CLOSED: Regulars Bar (Toronto)

The former Blowfish has undergone a transformation: from a restaurant offering sushi to an establishment with a casual vibe and a menu so varied you’ll find something to try. On Friday, their social hour specials makes it difficult to resist the offer of $1 an oz wine. In this case, the house red (Caleo Primitivo) is better than the white (Scarpetta Pinot Grigio) as cheap white wine really needs to be frigidly cold.

A selection of snacks, normally $6, decreases by a loonie so you can start off with a nibble for only $5. As the avocado bruschetta was presented, we tried our best to look past the presentation of what looks like a green pile of dung on a rice crisp. Sadly, it doesn’t taste better than it looks.

The Jamaican patty is a much better option, stuffed with a generous portion of Red Stripe braised oxtail in a flaky crust. While it’s already flavourful on its own, add some of the neon scotch bonnet pepper jelly sauce and it gets even better. Just be careful, although it looks like sweet and sour sauce, it really has a kick!

In terms of mains, the poke wrap ($18) could be better described as make-your-own tacos. Except, the three toasted flour wraps are not nearly enough for the sheer amount of soy marinated salmon spiked with pickled mushrooms and jicama & edamame slaw. While there are a ton of great flavours, tanginess from the pickled mushrooms and sweetness from the sesame seaweed salad, the dish is too watery and difficult to eat. On a high point, the shoestring fries that arrive with the “wrap” are fantastic.

The teriyaki salmon soba ($19) is similar to the poke wrap, using many of the same ingredients except the salmon is cooked and in lieu of the seaweed salad there’s ginger and soy tossed Asian vegetables instead. The soba noodles were too mushy, but at least the fish was just cooked through and the overall dish easier to eat.

All the lackluster food aside, Regulars does have a great vibe: spacious soaring ceilings and a palette of cash lying in the corner under a sign boldly declaring that “Money doesn’t buy happiness.” 

My eyes couldn’t help but be drawn to all the neon fixtures along the walls, in particular the “Fuck social media, I’m dope in real life”. Perhaps, that’s already their response to this post. They’re so cool they just don’t care.

Overall mark - 6 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 668 King Street West

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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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