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Restaurants

Whippoorwill Restaurant and Tavern

Posted by Staff / Reviewed on December 12, 2012 / review policy

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernWhippoorwill is somewhat tucked away at the southeast corner of Bloor and Landsdowne in the spot formerly occupied by the Bloordale Pantry. This latest incarnation of a diner at 1285 Bloor West has a slightly more rustic feel with an updated menu. Having only opened in early December, they've quickly attracted the attention of the neighborhood with a packed room for Sunday brunch.

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernWithin 20 minutes, our party was seated in a bright red vinyl booth. In an otherwise sparsely decorated dining room, the visual centrepiece of this throwback diner is an authentic Detroit tire shop sign, now converted into a fully stocked bar. The mid-century vibe is matched by the mostly vintage-wearing clientele digging into their brunch.

Five wait staff darted about, clearing plates and running drinks. After a ten-minute wait, a server set us up with coffees and breakfast cocktails.

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernWith coffee ($1.50), Caesars, and a mimosa ($6.50 each) in hand, each of us found our brunch favorites on the one-page menu. The recommended Albacore Tuna Sandwich ($14) is not your average tuna sandwich. Under a crunchy half baguette sits five pieces of well-prepared seared tuna steak, which is topped with hardboiled eggs, pickles, and celery and served alongside crispy potatoes. The dry baguette would have been helped by some sauce, but the sandwich deserved four stars nevertheless.

The poached eggs ($13, lead image), covered in a well-balanced and lemony béarnaise, are served on top of buttery biscuits, watercress and a side of potatoes. The standard two-egg breakfast served with crispy bacon and multigrain toast is dressed up with spicy n'duja braised beans, which helps to justify its $9 price tag.

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernThe big winner at brunch was the Whippoorwill burger ($12). This sloppy, greasy burger doused in Russian dressing and melted cheddar cheese is served with crispy potatoes. The perfectly cooked — still pink in the middle — prime beef patty is flanked by a buttery bun and standard fixings. Be warned: it's a juice bomb. Cloth napkins were needed to keep some semblance of manners while devouring the burger.

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernWith reasonable prices ($12 to $25 each after tip), and quick coffee fill ups (one caffeine-dependent member of our party counted 7 personal refills); we're all sure to return. Next time we might sample the dinner and late night menus — and take better advantage of their drink specials. If a brief late night visit is any proof, the cocktails here are very good.

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernWhile the whip-poor-will (Caprimulgus vociferus) may be listed as threatened with extinction in Ontario, owners Shawn Creamer and Tyler Cunningham have positioned their restaurant to thrive in its current habitat. With the recently opened Emerson bar two doors east, this block of Bloor West, much like the nocturnal bird, will come alive at night.

Brunch, dinner and late-night menus are all available on the Whippoorwills' twitter feed: @WhippoorwillTO.

Whippoorwill Restaurant and TavernWriting by Josh Wise / photos by Marni Wolf

Discussion

29 Comments

Laruouu / December 12, 2012 at 01:12 pm
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Bloordale Pantry's Ranchos Carnitas will be missed. I traveled all the way from the east end for it. Any suggestions as to where I can find another rendition in the city?

PS: Goodluck to Whippoorwhill! Looks tasty/fancy.
johnsonstarfish / December 12, 2012 at 01:41 pm
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@Laruouu
Not sure if you have been there yet, but Sadie's Diner on Adelaide has the best rancheros in the city. Closest to what you would find in Latin America (from the opinion of someone who has backpacked Central and South America extensively). The only problem is that Sadie's in a vegetarian restaurant so you won't find meet. I think Easy Cafe also does good rancheros as does Swan Diner.
Paul / December 12, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Their evening cocktail menu is highly recommended -- the bartender is a BarChef alumnus and he knows what he's doing. The house-smoked mussels are amazing.
Ben / December 12, 2012 at 04:59 pm
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Sounds ridiculously overpriced. I won't be attending this eatery. There are several more reasonably priced brunch places in the hood.
Mikey replying to a comment from Laruouu / December 12, 2012 at 05:07 pm
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Having had Easy Cafe's rancheros just the other weekend, I can vouch for their quality.

I would also turn you to Mildred's Temple Kitchen in Liberty Village. Their "Huevos Monty" is like a very fancy (but very well made) version, if you can stand the small line up and the price tag (if I remember correctly, $16?). Then again, there may no longer be a line up. Let's hope. We could do with less line ups in this city.
fidd replying to a comment from Ben / December 13, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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Ben - just scramble an egg at home - costs maybe 30 cents, plus utilities.
JK / December 19, 2012 at 02:18 pm
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We've had their burgers at least 3 times, cannot say enough about how good they are!
Nelly / January 22, 2013 at 10:39 am
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Seriously, looking at the pictures of the entrees reviewed, looking at the menu in general and then looking at the prices, sorry. Not worth it. Those are the prices I pay for gourmet breakfasts/brunches and lunches, not for diner quality, walking heart-attack food without any thought to presentation at the very least.

Much better value for your money on Yorkville or any place downtown. The owners of this place had better get with the program or they'll have a very short-lived experience at Lansdowne & Bloor.
Andy / January 26, 2013 at 09:06 pm
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Can't speak for brunch, but just had a fantastic dinner here. Portions were good sized and the dishes we had (roast cauliflower, gnocchi, rainbow trout, burger, and butterscotch pudding and rice dumplings for dessert) were elevated and well cooked. I will return!
abby replying to a comment from Nelly / January 27, 2013 at 07:11 pm
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would love to know where you can find seared tuna steak for less than $14 in toronto! seriously. that sounds like a hell of a bargain
Lansdowner Dude / February 5, 2013 at 02:55 pm
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Walked in one night to check it out after leaving my favorite bar (bar neon). Wasn't impressed by the service at all, and the price for what l ordered was obviously inflated.

Never going back again.
Twan replying to a comment from Lansdowner Dude / March 18, 2013 at 11:13 am
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This here use to be one of my regular bars around the area (bloor and lansdowne); im going to start off by saying that i lived in the area for about 16 plus years, and i love how the area is changing into more of a place where people enjoy drinks and more restaurants are opening up, i use to eat brunches at the bloordale pantry almost every weekend. im going to get start to the point for this one; every time i went to this bar it was for drunks as a group of buddies, and for one of my buddy, it is one of his favorite bars; THIS WAS ONLY UP UNTIL LAST NIGHT. The drinks here are definitely spectacular without a doubt, but the waitress we had last night was terrible, " NO EXPLANATION OF THE NEMU" "NO SUGGESTIONS OF WHAT TO ORDER" "A CRUMBY LOOK ON HER FACE THE WHOLE NIGHT" "SHE DEFINITELY LOOK LIKE SHE DIDN'T WANT TO BE THERE! THIS WAS OBVIOUS" Here is my problem, i can understand that serving can be a tough or stressful job for some people, but she has to understand that moods are contagious, and it was st: patty's sunday– me and my buddies were planning on having a few beers and good convo, but instead had this person ruin my time and experience at a bar literally 1 min walk from my place. one of my buddy ordered "meat balls"; all our food came except for his, after everyone had finish their food, my buddy acknowledge that his order of meat has not arrived, she then just punched it in, my buddy said "it's okay i dont want it", so as a result she gave him a free beer..... it was sweet i guess. My problem: as i was saying before she was obviously in a terrible mood the whole time she was serving us.. (common i can see it the rest is only so big) Since i was no longer in the mood to conversant with my buddies i decided to take out my laptop to get some work done, "yes i whipped out a laptop at a bar" i notice that there was wifi account under "whippoorwill" so i decided to ask for the password from a "super sad waitress", and to no surprise she yells " our wifi here isnt free..." i said " do i have to pay?" she yells" " no but we dont give it out" i said " hey are you mad at something, are you upset with me?" she walks over and all of a sudden a change in face, she says" sorry i was yelling because i cant hear myself over the music." (yea cause the music was sooo load in that place... eye-roll) then i said " can i have my bill please. :) " she went to the register printing the bill, i guess at this time she knew we or specially me was not enjoying my time, so she come back, gives me the bill, and says "your beer was on me." (i was even more disappointed now than ever) here's the problem with this; this woman thinks she can buy us off with free beer, and still be okay with doing her job in a shitty way, i have no pity for people living in a beautiful country with so much opportunity to do anything in life, and if you dont like ur job, Quit!! she's gonna understand we live in a digital age where customers now can express their thoughts and opinions instantly and interactively online, so im going to make sure that the rest owner/manager is going to here about this.

note to waitress: you cannot refund a person's time he plan on enjoying with his buddies that you just destroyed.

sincerely:

Twan Huynh
Blog:http://twanhuynh.wordpress.com/
email: huynht1@hotmail.com



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Zman / March 27, 2013 at 03:53 pm
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over priced for some greasy aweful food..
get it that some people like greasy cheesy burgers but this place creates way unhealthy burgers!
their suppose to be crispy wedges came saugy and super salty! couldnt eat them, unfriendly staff didnt even bother offering replacement forget about getting a discounted price for the crappy food. never going back, i live in the neighborhood and quite upset about the fact that couldnt welcome this place! NOTES: had 3 other friends with me who were equally dissatisfied!...was just about to post my comment thought of checking what other ppl commented...wow the comment before mine is so long but i guess the guyz got the same waitress that we had!
emms / March 31, 2013 at 09:34 pm
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went here for dinner saturday night and i have to say it was awesome. the service was great...our server was funny and attentive and answered all the questions we had. she recommended the moscow mule and it was delicious and totally worth the price. we had the burger and the meatballs on toast. the meatballs were great...the sauce was so flavourful and a perfect compliment to the great meatballs. thennnnn, i tried the burger. yes, it's greasy, they make no claims about it being healthy or otherwise, but it was freaking excellent. the russian dressing was a total win and such a wonderfully unexpected combination. the potato wedges were also great and not soggy or over cooked. the atmosphere was also great. not pretentious, great music. i just moved into the neighbourhood and will totally go back, and especially to try the brunch.
Caroline / April 5, 2013 at 05:57 pm
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We went here for brunch on Saturday and had the eggs bennie, and BLT. Superb! Service was wonderful, friendly. Our waitress was helpful and attentive. We loved it. The prices are reasonable given the portions were large and the food was scrumptious. We have been searching for a fave breakfast / brunch place and we are pretty sure we have found it! We liked it so much we are going back right now to try the dinner menu!

I was surprised to read a few bad reviews. Maybe they were working out some kinks. Do yourself a favour - go try this restaurant!

OH - the music was fantastic!
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mznr / May 25, 2013 at 05:10 pm
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Very disappointed. They've changed. It's not the same anymore. They slip in a disgusting pork in my favorite Eggs Poached Benedict. No more watercress garnish, just some awful tasting cilantro and asparagus. :S

Buttermilk buns were overcooked, eggs were over cooked, the place and food has lost its charm and is too pretentious and gimmicky!

Never going there again. I'm not sure if the founders have left, or the chefs have changed, something happened, and its not the same anymore.

Disappointed.
holyoak / May 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm
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came by yesterday for fresh oysters and the thai flank steak salad. very very good food. thankyou
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Krystal / August 11, 2013 at 10:46 pm
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Got take-out breakfast here and the chili (both the omelette and tofu scramble were mysteriously mostly chill...) was so unbelievably spicy as to be nearly inedible. I like a little heat but this was out of control, even AFTER we scraped off the GIANT mound of EXTRA hot chilis that were ALL OVER our meals. It seemed like a cute place but honestly I won't go back. Could not eat the food = terrible experience.
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Nicholas Kovats / January 25, 2014 at 02:37 pm
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I was there last evening and trusted the waitress suggestion's regarding their evening menu. I could not see the prices on the board from my seat positioned close to the front windows.

I did not order drinks and had water. My steak arrived laid on top of some mashed potatoes on a small plate with a "hint" of limp overcooked swiss chard. The steak was 50% gristle. The actual edible portions were quite tasty and well spiced. The price for my meal you may ask? Are you ready? $42.

I couldn't believe it. I kept quiet and I was in a rush to leave for an event. I still left a tip. Lesson. Do not order steaks unseen from this establishment and speak up when you are overcharged!
ross / March 12, 2014 at 12:44 am
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how are your pictures such shit? such a charming little place, great decor, adorable bar set up...the atmosphere is everything.
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