If you happen to be a Europhile, you’re probably fantasizing about the archaic café culture somewhere on a sidewalk in Venice. While Toronto doesn’t even begin to compare to that old world charm, Brownstone Bistro still makes a pretty decent effort.
This little eatery on Yonge St. is perfect for indulging in a relaxing evening, and it makes you forget that you live in a concrete jungle. The lighting is dim, and the setting is extremely cozy with unique accents throughout. I personally love how they use old Grey Goose bottles as candleholders in the middle of the tables. There are large mosaics and pictures on the walls that are strongly Spanish and that pop out against the dark, wooden walls and tables, making the décor rather refreshing to the eyes. But wait; don’t want to be cooped up inside on your perfect summer day? They also have a lovely little patio that, in spite of being right on Yonge Street, manages to keep a certain level of privacy. There is ample greenery surrounding the patio, and it’s fairly spacious considering its small size. To top it all off, they have a great playlist! The music is European, quaint, and just a bit sexy — perfect for a laid-back dining experience.
Now on to the good stuff — the food! I’ve tried many items on their menu, and I’ve honestly always enjoyed myself. My personal favourite was the Specialty Ravioli, which is priced according to what’s cooking on that given day. When I went, I indulged in lobster ravioli with a rose and shrimp sauce. Needless to say, I was extremely satisfied. That specific dish was priced at about $14. If you want more of a snack or just something simple to munch on, though, then I highly recommend their Appetizer Sampler Platter, which can be made for two or four. For two, my friend and I paid $16, and we were completely full by the time we finished it because it was huge! Additionally, they have a large variety of pastas, fresh Italian pizzas, and hearty steaks. Well, that takes care of the main course, but then there’s always dessert if you have a sweet tooth. Their Milky Way chocolate cake is my staple pick; it’s rich and quite large, so it’s probably best to share.
That’s all well and good, but the truth is that none of it matters if you don’t have a solid glass of wine in hand. Once again, Brownstone delivers. The bar is quite small, but don’t be fooled: they have a commendable selection of beers, wines, and cocktails. I tend to be extremely picky when it comes to my cocktails, but I’ve generally enjoyed most of the drinks I’ve tried at Brownstone. I highly suggest the wine, though, if you do decide to pay a visit. They have a great selection of whites, my favourite being the Semi-dry Riesling. It’s just sweet enough with a nice kick, and it tastes excellent with an Italian dish. Also, keep on the lookout for occasional wine tastings. The first time I attended one, they were featuring a selection of red and white Argentinean wines, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Since my friend and I went towards the end of the night, they even gave us the remainder of the bottles on the house!
I do have to give one warning, though: while the wait staff are extremely sweet, they can be forgetful at times. The service can be slow, and on more than one occasion, the waitress forgot to bring out one of our dishes. If you’re polite, though, they’re always apologetic and usually offer something on the house.
Nonetheless, I don’t want that to detract you from checking out Brownstone Bistro. I go there so often that the host recognizes me every time! The point is that the experience really is that enjoyable and relaxing. It’s even a great place for a simple afternoon; at times, I’ll venture there alone, grab a seat on the patio, and order a glass of wine as I read or just people-watch. Regardless of when you go or whom you go with, you’ll probably come out feeling more relaxed and even a little bit dreamy. Just remember not to confuse Yonge Street with Barcelona!
Location and Hours of Operation
Address: 603 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z5
Contact: 416-920-6288, email@example.com
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Thursday – 11am to 11pm
Friday – 11am to 12am
Saturday – 10am to 12am
Sunday – 10am – 11pm
All pictures courtesy of Brownstone Bistro on Yonge St.