The Senator Restaurant

The Senator Restaurant is the self-proclaimed “oldest restaurant in Toronto”. It has been in business in the same location for 76 years, and has survived through many eras, including a family restaurant, an expansion to a steakhouse, and a jazz bar. It boasts a fabulous mural of a man enjoying a steaming hot cuppa. When you walk in, you are greeted immediately with a long line-up – but don’t dismay, it moves quickly. The dining room is long and narrow, and a bar with a counter and barstools flanks one side. It is furnished with the original milled woodwork, a deep and inviting colour. Collections of interesting salt and pepper shakers are displayed under the counter, while home-baked goodies are proudly mounted by the antique cash register. The shelves behind the bar hold an array of art-deco era vases and other trinkets and collectibles. Menus from times past are framed and mounted for the people waiting in line to admire and gasp over the prices of yesteryear.

Around my household it’s also known as “our favourite brunch place in Toronto”. We’ve been a a few around town, and this one we end up going back to again and again. Perhaps it is the art-deco decor. Perhaps the fact that every table is a booth. Perhaps the incredibly fast and friendly service. Or perhaps it’s the Challah toast smothered in butter. Oh, the Challah. Best served with a nice crispy slice of bacon. Or perhaps its all of these things, combined with the fact that you can get a huge, satisfying brunch, including coffee, for under $10.

I don’t know what it is about the Challah bread they use. Once, I tried to convince them to sell me a loaf, and they coyly refused. I asked them where they got it from and they said “a bakery that only supplies restaurants, wholesale”. The crafty devils will always have a customer in me if this is the only place I can get this bread.

I usually get the Senator breakfast, which is your basic bacon, eggs cooked to perfection any way you like, beans, home fries and toast. But sometimes I alternate and get the Chorizo and eggs (see above, substitute Chorizo for bacon), or the Huevos Rancheros. And let me tell you – they cook their eggs in real butter. I can tell, because of the deliciousness. I have mine over easy, but Cheesler usually has his scrambled, and you can tell that they’ve actually taken honest-to-goodness eggs, cracked them, and scrambled them to order.

The coffee is rich, supplied plentifully and delivered at the perfect time, right when you get to the bottom. The orange juice is fresh-squeezed, full of pulp and naturally sweet.

The kitchen is hidden behind a swinging door, but when an order is up, a pleasant-sounding doorbell thingy rings. I think the longest I’ve ever waited for food after ordering is 12 minutes. These guys know what they’re doing. Maybe that’s why they’re still in business after 76 years!

Anyway, if you are in Toronto, make sure to make a stop at the Senator. You can’t miss it if you are checking out Yonge and Dundas, it’s just around the corner!


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Categories: Food

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