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Introducing: Farmhouse Tavern, a showcase for Ontario products in the Junction Triangle

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

There’s been a spate of restaurants opening just north of Bloor of late, and a full-blown explosion of places west of Bathurst, all the way out to Roncesvalles. The recently opened Farmhouse Tavern fits in nicely with both trends, situated as it is in the Junction Triangle on Dupont, a little east of Dundas. The new restaurant from Darcy MacDonell, previously general manager at La Société, is a tribute to the warm and inviting hospitality of the farmhouse in which he grew up in Alexandria, Ontario.

Given the restaurant’s concept, and MacDonell’s relationships with food producers, it’s not surprising that the Farmhouse Tavern has become a place to showcase Ontario products in the kitchen and at the bar, from Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Co. beer, wines from Prince Edward County, Waupoos Cider and Tag vodka to Glengarry Fine Cheese, Kolapore Springs trout and much more. The cuisine is best described as “fresh, farm-driven food,” says MacDonell. In the kitchen, chef Daniel Janetos (The Saint, Buca, Gavroche in London, U.K.) turns out a small menu of apps and mains, along with an oyster bar serving P.E.I. oysters (6 for $15, 12 for $29). For appetizers, there’s in-house-pickled fish ($14) and a ploughman’s platter ($22) that includes smoked oysters, a pickled duck egg, cheese from Glengarry Fine Cheese, red wine jelly from Frogpond Farm, homemade bacon, mustard and crusty bread. For mains, there’s the farmhouse burger ($15), steak and fries ($23) and a daily fish dish ($24). And since nothing says farmhouse like warm apples, there’s an apple tart for dessert ($7) and, for a little extra childhood nostalgia, ice cream cones ($4 each). There’s also brunch. Cocktails are $9 each and include the Collingwood Julep, made with Collingwood whisky; the #2, made with Victoria gin, watermelon, cucumber and lime; and a smoked caesar with Tag vodka and a smoked oyster.

Designed with the help of Michelle Mawby, the restaurant’s interior consists of two areas: the cozy “Farmhouse” dining room and the more casual “Tavern.” On the walls, photos of the old MacDonell farmhouse hang next to the MacDonell clan crest. Salvaged pieces abound: an antique Moffat stove is a service station for wait staff; tavern tables were reclaimed from the King Edward Hotel; old tractor seats serve as bar stools. On the patio, a herb garden sits on old fenders, and nothing less than a converted tractor serves as the restaurant’s barbecue smoker.

Farmhouse Tavern, 1627 Dupont St., 416-561-9114 (text for reservations), farmhousetavern.tumblr.com, @FARMHOUSEtavern.

Our Introducing series explores newly opened restaurants, bars and shops throughout the GTA
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  • danielle

    Had an amazing meal there the other week. Simple and delicious food prepared with great skill, not to mention stellar service.

  • Bill

    looks like a teardown?

    when i eat i need to have at least decent surroundings , not filled with garage sale stuff as decoration!

  • John

    If he’s from Glengarry county, he’s good people. All the best to ye Darcy!

  • mike

    Bill,
    Let me guess….you’d prefer the fine furnishings of a corporate chain restaurant wrapped in pleather with a local menu which includes Pacific Salmon?

    And when relaxing at home you liketo snuggle up in your Leon’s ‘decent’ furnishings because you’re not a garage sale kind of guy?

    Enjoy the 905 you hater…..

  • Mathieu

    I’ve been there a few times now. I’ve enjoyed the food, notably the plowman’s plate and the burger, not to mention the cool atmosphere. Service has been top notch each time.

  • djn

    oysters on the farm!? that is the funniest thing i’ve read in a while. i have an idea…a trattoria with a sushi bar! i hate this place already. $22 dollars for ploughmans? hahahaha. they must be licking there lips in anticipation of all of the hipsters that don’t know any better. ‘wow, look at that tractor…thats amazing. oh-my-god, this farm grows oysters. i hope the tunes are loud! rock on!’
    general manager at la societe sounds about right for the level of ingenuity and industry acumen on display here. 18 months.

  • Bill Harrod III

    A theme restaurant selling burgers, potatoes and fish of the day is the go to restaurant of choice in conservative Toronto. I suspect the rusty furnishings will appeal more to the university and hippie crowd which may find a $22 ploughman plate a tad pricey. Best of luck!

  • wine

    Another resto in the west end with reclaimed Barn Boards? Shocking! When will this trend end….

  • bill

    hey MIKE , u sound like you are very familiar with trailer style furniture ,

    so u should be comfortable eating in a BARN ,

    why , because thats where u live ,

    when i write something read it and learn it , got it MIKE the BARN MAN!!

  • Kirsti Stubbs

    Great space, love the decor, fun people working there, great service, local everything! Stopped for a glass of wine after a bike ride and stayed all afternoon drinking great wine and enjoying delicious food! A must try!

  • Christyna

    Wow, some widely disparate opinions here.

    I have not been to FH Tavern yet, but I bike by on my commute to and from work every day and I am happy to see them finally open. It is great to have a fun-looking place in this part of town, which has really come into its own.

    I urge those of you with negative opinions about this place to give it a try before you bash it – it is not a healthy or kind attitude to have (to judge prematurely).

    Also, consider the following:

    1. “Fresh, farm-driven food” is not the same as saying “exclusively local food that is made on farms where there is no water”. Also, if every restaurant was completely purist and by-the-book, this industry would stagnate and never evolve.

    2. If the west-end likes it’s reclaimed items, let it be. Not everything has to be shockingly unique. I’d rather have good food and good service and good ambiance (the noble, holy trinity that every establishment should strive for)than a place that is unique and hinges on how different it is.

    3. Everyone who has posted something negative about this place has not yet been to FH Tavern and everyone who has been there has only had good things. This observation is pretty revealing, if you ask me.

    Be open and fair and ask yourself if your principles are causing you to be prematurely judgemental and bigotted.

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  • Jules

    I had the pleasure of visiting the tavern just after it opened. The in-house pickled fish was sublime – my favourite dish of the night. The burger was a little one-note, with the sauce overpowering the whole thing. The steak was tender and delicious. The fish was great, too. The dessert was okay. Our server, Antonio, was lovely.

    Even though we had a great meal, the price will keep me from going back again. I was hoping to make this my weekly hang-out, but the bill came to over $200 for three people!

  • Susan

    My daughter and I had a lovely meal there this weekend! She thought that her salmon dish was sublime while I had the gnocchi, which was a bit on the bland and mushy side.
    The shallot vinaigrette on my side salad was delicious!

    The service was terrific and I would definitely return!

  • Catharine

    My husband and I had breakfast here this morning and it was too expensive for eggs benny, pancakes, watermelon lemonade and 1 coffee (they don’t serve tea)which came to $36+tip. Also, I have an intolerance to monosodium glutemate which they assured me they don’t use, but I got sick later in the day, so it’s in there somewhere. Too bad because it has a great vibe, friendly, efficient servers and an interesting menu. We won’t be back.

  • Ken and Joan

    Good luck Darcy !!

    Joan and Ken Pollock

    Edmonton

 

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