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Introducing: The Westerly, a new Roncesvalles restaurant and bar from a pair of West Coasters

Co-owner Beth Davyduke outside her new Roncesvalles restaurant

The churn of restaurants on Roncesvalles continues apace with the addition of The Westerly to the once Polish-dominated strip (indeed, we recently reported on the closing of Roncy mainstay Granowska’s). Like The Ace up the street, The Westerly focuses on classic dishes done right, which means making things from scratch. Focaccia and crusty baguettes baked on the premises? Check. Fresh homemade pasta? Check. Desserts made in-house? Check. And to top it off, The Westerly even features its own intrepid young mixologist and signature cocktail, the Sweet Roncy, a blend of gin, fresh apricots and Italian cherry liquor.

Opened by two ex–West Coast restaurateurs, Beth Davyduke and Tom Earl, the restaurant is laid-back and family-friendly. After toying with possible Polish names for their restaurant, the pair decided to go with The Westerly to reflect their West Coast origins and their west-side address. Davyduke and Earl are both avowed francophiles and New York lovers, which translates to a French-heavy wine list and decor choices that channel Minetta Tavern. The space, which once housed the not-for-profit restaurant River, has been transformed: the duo has lifted the ceiling, exposed the brick and pipes and covered an accent wall with old subway tiles. The warm front room features masculine art deco lights down the centre and a creamy white marble bar with classic bar stools below and crystal and brass chandeliers from the early 1900s above. The 50-seat back room, intended for private parties, is still under construction, but will be more playful than the front, with oversized art nouveau booze posters, barn-board tables and handcrafted wood benches.

The menu, courtesy of chef Geoff Kitt (The Swan), oscillates among French bistro fare, like steak frites with béarnaise or green peppercorn sauce ($24); pub grub, like pork and beans with grilled chard ($18); and Italian, like deep-fried risotto balls with Woolwich goat cheese and bolognese sauce ($9). Among the many sides on offer are Israeli couscous with lobster, peas and mascarpone ($7) and sautéed wild mushrooms with caramelized onions ($7). And while it won’t make up for the loss of Granowska’s up the street, we were promised that Polish dishes would make guest appearances here and there as specials at The Westerly.

The Westerly, 413 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-551-6660, thewesterlyrestaurant.com.

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  • James

    Delicious! Service was fast and friendly too!

  • Balmoral

    “decor choices that channel Minetta Tavern.” Judging by the photos…are you kidding me? Yet another example of Toronto amateurs trying to copy a New York restaurant but for 1/20th the budget.

  • westender

    Balmoral, and…?

    They own a new restaurant. If the food is fantastic, and they were able to channel a New York style restaurant for so much less, I want to go even more now.

    Are you always this positive?

  • parkdaleeater

    i don’t see the similarity but in any case-so what? westender has it exactly right…and i look forward to trying it.

  • Lavender

    Had a fantastic meal there last night – the Arancini Bolognese and Israeli Couscous in particular stood out. The service was attentive but not pushy and it was packed – which I doubt will change! A huge improvement on the previous occupants (River restaurant) and a welcome addition to the strip.

  • infotrad@yahoo.com

    The Westerly is the restaurant that now wants to “recommend” 20% tipping. I’ll be glad when more and more buffet, self-serve and café-style establishments open, which do not expect patrons to pay the salaries of their employees. Then we’ll se this pratice form the Middle Ages disappear. By the way, what’s with wanting to be like New York. What pathetic, vain pretentiousness.

  • CTM

    Had a pretty tasty meal on Wednesday night (Jan 25). To drink, I had a glass of the pinot grigio and my friend, the sauvignion blanc–preferred the PG. Had I known there was a house drink, I definitely would’ve tried it–you guys should push it more!

    For dinner, I had the burger/frites with cheese and the Israeli couscous with lobster/peas. In my opinion, a burger’s good when I can eat it pure, without condiments. The meat was juicy/tender and perfectly cooked. The couscous was tasty too–kind of a mix between couscous and risotto actually.

    My friend had the roasted pickerel and a side of mashed horseradish. The fish was tasty–huge chunks of meaty white fish. My friend had commented the dish was a little oily, but the plate was picked clean by the end of our meal. The horseradish mash was pretty mush mashed potatoes w/ horseradish, but still tasty.

    Overall, a great dining experience. Beth was so warm and friendly. I’d definitely go more if I lived in the area.

  • April

    Last Saturday my best friend and I threw a surprise birthday party for my boyfriend and her husband (also besties). I chose The Westerly, as they have a back private room. I cannot express how absolutely perfect everything was! Beth and Tom were super helpful in the planning of the menu, setting up, and ensuring that the night went off without a hitch. There were 24 of us for a sit-down family style dinner, and each couple had seperate bills for their drinks. You would think that there would have been at least 1 stress/bump/mistake, but there wasn’t. It was a fantastic evening and I am so glad I chose this restaurant for our event! The food was delicious, the venue was perfect, and the service was superb! My boyfriend and I are actually going back this coming Saturday to celebrate our Valentine’s together!!

  • Doug

    Went there for our anniversary. Window seat, sunny evening, fantastic dinner. Tough decision on the menu as everything looked so good. We’ll be back!

 

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