Cafe Neon (Wallace Avenue Location)
In Greece, a Kafenion is a cornerstone of the community; a meeting place for locals to gather over cups of coffee. Toronto’s own Cafe Neon is all of that and then some, serving breakfast, brunch, and entrees inspired by the Mediterranean in a colourful, casual setting.
Their Wallace Avenue location (they also have a spot on Queen Street West) is tucked away on a side street and surrounded by a mix of residential and commercial space. Cafe Neon’s overall vibe is as bright and friendly as its name suggests. At one point, a customer started singing along to an Adele song that was playing. Then another across the cafe joined in–and another–making me feel like I’d been transported into the scene of a musical rom-com. How’s that for atmosphere!
Cafe Neon’s service blends the casual nature of a cafe with the attentiveness of a sit-down restaurant. I love heading to a cafe to read or work, so having that perfect balance of service at the beginning of my meal with some time left to write and relax (with a check-in or two from the barista) was ideal.
Presentation, Quality, and Taste
I started off with an oat milk Turmeric Latte, which was smooth, spicy, and warmed me immediately. It also paired perfectly with my meal: The Falafel Bowl with added halloumi cheese (because who can ever say no to halloumi?!). The dish is a bright and flavourful delight, with crispy green pea and lentil falafel, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and pickled onion on a bed of spinach with dill-yogurt dressing and a big dollop of hummus. Falafel can be a gamble–few things are more disappointing than biting into a dry and flavourless ball–but Cafe Neon does not disappoint. The falafel almost rivals the halloumi.
As a frequent people-watcher (see: my earlier review of an A+ people-watching spot) I can’t help but notice the customers sitting across from me–and the food they order. There’s a moussaka dish and a vegetable pot pie that both look absolutely delicious; the steam rising from the food looks especially comforting on this cold December day. And how did it taste? “This is so good,” one whispered between bites. “SO good,” says the other. (I’d say they’re pretty good.)
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
Cafe Neon’s casual atmosphere and varied menu make it the perfect spot for any daytime meal, whether you’re grabbing a morning coffee, workday lunch, or weekend brunch. If you’re ever in Toronto’s Junction Triangle neighbourhood, I definitely recommend stopping by!
Looking for a new coffee shop or brunch spot to check out? See where we’ll be next by checking out our upcoming events, and come explore with us!
Shannon Hodgen is a lifelong writer, DIY enthusiast, and homebody. She satisfies her need to put pen to paper–or, more accurately, fingertips to keyboard–as an agency copywriter, blog contributor, and freelance editor in Toronto.
Favourite Book: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Favourite Brunch Spot: Dirty Food Eatery in The Junction