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The Gabardine

Posted by Kaela Greenstien / Reviewed on March 21, 2011 / review policy

Gabardine TorontoThe Gabardine is located in the heart of the Financial District at Bay and Richmond. I came here for the first time on my own around three on a Thursday afternoon. I was expecting it to be pretty quiet but low and behold I found the place nearly full. I grabbed one of the few free tables and, despite being nearly at capacity, it felt calm and relaxing inside.

The atmosphere is decidedly laid back though the friendly servers, dressed in jeans and plaid shirts, are certainly more casual than the customers. The server's plaid shirts are a charming addition to the New England style decor and country feel. I was impressed at how all the details in the restaurant were well-thought out and accounted for including the grandma-style flowered plates, heavy-weight cutlery and stylish bathroom faucet.

Gabardine TorontoAlways a sucker for a savoury-sweet combination, I decided to try the grilled cheese with sweet onion and tomato jam ($12) accompanied by greens in simple vinaigrette. The first thing I noticed when my plate came out was the heaping pile of beautiful dark green and purple lettuce leaves light but thoroughly coated in vinaigrette that made the leaves glisten. The dressing was definitely light and mild but was refreshing with the sandwich.

The grilled cheese came on a delicious crispy focaccia bread. The combination of sweet onion and tomato jam with the mozzarella cheese is certainly a winner though next time I would ask for a little less cheese and a little more jam. The cheese was plentiful, too much so for my liking, but I took some of the cheese that oozed out of the sandwich and mixed it in with bites of the salad which was a nice pairing.

Gabardine TorontoThe Gabardine also doubles as a cafe serving coffee to go. Feeling sufficiently caffeinated, I decided to have a tea and was charmed by the delicate flowered tea-cup with a white owl tea pot.

Gabardine TorontoA couple days later I came back with a friend and the intention of trying out a salad, but after I saw a mac and cheese being served to the gentleman next to me, I decided I had to try it. His was topped with an impressive amount of smoked ham ($15) but I decided to keep things kosher and opted for the ham-less version ($13). My friend ordered the crostini ($5, toppings change daily) which came with candied orange peel and an arugula salad.

Gabardine TorontoThe mac and cheese was served in a lasagna style dish and was topped with a crunchy breadcrumb crust which kept the cheesy center piping hot even after I spent 10 minutes taking photos of it. When I finally dug in for first bite, I pulled my forked out high to admire the dripping stringy cheese attached. The pasta was thick and the cheese, again, more than plentiful. It was certainly rich and heavy. Even with my friend helping out, I couldn't finish the whole thing.

Gabardine TorontoAfter my hefty main dish, my friend convinced me the chocolate cake with buttercream and ganache ($7) would be a good way to finish things off. We were both a little confused by the cake's resemblance to a hostess cupcake (which I agreed was a little odd), but it certainly was not a hostess cupcake.

The icing was sweet but smooth and the cake tender and filled with buttercream without being too rich. I also decided to try a latte (they serve coffees to go as well) and when I asked if they had soy available I was happy to hear they actually used almond milk. It was a decadent finish to an indulgent lunch.

Gabardine TorontoThe blend of country comfort and executive dining has certainly found an ample amount of demand from suits and casual diners alike and is well worth a visit.

A number of vegetarian options are available. Vegan salad possible if you ask for it sans cheese.

Gabardine TorontoOpen Monday-Friday 8am-10pm. Closed weekends.



mario / March 21, 2011 at 10:28 am
Gastro Pub? This review makes The Gabardine seem like a place I'd take my grandmother.
Moi / March 21, 2011 at 11:18 am
LOL Mario.......TeaRoom????? heheheheeh
Good luck to them :)
john / March 21, 2011 at 11:27 am
yeah, this looks ideal for the 65+ set.
Sofia / March 21, 2011 at 12:16 pm
This place is absolutely amazing. The servers are always wonderful, service is fast and the food is consistently to die for. Lots of hearty, interesting dishes with a really homemade feel. There is also a focus on using local ingredients (organic where they can).

I work near hear and wish that I go everyday.

It's a great to stop in for coffee as well! They have to go coffee, a coffee bar and baked treats.

This place is a breath of fresh air for the financial district.
Sheye / March 21, 2011 at 12:24 pm
I didn't see any Grandmas in the review photos.
Any Grandmas I know want to dine at a chain food restaurant where they serve meat,potato and vegie specials - with a seniors discount.
This food and fancy coffees are not what the 65+ are looking for.
Dave / March 21, 2011 at 12:48 pm
Well if it's not a restaurant for my grandmother, it sure seems like they stole my grandmother's plates.
danieljosef / March 22, 2011 at 09:17 am
Had a late dinner here last week. The service is very good, the food is fresh and of high quality. Plus they have super cheap beer!!!!
stephen+sharon / March 22, 2011 at 01:29 pm
We've eaten there a number of times--never disappointed.The food is fabulous and we have tried a whole slew of menu items.Fresh,fun and delicious.Add the ambiance and friendly service and we could eat there every day;happily.
annakarenina / March 22, 2011 at 02:50 pm
this place rules... whatever about grandmas plate dave. Theres definitely been a lot of thought put into the menu, proper branding, and design choices including the kitschy plates. Good food, charming place.. good service. a breath of fresh air in the financial district
jennsanerd / March 30, 2011 at 01:58 pm
This place sounds fantastic! I can't wait to check it out.

Also, this is a great post that was both pleasant and interesting to read. I'm happy to see the writer of this post went back to the restaurant a couple of times to give a more accurate review than many blogTO contributors who often visit a place only once. Eloquently written, and gorgeous pictures (heh thanks for the food porn)! I would certainly appreciate this piece very much if I were the owner of the Gabardine.
The Gabardine replying to a comment from jennsanerd / March 31, 2011 at 11:59 am
As the owners of The Gabardine, we can say that we most certainly do appreciate this wonderful review!!! We were thrilled to read it and can't thank you enough!
DS / July 16, 2011 at 09:59 am
Ate here lastnight and had a perma-smile the entire time. This place is incredible and we will most certainly be back. Great presentation and amazingly tasty. Bye bye Bluestone. Good riddance!
Restos in TO / October 25, 2011 at 02:05 pm
Ate here last night after hearing some of the buzz. I don't know that I loved this place right off the bat, but I think it's probably worth a revisit for the comfort food.

Our full review is here if you want to take a look:

Restos in TO
Vee / May 30, 2012 at 03:05 pm
Been here twice,once for lunch and once for dinner. The food is amazing and the atmosphere is great. They also source local,sustainable and organic products which I think is great. I wish the lunch menu had a few more options but nonetheless I definitely recommend this place!
Kathy / July 23, 2014 at 08:01 pm
Been to Gabardine's and absolutely loved the Mac & Cheese and had a wonderful Martini as well! Great food, great ambiance and prices are reasonable. Go check it out you won't be dissappointed :)
Mina / December 15, 2014 at 09:44 pm
Received rude service recently. Waitress was extremely sarcastic to the point of distaste and ultimately disrespect. She constantly asked us if we were done our food, and had a disgusting attitude about our pace of eating when we were only there for an hour and a half. There was no line up so we were completely stumped about why she wanted us to eat so quickly. Also, the mac and cheese was not number one quality, and although I am not from Toronto, I am sure there are better mac and cheese dishes in the area. Since the waitress' attitude turned us off from our meal, we will definitely not be going here again, and will be letting my friends know as well.
Mabe / January 18, 2015 at 07:51 pm
Mina; When I see so many great reviews, I can't help but think that your comments are a little harsh. I am a restaurant owner and my philosophy is #1 Clean, #2 Great Service (Make the customer feel like they are the most important person in the world) and #3 Great Food but sometimes, it doesn't matter how great the owner's vision is, there is the potential for one employee thinking that it is all about them and not the customer. If you had a bad experience with a server, you should have either asked to speak to the manager when you paid, or called the next day to speak to the owner. Being an owner, I would want to be informed of such problems and have the chance to correct that employee by letting them know that it is all about the customer and not them. I hope you with reconsider and give this restaurant a second chance, it sounds like the deserve it.

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