Hazel’s Diner, 3401 Yonge St.

3.5 stars (out of 5)

This was a tough one. I was inclined to give 3 stars, but two of my breakfast mates talked me out of it. Here’s why;

My initial 3-star appraisal was based solely my the food, which was average. I had my typical “breakfast special”, eggs over easy, home fries, toast and coffee (which was a notch above average…not great, but not bad). As I said, all solidly average which normally relegates it to the 3-star range. However, what I was overlooking, and I usually don’t, was the vibe of the place.

It was definitely a step above in decor. Sure, it has a “diner” breakfast, but it is nicer than most of the “greasy spoons” we visit. Dark wood booths, comfortable seating and very clean. Our server was great and the menu was quite diverse.

The price, on first inspection, seemed too good to be true, at 4.99 for the breakfast special (my order PLUS bacon), but this didn’t include coffee, which was 2.50. So, to compare with dozens of comparable breakfast specials, this one was 7.49, which takes it to the high end. This would be fine, since it’s definitely a “nicer” place, but these “nicer” places usually step it up a bit with a nice garnish of fruit or beans or something like that (see George St. Diner, The Senator). Many lesser places have included a couple of slices of orange, for example.

Sooo, what I’m saying is my food deserved a 3, the decor a 4, so there you have a 3.5.

(My friends, who were judging a fancier breakfast – Eggs Florentine – and the quality of the bacon, were firmly in the 4-star camp.)

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