Caren’s Rosedale is a French bistro located at 1118 Yonge Street, in the Summerhill area of Toronto. It was originally a popular wine bar located in Yorkville and has now relocated to this address after thirteen years there. The owner is Karen Walters and the chef is David Nganga at the helm. The restaurant offers a classic French cuisine like onion soup, bouillabaisse, mussels, steak tartare, duck confit, coquilles Saint-Jacques and herb crusted lamb. It is a traditional French Bistro menu, but I haven’t been for dinner yet. I am here to report on my Sunday brunch experience.

First off, the restaurant is quite charming, with a marble bar and tables, exposed brick, white tiles, tufted banquettes and a tiny baby grand piano that I assume is used in the evenings. The back room has a skylight and a fireplace and I noticed more people seemed to prefer sitting there.

The brunch menu had a lovely selection, from egg dishes like eggs Benny, or a hangover bun which had a fried egg, cheddar, tomato, lettuce, and peameal bacon in a spicy aioli. The French toast was a thick cut brioche, with berries, vanilla compote, stuffed with mascarpone and a milk chocolate ganache. It was a lovely presentation but on the dry side. I like my French toast to be moister and softer. The grilled cheese was fabulous, using a combination of Emmental and Gruyere cheese on a great raisin walnut bread, with a house red pepper jelly on the side. It came with a small green salad. The sandwich was fried in butter to a golden brown and was perfection. The baked mac and cheese was also a winner and has been on some “best of” lists in Toronto. Even though I normally love a thicker gooey mac and cheese, this dish packed a lot of punch. First off they use penne instead of elbow macaroni, and they use a spicy five cheese blend that was a knockout. You can add prosciutto or chorizo for an additional $5. On the day I went the special was an eggs Benedict type dish – instead of ham or bacon they substituted lobster. There is also omelettes, salads, onion soup, and the requisite niçoise salad and house salad. We were pleasantly surprised to have such a nice neighborhood spot that is so deliciously satisfying.

Carens is open for lunch, brunch and dinner and they even are open for breakfast Tuesday to Friday.

Recommended for brunch. I have to return to try dinner.

Happy dining,

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