The Wilcox Gastropub (Mississauga)

At the corner of a suburban plaza stands a stone house that’s distinct and unexpected. Co-owner Daniel Nguyen tells me that it's not just any house, it may be possibly one of the oldest one in Mississauga (built in 1850). So, when taking over the property, they really wanted to keep the character of the landmark, reviving it and naming it after builder Amaos Wilcox.

As you enter the Wilcox Gastropub, their interiors are definitely contemporary in nature with the mix of wood, leather, tree trunks and antler chandeliers. You sort of get the feeling of being in a hunter’s lodge that’s been turned into a lounge.

Wilcox’s menu doesn’t follow the Canadiana theme. Rather it’s a mix of shareables (sliders, nachos, etc), tapas type dishes, salads, burgers and larger composed dishes. Essentially, there’s something for everyone and enough sides to customize to one’s content. The owners wanted to offer Mississauga a menu that patrons may not find locally and also uses fresh in-house prepared sauces and ingredients.

The menu is developed by Chef Humberto Sanchez and his Spanish/Mexican influences were apparent in the starters. Especially in my favourite dish of the night, the fish tacos ($14). Yes, fish tacos are on everyone’s menus making it hard to stand out. Wilcox’s steps away from the typical baja style (albeit still has pico de gallo and guacamole) and instead incorporates great Mexican sauces (a tart tomatillo and fiery roasted poblano crema) as well.

Certainly, the dish does not shy away from flavours as the sauces were abundant and with each bite you experience refreshing and spicy properties. The deep fried fish was relatively neutral allowing the sauces to shine. Thankfully, Wilcox uses as chewy soft tortilla/pita mix which is thicker and holds up against the sauces.

The pulpo con ensalada Rusa ($14) is also worth trying with the star being the tendril of grilled octopus. It’s meaty, tender and has a hint of smokiness without overpowering the seafood itself. Below is a vibrant Russian salad, a hearty mix of creamy beets and potatoes. If there was a touch of something stronger (perhaps finely chopped onions or maybe even pickled vegetables), I would have liked it even more.

Unlike the rest of the burger loving table, I ordered braised short ribs ($23). The meat was flavourful and tender sitting in plenty of black trumpet mushroom jus. The seasoning on the dish was done well – savoury enough without being overly salty. Sitting on a bed of roasted heirloom carrots and parsnips and topped with onion frizzles (great addition) it was a nice well rounded dish.  The duck fat roasted potatoes could stand to be cooked a bit longer as the larger pieces were a tad hard in the middle.

Burgers seemed to be the popular choice amongst patrons and indeed my table as well. My husband’s Wilcox Burger ($17) consisted of a pepper crusted chuck beef patty, crispy onions, roasted red pepper aioli, goat cheese, arugula and crowned with a sunny side egg. Somehow it wasn’t a mess to eat as the egg was cooked just enough to allow the brioche bun and rest of the ingredients to soak it up. Perhaps it’s due to eating many flavourful dishes before trying a bite, but even with the plethora of ingredients I found it needed more seasoning (either in the meat itself or in the aioli).  

The California burger ($16) used the same patty but was topped with double smoked bacon, tomato, corn, salsa fresca, sour cream, pickled jalapenos and melted cheddar cheese. Again, I found the flavours to be somewhat muted, perhaps if the sour cream was substituted with the roasted poblano crema instead it may be even better.

As a matter of taste, I’ve really liked that most gourmet burger joints now serve their burgers slightly undercooked. Some may be squeamish about a slightly pink patty, but the end product is much juicier and flavourful. Wilcox Gastropub still follows the traditional thoroughly cooked method, which is fine and has its supporters but perhaps offering customers a choice of doneness would be nice (especially since they use fresh in-house ground patties).

To clarify, the burgers were good and everyone at the table enjoyed them (in fact inhaled them). But, for me, if two small changes were made they could be even better. The fresh potato fries were very good, I couldn’t help but steal more than my fair share off of my family’s plates.

Wilcox Gastropub’s menu is varied and extensive. Chef Sanchez, although proud of the entire menu, has a few favourite dishes including the ceviche, Scotch egg, Wilcox burger and duck confit. Alas, I didn’t know this before we ordered, but just a few more suggestions for readers if you need them. Service is friendly and attentive (our drinks were refilled with such rigor) and the atmosphere comfortable yet still providing you with a feeling that you’re “going out”. My suggestion is you make reservations as The Wilcox was packed on our Friday night visit and seems to be embraced by the community already.

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10
* Disclaimer: Wilcox offered a 25% discount for the meal (prices above are the regular menu prices). Rest assured, I'll still be honest in my reviews.

How To Find Them
 Location: Mississauga, Canada
 Address: 30 Eglinton Avenue West

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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!