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Acadia Restaurant

Posted by Ryan Spencer / Listed on July 22, 2011 / review policy

Acadia Restaurant TorontoAcadia restaurant opened their doors this week to the summer traffic of College street just North of Clinton. Situated by Cafe Diplomatico and Public, Acadia brings an elevated menu and dining experience sorely lacking on this block.  Like nearby Woodlot and Grace, Acadia is riding a new wave of restaurants challenging the standard fare by showcasing their own personality through researched heritage cooking.  

Chef de cuisine Matt Blondin (Colborne Lane, Senses) created a thoughtful menu based on his French-Canadian background, hence Acadia, blending Maritime seafood with a southern cajun flare. The menu sort of reads as history of the Acadian diaspora though the Maritimes and into The South.

Acadia Restaurant TorontoLarge wall to wall windows allow ample lighting and highlight the open airy feel of the dining room.  Even down to the gingham napkins and pewter chairs, the look of Acadia is cohesive to an unfussy modern take on southern dining.   

Acadia Restaurant TorontoBeing ushered in by a gust of muggy summer air, a frosty libation was in order. We decided to go for the Trader Vic's inspired Mai Tai ($12) and the Equinox ($12) -- both rum based cocktails but with two distinct flavours.

Acadia Restaurant TorontoKeeping up with the latest trends in cooking, a complimentary pickle platter was brought to the table by our cordial server consisting of: okra, confit potato, quail egg and a number of other veggies. Refreshing both in flavour and unexpectedness, a real palate cleanser to begin our Acadian journey.  

Acadia Restaurant TorontoAs a starter, we dived into Northumberland Strait Scallops with chicken crackling and watermelon rind ($13). The crisped fat of the crackling coupled with the tartness of the rind sandwiched the complexity of the scallop beautifully. It was only topped in flavour by the artistic plating.  

As an entree, we went with: Red Grouper ($20) with gulf prawn etoufee, andouille sausage and chlorophyll essence; and Nagano Pork Side Ribs ($23) with tobacco onions and sorghum salad. 

For sides, corn bread with sweet potato butter ($5 - top photo) and collard greens with licorice cream ($4). The natural sweetness of the potato paired lovely with the thyme and chive of the bread. Usually, an ample portion of pork fat is added to mask the bitterness of the greens which overwhelms. But the sharp anise flavour of the licorice cream was an ingenious trick for such a dilemma.  

Acadia Restaurant TorontoThe buttery prawn etoufee rounded out the strong notes of the Grouper while the andouille added a necessary kick for a surprisingly light dish. 

Acadia Restaurant TorontoThe Ngano Pork Side Ribs were too refined to be classified as just BBQ. The combination of sorghum and onions gave an earthy crunch to the smoky melt-in-your-mouth ribs. Definitely elevated fare that showcases what a talent Chef Blondin really is.

Acadia Restaurant TorontoWhat southern meal is not complete without my favourite, Sugar Pie -- albeit a deconstructed one. The bourbon raisins gave a boozy blast to the mellower brulee flavor of the pie.

I'm excited -- not only for this restaurant but for the wave of restauranteurs embracing the past with approachable dishes executed in new innovative techniques.  Acadia achieves this through thoughtfully constructed dishes and affable atmosphere.  

Acadia Restaurant TorontoPhotos by Peter Henderson.



The Real Johnson / July 22, 2011 at 01:29 pm
Nice. I welcome anything to bring a touch more diversity to Little Italy, too. There are only so many ways to serve antipasto and martinis.
Interesting side note: When this location was whatever it was before, I once saw a man punch a woman in the face on that patio. Too bad that classy establishment is gone.
michael / July 22, 2011 at 02:32 pm
Happy to see this new spot on my street went to Langolino's once that was enough for me- The Food here looks Authentic and delish - it will be one of my new haunts in the hood as well as Sidecar- Franks Kitchen- L.A.B - Grace- Briscolla- There are many spots on College St. that are Great just not trendy enough for some I guess.
Matt / July 22, 2011 at 03:07 pm
If this keeps up, there won't be any place left for shiny-haired tribal-tattooed douchebags to listen to house music while oompa-loompa-tanned waitresses serve them overpriced spaghetti & meatballs. They'll have to move to St. Clair. And then Woodbridge.

:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
lobra / October 7, 2011 at 07:53 am
Went to this place last night. OK Torontonians, this place is a joke! Dropped $200.00 and left hungry. The apps are larger than the mains - which were ever so slightly larger than a postage stamp. The side we ordered was brought to the table nearly 40 minutes before we got our mains. If you like preciousness this is the place for you. I like good food at reasonable prices. Never Again!!!!
TheRealJohnson / November 1, 2011 at 02:05 pm
Since I wrote that first comment my wife and I have been back to this restaurant numerous times. This is a great restaurant. It's simple and affordable.
I'm not sure what "preciousness" is meant to indicate, but I'll assume it's akin to pretentiousness, which would be the last adjective I'd use to describe it (actually preciousness would be the last adjective I'd ever use, but for different reasons).
Every time I call to make a reservation they recall my wife's dietary restrictions and ask about allergies (or they do it to every caller -- in which case it is even more commendable and appreciated).
It should be clear from the images in this review that this restaurant doesn't provide "Keg-sized" main courses; the focus is on the flavours and ingredients. Perhaps lobra might do better at Milestones next time.
Gio / December 12, 2011 at 03:37 pm
We tried this restaurant for the first time last night, choosing between Rodneys and Marben.
As my wife described as a "playground" for your mouth, I have to agree that all courses were assembled masterfully, the ingredients are wonderful and the service was great, friendly and attentive.
The space is also attractive but noisy, and open.
I would definitely go back for another test.

The only "sour" note or let's call it complaint is that the hostess offered house made bubbly water (very good) without indicating any charges. After we finished the first one they kept bringing another two bottles without us asking for it.
At the end there was a charge for the three bottles at my surprise.

George / January 31, 2012 at 07:15 pm
FoodMaster / February 24, 2012 at 11:27 am
My girlfriend and I went to Acadia last weekend with another couple. The drinks and corn bread where great but the rest of the food was a huge let down. The bill came to $400. This place is an overpriced waste of time. The other comments above have got to be the owners friends....
jim / March 13, 2012 at 04:13 pm
we spent a lot of money as well, but we spent it on the tastiest drinks i've had in a while and insanely good food. it's not a meal i'd treat myself to that often, but i highly recommend this place.
Tamar / April 17, 2013 at 11:35 pm
No doubt that this place is a bit pricey but the food and service is exceptional. In terms of the portions, yes they are small compared to most restaurant and what we as north Americana are used to, but they are healthy portion sizes and should not be any bigger.
Dessert is delicious.
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