Harlem East Side 67 Richmond Street East
Toronto, ON M5C 1N9 (416)-368-1920 Perfect For: Brunch, Dinner, Date Night
As an ex-Texan, I can tell you that my love for Southern food runs deep. Give me some corn bread and blackened catfish and I’m a happy camper any day! So when le boyfriend invited me to Harlem for brunch, there was definitely excitement on my part.
The moment you walk through Harlem’s doors, you’re enveloped by the warmth of colors, sounds, and smells. Motown’s best tunes lightly play in the background, as we settle into our comfy booth. There’s lots of choices, and my appetite is always bigger than my stomach, so I have to really pace myself. Le boyfriend goes for a smoked salmon/avocado/fried egg sandwich ($12), while his mom orders Harlem Benny ($12)…not wanting to copycat their orders, I go for the omelette of the day, which happens to be cheese ($10). We order a round of coffees, and enjoy our Sunday morning.
The service was a bit slow at times, but the nice lady that brought us our food informed us that the waiter had fallen ill and she was covering for him that day. Not a big deal for us, and didn’t seem to bother anyone at tables nearby. Both the chef and our server that day could not have been nicer to us!
On to the food. My omelette was simple, but fluffy and delicious, with plenty of cheese (just the way I like it), side salad was again – simple, but fresh…and the only thing I had huge hopes for – the biscuit – left me a tad disappointed, as it has gotten soggy from the salad dressing (next time I’ll ask for it on the side). Le boyfriend’s sandwich was good, but not sensational, and his mom’s eggs benny were slightly spicy, and she genuinely enjoyed every bite.
If you’re into live music, Harlem has a variety of nights for you to attend…from Music is the Answer Wednesdays, when some of Toronto’s most talented musicians, visual and spoken word artists help fundraise for disaster relief in Haiti, to Monday Open Jam nights, and to many others in between – most music lovers would find an event of their liking.
As far as brunch places go, Harlem offers a few Southern alternatives to the good ol’ eggs and bacon, but I really want to go back for dinner, instead, to try their blackened catfish – the one dish that I wasn’t able to find at too many Toronto restaurants, and their fried chicken has been touted as one of the best in the city. With a promising dinner menu, friendly service, and a nice patio for those last few warm summer nights, I am sure we’ll be back to Harlem in no time.