Rise & dine
Made-in-house doughnuts, pickles and pastrami
#4 White Lily Diner
The owners of this 29-seat diner don’t make a big deal of it, but they smoke their own pastrami, ferment their own pickles and bake their own bread. They even make doughnuts, in different flavours, every day. And the attention to detail, quality and freshness pays off. Everything on their concise menu — smoked turkey sandwich, biscuits, grits, sausage gravy — is a gem. Chef Ben Denham’s time at casual restaurants with high standards (Electric Mud, Hoof Café) has been distilled down to a collection of dishes that offer heavy, blockbuster satisfaction (buttermilk griddle cakes with cottage cheese, patty melt with poblano relish). And there are lighter options (kale caesar, blanched broccoli salad) to mitigate post-pancake lethargy. 678 Queen St. E.
#26 Dim Sum King
I have been coming to this classic cart-service restaurant since the tables at the back were filled with old men holding chopsticks in one hand, a cigarette in the other. It hasn’t changed much. Large families with hyperactive children are still seated on the dais. There’s always a lineup after 11:30 a.m. on the weekend. And carts still rumble between tables, waiters occasionally pausing to lift lids on bamboo steamers filled with char siu bao (barbecue pork buns), har gow (shrimp dumplings) and cheung fun (rice noodle rolls). As options glide past you, it’s always a race to see if you will find your favourite dish before you fill up on noodles, pan-fried dumplings or lo bak go (turnip cakes). 421 Dundas St. W., 3rd Floor
Buttermilk griddle cakes with a whole lotta butter
Har gow dumplings get all steamed up