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Restaurants

Mavrik Wine Bar

Posted by Ryan Spencer / Listed on December 15, 2011 / review policy

Mavrik Wine Bar TorontoMavrik Wine Bar may easily be missed on bustling West Queen West. For whatever reason, the wine bar trend has never really caught on in Toronto. The whole mixology craze, on the other hand, seems to be mostly a gimmick to justify ridiculous mark-ups rather than the simple appreciation for well crafted libations (though Cocktail Bar would be a noteworthy exception). Mavrik seems to be bucking both trends by offering a cozy spot to appreciate well crafted wines that has been thoughtfully selected. It's good to sip our drinks. And sometimes it's good to have wine as your entree.

A bit bright and a bit loud, Mavrik fights the constant lull that wine imbues with an improvised soundtrack casually curated by the servers. The mood is lively and a great launch into our long night of holiday parties. A quick glance at the wine list showcases micro-producers from the Niagara region and a heavy does of old world winemakers — hough the inclusion of labels from Oregon and Hungary do follow the latest hot spots. For the novice, the wines are grouped by genres, taste above origin, which makes it quite approachable.      

Mavrik Wine BarIf you do decide to come to Mavrik or any wine bar for that matter, you must start with a tasting or a flight. Mavrik offers three 2oz. tastings for $15 or four for $19. White wine is not my main squeeze, so we opted for reds only. The first was an impertinent Aglianico that hit the tip of the tongue only to rush off with a rough finish. From the Niagara region, Nyarai Cellars presented a 2007 Veritas blended in a Bordeaux style. A tannic caramel flavour is balanced by a hint of charred oak. This specific Veritas is a definite find for a VQA - truth! Third, was another Italian and much better than the first. At 16 per cent alcohol, it was a beast, but somehow quite drinkable.

Mavrik Wine BarWhat goes better together than wine and cheese? Cured meats. As quickly as we ordered, our charcuterie appeared accompanied with coarse mustard, cornichons, honey and hazelnuts. Proper garnishes that heightened the dish and were appreciated. The duck prosciutto was amazing — the best of both worlds! The only fault was the Tillagio on offer. It was served far too cold and lacked its unique sharp flavour. For $19, you can choose three selections from local cheese and meat producers.

Mavrik Wine BarWe loved the Veritas so much that we ordered another glass, which led us to dig into to a bit more food. We ordered the poutine ($10) dressed simply with duck gravy and Ontario cheese curds — a proper dish with a satisfying gravy and crisp fries.

The price per glass can be steep if you're on a budget ($10-17), but spliting a bottle (or two) that you've liked from the tasting might be a smart way to go. It should also be noted that the space is definitely conducive to groups — a holiday party was starting just as we were leaving. I'd bet that they had fun.

Mavrik Wine Bar

Discussion

17 Comments

Ray / December 15, 2011 at 09:22 am
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Since it opened this past fall, Mavrik has definitely been my go to place for a good night with a good glass of wine. Great wines, great food, and an even greater staff. The new manager James and his staff really do a terrific job making every Mavrik trip a good one.

I tip my glass to Mavrik
v / December 15, 2011 at 09:27 am
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is this west queen west...
Vin_ho / December 15, 2011 at 09:46 am
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This looks good. Thanks for the heads up!
peanutbutterandjelly / December 15, 2011 at 10:56 am
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Went here once about two weeks back. While it's not terrible, it certainly is lacking a real wine bar vibe. The lights were too bright (as was the general overall feel), the decor seems a bit half assed, the tables seemed cheap and the huge open window into the messy looking kitchen did not help.

It's just one example of the many Toronto bars that rush to get out to the market and not fully think things through or invest in better quality materials because they're not thinking long term.

It's exceptionally hard to go here after you've just come back from Europe and have tried many killer wine bars. This just doesn't stand up to them at all.
Marie / December 15, 2011 at 11:36 am
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The food here is really bad, at least from my one experience. Perogies seemed like they were from No Frills, fish tacos crumbled apart and were impossible to eat - dont even remember anything else i ate because nothing was memorable!
A nice place to come for a glass of wine, just skip the food!
roger / December 15, 2011 at 01:00 pm
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I desperately want this place to succeed (I live 5min. away, and need a 'local' wine bar)

I found the prices a bit steep for what you were getting. Especially some of the more basic Ontario wines (VQA 'stamp' isn't all that impressive if you understand what it means or have tasted globally). Would love to see a few more interesting 'value' wines on the card.

Atmosphere... Agree with @peanutbutterandjelly that something is 'off'. It may have been just the one night I went, but I found it very 'romantic-couply' (for lack of a better word) the night my friend and I went. Not very engaging... almost stand-offish. Would prefer more lively 'fights at the bar' (a la crush) vs. canoodling in the corners.


Soused / December 15, 2011 at 02:32 pm
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Not a wine drinker but they did have a giant German beer that I cannot pronounce. I personally like the minimal decor and relaxed atmosphere. They need a patio in the back though come summer time.
mable / December 15, 2011 at 02:37 pm
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I'm really disappointed to see this place get such a glowing review. I went earlier this week and was not as impressed as this reviewer. Granted, this part of Queen has very little to offer as far as a nice place to have a glass of wine, but my experience with Mavrik was awful. Our food was overpriced and had to be sent back and the server confused our wine order in a way that led me to believe he didn't know much about wine (Tempranillo and Cotes de Rhone are not the same thing, it's also not pronounced "temp-rah-nill-o"). I don't ever write reviews, nor do I consult them before checking out a new place, but I felt compelled to warn others before they drop too much money on a crappy experience.
Ray replying to a comment from Ray / December 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm
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*correction...new manager Eric and his staff
Jay / December 16, 2011 at 08:39 pm
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I think this is a cool spot. Very chill and friendly. I personally enjoyed the fish tacos. And I felt really at home there. Will definitely be my go-to.
Randal / March 25, 2012 at 12:58 pm
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We went to Mavrik this weekend with the idea of having a flight of wine and something to eat. Unfortunately the only flight they offered was pre set and made up of whites and a rose. I'm sorry but only one pre-fixed flight of whites does not qualify you to call yourself a wine bar. I don't care if you charge me more, but at least ask me what I enjoy drinking and put together a flight of something, or at the very least offer a red flight in addition to a white flight.
kpach / January 4, 2013 at 05:16 pm
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Oh my god... DO not go here. The wine selection is terrible, the waitress was on her phone the whole time, none of the small plates arrived even close together. To top it all off, the food was SO poorly seasoned. It was super salty and tasted terrible.

I'm not trying to be mean, but there should be food standards on this stuff...
Wintry Mix / January 30, 2013 at 01:02 pm
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Really wanted to love this cozy place, but the three times I've been (October 2012, and twice in December 2012) they were out of two or three of the wines on the list. The waitress kept having to apologize about it. I don't envy her that responsibility! She made alternative suggestions but the list is pretty short, so there wasn't much to work with.

Going to try the other wine bars in the city, as I think I've given this one a good go.
Sykes replying to a comment from kpach / January 30, 2013 at 01:05 pm
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ha! She was on her phone the entire time I was there too!
And the food really is terrible, prices are a joke for such poor quality.
Valérie / February 2, 2013 at 05:20 pm
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Mediocre. I should have read the reviews. And it was too expensive.
Kale / June 9, 2013 at 09:00 am
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I've been to Mavrik several times, since it first opened until the latest hosting of the Food Dudes last week. The Food now is really good. I love the chicken, and sweet potato tacos, and all the other sharing plates they have. The service is friendly and quick. The two owners have certainly worked out any issues that may have been there when they first opened.
I've never been disappointed.
Sean / October 1, 2013 at 09:12 pm
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Inspected on: September 24
Inspection finding: Yellow (Conditional)
Number of infractions: 3 (Minor: 1, Significant: 1, Crucial: 1)
Crucial infractions include: Operator fail to ensure premises swept to prevent food contamination

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