Bier Markt (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 58 The Esplanade
Type of Meal: Lunch

With three locations across Toronto and off shoots in Montreal and Mississauga, Bier Markt is soon becoming a beer chain empire.  Personally, I still like the flagship Esplanade location best with its sizable venue, convenient location and live music offering (if you like that sort of thing).

In past visits, their mussels have been my go to dish and have always found them delicious – a generous size, full of flavour and great to dip the accompanying baguette ($21; dinner menu) or munch on the hot house made fries ($17; lunch menu). My personal favourite is the Spadina which is a fragrant Thai option made with lemongrass, coriander, ginger, shrimp broth and some chillies.

On this visit, I decided to branch out and try something different. To start, the table shared orders of smoked meat poutine ($15) and smoked chicken flatbread ($13). You really can't go wrong with poutine and Bier Markt doesn't disappoint with real potato fries, melted cheese curds and smothering of gravy. Freshly shaved slices of tender and juicy smoked beef brisket top the fries adding a delicious punch of salt and pepper flavour.  This is a dish made for sharing as just a few forkfuls was enough to satisfy me.

The smoked chicken flatbread had a thin crispy base topped with a liberal amount of smoked chicken, brie cheese, cremini mushrooms and roasted garlic. The brie was a smart addition as it added creaminess to the flatbread, yet stayed neutral against the chicken and garlic. I only wish it had arrived hotter as the ingredients were starting to congeal a bit on my first bite.

My main of grilled Atlantic salmon ($19) was pleasantly delicious. Cooked perfectly to a medium doneness the fish retained a translucent pinkness in the middle and was flakey and tender. Flavoured with a sprinkling of pungent garlic chips, this isn’t a meal you want to have on a first date. Below the salmon were two crispy quinoa cakes which was a nice alternative to latkes; they held up pretty well and had a nice smooth texture. It would be interesting to see if they could be made thinner so they’d begin to resemble a roisti, which would be more in line with the European theme of Bier Markt's menu.  
 With over 150 beers to choose from, the options seem endless. So, it’s a brilliant idea to provide pairing ideas for each dish (match the bin labels on the food menu to the drink menu for names and descriptions). It sure made choosing easier, unless your meal is paired with the $60 bottle of Chimay grand reserve magnum (bin 275) perhaps. 

Service has always been pleasant during my visits, although sometimes the person taking reservations can be a hit or miss. I find their knowledge of the beer menu astounding as they always seem to know how the beer is offered (draft, bottle or can) despite the abundance of options.

In the summer, all Toronto locations have a patio so if you can score a seat it’s a great place to enjoy a pint and people watch.  Just don’t expect to get reservations if you want after work drinks as it seems to be strictly for food eating patrons only.  Overall, Bier Markt is a good reasonably priced restaurant with much better food than the new Amsterdam Brewhouse.

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
  • - 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!