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Feb 5, 2011 08:42 AM

416snackbar (review & pics)

Went to 416snackbar last night... here are some pics from the evening

181 Bathurst Street (just north of queen)

First to start off the night, toronto tap water

All food items were $3-5

Next Grilled Hot-dog
Tasty, not real 'snap' to the dog, but decent flavour. Topped with a Picklelilly

Beef Patty
Filled with a shredded beef (rather than a ground beef product). The seasonings was on point, and the spicy habanero sauce served with it was very good.

Steamed Pork Bun
Very good, although I don't know if that has to do with the dish in general. The bun had some imperfections and had a 'homemade first time round' look to it. That aside the texture was good and taste was on par with other buns I have had. The pork belly was crispy that added an extra texture that made that dish very good.

PS side note compared to momofuku's famous buns, the crispy pork made it very different from momofuku's

Pizza Pocket
Tasted like fried dough, and very doughy at that. Least favorite of all the dishes.

Viet Sub
Very tasty, probably the 2nd favorite after the pork bun... a slightly more toasted bun would have been better for me, this was basically the same as a hotdog bun, but the flavours inside the bun where spot on and very good.

Beer and Wine list was extensive as well...

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  1. thanks for the review, forgot about this place! looks like some fun dishes. I vote they make homemade big pretzels too. :)

    1. anyone else try this place ?

      i have a couple friends who dj there but i never hear about the FOOD (except one story about a disappointing latke that was described to be more like a hash-brown ...)

      im back in town for one day next week and need a place to eat with friends . i like the idea of getting a few toronto fixes in at one place , and i didnt get to try it before i moved away .

      any other reports ?

      1. My report (from the blog):

        Don’t want to eat a lot, but like to try everything on the menu? 416 Snack Bar manages to cater to both needs while putting their own spin on some of Toronto’s ethnically diverse eats. With a short card and all their items hovering around the five-dollar mark, it’s easy to eat your way down the entire menu of nibbles.

        While David Chang’s version of the pork bun he made popular isn’t landing on Canadian soil for another 18 months or so, I hear-tell that 416 Snack Bar does a good rendition. With the requisite hoisin and scallions, there was also something slightly pickled that gave it an extra texture and vinegary punch. Chang comparisons aside, this pork belly bun stands on its own.

        I hadn’t had a latke in years, so I ate these with some nostalgia. Topped with gravlax and a sprinkle of dill, these were pretty much what you’d expect.

        The Jamaican beef patty was filled with shredded beef instead of the ground mush I was expecting. It came sided with a tasty hot sauce that gave it some kick. I found the pastry a bit dry and hard, though I feel that this is how the shell is supposed to be. I’m not really sure, given my negligible beef patty experience.

        Their take on the Vietnamese sub, the Saigon mini sub, is a tasty one with a softer bun. The slice of pate made this a richer version than what you’d find along Spadina. I wanted more coriander and hot peppers however, as they are notes that I heavily associate with the sub. These are pretty minor gripes though – I’d order this again.

        Salty with a decent tomato taste, their Napolitano pizza pocket was essentially a bread-and-cheese mass – very filling. Though I had a saucier picture in my head, since you can eat only with your fingers here, I was glad that it held together so well.

        The room is done up with rustic and reclaimed touches, making the space less dive and more derelicte. I counted seats for 32 in groups of 4-6, with 8 at the bar. I had first thought this would be a good place to bring out-of-towners. After talking with Endy, I agreed with his viewpoint that it was instead the natives that would get the most out of the experience, having a foundation for what the guys at 416 are riffing on. It’s interesting to see what they’ve done and I look forward to future takes on other foods!


        I also have a more recent outing and more photos. The fried things were pretty good, and I liked the novelty of their candy bar.

        416 Snack Bar
        181 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON , CA

        5 Replies
        1. re: jlunar

          just a note on jamaican patty shell, i don't think it should be a dry and hard pastry. for those who like the saucy randy's style he tends to make them more like that, i assume, to hold in all the liquid but for me i like the flaky pastry type that is full of lard and incredibly tender. you should be able to tear it open without struggle. the right balance can make them a cheap thing of beautiful deliciousness.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            Thanks PSP! I need to get trying some more Jamaican patties...

            1. re: jlunar

              keep in mind that not everyone makes their own, i think there's about 3 or 4 major companies that supply most places. my favourite is caribbean queen by lansdowne/bloor. she's had a past of inconsitency but it seems to have mostly resolved itself recently. they produce the tender type and can pack a wallop of heat.

          2. re: jlunar

            jl thanks for the review ! looks good except for the burnt latke ... and judging by the size of the dill are the portions super mini ?

            i was thinking of just going to my fave chinese place instead but the photos are giving me second thoughts now ... shouldnt think about this when im so hungry ! lol

            psp i agree with you about patty shells ; soft , flaky and yellow is ideal for me , but i have had the other style before and they are okay too , just not my personal preference .

            1. re: witloof

              Yeah, the latkes are bite-sized portions. I thought they were okay and on the greasy side, but my SO really liked them.

              I think 416 is interesting to go to, but I don't know if it can replace a good meal elsewhere. It really is just a series of small plates - fun, but not necessarily satisfying as a dinner. ymmv.

          3. I went about a month ago before a concert, and we had a great time. We arrived early, had great service, and it was nice to try a wide variety of plates.

            Had oysters, their McRib-like sandwich, pork buns, pizza pockets, fried olives (their "fried thing"), hot dog, viet sub, and their homemade chocolate bar for dessert.

            Everything was tasty, although I started to get sick of the standard white dinner roll on all of the sandwiches. No utensils so hard to share bites w people, but I'm sure their intention is for you to buy more of the same dish instead of sharing one.

            2 beers on tap, Flying Monkey and the ubiquitous/solid Creemore.

            Overall, great vibe/food/service, but value for money quite wasn't there for me. We spent $50 each on food + 2 beers, and we didn't leave stuffed. Great for snacks, not as great for a meal.

            1. I drove by today.... I am hoping that I am confused by another shop but it seemed like there was a spot with paper over the windows around where Snackbar is. I didn't have a chance to slow down to look and didn't go back that same way so can anyone confirm that I saw another shop papered up?

              6 Replies
              1. re: ylsf

                I'd be shocked if it was them as they are rammed most nights.

                1. re: ylsf

                  they were open last week, people are twittering from the restaurant...

                  1. re: ylsf

                    What time was this? They typically have all the blinds drawn until they open -- could that be it? I live in the area and don't think it's been closed down...

                    1. re: baabaablacksheep

                      Yeah that's the case. For a quick drive by it looks like the windows are papered up.

                      1. re: baabaablacksheep

                        Ah, yeah, that was probably it because it was in the morning on a Saturday... probably the blinds that looked like paper at a quick glance. I didn't want to be alarmist but I was curious since I would have been shocked if it closed too.

                      2. re: ylsf

                        If I remember, I'll drop by after work and see. ...maybe have a snack!