Where to eat near BMO Field
Heading to the Toronto Football Club game next Saturday? Keep in mind that outside food and drinks are not allowed at BMO Field, and despite concession stands that serve everything from fried macaroni and cheese to chicken curry rolls, the prices and overall quality are letdowns. Instead, here are some great places to eat if you’re going to watch the TFC take on the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Where: BMO Field, 170 Princes Blvd. (Exhibition grounds)
When: Saturday, June 6, 4 p.m.
School Bakery and Café, 70 Fraser St., 416-588-0005, sbcto.com.
Those looking for nostalgia and kitsch should head to chef Brad Moore’s School Bakery and Café. The decor is part Victorian schoolhouse and part modern coffee bar: exposed brick walls, giant chalkboards, a red apple on every table and a wall with more than a dozen classroom-style clocks counting down to playtime. Moore’s menu offers gooey breakfast staples in the $10 range and freshly baked goods under $4. M–F 8–7, Sa–Su 10–4.
Brazen Head Irish Pub, 165 East Liberty St., 416-535-8787, brazenhead.ca.
Toronto’s Brazen Head borrows its name from the first pub in recorded history (in Ireland, in 1198), but this Liberty Village landmark has its own story to tell. Three years ago, an underground tunnel was discovered during renovations of the WWI artillery factory. It ran from what is now Lamport Stadium, under the Brazen Head and through to the waterfront near the St. Lawrence Market. Expect such traditional pub fare as Irish stew ($13), cheddar-beef pot pie ($12) and cottage pie ($13)—all made with Guinness, naturally. Have a pint and bite before the game, and share in the history. M 11 a.m.–midnight, Tu–W 11 a.m.–1 a.m., Th–F 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sa 10 a.m.–2 a.m., Su 10 a.m.–midnight.
Magic Oven, 127 Jefferson Ave., 416-539-0555, magicoven.com.
Even though a soccer match hardly calls for haute cuisine, it’s no excuse to scarf down greasy concoctions that turn their cardboard containers into tracing paper. The Magic Oven has pizzas galore, including vegan and vegetarian options ($20 for a medium), as well as dairy-free cheeses and gluten-free crusts. Those who want meat pizzas ($22 for a medium) will be happy to know that the chicken is free-range and that the beef, pork and sausages are organic. Counter service. M–W 11–10, Th–Sa 11–11, Su 4 p.m.–10 p.m.
Jolly Café, 165 Dufferin St., 416-538-3662, cafejolly.com.
Ideal for post-game revellers who need some heartier fare to soak up the celebratory beverages (and aren’t up to making the trip to West Queen West), this restaurant—serving a hodgepodge of Swiss, Serbian, Bulgarian and Italian cuisine—will do just that. Carnivorous entrées include schnitzels ($18–$19), grilled fish ($19–$23) and a steak for $22. M–F 11 a.m.–2 a.m., Sa–Su noon–2 a.m.
The Liberty Bistro, 25 Liberty St., 416-533-8828, libertybistro.ca.
Cozy, casual and reminiscent of summer cottaging, this weekend brunch spot serves the traditional Benedicts—Florentines and Benjamins ($9.50–$12)—but the popular Liberty burger ($13) and pizza menu are also available in the morning. The lunch menu revolves around such spring favourites as crab cakes ($13.50) and puttanesca ($12.50). Those who are famished after an evening of hollering can order the Angus steak ($22.50) or coconut-beer-battered shrimp ($12.25). M–F 8 a.m.–11 p.m., Sa 10 a.m.–midnight, Su 10–4.