Sunday, October 26, 2014

Le Saint Tropez, Toronto

Le Saint Tropez is a Mediterranean Bistro in the heart of the entertainment district, that is the sister restaurant of the high end French restaurant Marcel's.  The Napolean and Josephine bathroom sign images appropriately reflect the food and vibe of the restaurant.

Le Saint Tropez
315 King St. W., Toronto

L'Espresso Bar Mecurio, Toronto

L'Espresso Bar Mecurio is an Italian coffee house and eatery that serves breakfast, brunch and lunch including great sandwiches and lightly breaded zucchini fries.  You order at the counter, pick a table, and your meal is brought to you. 

L'Espresso Bar Mecurio
321 Bloor St W, Toronto

Big Crow, Toronto

Run by the owners of Rose and Son, Big Crow serves barbequed meat and seafood cooked on a large wood-burning grill.  In the winter, space heaters and blankets are provided for warmth.

Big Crow
176 Dupont St., Toronto

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cluny, Toronto

Cluny Bistro serves delicious modern French cuisine with amazing desserts in a casual bistro setting.  A small boulangerie at the front sells breads and pastries to go.

Cluny Bistro and Boulangerie
Distillery District, 35 Tank House Lane, Toronto

Bb33, Toronto

Located in the Eaton Chelsea hotel, the bathroom signs of Bb33 Bistro and Brasserie take the traditional iconic symbols for male and female and give them an artistic flair with the multi-coloured cubic background.

Bb33 Bistro and Brasserie
33 Gerrard St W, Toronto

Christina's On Danforth, Toronto

Christina's restaurant features Greek and Mediterranean cuisine, a live Greek band and belly-dancing.

Christina's On Danforth
492 Danforth Ave, Toronto

Arts & Letters Club, Toronto

It is fitting that a club with the name "Arts and Letters Club", that acts as a meeting place for art lovers and professionals, should have bathroom signs that were drawn by club members.

Arts and Letters Club
14 Elm St., Toronto

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Korean - Nak Won, BBQ Restaurant, Toronto

The bathroom signs for Nak Won are interesting since they depict male vs. female not only using images of people dressed in traditional Korean garb, but also with both Korean and Chinese characters, with the Chinese characters being much larger than the Korean ones.

Nak Won Restaurant
3225 Hwy 7 E, Unit 3, Markham

These photos came from a Korean Barbeque restaurant in the greater Toronto area, but I can't remember which one.  Let me know if you recognize it.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Thai Cusine - Linda, Pai, New Thai, Toronto

The images on the bathroom signs of the following Thai restaurants have a distinct look that is reflective of the culture of Thailand.

Linda serves upscale modern Thai food and is the sister restaurant to Salad King.

Linda Modern Thai
11 Karl Fraser Rd, Toronto

Pai serves Northern Thai food, has a noisy, bar-scene vibe and is the sister restaurant to Khao San Road.  Good thing their bathroom signs have the traditional symbols of male vs female, since the Thai script is unintelligible to most.

Pai Northern Thai Kitchen
18 Duncan St., Toronto

New Thai blends "the spiciness of Szechuan cookery, the creamy coconut bases of Southern India".

New Thai
81 St. Clair East, Toronto

Casa Barcelona, Chiado, Toronto

The male version of the bathroom sign in the following restaurants share a similar image of a little boy peeing.

 Spanish tapas, paella and wines are on the menu at Casa Barcelona.

Casa Barcelona
2980 Bloor St W, Toronto

Chiado serves Portuguese cuisine and flies in fresh fish daily from the Azores Islands.

Chiado Restaurant
864 College St. Toronto

Friday, October 10, 2014

Richtree Market Restaurants, Toronto

Richtree operates multiple market-style, open-kitchen eatery stalls within one restaurant where food is ordered like in a cafeteria and paid for at the cashier.

Richtree Natural Market Restaurants
Toronto Eaton Centre and other locations

Unisex Washrooms - Soma, Big Carrot, Wvrst, Burrito Boyz, Hudson's Bay, Live Food Bar, Sprouts, Toronto

The following establishments have unisex washrooms that are for use by both men and women.  The single bathroom signs reflect this in various ways:

 Soma makes its chocolates made in its chocolate lab which is located at the back of its shop in the Distillery District.

Soma Chocolates
443 King St. W, 32 Tank House Lane

 The Big Carrot is Toronto's first certified organic health food store specializing in organically grown, non-GMO and environmentally safe products including groceries, body care and supplements.

Big Carrot
348 Danforth Ave, Toronto

 Wvrst serves gourmet sausages including ones made of pork, beef, lamb, poultry, game (pheasant, duck, venison, wild boar, bison, rabbit, kangaroo), and vegetarian.

609 King St. W., Toronto

This is the sign that used to be on the washroom of Burrito Boyz on Adelaide, home of the amazing battered halibut burrito.  Bano is bathroom in Spanish.

Burrito Boyz
218 Adelaide St., Toronto
575 College St., Toronto

The sign at the Hudson's Bay Centre seems to be as all-inclusive as it gets.

Hudson's Bay Centre
176 Yonge St., Toronto

 Live Organic Food Bar serves raw, organic, plant-based foods that are also gluten and refined sugar-free.

Live Organic Food Bar
264 Dupont St., Toronto

The Sprout serves cheap and cheerful Vietnamese cuisine including Pho and spring rolls.

The Sprout
15 St Clair Ave W,

Oxley, Toronto

The Oxley Public House is the sister restaurant to the Queen and Beaver.  Both restaurants serve upscale English pub food and have great outdoor patios.

The Oxley Public House
121 Yonge St., Toronto

Tabule, Toronto

Tabule serves Middle Eastern cuisine including falafals, pitas, dips, skewers, soups and salads.

2009 Yonge St., Toronto

Southern Accents, Toronto

Southern Accents offers the sights, sounds and tastes of New Orleans with its blend of Cajun, Creole and Soul cuisine.

Southern Accents
595 Markham St, Toronto

Chinese Cuisine - Deluxe, Swatow, Ginger&Onion, Grand Lake, Dynasty, Toronto & Markham

The following Chinese restaurants use different images to depict male vs. female on their bathroom signs, often augmenting the signs with Chinese symbols of  for male and for female.

Deluxe Chinese Cuisine
8601 Warden Ave, Markham

Swatow is a restaurant often frequented by celebrity chef Susur Lee.

Swatow Restaurant
309 Spadina Ave., Toronto

Ginger & Onion Cusine is one of the few Chinese restaurants serving dim sum that still use push carts to display their offerings.  Most other restaurants have connverted to ordering items from a menu.

Ginger & Onion Cuisine
7131 Kennedy Rd, Markham

No Chinese symbols or English text, but the wardrobe images should make it obvious which sign signifies male vs female.

Grand Lake Chinese Cuisine & Banquet
8362 Kennedy Rd #8, Markham

Dynasty Chinese Cuisine is quite pricey for Chinese food, but what else would you expect from a restaurant located in the heart of Yorkville.  It is also the only Chinese restaurant I know that has an outdoor patio.

Dynasty Chinese Cuisine
69 Yorkville Ave, Toronto

Lee Valley, Toronto

Lee Valley tools, hardware and knickknack store works a bit like the old Consumer Distributing stores.  While some items are on display, for the most part, you look up what you want on a paper or online catalogue, fill out an order form and your items are retrieved from the back.

Lee Valley Tools
590 King St. W. Toronto and other locations

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Lunita, Capoccia, Seven Numbers, La Fenice, Toronto

The bathroom signs for the following Italian restaurants really reflect Italian culture.

Lunita is a "traditional osteria and wine bar" which features some very tasty cannoli.

Lunita Restaurant
134 Avenue Rd, Toronto

Capoccacia changes its bathroom signs periodically but have shown photos of Roberto Benigni (Life is Beautiful) and Sophia Loren.

1366 Yonge St.

The restaurant name 7Numbers refer to the 7-digit Ontario corporation numbers assigned to the two restaurant locations–much easier to remember than 2047409 Ontario Inc. on Danforth Avenue, or 2113407 on Eglinton Avenue West.  According to their website, they serve "Authentic Southern Italian Soul Food".

Seven Numbers
516 Eglinton Ave W
307 Danforth Ave

La Fenice Ristorante has a delicious chocolate orange hazelnut cake on its menu.

La Fenice
319 King St. W., Toronto

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Il Fornello, Grazie, Scaccia, Toronto

The bathroom signs of several Italian restaurants share the common theme of classical nudes.

Il Fornello
214 King St W, Toronto
Many other locations

Grazie is home to my favourite pasta dish – their "Tasca" is a lasagna made with fresh pasta filled with ricotta, spinach, mushrooms & brie baked in a creamy tomato porcini sauce.

2373 Yonge St, Toronto

55 Bloor St W, Toronto

Café la Gaffe, Toronto

Café la Gaffe is a French bistro on the eclectic Baldwin St. that offers lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Café la Gaffe
24 Baldwin St, Toronto

Monday, September 29, 2014

Bell Lightbox, Toronto

Malaparte, the 6th floor event space at the TIFF Bell Lightbox run by Oliver and Bonacini, has beautiful floor to ceiling mosaic tile images of what looks like a young Robert Deniro and Meryl Streep at the entrance of their washrooms–the perfect bathroom signs to reflect this cinephile's mecca.

Bell Lightbox, Reitman Square,
350 King Street West, Toronto

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rahier Patiserrie, Toronto

The French patisserie Rahier is one of our favourite places to go for cakes and pastries.  My favourite cake is the Dumas, made with  hazelnut mousseline, dark chocolate mousse and hazelnut dacquoise. 

Rahier Patisserie

1586 Bayview Ave, Toronto

Bishop and Belcher, Queen Mother Café, Queen and Beaver Toronto

Photos of British royalty seem to be a popular choice for bathroom signs, although the use in some restaurants make more sense than in others.

The Bishop and Belcher is a traditional English pub serving typical fare such as bangers and mash, fish and chips, liver, bacon and onions, and even Indian curries, which is what you actually find in London pubs.  Therefore having a portrait of King Edward VII as the male bathroom sign and one of Queen Elizabeth II as the female sign seems completely apropos.

On the other hand, the most British things about the Queen Mother Café are its name and its bathroom signs that depict King George VI and his wife, the Queen Mother, Elizabeth Duchess of York, and not its menu, which is more Asian fusion.

The restaurant which you would think definitely should have portraits of British royalty as its bathroom signs is the Queen and Beaver, whose walls are filled with images of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II.  But for some inexplicable reason, the bathroom signs are merely the letters "M" for male and "L" for "ladies", abeit very stylish letters covered with sleek, red leather.  At least the mens' urinal has a sense of fun and whimsy.

Bishop and Belcher
175 Bloor St E, Toronto

Queen Mother Café
 208 Queen St W, Toronto

Queen and Beaver
 35 Elm St, Toronto

Fuzz Box, Toronto

The hippyish, slightly irreverent terms of "dudes" and "chicks" on the washrooms of The Fuzz Box seem a bit out of place for a vendor of Nova Scotia styled donairs.  I would expect to see such signs in a dive bar rather than in a place that sports a Nova Scotian flag in its front window.  But the donairs are really good, so who cares!

Fuzz Box
1246 Danforth Ave,Toronto

Coffee - Balzac's, Second Cup, Toronto

The Balzac's Coffee location in the Distillery District seems to always have long lineups, sometimes out the door.  They have a great second floor space that displays rotating art and serve a delicious café frappé.

Balzac's Coffee Roasters
Distillery District, 1 Trinity St. and many other locations

The coffee chain Second Cup uses their company logo as the basis for their bathroom signs, again reinforcing the company brand.

Second Cup
1560 Yonge St.
Many other locations

By contrast, the boring generic bathroom signs of some of Second Cup's competitors do nothing for their corporate brands.

Fox and Fiddle, Toronto

The chain of pubs named "Fox and Fiddle" use their bathroom signs to reemphasize the name of the establishments by using "Foxes" for the male sign and "Vixens" (which are female foxes) for the female sign.  This could also remind tipsy patrons which bar they are in.

Fox and Fiddle
1535 Yonge St., Toronto
27 Wellesley Ave. E, Toronto
Many other locations

La Petite France, Toronto

The traditional, turn-of-the-century images on the bathroom signs of the French bistro La Petite France reflect its menu of traditional French cuisine such as steak frites, coq au vin, and boeuf bourguignon.

La Petite France
3317 Bloor St W, Toronto

The now defunct French restaurant called Matignon had the same idea with their signs.