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The Drake, Gladstone, Beaconsfield -- best food?

TorontoJo Jun 10, 2008 10:23 AM

Need to have an early dinner tonight before heading over to the Rhino. I've been meaning to check out these three places and would like to pick the one with the best food. Any thoughts?

  1. TorontoJo Jun 12, 2008 06:43 PM

    Thanks all! I ended up at the Drake, on the sidewalk cafe. Perfect weather for it. My friend and I really enjoyed the food. I started with the fregata and roasted cauliflower salad. Fregata is a small round pasta, similar to Israeli couscous. The salad also included some plump currants, toasted pine nuts and a chunk of lovely feta. It was very, very good. Actually, it was the nicest salad I've had in a long time. For my main, I had the beef brisket sandwich. I'm not a brisket expert, but it was tender, smoky and served with some fried onions on an herbed focaccia. Yum. Thanks again for the rec!

    I am looking forward to hitting the Beaconsfield during happy hour though. The special the other night was mac and cheese and a pint for $8.

    8 Replies
    1. re: TorontoJo
      miranda Jun 12, 2008 06:52 PM

      TorontoJo...I knew you'd love it....Miranda

      1. re: TorontoJo
        deelicious Jun 12, 2008 07:42 PM

        The Drake has great food! Next time splurge on dessert too!

        1. re: deelicious
          TorontoJo Jun 13, 2008 05:46 AM

          Mmmm, dessert... I'll sheepishly admit that I went back to the Drake last night for dinner with my husband to take advantage of the last patio weather for a while. That salad was stuck in my head and I wanted more (I had split it with my friend and seriously regretted not having it all for myself!). So I had the salad again, the daily flatbread and the sticky toffee pudding for dessert. OMG, that sticky toffee pudding was wicked. The sauce was perfect -- I could have eaten with a spoon.

          Thanks again Miranda and CofS for steering me there! I must say that I had pretty much avoided the Drake all these years because of its reputation for being such a trendy scene. But I was really pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and the really casual atmosphere of the cafe and patio. I imagine the dining room and lounge have the vibe that I was trying to avoid. I did pop my head into the rooftop patio and it was a totally different feel than the sidewalk cafe -- much more of a hipster "destination". I definitely prefer the cafe!

          1. re: TorontoJo
            peppermint pate Jun 13, 2008 07:04 AM

            I've always liked The Drake - even with the hipster vibe, they've always sought out high-end chefs and they've never sacrificed food to atmosphere (can't say the same for a lot of other hipster joints). The main lounce and the rooftop cafe can be a fun place for drinks, though I prefer both of them during off-hours when they're less packed. And while I've eaten inside the cafe, the sidewalk cafe is the one spot I've never checked out. I've got the description of your salad stuck on my brain so I think I may have to check it out soon. And I LOVE that you went back there 2 days in a row!!

            1. re: peppermint pate
              TorontoJo Jun 13, 2008 07:38 AM

              Well, PP, I was there on Tuesday, then back on Thursday... so does that make me any less chowish? :) But you should definitely go have that salad -- it really is delicious. Roasted cauliflower is one of my favourite foods and you don't see it on menus very often, so this salad was a treat for me.

              And I can certainly see that the off hours in the lounge would be much more enjoyable than, say, a Friday or Saturday night at 10pm!

              1. re: TorontoJo
                peppermint pate Jun 13, 2008 07:50 AM

                Oh, only twice in 3 days - not so chowish then...:)

                Coincidentally, I roasted some cauliflower just yesterday - always trying to replicate the roasted cauliflower with tahini from Tabule (which if you haven't had, you should definitely try) but I can't quite seem to make it as perfectly as they do.

                1. re: peppermint pate
                  TorontoJo Jun 13, 2008 08:30 AM

                  OMG, I *love* the cauliflower and tahini app from Tabule. But if we're talking about the same dish, the reason you can't replicate it at home is that they don't roast it -- they flash fry it.

                  I often just order the cauliflower, garlic tomatoes and rice pilaf and make that my whole meal. It's soooo good! If there is any leftover cauliflower, I'll snack on it cold out of the fridge.

                  1. re: TorontoJo
                    peppermint pate Jun 13, 2008 01:01 PM

                    Uh-huh, I kind of suspected that their cauliflower's perfect texture may have been eluding me for that reason. As for your Tabule meal, it's almost perfect but I need to round it out with an order of hummus to adhere the rest of the good bits to my pita. So good.

      2. TorontoJo Jun 10, 2008 11:57 AM

        Thanks everyone. I'll see if my friend is in the mood for a nicer dinner at the Drake or the cheap special at the Beaconsfield!

        1. c
          childofthestorm Jun 10, 2008 11:17 AM

          For best food, the Drake for sure.

          For best deal, the Beaconsfield's nightly special appetizer-sized dish that you get with a pint of beer for $8. Have to get there between 5-7 though.

          1. m
            miranda Jun 10, 2008 10:42 AM

            The Drake hands down.....Miranda

            1. pinstripeprincess Jun 10, 2008 10:40 AM

              gladstone has dull bar fare but makes up for it in sheer crazy quantity. frozen fries and the like.

              haven't eaten at the drake.

              beaconsfield has been mostly for their friday specials and it was certainly tasty though a little more interesting in their flavour combos. this would probably be my pick.

              6 Replies
              1. re: pinstripeprincess
                SherylKirby Jun 12, 2008 01:42 PM

                Uhhh... the Gladstone actually has a quite impressive menu that changes at least monthly. A lot of the specials are seasonal, and right now are based on the CSA boxes they get each week, and the rest of the menu ranges from Chef Breton's Quebecois-inspired fare to classics like roast chicken. There is pub fare like burgers and fish and chips, but I've never had a frozen French fry there.

                TorontoJo - menus here: http://www.gladstonehotel.com/cafe.html

                1. re: SherylKirby
                  pinstripeprincess Jun 12, 2008 02:04 PM

                  the pub fare i've had definitely did not reflect anything having to do with seasonal food. my cravings at the time could have veered me away from it but i barely recall anything on their menu that differed from pub.

                  all i know is that the fries were so dreadful that a potato nut like myself just could not finish them.

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess
                    SherylKirby Jun 12, 2008 03:59 PM

                    How long ago was this? For along time they were running a separate pub menu in the Melody lounge, but for the past year or so, maybe longer, it's been Marc Breton's menu, as shown in the link I included. The CSA is giving them lots of asparagus right now, so over the past few weeks, there's been asparagus specials on the menu.

                    And your review of the fries definitely doesn't jive with what they're serving now in the cafe.

                    1. re: SherylKirby
                      pinstripeprincess Jun 13, 2008 07:58 AM

                      now that i think about it, we're probably nearing the two year mark. i was there because of a specific event in the nabe and it's nearly that time again.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess
                        gregclow Jun 13, 2008 08:18 PM

                        That probably would've been just before Marc Breton came on board as the chef and turned things around. The food there is much improved from the mediocre pub grub they used to have. Check out their latest menus - http://www.gladstonehotel.com/menu.pdf

                        1. re: gregclow
                          hungryabbey Jun 15, 2008 04:07 PM

                          I had dinner at the Gladstone tonight and really enjoyed it. I dont know if I really loved the atmosphere (a little distant.. it seemed like we were the only ones there to eat while everyone else was kind of "buddy buddy" with the bartenders) but the food was good and the fries were definetly NOT frozen. We tried: Apple and bacon soup (mm really delicious with french bread), steak and asparaus rolls (delicious soy reduction), basket of nuts ( a little bland but I dont really like nuts that much), steak and frites ( perfectly cooked, nice house cut fries) and the chicken and pork tortiere ( also good, nicely spiced with cloves). The bill with 3 beers was 97$ after tax before tip. I thought it was about an 8/10 for the price and would recomend it.

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