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The House On Parliament

Posted by Staff / Reviewed on March 31, 2007 / review policy

20070331_HOPpulledpork.jpgThe House On Parliament is one of those neighbourhood haunts that seem to be well represented in movies and tv, but not quite so represented in real life.

Although not quite on the 'Cheers' level of things, this is a place full of familiar friendly faces, friendly staff who aren't afraid to take a jab at their customers (all in good fun of course), and lots of good grub and drink.

As the name suggests, The House On Parliament is on Parliament Street. It's just south of Carlton in Cabbagetown.

20070331_HOPmenu.jpgI last went on Tuesday night, when it was warm enough to sit outside, certainly a nice spring treat. My friend Matt had the Pulled-Pork Sandwich ($9.95), which gets talked about quite a bit on the Ontario Board on Chowhound. I've had it before; it's a nice juicy spicy dish full of pulled-pork goodness. Matt certainly enjoyed his. He chose fries as his side dish, but you can also choose their very tasty house salad as a side.

I had the Steak and Stilton Sandwich ($10.95). The House On Parliament makes, without question, the best steak sandwich I have ever had, which is saying a lot since steak sandwiches are one of my favourite things. The sandwich comes on a garlic bun with the steak prepared how you like it, and adorned by bits of stilton and caramelized onions. It comes with either fries or salad, and, as tasty as their fresh-cut fries are, I opted for salad, because honestly, their salad is darn good too. I personally really enjoy the added touch of pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top.

20070331_HOPsteaksandwich.jpgThe menu is filled with lots of pretty standard pub fare, and a bit not-quite-so-standard fare. In the standard section you might want to try their burgers or a veggie burger ($8. with fries or salad), in the less standard you might want to try the Pate and Crostini appetizer ($8.95) or a Brie and Grilled Veggie Sandwich ($9.95 with fries or salad). They also have fabulous specials every day. One of the specials from Tuesday was Beef Carpaccio, I didn't try it because I'm not so good with the raw meat thing, but the people next to us who ordered it seemed to be really enjoying it.

I love the laid back vibe of the place and the familiarity of it all, something I felt the first time I was there, even though I couldn't possibly have been familiar with any of it, everyone else was so familiar it rubbed off on me. I certainly recommend checking it out. One word of warning though, it's a small space and quite popular, so get there early, it fills up fast.

House on Parliament, 456 Parliament (just south of Carlton), 416-925-4074



Bri / September 16, 2009 at 10:42 am
The House on Parliament is a great Cabbagetown pub to share a pint with friends and (mostly) good food. Unfortunately it is becoming a victim of its own success...although we used to make the HoP our first choice it is SO busy that we usually head down to Cranberries instead...same neighborhood, also great food. Sunday prime rib at the HoP is is the burger...but I stopped ordering the steak sandwich mentioned above after getting two in a row that were SO tough I could barely bite them. Also, keep in mind that the pulled pork (that everyone loves so much) is SO saucy that the pork flavour is totally obliterated, and I find the sauce rather sweet for my tastes. At busy times, the staff can be VERY testy...even to regulars like us. I do worry...this is the same thing that happened to the Ben Wick Pub just down the too popular, service and food slipped, and now it's deserted. But overall, a good day at the HoP is as good as Toronto can offer.
J / April 17, 2010 at 02:21 am
@Bri - you expect too much. The service at HoP is excellent, as is the food. Friends from NYC consider this an equivalent to Tavern on Jane. A compliment, indeed. HoP manages their popularity in an excellent way. More restaurants in this city should take notes.
V / August 4, 2010 at 10:20 pm
The House on Parliament is a nice little pub. The pulled pork is great (yes the sauce is a bit sweet but the flavour is there). The staff is nice, beer plentiful, all is good with the world.

My only complaint is that I find their fries to be too small, so they loose all their moisture.

Matt / January 17, 2011 at 10:41 am
My favorite pub! Living in Parkdale, I don't get there nearly enough. I love the steak and mushroom pie.
tripper / January 18, 2011 at 09:27 am
Love, love, love, the HoP. The atmosphere and charm of the place is unbeatable. And I don't even mind that it's busy and that I sometimes have to wait for a table. In fact, that's kind of fun. You get a drink and socialize with the other people waiting. You go there for an evening's entertainment, not a quick bite.

The food is usually fantastic but I have to wonder if there's been a change in the kitchen staff. The last couple of times I've been there the specials haven't been so great. It's like they're in a hurry and don't really care what they send out. You're safer ordering steak frites or some other standard menu item.

But I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It's a great place and I'm sure it's just a glitch
carrie / March 3, 2011 at 09:14 pm
H.O.P. deserves another look. They've just recently moved to new digs just 2 doors south but the faithful cast of staff moved too bringing the confident friendliness even more to the fore. The food is still great and good value. It's one of Toronto's magical places that deserves to be a must visit on a round the world tour of best local establishments, where you must go to know you've really been there.
James / January 28, 2012 at 01:01 pm
I don't get what all the hype is about here. After reading, and hearing about this place for a while, i decided to check it out. I got the "outsider" treatment, and often felt neglected while the servers chatted and bantered with the "regular" crowd, while basically ignoring me and my guests. The food was ok, nothing really different from any other pub, but the bad service really left a bad taste in my mouth. Nothing like a side of "hurry up and finish so we can seat people we like" with dinner. Will not be back.
Jon / February 19, 2012 at 03:00 pm
My wife and I have been drawn back to the HOP regularly by the great food coming out of the kitchen. But the love affair is over. The front of the house leaves so much to be desired. While there always seems to be sufficient wait staff, the service is haphazard at best. Some customers seem to be fawned over while others (usually us) get the cold shoulder. I wish we knew the secret hand shake to get the good service! And what is with the staff scrums with hushed tones in the service nook every time we are there? Who are they so unhappy with?

Regardless, the final straw was going for lunch, sitting for half an hour at a table, and not being offered any food service. Not even a menu. By anyone. They've lost two regular customers now. If they don't sharpen up, I have a feeling we won't be the only ones voting with our feet.
Polly / July 24, 2012 at 04:28 pm
Totally disagree with Tripper, I usually go for the specials (although I'm a regular, so I've sampled nearly everything from their everyday menu too), and I've always found them to be delicious. I'm not even kidding, if you see their Kobe beef burger on the list of specials, GET IT. Best burger I've ever had. Love this place. The service can be a bit spotty, but it's always friendly.
Andy / April 15, 2013 at 05:20 pm
Great neighbourhood pub.
We moved to the area 18 months ago, this is a fantastic place to have a 5 minute walk away.

We frequent a few times a month.

Overall food is fantastic...have had a few not so great experiences in regards to staff attitude but we keep going back for the great atmosphere, drinks and food.

Often full...especially small patio.

Amazing fries. Fantastic steak salad. Skip the scotch eggs...we had mild food poisoning.
Jennifer / April 24, 2013 at 11:25 am
Best pub in the city, hands down. I moved out of the neighborhood and make regular trips back. Frankly the HoP ranks high on the list of things that convinced me to sell my west side abode and move east again.
Tyler / January 27, 2014 at 09:56 am
What a great spot. Recently discovered this place over the weekend and made back to back trips for dinner and late lunch. The pulled pork has great flavor and is sure to impress. The ever-changing bangers and bash was delicious and definitely puts a modern spin on the traditional UK dish.

Can't say enough great things about the atmosphere. We wandered in at about 5pm and the place was packed shortly after.
Fantastic wine and beer selection, perfect place to go for dinner or just for a casual pint.

Thrilled to have such a unique spot close to home.
Will be back soon and often!
phylis / August 4, 2014 at 11:08 am
The place has lost its personal touch. The food is nothing it used to be and they can't seem to keep any of the better servers and the ones they have look like they'd rather be anywhere else. The Hop is a thin of the past. Too too many other wonderful places to eat in the hood. Why on earth would anyone wait in line to be shoved at a table 3 inches away from the table beside you. They cram the patrons in like sardines. Last but not least the owners couldn't care less about the customers and staff. They see us as dollar signs not patrons. Never going back there.
Iolanda Saputo replying to a comment from phylis / December 3, 2014 at 09:35 am
Phylis, have you actually been to HOP or do you work for Ben Wick's/Local Gest?

The food at HOP remains as incredible as it was in the past and the fact that they continue to charge reasonable prices for it is all the better. Name me another place where you can get a fantastic spinach salad with chicken using the same quality ingredients for the same price point. Same with the specials.

As for keeping the better servers ... if you are a regular, you will know that the servers are loyal and have been with HOP for ages. The only server in recent memory no longer there is the rude blonde woman with the chunky black streaks who started Ben Wick's (deadpool, btw). Do you know the owners personally? They certainly care about the business, which (newsflash!) is operated to make them money (otherwise it'd be defunct), as there is constant investment, the food is great and the staff are always friendly.

Yes, it's busy. But that's a good sign. If you want to not be bothered by a crowd, stay home or visit Ben Wick's. Oh wait, you can't, because it was never busy and closed. Ooops.
kris / December 4, 2014 at 04:17 pm
This place is run by waiters who doesnt respect their patrons....
I went once hand had a worse experience and never go back again.....
Iolanda Saputo replying to a comment from kris / December 11, 2014 at 02:57 pm
LOL, I go on the regular and have never had a bad experience. And, the line ups every day confirm the demand. Have a nice time at Stout!
Janice / March 4, 2015 at 11:21 am
My home away from home, at least once a week visit, staff are friendly fun loving, food is excellent and nice to visit and see familiar faces. A must stop for anyone in town. Being a Cabbagetowner I sure support the hop.
Sean / July 26, 2015 at 01:40 pm
I have never been but walk passed it several times a week.. nothing has compelled me to step inside and try it out. at first and 20th glance it looks snooty and very elitist.. not inviting at all.

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