worry about falling asleep at the table. There are two Magnolia cafes in Austin, but the one I know best is on South Congress Avenue, and is dangerously located just one block from my house. The food is served by a team of good humored and relaxed staff and the atmosphere is very relaxed and unpretentious, “kind of like your favorite aunt’s giant kitchen” as they claim. The Magnolia Café gets very busy on Saturday and Sundays, and it is common to queue, in fact I have even queued at 3am on a Tuesday, but it is totally worth the wait.
1920 S. Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704
+1 512 445 0000
Google map: http://g.co/maps/n8n4d
* Mark Sheaves is our Been there local for Austin. You can read his profile and about Austin here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/austin-local-mark-sheaves.jsp and you can follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/MarkSheaves. Check out other locals here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/trails/been-there-locals.jsp
Quite simply the most beautiful breakfast in Istanbul with the most stunning view.
House Cafe is a modern stylish eating establishment sitting on the banks of the Bosphorous serving a wonderful East meets West selection of fare for a reasonable price (much better than the surrounding hotels). I recommend their scrabbled egg on rye bread followed with a gorgeously presented fresh virgin apple mojito.
You can sit in the shade on decking looking out at the water or inside if its just too hot. At night the place becomes a nightclub/bar which is much friendlier than their neighbours.
Salhane Sokak No: 1 Ortaköy İstanbul
+90(0)212 227 2699-39
Sometimes a fry up is exactly what the doctor ordered. This is a super little no frills, no fuss, ‘clean as your Grannie’s kitchen,’ café on Leven Street. Large mugs of builder’s tea for less than the cost of your bus ticket. Try a ‘tattie scone’ for the full Scottish breakfast experience.
27 Leven Street, West End , Edinburgh EH3 9LH
Google map: bit.ly/nWMZYO
This little gem defies the scourge of the Royal Mile and is actually good. Genuinely friendly staff delight in serving you their latest fresh offerings.
Feel your hangover disappear with their delicious bacon roll, or enjoy a Scottish breakfast of smoked salmon and bagels.
Plenty of suitably de-toxing teas to go around.
Watch the crowds rush by along the Royal Mile from your own spot in the window. You really will wish it was always Sunday.
170 High Street, Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh EH1 1QS
+44(0)131 622 0667
Google map: bit.ly/oiHPDJ
* Rachel is our Been there local for Edinburgh. You can view her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/edinburgh-local-rachel-brown.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/RachelBrown
Gorgeous food on a mouthwatering menu: no wonder it's heaving at lunchtime. I choose the earlier breakfast with the divine eggs benedict, a huge variety of breakfasts, including the Full English, Veggie and Turkish (hash browns, halloumi, olives - yum), omelettes and sandwiches. For lunch, visitors are also spoiled for choice with spag bol, curries, burgers, panini, jacket potatoes and salads. This is all washed down with smoothies, drinking yoghurts and great coffees. Get in early to get a seat in this lovely bistro/cafe, with its foliage and scrubbed wooden tables.
Love Walk Cafe & Deli
81 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8RS
+44 207 703 9898
Open Mon-Fri 07.00-19.00, Sat 08.00-19.00, Sun 09.00-19.00
Overground to Denmark Hill, bus 35, 45, 68, 468
Google map: bit.ly/pdCHli
I have hesitated to tell the Guardian readership about Cafe Ariete in Moffat as it can be hard enough to find a table on some busy Saturday mornings already. However, it is the best stop-off on a UK motorway, so it had to be done. Cafe Ariete is a slice of Scottish-Italiano in the charming little town of Moffat; a perfect distance from the north-west for a stop-off. My current favourite choice for my second breakfast of the day is a scrambled egg roll with crispy onions and a tall glass of hot Vimto, garnished with a slice of fruit, but you may prefer the excellent coffees. Before eating, we call in at the paper shop next door to buy our Guardian and after eating we walk around the square window shopping, stopping to buy melt-in-the mouth Scottish Pancakes from the bakery for later. If walking around the pretty, bustling square isn't enough for you, then there is a pleasant two km circular walk along the river Annan to walk off the second breakfast. Really, Moffat deserves a page all to itself, but this will give you a flavour of this Scottish gem.
For gentle walks around Moffat check out:
The site also has information on longer walks and the Moffat Walking Festival in September.
The home page will take you to all the useful information about Moffat you need.
10 High Street, Moffat, Dumfriesshire DG10 9HF
+44(0)1683 220 313
Google map: bit.ly/osyE4V
Nikau is at the back and side of the City Art Gallery, Civic Square. It's light, spacious, has good and pretty affordable food. You could (and lots of tourists do) do a lot worse.
This place cooks the best English breakfast as well as a vegetarian option in Bristol. There are two - one in Cotham Hill and one in Clifton Village.
If you fancy a real breakfast you should try this place.
Forget breakfast in your hotel in Manhattan. Get to see how native New Yorkers start the day by checking out the nearest diner and ordering a stack of pancakes. Make sure you know what you want before you get towards the front of a busy queue or you’ll get it in the neck NYC style from the short order cook. Plan your day while taking advantage of the free coffee refills, and just watch the world go by. All human life is here, and If you can bag a window seat then you’ve doubled your view.
No.67 is a really great cafe, serving snacks, full meals, home made cakes, fresh lemonade, unusual beers, wines, you name it, in an arty setting. It's very, very hip but also very relaxed and friendly (these two are not exclusive, I suppose!) and a great place to chill out on the Peckham Road. The cafe takes up most of the ground floor of the uber cool South London Gallery and in warmer months, the terrace is a great place to sit and soak up the sun under the ancient 'tree of heaven'.
The lunch menu changes daily - today's offers included venison bresaola with rocket and parmesan, fish stew, celeriac soup or fennel marinated pork chop. I had a home made apple crumble tart (£3.75) - yum. The Spanglish breakfasts are legendary, but get there early at weekends as it's very popular.
South London Gallery, 67 Peckham Road
London SE5 8UH
+44(0)20 7252 7649
Google map: bit.ly/gC2LxH
Open Tue 10am-6.30pm, Wed 10am-9pm, Thurs-Sun 10am-6.30pm, closed on Mondays
Buses: 12, 36, 436, 345, 171 to Southampton Way
The seaside is the only proper place for a stay in a B&B. The excellent Redcliffe Hotel on Scarborough's South Cliff has it all. Set back from the Esplanade, on leafy Prince of Wales Terrace, it's a short walk to the beach and the town centre. The rooms (some with sea view) are spotless and stylish, with all the extras - such as hairdryer, iron, tea, coffee and Kit Kats. There is a cosy bar and a fabulous first floor lounge with big comfy sofas, books and games.
Ann, the wonderful owner, was born to run a hotel. All her guests return over and over again, and she has entertaining stories to tell that are worth the room rate alone!
Her husband, Brian, makes the best breakfast bar none. The full English is on offer in every combination you could wish for, served with a mountain of toast. Or there's smoked haddock, eggs done every which way and a table groaning with fresh fruit, cereals and yoghurt. All served rather elegantly on thick white linen tablecloths in the charming dining room.
There is a nice, normal cafe, with the reassuring name, Porky's Pantry near Charing Cross station. Prices standard, food always freshly cooked, bread fresh, thick and crusty.
49 Chandos Place, City of London WC2N 4HS
+44(0)20 7836 0967
(nr Charing Cross station/ Traf Sq/ St Martin's)
Google map: bit.ly/ihsD3J
It is a tearoom which serves a most excellent breakfast in an area of very good walking and nature watching.
Alkborough, North Lincolnshire DN15 9JN
+44 (0)1724 720728
Google map: bit.ly/fhbmYb
Billie's cafe in Brighton definitely sells the best cooked breakfast in town. The jumbo breakfast is one of the cheapest in town and the most generous. Two bits of bacon, two eggs, two sausages, whole button mushrooms, two slices of toasted bread, beans, a whole tomato and excellent quality produce! Yes, I've been there a few times and tasted the comparisons. Run by a local family it retains the charm it has had since opening with the same folding wooden chairs, blue gingham PVC tablecloths, fresh flowers on the tables and in true Brighton style, local artwork on the walls. The prices and quantity have remained consistent as profit is not the objective, just a good honest breakfast. And if you don't fancy the classic, there are a number of delicious hashes to choose from. Literally a pile of fried potatoes with various toppings from beans and sausages to bacon and avocado. There are plenty of veggie options too. The best news is it is open on New Year’s Day. But get there early, this is a popular spot and the locals all know about it.
34 Hampton Place, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 3DD
+44(0)1273 774 386
Google map: bit.ly/i77cIM
Full English Breakfast at a golf course set alongside the River Severn with lakes adjacent. Picturesque river valley overlooking golf course. Bring your binoculars to view the buzzards and wild birds. Patio and conservatory provision depending on the weather.
Brynllwyn Lane, Garthmyl, Powys, SY15 6RU
Google map: bit.ly/fdPqwP
This is a country house hotel, ideally situated if you have to catch a morning ferry from Plymouth. We stayed two nights for a family wedding and the food was excellent. The highlight however was the breakfast, the full English of course. Tasty sausages, organic eggs and properly cured bacon are all sourced locally. The breakfast was the best we've eaten anywhere and my husband is very fussy about his sausages! Excellent bread, a plethora of cereals and pastries and friendly service. The hotel isn't large - the term boutique springs to mind - and is set in pretty gardens close to the village of Plympton St Maurice. Apparently it was once a nunnery.
This is the best fry up I have found in the UK! Having toured a week around the Highlands, tucking into the creamiest, tastiest black pudding after a week of lashing rain was a rare treat. It was garnished with thick fat bacon and square sausage, accompanied with two fried eggs, fried mushrooms hash browns and beans. The bread too was divine. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. None of the reconstituted meat you get in most places, and all this was a bargain at £5-6. Despite the slightly tacky and oxymoron of a name: Kelly's takeaway SIT IN, the staff are friendly, atmosphere is good and the food is even better. The coffee there was pretty good to. Writing about it makes me want to brave the snow and run to Ullapool, sit down and tuck in. Highlands trip anyone?
When my husband and I go home to Belfast we always go to Maggie Mays for breakfast. My husband loves the bumper breakfast which consists of two eggs, beans, sausages, bacon chips, mushrooms, potato and soda bread at a cost of £6.00.
A fab restaurant serving great American-style breakfast e.g. french toast pancakes, steak and eggs. Huge portions on large plates. Well worth a visit.
18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Google map: bit.ly/fsSZt8
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