Brunch at Lena Restaurant

So I’ve realized that I’m making the rounds of some of the most instagramable spots in the city but my no means on purpose.  I feel a ‘best of’ list coming on.  Today’s adventure has me at Lena Restaurant for brunch with some of my fave gals.  It’s a grey and rainy Sunday so I thought that some South American fare could be just what we need to warm the inner cockles of our cold hearts.

Lena is located in the Financial District of Toronto where I personally don’t spend a lot of time in but thought why not expand my horizons outside my neighbourhood bubble.  I also didn’t know this until after the fact, but Lena actually occupies the space that Hudson’s Bay used to be in.  I was the first to arrive out of my group and probably the first in the restaurant which was perfect for sneaking some candid and empty shots of eye-catching space.


There’s no doubt, its a beautiful space.  Printed tiled floors, marble finished tables and bar, high open ceilings, a hexagon shaped bar in the middle of the space and cozy leather bar stools and banquettes.  Not to mention the grandeur of having such a massive space to dine in.

The Brunch menu has quite a few options ranging from traditional options like empanadas and alfajores to more classic items like crepes and omelettes.  After getting some much needed caffeine into our systems the selection for the afternoon included:

Muddled Fresh Fruit Coupe – seasonal fruit, limoncello, mint
Breakfast Empanadas – poached eggs, chimichurri
Garbanzo Toasts – chickpea spread, smoked paprika, oven-dried tomato, avocado
The Full Gaucho – leña spiced egg, morcilla, jamón, mushrooms, potatoes à la plancha

Sadly as good as the food looked and sounded it didn’t really deliver.  My poor friend felt like there was hamburger helper in her Empanadas 😦  My plate was an interesting platter of many different things – flat bread, prosciutto, pickled onions, eggs, blood sausage etc but I almost would have preferred a few things done well versus so many all combined together.  The muddled fruit coupe was delightfully refreshing but again, something I could have easily made at home.  My other friend’s toasts looked quite delicious and actually made me quite jealous that I didn’t opt for those.

Empanadas.jpgPhoto Credit: Open Table

FullSizeRender.jpgPhoto Credit: Alexa (@ajfernando)

The verdict is becoming sadly predictable and perhaps a pattern might be forming.  Beautiful space, attention to detail in every corner of the room, picturesque and photogenic but it just sadly didn’t deliver on taste.  My opinion may be biased since I also am not the BIGGEST fan of Spanish/South American cuisine but my dining patrons agreed with me so I digress.

I’d come back if the decision was based on being in the area but probably not keep it in the regular rotation.

Discover Lena:
Address: 176 Yonge St
Instagram: @lenarestaurante
$$ – $40/person – shared starter, tea and main dish

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