Hair of the Dog
Hair of the Dog is a multi-level corner pub known for its killer sidelong patio strung with vines.
As the name suggests, they do serve brunch, but Hair of the Dog is mainly reputed for having some of the best nachos in the city.
The decor is cutely dog-themed, the word BITE above one nook and dog portraits along one wall, the menu divided into categories like SIT and STAY.
Nachos ($16) start out with a base of flour tortillas deep-fried in house. Hair of the Dog isn’t the only place to do this, but these chips somehow come out thicker, more bubbly and crispy than some other places, with a slightly flaky layering.
The best thing about these nachos aside from the house-fried chips is how customizable they are. All nachos start out vegetarian and halal, topped with diced tomato, green onion, black onions, jalapeno, and lots of melted cheese, served with a good amount of sour cream and mild salsa.
From there you can add tofu, steak, bacon, guac, chorizo, fried or grilled chicken, shrimp, pulled pork, or ground beef, like we do. If you’re looking for some seriously epic DIY ’chos, this is the place to go.
A butter chicken grilled cheese ($16) is also halal, more soft than crispy and a little light on the cheese but decently browned and packed with pulled chicken, seasoned with a reasonable take on a butter chicken spice mix.
Fried chicken ($22), halal too, seems a tad overpriced for three chicken thighs, but they’re big and juicy with a crispy coating and come on a bed of unexpectedly fluffy, light, garlicky mashed potatoes that I’d totally eat on their own. Veggies and a little corn cake come on the side.
This is a good place to find Belgian beers in Toronto as Hair of the Dog stocks around 20 bottles from that country alone, and a range of others from around the world.
A Dubuisson Peche Mel ($11.75) is a strong Belgian ale made with peach juice available in bottle form, the acidic tang of the fruit cutting nicely through the rich pub food.
They have Delirium Tremens ($8.75) on draught, a classic Belgian strong beer, most other taps devoted to local craft breweries.
An upper level area has a capacity of around 30 or so, where I imagine it gets packed during Pride with nacho orders flying out to every table.
This relaxed corner pub always stands out somehow in its understated way, the murmur of patio conversation beckoning to the widely mixed clientele drawn here.