Situated perfectly in urban Toronto’s trendy and revitalized “Distillery District”, the Mill Street Brew Pub is a bastion of excellently crafted libations and affordably excellent pub fare.
Before we get into our first Canadian restaurant review we’re pretty sure that there are three facts every American visiting Canada should be aware of:
- Canadians use a completely different kind of debit card and most vendors don’t want to run your American credit/debit cards on transactions under $20. (They also bring the credit terminal directly to you where you personally enter the tip, etc… Brilliant idea!)
- Food in Canada is expensive, be prepared to double your U.S. price expectancies. Wendy’s for two, $20 easy…
- Drinks are equally expensive in Canada, be prepared to pay by the glass for everything and be aware that much like Europe it’s often cheaper to drink alcohol than teas and sodas… Might as well, because either way you’re going to be paying by the glass.
So, now that we’ve established that eating and drinking in Canada is a bit…expensive let us also say that we thoroughly enjoyed our dining experiences there! Traveling from Montreal to Toronto was like traveling between France and England with allot of American culture thrown in for good measure; a cultural observation is equally applicable to the cuisine of each province.
Toronto is the economic powerhouse of Ontario and as the center of Canadian finance and commerce arguably one of Canada’s most “American like” cities. But while it may be similar to it’s American counterparts it is in no way generic! The city and it’s communities have an urban culture, panache and diversity to rival that of any U.S. or European contemporary.
Walking the streets of Toronto in search of food is a culinary adventure, an adventure which offers the diner anything and everything ranging from street-vendors selling sausages and poutine to upscale, high-concept, celebrity chef owned edifices to the latest culinary trends from around the globe. Then somewhere in the middle you find places like the colorful and delightful Mill Street Brew Pub, perfectly situated and easily accessible in Toronto’s trendy and restored “Distillery District.” An un-ostentatious foody adventure into Canadian culture and local Toronto history that is served one plate and one pint at a time…
The ambiance here is top notch, Mill Street is the sort of eatery that exudes an ambiance or mood that cannot be ignored. Wandering the recesses of the amazing Distillery District and having visited shops and boutiques you cannot help but be drawn into the pub; the smells of fresh food and the clang of local libations wafting through the air. The exterior of the building is brick, old and inviting brick that while time-warn tells a story and offers comfort. Upon entering the establishment you cannot help be taken aback by just how big the place really is, a sort of optical illusion perpetrated by the renovated factory exteriors. Inside, it’s friendly though well appointed and dark as would be the British tradition. Attention here has been paid to aesthetic details but not overly so, resulting in the perfect balance of new, old, trendy and antique.
Seated at one of the many tables in the voluminousness dining room, service is at once quick and attentive. Our waiter was casual but professional and friendly in a non-cloying way; offering informed suggestions with regards to dinner, beer and our ongoing adventures in his city of Toronto. The hostesses, (there were two of them) were friendly and made sure everyone got seated with only a reasonable wait. Great at their job, these talented ladies even deftly handled a loud and obnoxious group of drunk frat boys who found their way inside and were in singed at the prospect of having to wait to be seated… Our hats are indeed off to whomever handles hiring at the Mill Street Brew Pub; good work.
In true form to it’s British roots, the pub food here is top notch. Made from scratch with fresh local ingredients when possible the food here is well worth your (Canadian or American) dollar. We started our meal here with an order of the Baked Pretzels, served hot and soft with a side of Mill Street’s amazing Original Organic Lager mustard aioli for dipping. Moving on to our main courses I thoroughly enjoyed the “Tank House Lane Burger,” comprised of one-half pound of organic Canadian beef topped with ale-braised beef short rib, blue cheese and deep-fried onions. My wife opted for the Fish & Chips which offered a local flare by featuring local Cape Capensis caught white fish dipped in Mill Street’s own organic-lager batter and served with fresh tartar sauce. Both entrees were delectable and when paired with the most excellent Mill Street Wit beer completed a perfectly prepared and balanced pub dining experience.
A true gem of the Toronto restaurant scene, Mill Street is also a credit to the excellent emerging Canadian micro-brew community. A eatery that true to form offers a stylish, comfortable and affordable social gathering spot for people of all ages; by definition a true public house… Well reviewed and highly reccomended to anyone finding themselves in Toronto and in search of excellent, locally crafted food and libations.
21 Tank House Lane
Toronto, ON M5A 3C4