Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Sep 19, 2009 05:28 AM

Fantastic Ribs - Aquila on Keele

So I was out at the Junction Arts Festival last week, sampling food from some of the vendors. At the very west end of Dundas, near Keele, I bought some ribs from the folks who run a restaurant called Aquila (347 Keele, between Dundas & Annette).

I'm not a rib expert like some on this board, but I have to say these were delicious. Genuinely smoked, as they had the requisite pink colour and smoky taste. They had a tasty dry rub on them, and I saw the cook give them a dab with a mop sauce when he heated them up on the grill before serving them. I was pretty impressed.

Anyone know anything about this place? Considering it's in my neighbourhood, I thought I'd give it another try - soon. Can't stop thinking about those ribs!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Went back tonight. Tried them again, and they are the real deal. Even better than when I tried them before. They were smoky, a little charred on the outside, pink and tender on the inside - delicious. Full rack with skinny fries and some roasted vegetables - $19.99.

    The place is not a BBQ joint, more like a comfy neighbourhood place. The rest of the menu was pasta and salads. Local micro brews on tap. Can't speak for anything else on the menu, but I will be returning for the ribs.

    6 Replies
    1. re: rbcj

      If it's not a BBQ joint, then where are they getting the ribs?? Do they have any other smoked offerings?? I can't imagine they have a smoker and only do ribs. If they don't have one, they're being smoked somewhere else and sold to them.

      What kind of ribs are they, side or back??


      1. re: Davwud

        Hmmm, maybe their from Buster Rhino's. I know they sell to restaurants.

        1. re: Davwud

          I'm pretty sure that they said they smoked them themselves. But there didn't seem to be many other smoked meats on the menu, so yeah, a bit of a mystery. As for back or side, um, I don't know the difference. The kind that I always see pre-cut at my butcher's. Does that help?

          1. re: rbcj

            It is probably a back then, most butchers don't carry sides much anymore. People want back ribs mostly. I know the butchers in the durham region rarely have them. The best way to tell if they are backs or sides is as follows.

            1) Backs have a curve to them usually, they also have a "knuckle" at one end and the bones are round, very round compared to a side. One end is usually shorter than the other as well and has more meat on it (the short side does).

            2) Sides usually have a flat bone in them, one end may be round, the other end will become more of an oval. That is the most obvious. With the cuts they are doing a lot of now days though (st. Louis cut) sometimes it is not always obvious as to the rib. If your rib has 10-13 bones and they are all EXACTLY the same length chances are it's a side.

            Hope this helps you be able to differentiate between the two next time your curious.

            1. re: BusterRhino

              Thanks for a very informative post.

              I must be an oddball...I usually prefer side ribs to back. The meat seems sweeter to me or something, and I find them easier to eat (but that could be due to the cooking process as well).

              1. re: CeeQueue


                Thanks for the good review on our ribs and were glad you enjoyed them! They are back ribs and we do smoke them ourselves with cherry and apple wood. The other items we smoke and offer is smoked salmon, a smoked brisket sandwich and a smoked pork sandwich. Come by anytime to try them.

                Hope to see you again soon.


      2. Sounds excellent!! I think I'll try them this weekend! Glad to hear that someone is taking the time to do ribs right! Just out of curiousity, how long do you smoke your ribs for, Aquilarestaurant?

        1 Reply
        1. re: redearth

          The ribs are smoked about 12- 14 hours depending on the size.

        2. So we gave it a try and ate at Aquila last Saturday. (mid-May 2010). Despite the neighborhood, or maybe because of it, we were very impressed. Absolutely Amazing ribs. The staff is incredible, very laid back and definitely an over 30 crowd. Live jazz upstairs followed our meal. Good selection of draught beer too -- local goodies. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed.

          1 Reply
          1. re: carlatee

            I took all of the above advice and ordered the Ribs.. I agree..super they seem to be a premium cut. I also agree on the good service. I might have spent too much on wine but next time I will be more careful. My date (wife) ordered a seafood pasta that was to die for. I actually haven't had a good food experience like this in a long time so I highly recommend the food at Aquila on Keele St. in the Junction. Next time I will try to go on a Jazz night.

          2. Bump up as this spot is featured on Teambuy today. $25 for $50 of food and drink


            (edited link thanks to poster below! sorry for typo)

            2 Replies
            1. re: ylsf

              Thanks, I love ribs! I'd check it out if I lived closer. BTW, there's a typo on the link. Should be

              1. re: ylsf

                Unfortunately, the recent ribs there were not all that fantastic. I want to think it was a bad night, but, they didn't seemed trimmed to me (membrane on, burnt tips on, some overcooked areas). The sauce itself was really nice, plenty of side vegetables and nice shoestring fries, but, maybe I had too high expectations on the ribs after seeing this thread. Has anyone else been recently?
                Chef/owner seemed like a good guy, he came out to talk to us/etc. I haven't gotten to the stage of actually being able to say to a chef's face what I found wrong with the food but I do kind of wonder if that was normal or he was just particularly hurried/busy (he mentioned a larger party on the 2nd floor).

              2. They are doing a ribfest there on May 14th to support MS. Along with music/etc. Info here:


                1 Reply
                1. re: ylsf

                  ylsf: thanks for mentioning the ribfest. I'm relatively new to that neighbourhood & hadn't heard of either the restaurant or the event. But thanks to you I followed the link, and volunteered for the evening. It looks to be a fun-filled event with a dozen or so bands and some activities for the wee ones. There will be several sitting for the eats, with varying prices. i'm looking forward to it, so thanks again for posting.