CLOSED: Houston Avenue Bar & Grill (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 33 Yonge Street
Website: www.yongedowntown.houstonresto.com

Type of Meal: Lunch and Dinner


Too often the restaurants in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District (Yonge to University and Wellington to Adelaide) are somewhat expensive so visits generally only involve drinks unless expense accounts are available. Houston Avenue Bar and Grill defies this stereotype by offering reasonably priced mains despite its location and “trendy” environment.

On a recent visit, I tried the half-rack of ribs ($16) which were the expected fall-of-the-bone tender and well glazed with BBQ sauce.  Indeed, it wasn’t smoked beforehand (on account on the missing smoke ring and barque), but it was decent quality and quite a substantial portion for a half rack. The coleslaw was vinegar based like I enjoy but still a bit too heavy on the sugar for my taste.  The shoe string fries, although not house-made, were satisfying arriving hot, crispy and well-seasoned.


Previously, I visited during lunch where they have a 2-course special, the steak frites ($21) I ordered included a salad to start.  For the price, I was pleasantly surprised with the quality; it was tender, cooked well and a good portion.  A red wine sauce added some flavour and the fries were the same as what accompanied the ribs.

My suggestion if you do visit is to stick with beef – think steak and ribs.  My co-worker ordered the chili lime glazed chicken ($19) and it was dry and overcooked. Additionally, despite asking if the chicken was breaded and being told no that it was only lightly “dusted” with flour; the poultry arrived with a pretty thick coating.  I recall the flavour was decent – hint of spicy, ginger and citrus and wouldn’t have been so horrible if it weren’t so tough. 


Unlike some restaurants, I’ve found Houston is usually accommodating with large group reservations and last minute changes.  If you’re visiting on a Thursday or Friday after 4pm, service can be slow as they tend to be a popular after-work drinks location. Overall, Houston isn’t the most delicious restaurant, but is a reasonably priced choice if you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the Financial District. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10



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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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