Tag: brunch

Travel Swellness: Where to eat in Toronto if you’re running the Nike Women’s 15k


(UPDATED OCTOBER 2019 – added some restos, removed ones that have closed, or that I have been unimpressed with since this post went up a few years ago)

It’s hard to believe that the Nike Women’s Toronto 15k is this Sunday! If you haven’t yet heard, Nike Women Village will be taking over part of the Harbourfront, complete with a floating barge known as the Crystal Coliseum where Nike will be holding more than 30 NTC classes from Thursday, June 11 until Sunday June 14! You can register for these free classes online; I’ve heard most of them are full already but there will be a handful of spots available if you want to try to nab a walk-in spot! Hope to see you there! I’ll be at the Crystal Coliseum Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and Sunday, I’ll be running the race! I’m in Wave 2 (I guess I was pretty darn optimistic when I registered for the race!).


Now if it’s your first time in this city, you may be wondering where to eat in Toronto. I’ve pulled together a short list of my favourite spots (I tend to plan my travels where I want to eat, do you, too?). I haven’t gone into much detail at all here about each spot so if you have any specific questions, feel free to comment here or tweet me, or ask on Instagram! I’m used to people asking for my restaurant recos (I guess my Instagram makes it seem I eat out a lot…). Most of my list here tends to be in the west side as that’s where I now live, but a few of the places I’ve included to have a few locations around the city, such as Fresh and Terroni. Some are obviously for post-race indulging (I’m not suggesting you eat doughnuts and burgers before the race!).

Queen Margherita Pizza

Queen Margherita Pizza


  • Terroni. A Toronto favourite of, like, everyone. Everything is solid here. Do not ask for substitutions. Just don’t.
  • Buca. Upscale. Some ingredients may be more challenging for less adventurous eaters (think pork blood pasta, for example), but they’ll be able to find something on the menu for sure. Buca is my fave restaurant in Toronto if I had to choose just one.
  • Pizzeria Libretto.
  • Queen Margherita Pizza. My favourite spot for pizza in Toronto.
  • Enoteca Sociale.


  • Grand Electric. You may have to wait awhile for a table. It can be loud in here, but it’s fun atmosphere.
  • La Carnita.
Khao San Road

Khao San Road

Pai (possibly long wait for a table, always busy)

Kiin. Thai but not your usual noodles. It’s more fine dining, the food is stunning and delicious (but atmostphere is relaxed).

Acai bowls from Bolt Fresh Bar

Bolt Fresh Bar


  • Fresh. Always rammed. Be prepared for a long wait, possibly both for a table and for your food…but when you have a few bites and it’s so flavourful, you’ll decide it’s worth the wait!
  • Bolt Fresh Bar. Great salads but it’s their acai bowls I’m seriously addicted to!
Greenhouse Juice Pink Milk

Greenhouse Juice

Cold-pressed juice


Dim sum

  • Rol San. I can’t find a website for Rol San. It’s in Chinatown at 323 Spadina Ave. (just about a block or two north of Dundas). You order off of a menu checklist (not carts). Point to dishes on other tables if you’re not sure based on the descriptions (my favourite item is #5, these tofu rolls with pork inside, delicious!).


Santouka ramen



Hokkaido Santouka Ramen. Always busy! Just east of the Eaton Centre.

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Jelly Modern Doughnuts

Sweets (Doughnuts, cupcakes, ice cream, etc.)

  • Jelly Modern Doughnuts. I’ve recently been eating doughnuts pretty regularly. These are by far my favourite in Toronto. Classic Jelly, you can’t go wrong!
  • Prairie Girl Bakery. Before I fell in love with doughnuts, I had a cupcake habit.
  • Bang Bang for giant, incredible ice cream sandwiches
  • Sweet Olenka’s. Sometimes they have quirky flavours like butter!
  • Milk Bar. Compost cookies, yum! I’ve yet to try the soft serve. And, of course, that famous crack pie!
  • Le Gourmand. The best chocolate chip cookies ever.
coffee and bomboloni at Sud Forno

Sud Forno


  • Dineen Coffee (gorgeous cafe and pretty tiles for a #ihaveathingwithfloors if you are a bit Instagram-obsessed…). It’s also just south of the Eaton Centre if you’re staying in that area.
  • Lost & Found (it’s a men’s clothing store but they’ve got great coffee too!)
  • Sud Forno (get a nutella bomboloni while you’re there! Pretty tile floor, too! From the Terroni peeps)
  • Nadege (French patisserie with the prettiest desserts, macarons and yummy sandwiches)
short ribs eggs benny at Union



  • Saving Grace (the wait can be unbearably long; also, they are closed Sundays, I think…best to check first)
  • Union (the short rib eggs Benny is amazing)
  • La Cubana (Cuban brunch!)
  • County General
  • The Federal
  • The neighbourhood Leslieville (it’s in the east end of the city) also has a lot of good brunch places but I haven’t been in awhile so I don’t feel I can name any confidently.

(*N.B. A friend has said that all my favourite brunch places are “hipster brunch spots.” Just FYI. You’ve been warned. haha)

I have so many other favourites that I realized I forgot to note here (I got so focused on how I usually eat Italian before a marathon…) but Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, Porchetta, Patois, Rhum Corner, Patria. Bar Isabel is actually tied with Buca for my all-time fave restaurant in the 6.

Miraj Caudalie Spa

Miraj Hammam Spa at Caudalie

Post-race spa time
And if you’re looking for a spa to treat yourself at after the race, my favourite spa in the city is the Miraj Hammam Spa at Caudalie in the Shangri-La Hotel. My blog post on the Miraj Hammam Spa is here!). The Shangri La Toronto also has a great running program they’ve just launched; I got to try out the package; click for my review of Running is Shangri-La.
If you’re more interested in soothing your post-race body at a spa water circuit, head to Body Blitz.

There’s nothing worse than wasting a meal or spa opportunity by going somewhere mediocre or just plain awful, right? So I hope this list is helpful. If you do try out any of them, please let me know (even if you weren’t all that impressed with it, but I’m confident you’ll love them, except for the potentially long waits at some of the places — what can I say, the good places have lineups!). I’m on Twitter @healthswellness and on Instagram @healthandswellness. And good luck in the race, and I hope you enjoy your visit to the 6. (Oh, and if you’re looking to get some nail art, head to Tips Nail Bar. they’re the artists behind our nail art in the photo below!)

Toronto skyline

Toronto skyline

Leave a Comment June 9, 2015

Foodie Swellness: @healthandswellness Instagram takeover of @TravelStyleMag


If you know me at all, you know I love food! And that I spend a decent chunk of time checking out restaurants in Toronto! So be sure to follow @travelstylemag on Instagram if you aren’t already following — and not only because yours truly is taking over their Instagram account this week but because it’s a great feed to follow for travel inspiration. And, yes, I’m sharing some of my top foodie picks in Toronto on their Insta all week long.

(And, of course, follow me if you aren’t followin’ — I’m @healthandswellness!)

Leave a Comment June 23, 2014

Travel Swellness: My Ford Canada #FocusOnMyTown adventure


So if you follow me on Instagram (@healthandswellness) or Twitter (@healthswellness), you may have noticed that I flooded your feed last weekend. I felt like I was all about town like that little kid in the Family Circus comic. And that was because Ford lent me a Ford Focus Titanium for the weekend and asked me to showcase some of my favourite places and things to do in my city, Toronto. You can find it under the hashtag #focusonmytown, but here’s a little diary of what I got up to!


the cats in the Ford Focus Titanium

9 a.m. Gently forced my cats into their carriers then into the roomy backseat of the Focus and trekked on up to the vet. I don’t own a car so having the Focus to zip them on uptown to my favourite vet was such a relief (although I suppose less of a relief to them — as you can see, this one’s unsure she wants out of her carrier in the vet’s exam room). Overall, they have a clean bill of health, yay!

the cat at the vet

10:30 a.m. Picked up my friend Diane, dropped off the cats at home and we set out for a day of adventure in the city. One of my favourite things to do is go for brunch, so we went to The Federal, which has been on my list, like, forever! The Federal had a great cozy vibe, the service was friendly and the steak and eggs was delicious (the beef was more tender than the best boy band song).

The Federal steak and eggs

1 p.m. Back into the Focus, I drove a few blocks south to the final day of the Toronto Flower Market. I’m so sad it was the first time I was able to check it out, because the flowers are so pretty and fantastic value — I was overwhelmed with what to buy!

Toronto Flower Market

2 p.m. With a little time in our itinerary before our manis, we stopped into Nadege Patisserie for some sweets and a coffee. I love the patio here; there’s great people watching but what I’m really there for the croissants, sandwiches and macarons. The bread here is phenomenal. It’s also quiet enough so you can have a meeting here (I always suggest it when setting up meetings!) or if you need to do some work (although there’s no wifi).

Nadege coffee break

3:30 p.m. Drove my sporty little Focus to the east end to my favourite place for a manicure, Tips Nail Bar. Have you seen my fancy, detailed manicures for when I run a marathon? All done by hand by the amazine Leeanne Colley, who’s the owner of Tips and she’s also Revlon’s Nail Expert. Tips has just recently relocated to a space on street level and it’s gorgeous! Check out the pretty canvas that stretches across the main wall, and the stunning light fixtures over on BeautyGeeks (her photos are better than the ones I’ve snapped). I could hang out in this space forever (and sometimes I sorta do — some of my manicures can take three hours with Leeanne’s painstaking work on the designs!). Me and the nail pro extraordinaire herself, I love this picture of us!

me with Leeanne Colley of Tips Nail Bar

Here’s what Leeanne created for me that day — as you can see, I took the opp to admire my wicked evil eye manicure every time I was stopped at a traffic light.


6 p.m. With a small window of time, the Focus (and, ahem, my excellent driving skillz) got us over to High Park super quickly and we hunted down the pretty Hillside Gardens I’d seen on Instagram that I’d been obsessed with finding. I am in High Park at least once a week (I do a lot of my marathon training in the park) but had never seen this park. We found it easily enough, and I’ll definitely be coming back — it reminds me of gardens I’ve visited in Europe.

Hillside Gardens

And by the way, driving and taking a leisurely stroll in High Park is so much more pleasant than doing sweaty hill repeats; I’ll have to do it more often.

at Hillside Gardens

8 p.m. Back into the Focus and back over to the east end for dinner at Ruby Watchco. This resto has been on my must-try list for a few years, and especially so after I went to see chef Lynn Crawford speak about one of her cookbooks; I love how low-key and approachable she seems. I didn’t see her at the resto that night, but that’s ok, I was too busy enjoying the delicious meal. The salad — grilled red beet and burrata — was da bomb. (Sadly, my photos in the restaurant are not the greatest…)

11:30  p.m. Dropped off Diane at home (thanks for spending the day with me, friend!), and headed on home for a few hours of sleep.


morning sky

5:30 a.m. Forced myself up and behind the wheel of the Focus. Why so early? Because there was Phillip Lim for Target launching! How convenient to have the Ford Focus this weekend (Toronto subways ridiculously only open at 9 a.m. on Sundays so this made it possible to head to Target nice and early!). Even in my tired state, I was rewarded with a beautiful morning sky as I drove to pick up my friend Rachel. I also made sure to load the car with both coffee and water; needed to be alert and hydrated for the insanity that I was expecting at Target.

coffee and water essentials

7:06 a.m. Park the Focus and we get into line at Target. How do I know that very precise time? Because Rachel remembers looking at her watch and thinking 54 minutes until she could buy coffee (she didn’t quite know I was not going to let her beeline for Starbucks — there was crucial shopping to get done!).

8 a.m. Target opens and people go bananas for Phillip Lim for Target — I’m talking sprinting and pushing bananas. But thanks my trusty (albeit a bit gruumpy in her caffiene-deprived state) friend, I score some of the items on my wish list. I made a pretty decent haul, no? Even better, we got matching Boom sweatshirts — twinsies! We refrained from lying on the hood of the Focus, kept it klassy, haha.

Phillip Lim for Target purchases

Boom sweatshirt twinsies

8:45 a.m. We attempt to use the GPS to get us to Evergreen Brickworks. But it keeps telling us to take Pottery Rd., which was closed. And we can’t figure out how to make the GPS offer us an alternative route. We are both directionally challenged, but determined to get there. Much driving in circles ensues.

10 a.m. We finally figure out another route and we arrive at Brickworks…and discover the Farmer’s Market only happens on Saturday, doh! Ah well, we go for a quick walk and enjoy the greenery.


11:30 a.m. Back into the Focus because we are hungry and on the hunt for food. I drive us down to Table 17 in the east end for some brunch. Hello, eggs neapolitan!

Table 17 eggs neapolitan

1 p.m. Drop Rachel off at home (Thanks for being such a fierce shopping buddy!).

1:30 p.m. I need a nap but with loads of clothes and stuff to donate to the Salvation Army, I pack up the trunk of the Focus and drive over to drop off the goods…only to discover it’s closed on Sunday. Womp womp womp.

I had the car until that evening, but with just three hours of sleep, I needed a nap, and I sadly said bye-bye-bye (sing it in your head like that NSYNC song!) to my little blue Focus Titanium. I didn’t get a chance to figure out how to set the ambient lighting in the car, or voice activation, and to use the Park Assist, which I’ve tried before but not this time around as I was able to find parking easily (that feature so great, though, if you’re a poor parallel parker…like me!).

What would make your list of Toronto musts if you had a Focus to zip you around town?


Leave a Comment September 20, 2013

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