Earls Kitchen & Bar (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 150 King Street West (in lobby of the Sunlife Financial Building)
Website: http://www.earls.ca/
Type of Meal: Lunch

Having only gone to Earls for drinks (a frustrating ordeal where you should arrive by 4pm unless you’re willing to wait), I never had a chance to eat anything more than pita chips with dip.

After returning for lunch, I found the experience much better. The only hiccup was a difficulty in finding our reservation because one person had already arrived and this appears to then wipe the information out of their system. Somehow, the manager figured out the empty table with one person sitting at it was actually our reservation and brought us over about five minutes later.

While we were waiting for them to figure out the reservation debacle, a staff member brought over little cups of soup to tie us over. I received a hearty cream of mushroom made with large pieces of button mushrooms and a generous topping of green onions.  Despite being in small cups, the soup was piping hot and had a nice creamy finish with perhaps a hint of brandy? It was quite delicious even though challenging to eat without a spoon.

Earls’ menu proudly boasts their signature sourdough bread is made in house daily. Since I enjoy a nice fresh chewy and crispy sourdough, I ordered the roasted portobellini and red pepper sandwich ($13) which uses it as a base. The bread was enjoyable – having a nice elasticity but still airy with a crispy crust. But, since it’s grilled with butter on the outside (yes you’ll get greasy fingers), the sour essence of it was covered. Stuffed with a fair amount of grilled Portobello mushroom, roasted red pepper and fresh spinach leaves the sandwich was filling. A sharp melted white cheddar and flavourful artichoke aioli made it more luscious, but the once healthy sounding sandwich ended up being anything but.

Accompanying the sandwich were hot shoestring fries. They were too salty for my taste, but with such a hearty sandwich I had little room for anything else. You can add an extra $1.50 for soup or salad or $2 for yam fries, which may be a better option especially given the delicious experience I had with the soup earlier.

My coworkers ordered CAB (certified angus beef) smashed burgers or entrée salads and all were equally impressive in size and looked appetizing. Overall, the menu prices are reasonable and service fairly quick. Maybe Earls can be more than an after work drinks spot after all.

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!