The Best Gastropubs in Toronto
The best gastropubs in Toronto may share an annoying designation — Gastro? Yuck. — but are worth highlighting for the elevated fare they offer in relation to the standard issue pub (or as I like to call them, non-gastro pubs). Forgetting the problematic nominology, this city is blessed with a strong collection of establishments that think beyond chicken wings and nachos without feeling the need to lay down a white tablecloth.
These are places to find pub classics like the Scotch egg, mushrooms on toast, and typically superb fish and chips. And let's not forget the beer. Toronto's beer scene has come a long way in the last five years or so, and a number of the places on this list can be thanked for playing a role in the rise of serious beer culture in the city. Whether it be locally oriented lists like you'll find at the Rebel House or the massive selection on offer at the Beerbistro, the gastropub is about more than the food.
Here are the best gastropubs (don't call them that!) in Toronto.
Few would argue against its spot at the top of this list, the Queen and Beaver has the best pub food in the city - if it's even fair to call it that. If you want some fantastic beef, bring your friends and order the roast rump, which is $140 but feeds five! An excellent drinks list is highlighted by Ontario craft beer, excellent (and reasonably priced) cocktails and wine list that puts most Toronto restaurants to shame. More »
The Belgian-inspired fare incorporates beer at every turn, which, for the most part, escapes the trappings of gimmickry. After all, this is something of a mecca for Toronto beer drinkers, with over 120 by-the-bottle offerings and draught list that spans the globe. The room gets boisterous with an after-work crowd and typically stays busy most nights. Knowledgeable staff are happy to help you wade through what can be a intimidating menu. More »
A Cabbagetown favourite, House on Parliament is one of those pubs that just feels like home. Part of this, no doubt, can be attributed to the food, which is all about comfort. Personal favourites include the pulled pork and steak sandwiches, and the exquisite steak and mushroom pie. The beer list isn't long, but there's plenty of interesting stuff to keep the snobs happy. More »
Originally opened as the Abbott on the Hill, an ownership change brought us the Monk's Table, which still turns out top notch fare but with a far more interesting beer list. Menu standouts include the Shepherd's pie, schnitzel and the beer battered fish and chips. The upstairs dining area is good for an intimate dinner, but the bar area is where the action's at. More »
Leslieville's tribute to the Old Country, the Ceili Cottage is about as Irish as Toronto pubs get. Bangers and mash, daily roast specials, and one of the city's better traditional Irish breakfasts highlight the food options, while you're sure to get a well-poured pint of Guinness on the drink end. They might not be altogether that Irish, but the Oysters aren't too bad either. More »
Toronto's traditional Scottish pub takes its Haggis seriously, and so should you. I must admit I like the fritters the best, but the whole menu is solid here. The Haddock fish and chips are a crispy delight and the mac and cheese is a caloric free for all that's worth every penny. A competent beer list is outdone by the fabulous selection of Scotch. More »
Rosedale's original gastropub, and one of the first Toronto establishments worthy of the name, the Rebel House is much-loved amongst area locals looking for a decent meal and some craft beer. For my money, the meatloaf is the star, but other favourites include the Buffalo burger, pork loin and, yes, the spinach and apple salad. An all-Canadian beer list features a hefty dose of local offerings to go along with VQA wines. More »
It now faces some competition from the recently opened Riverside Public House (which probably would have made this list had it not been so new), but Prohibition has already established itself as a Riverside favourite on account of its upscale pub fare and extensive beer menu. Excellent mac and cheese, duck fat French fries, and a superb bison burger highlight an all-around decadent menu. More »
Located in the heart of Roncesvalles, The Dizzy is a neighbourhood favourite for sports fans and those looking for a quality bite to eat. The menu reflects sports bar prices while the product provided goes above and beyond. Visit in the warmer months and snag a seat along the outdoor bar facing the street for great people (and dog) watching. More »