Brunch at Bar Begonia in Toronto

The friendly folks who call Dupont Street home must just love that smug mugged Anthony Rose. In the course of just a few years he’s transformed the hood by serving up a medley of comfort food-centric restaurants that hit the spot.

First there was greasy spoon Rose & Sons, followed by Algonquin Park camping inspired Big Crow out back and then he mesmerized everyone with Fat Pasha’s take on Jew Food. The Rose Empire on Dupont recently welcomed a new member to the eclectic family. An instant hit, Bar Begonia has given new life to a space that was originally a doughnut shop, turned Japanese restaurant, turned dive bar…which remained vacant for ten years until now.


The Bar Begonia anthem is Paris-meets-Brooklyn, featuring an intimate dinning room where sensuous contour drawings of naked ladies splash across a wall which stands perched over an illuminated horseshoe shaped bar. The craft cocktails here consist of seasonal house creations along with a few classics, two of which are available on draft (Manhattan and Negroni).

Chef Trista Sheen (Crush Wine Bar) has crafted a French menu which consists mostly of snacks suitable for sharing. It’s the sort of place I’d want to get trapped in the winter during a blizzard, nibbling on pate slathered baguette while affectionately hugging a flute of champagne between the tips of my fingers.

In the summer brunch is a dream best served on the rocks out back while perched over pretty picnic table adorned patio. I typically begin the holy weekend ritual by pinning for the petillant but this time around opted to sip through a “wake me up with a smack in the faze” boozy Manhattan (I swear moments later my voice dropped an octave and hairs sprouted from under my chin).

What I adore most about brunch is that it’s the only meal where you are expected (not scorned) to indulge in both sweet and savoury in tandem. Highlights from Bar Begonia brunch include Ontario peach topped Pain Perdu, crunchy Croque Madame, classic Steak Tartar and a hearty Duck Confit Cassoulet topped with poached egg and pistou.


The Sun Also Rises | gin, grenadine, clementine, pastis, sparkling wine


Steak Tartare


Duck Confit Cassoulet | poached egg, pistou


Croque Madame


Pain Perdu | vanilla, peaches

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