Wood Owl Toronto

The Wood Owl

The Wood Owl is a homey bar and restaurant on the Danforth that sits right next to its sister saloon, The Wren

Southern-style food and craft beer are sold to a packed dining room most nights at the eight-year-old sibling spot a door over while, here, the focus is on a bit more upscale dishes alongside a good wine list.

Wood Owl Toronto

The warmly lit inside feels inviting enough for a cozy date night or a catch-up with an old friend, and features – true to its name – a lot of wood. Look closely and you'll also spot a few owl lamps. 

The old rock albums lining the wall make sense given that owner Dennis Kimeda tried to make it in music, with his own band booking gigs at Horseshoe Tavern and Lee's Palace before getting into advertising. 

Wood Owl TorontoRestaurants are where Kimeda found his stride, opening The Wren in 2013 with his wife Rhonda, Lake Inez with a few friends after that, and finally this latest undertaking with help from chef Tabitha Cranney and sommelier Darryl Crawford (both formerly of The Wren). 

Wood Owl Toronto

Cranney's dishes are known to change on the fly depending on the seasonal availability of ingredients. A true stand-out is the rockfish crudo ($15), nori-infused oil, chili and lime bring bursts of flavour to a delicate bed of raw, fresh fish. 

Wood Owl Toronto

The crispy eggplant fries come seasoned with za'atar ($12) and taste their best dipped in either one of the nutty herbed tahini or sweet red onion jam served on the side. 

Wood Owl TorontoThe big, juicy mussels ($26) are sourced from Salt Spring Island in B.C. and swim in a white wine and creamy garlic broth. A few slices of grilled sourdough accompany the bowl. Wood Owl Toronto

There are also new specials every weekend to keep things interesting. During the night of our visit, it's roasted carrots ($18) and confit sunchokes in a sweet-and-spicy Calabrian chile honey atop ricotta. 

Wood Owl Toronto

The wine list showcases wines that fly under the radar from lesser-known regions in Italy, France, Spain, Austria, and Germany. So, you'll be getting quality wine at a better bang for your buck. The selection is also ever-changing just like the food menu. 

Neutral and light, Prà Otto Soave Classico ($15) is a white wine from Veneto, Italy, and the ultimate companion to the mussels.

Wood Owl Toronto

There are also always a few different options of sweet vermouths on the menu like Frederic Brouca (3-ounce: $13), ideal for wine lovers due to its strong tannic taste. 

Wood Owl Toronto

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Fareen Karim

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