Long before locavores became fashionable, Allen’s began specializing in local food and wine. Their presentation of local Ontario meats, organically raised, hormone-free, identified by breed, farm, feed and age, is unrivalled. They carry the largest all-vqa wine list ever assembled. Additionally, there are more than 300 different whiskeys and 140 beers. Locals, celebrities, theatre and literary figures all gravitate here for the congenial personality. In summer, the backyard barbecue, with its own menu and dedicated chef, is a delight.
Weekend brunch is an institution. Try poached eggs on lump crabmeat cakes with steamed arugula and matchstick fries, or fruit pancakes with peameal bacon and a side of sweet potato hash browns, with a flute of Champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice. There’s welcoming warmth and an ambience of feel-good-ism that envelops you the moment you walk through the door. Slide into one of the well-worn, solid-wood booths or sit at a blue-and-white check-clothed table and find culinary comfort. An eclectic menu with a colossal shrimp cocktail; crunchy cornmeal crust pizza; garlic-braised pork shoulder with soft polenta and sautéed rapini; and some of the most mouthwatering steak in Toronto. Decidedly informal but thoroughly professional, this vintage New York-style saloon, complete with oak bar and pressed-tin ceiling, is a unique treat.