Six Patios To See in The Six This Summer

The best patios in The Six excel in their own unique, lovely, sun-soaked ways. This is a list of patios that top the lot in one way or another; be it for brunch, for burgers, or for an awesome view of the lake. It’s our own curated list meant to offer additional ideas of where to go in Toronto when only a patio will do.

Allen’s on the Danforth

(647) 559-4879
143 Danforth Ave.

The glow of comfortable tradition warms Allen’s. Opened in 1987, the restaurant has achieved near-institutional status, as its bar, featuring 340 whiskies, over 100 VQA wines and 140 beers, and dining room are considered the very best of type. In its backyard, under the leaves of three century-old willows, Allen’s offers a daily barbeque menu cooked over Canadian hardwood charcoal. This Irish saloon on the Danforth cooks up some of Toronto’s best patio grub for the masses that frequent Allen’s.

Epicure Cafe & Grill

(647) 490-1828
502 Queen St. W.

Epicure on Queen West near Bathurst has an amazing patio which is so well hidden that nobody thinks to go up! Epicure Café has been serving the neighbourhood for over 40 years. The menu, influenced by Northern Italian and Provençal cuisine is extensive and includes a wide range of items, from Steak Frites, Duck Confit and Bouillabaisse to our well-known homemade burgers and pizzas. In addition to the consistently good. Located conveniently in the heart of the Queen West Theatre District. The view of the CN tower is beautiful and the drinks/eats are really well priced!

Cafe La Gaffe

(437) 800-2758
24 Baldwin St.

Located a short walk north from the Art Gallery of Ontario, Cafe la Gaffe welcomes you to sample a wonderful French & Mediterranean fare with an extensive wine list. Parisian inspired décor with a grand wooden bar, Cafe La Gaffe is accented by a revolving display of local art. Enjoy a casual and relaxing meal on one of the two patios.

The Black Bull

(416) 593-2766
298 Queen St. West.

Escape to the restroom in peace! Or else, with a least a little more peace of mind. The Black Bull’s patio comes complete with a gated bike storage area, deterring would-be thieves from the snatch-and-ride while you remain blissfully preoccupied with your pint. As long as you don’t mind sharing your Queen West spot with 100 fellow patio patrons, cycle on over.

Gusto 101

(416) 504-9669
101 Portland St.

Street level and rooftop patios at this chic Italian eatery on Portland are sun soaked spots to sip the $1/oz house wine, while nibbling on antipasti. A retractable roof means the top tier is available for family dinners and date nights rain or shine. Gusto 101 offers two patios; one at street level and one with a retractable glass ceiling on the rooftop. Count on catching lots of sun on either of these patios.

Houston Avenue Bar & Grill

(416) 214-2207
33 Yonge St.

As a 100% Canadian-owned business, Houston Avenue Bar & Grill has a brand new attitude towards their food, decor and the whole guest experience. Stressing a “Farm Fresh to Urban Fork” ethic, they source the best locally grown and produced ingredients to offer an innovative and creative cuisine that will please even the most sophisticated palate.

What’s Open and Closed in Barrie Easter Monday

Here’s a list of what services are open in Barrie, Orillia, Midland and Collingwood/Blue Mountain this Easter Monday.

Closed April 21st.:

  • Government services (schools, Canada Post, Service Ontario, etc.)
  • Barrie Library

Open April 21st.:

  • The LCBO / Beer Store will be open, some locations at shorter hours
  • Garbage collection on normal schedule, except for Orillia
  • Transit (GO, Barrie, Orillia, Collingwood) on regular schedule. No service in Midland.

In addition: There will be NO Barrie Transit Service on Good Friday, April 18th, 2014 OR Easter Sunday

Links: (Service Ontario)
Collingwood (Colltrans)

Smokes Poutinerie in Barrie


In Barrie, the Poutinerie is located downtown on Dunlop Street right beside H & R Block. For what the location is, it is in the perfect Barrie location. The food offering is top notch and is certainly addicting.

On the down side, the restaurant is actually quite small. The Poutinerie has only about 4 tables and another handful of bar-style seats. However, because the restaurant serves mainly take-out customers, there is usually a place to sit and have a fantastic poutine. Because of the limited seating and downtown location the restaurant isn’t well suited for family dining and could be troublesome for seating during a lunch-hour rush. What would work well in this setting is a date before going to a movie or out for a drink. The prices really accommodate this as well.


For two poutines and two soft drinks I only paid $21.00 after tax. The poutine by itself was quite large, very filling and was a little better than your average poutine. With options like pulled pork poutine, bacon double cheeseburger poutine and Montreal Smoked Meat Poutine you get a full-fledged meal rather than just a side order. If the regular size isn’t quite enough for you, the Wow size should do it for only $3.00 more.

The restaurant makes use of an 80s hard rock theme, with one wall that has a giant picture adorned with hard rock style guitars, as well as the famous “Dave Letterman” lookalike who seems to be the face of Smokes Poutinerie. Everytime I went there, I was impressed by the sounds of old Van Halen and Scorpions and other 80s hard rock favourites. Although 80s was the theme, the restaurant was super clean and well kept. I would not feel uncomfortable going there even late at night. The restaurants biggest selling point though is its hours of operation. The restaurant is open to 3am on Thursday nights and to 4am on Fridays and Saturdays. With hours like that, when you factor in the deceased pizza place downtown, it seems as though Smoke’s is an after-bar restaurant to the core. It now has the potential to be a favourite amongst only the street meat vendors and the shawarma place beside the Queens.


Not only is it for those of you downtown after the bar on the weekend, Smoke’s offers delivery. Give them a call for more details. At you can find their locations and hours, as well as the full menu and pricing.

With McDonald’s now offering poutine, Canadians obviously still love a good cheese and gravy with their fries. Smoke’s certainly makes poutine right. I loved the way they combined a more substantial meal into this Canadian favourite. I’m definitely headed back there for another as soon as possible. And I’ll probably hit it up for take out by the waterfront a few times next summer.

Written By: Michael Whone

Follow Michael Whone on Twitter @whoneranger and visit his website:

Smoke’s Poutinerie ( Visit Profile
24A Dunlop St., Barrie

Cha Cha Cha Italian Restaurant and Bar

When I read eggs benedict on the menu with a side order of gnocchi I was excited, but it gets even better. This isn’t just for the weekend brunch bunch, this is an anytime, any day, or evening, your choice brunch. Bacon and brie French toast for lunch, sure thing, Spanish omelet for dinner, order it, late night craving for the aforementioned eggs benedict with pancetta and that delicious side order of gnocchi, with a variety of superb sauces to choose from, you’ve got it.

That dear readers is but one of the unique features of Cha Cha Cha, the Italian Restaurant and Bar on Dunlop Street West that I am so passionate about!


Cha Cha Cha opened gently, saving their grand opening for February 13th. Owner Michelle Devlin brings an amazing sense of style, an effervescent personality and years of experience, to the former location of Barrie’s beloved The North restaurant, on the corner of Dunlop and Mary Streets. Apparently this has fast become a late night favourite for others in the restaurant business and the support has been encouraging and most welcomed.

The vibe here is fabulous, the energy a credit to Michelle’s own. Cha Cha Cha is warm and inviting, a great spot to come with friends or family, but also would work well for a romantic evening.


The marble bar provides a classic welcome, I have already laid claim to “my” spot. With excellent site lines to the open kitchen or the passing street scape, it is a bar with a view. Tables line the opposite side, allowing for a more private dining experience, lighting is spot on, the renovations ooze ambiance. The dulcet tones of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra harken back to supper club evenings, when one would dress for dinner out, or you may simply wander in for a late night sip and nibble, I have done both.

When the Latino dance music volumes up, I have witnessed customers create an impromptu dance floor and literally cha cha cha around the room, there is a passionate energy in this space! With two creative and talented young Chefs, the menu has a great selection of Italian favourites and the presentation is magnificent, the plating a delight of confetti colours of finely chopped peppers; antipasto, fresh mussels, pizzas and pastas, a chicken, steak and daily fresh fish selection, but honestly the all day brunch is my favourite.


Important to know that vegetarian and gluten free items are available, locally grown and non-GMO items are used, and that beef and chicken are free range, cruelty and hormone free. Desserts made in house include a maple crème brulee, cheese cake and scrumptious poached pears in a red wine reduction served with vanilla yogurt and fresh berries.

Michelle’s daughter, Emily Devlin, will proudly make her singing debut performance during the February Blues Festival at Cha Cha Cha, as the restaurant is one of the host venues in this winters event. Michelle Devlin has borrowed from Shakespeare’s famous quote for the restaurants motto; “If music be the food of love play on”.

Play on they will!

– Written by: Penelope Morrow
Cha Cha Cha Italian Restaurant and Bar
66 Dunlop Street West, Barrie ON L4N 1A2
Tel: 705-503-2422
Twitter @ChaChaChaBarrie

Cha Cha Cha’s profile

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow

Bourbon Street Review

Walking back to the front, my friend decided that she would try opening the door. She tugged a little bit and voila – it came loose! I told her that I must have loosened the door for her…


Walking into the restaurant we were a little hesitant as to whether or not we should actually dine here – there were two small tables, a jukebox, a pool table, a lengthy bar, and there was a rather strange scent in the air. A man promptly came over to us and informed us we could sit anywhere in the restaurant, so we decided to choose one of the only seats that were available next to a window – or so we thought. The man that greeted us turned out to be our server, as he brought us menus and asked for our drink orders as soon as we got comfortable. Being a pub, the menu is fairly straight forward and typical of most of the pubs around Barrie. There are soups, french fries, salads, tacos, burgers, fish, wings, etc. Bourbon Street, however, has a very classy menu and offers extremely high quality food at a very decent price.

We decided we could explore our surroundings while we waited for our meals, so we walked to the back of the building and we were stunned. There is a raised stage in a spacious room filled with booths, various tables, and an area in the back room with another pool table. This pub is absolutely beautiful. It has a very classy, modern design, but has pictures of the musicians of the 60’s-70’s and various guitars strung upon the walls. Once we started getting comfortable with our environment our dining experience was very pleasant.


Arriving at Bourbon Street for lunch, I only wanted something light so I chose a salad that had tomatoes, feta cheese, mixed greens, kalamata olives, some type of noodle or something of the sort on top, drizzled with an olive oil and vinegar dressing. My salad was a little bit too salty for my liking, but it was delicious nevertheless. My friend ordered a grilled chicken wrap with a side of French Onion soup, which was the soup of the day. She was basically drooling over how tender and well cooked the chicken was. She said it was the most fresh and tasty chicken she had eaten at a restaurant in a while.

Bourbon Street is open from Monday to Sunday from 11pm until 2am and is located at 31 Bayfield Street, right in the middle of five points in downtown Barrie. Our server informed us that the pub has live music from Wednesday to Sunday, and each night has a different genre of live music. He informed us that Bourbon Street becomes very busy during the weekend; I suggest calling ahead of time to reserve a booth if you want a place to sit! I had a lovely dining experience at Bourbon Street and I’m sure that you will too!

Valerie Colangelo is a writer from Barrie. Read her blog at: and follow her on Twitter at @vcolang.

Le Maître D’ in Penetanguishene

Dear Editor; Have I told you lately how much I enjoy meeting with our area farmers, food producers, restaurateurs and then writing my reviews to share with our Simcoe Dining readers?

Do you know how pleased I am that you encourage me to explore the outer edges of our fine region to discover newfound food treasures. Yes you know, good, so please sit back and prepare to have your taste buds tantalized as I am about to share a recent dining experience with you, one that was not only an edible adventure, but an extraordinary history lesson too!


Darling daughter and I made the trek to Penetanguishene recently, as I have been eager to return since sampling the delightful bites that Dave Brunelle and his staff at le Maître D’ prepared for us on the Huronia Food Trail media tour in early summer.

The menu items are influenced by his heritage; Metis and French-Canadian, thus creating a cultural mosaic worthy of great praise. Paintings by local artists adorn the walls, mingling antique photographs of Penetanguishene. Recordings of Local French Canadian musicians are played for gentle background music and live music occurs on some evenings.

Tradition wraps around us like a cozy knit blanket. We start our dinner with the traditional bread basket, but tradition here includes bannock, a Native staple, and accompanying chipotle aioli. We chose a variety of appetizers; the classic French onion soup, fantastic, the smoked Georgian Bay whitefish with lemon and capers, amazing and the specialty of the evening, Coquilles St Jacques, scallops and mushrooms in a rich sauce served in a scalloped shell, delightful!


Tourtiere is a traditional Quebec meat pie, with as many variations as there are households that bake them. Dave shared that he and his mother bake these together for the restaurant, the spicing is defined but not overpowering and the pastry, simply the best I have ever had.

Darling daughter ordered the crepes with ham and cheddar, a simple but tasty combination. On both plates, were servings of glazed carrots and wonderful crisp potato croquettes. Having attempted to make crepes myself, I have a great appreciation for these, presented perfectly.

I ended my meal with a great cup of decaffeinated coffee, and crème brulee, while darling daughter chose the strawberry rhubarb pie, filled to bursting with fresh fruit, tucked into more of their delicious pastry. While sitting with our desserts I asked Dave Brunelle to join us, as I was eager to hear his story, and this is a man with stories to tell!

The table that had been reserved for us was specifically chosen, the reason was soon to become clear. The Brunelle family has lived in Lafontaine for four generations; his grandfather was a commercial fisherman, a hunter, a farmer and a maple syrup producer, his grandmother delighted in serving large family style meals to all her beloved kin. A side room in the restaurant is dedicated to his grandmother and includes photos and memorabilia in her honour.

When opening the restaurant in January 2013, Dave discovered a marvelous book, written by John Bayfield and Carole Gerow titled “This Was Yesterday, a pictorial History of the early days of Penetanguishene”, where it is noted that the Brunelle family can actually trace their ancestors back to the 1800’s as some of the earliest settlers to arrive in Penetanguishene. One of the pictures in the book shows the original main street of Penetanguishene and by turning my head just so, and looking out the window, Dave points out to me the same street that I have just admired in an ancient photograph. I am sitting in a spot with a clear view where history of this community unfolded!


Apparently, the “Festival du Loup” held every summer in Lafontaine also has a direct connection to the Brunelle family. Legend has it that a large and ferocious wolf terrified the inhabitants of this small community and it was Dave’s great great uncle who in the early 1900’s shot the beast, which gave cause for great celebration, a tradition still honoured yearly.

Dave Brunelle is a natural and gracious host; he is inspired to bring families together for meals, to provide a community restaurant where people can enjoy the atmosphere, the history and the great food. For Thanksgiving he will be cooking and serving a family style feast for guests lucky enough to have made reservations!

Le Maître D’ is an outstanding restaurant, which has successfully combined the food of both the Metis and French Canadian cultures, this is heritage in our midst, and well worth the scenic drive to

Le Maître D’
106 Main Street, Penetanguishene, ON. L9M 1T5

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow

A Trip to Chelsea Chocolates in Oro-Medonte

Today my inspiration is found in a box of chocolates. The chocolates in question are nestled in a lovely gold box, they were hand formed from the finest Belgian chocolate, and they are locally produced, not 20 minutes from my home. How tasty is that?

When my Editor suggested I check out Chelsea Chocolates for an interview and review, I was quite frankly, thrilled. Chocolate and I are very good friends.


My taste in chocolates is discriminating. It has to be dark chocolate and it has to be good chocolate. Chelsea Chocolates surpasses my criteria.

I had the opportunity to meet with owner Laurie Thompson for a delightful interview and tour of her factory recently. The rich scent of chocolate met me at the door, and upon entrance, I was thrilled to be surrounded by chocolaty goodness; shelves and showcases of homemade, handmade, designer chocolates and truffles. I started to salivate.

Chelsea Chocolate began locally 18 years ago, when the original owners were looking to retire, the timing proved ideal, as Laurie and her husband were also ready for a change. As she describes it, they jumped off the biggest mountain possible and bought the business. That was three years ago, and while the learning curve was steep, they have expanded their market and are deliciously pleased.

Laurie previously worked in the wine business, so it was a logical transition to introduce ice-wine, spirits and liquors into their family of chocolates. Chelsea Chocolates produces ice wine chocolates for the major Ontario Wineries including; Colio, Hillebrand, Harvest, Hernder, Josephs, Konzelmann Estates, Kittling Ridge, Lailey, Legends, Peller, Peninsula Ridge, Peter Mielzyns, and Rosewood Estates. The Granite Club in Toronto is another large purchaser of Chelsea Chocolates. It is rather exciting that Simcoe’s own Chelsea Chocolates travel widely around our province. Laurie explained the chocolate making process to me; I watched various steps in production, and I was thrilled to nibble samples.


All chocolate is grown along the equator, then the beans are shipped to Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. Each country has a slightly different method of manufacturing chocolate and this gives it a subtle difference, which impacts on final product. Belgian and Swiss chocolate is known worldwide to be the best quality and Chelsea Chocolate has chosen Belgian chocolate as their variety to work with. Quality is the key word here, as Chelsea Chocolates continues to work in small batch production, rolling their truffles by hand. Molds are a vital component to creating fine chocolates too, as the quality of the mold has a direct impact on the quality of the chocolate. The best molds are made in Montreal and the UK and can vary in price from $5 to $150 for a single mold. The better the mold, the better the shine on the chocolate and that shine is another indicator of quality. Butter, cream, fresh berries and fruits boiled to a paste make the delectable cream fillings, and real mint, orange and lemon oils may also be used. Temperature is a vital component to creating good chocolate. The ideal temperature creates a “bite and snap” reaction when one bites into a good chocolate.


I am addicted to Chelsea Chocolate; one of my personal favourites is the sweet and salty mix of a salted caramel. Numerous styles and flavours are available in milk, dark and white chocolates; truffles, butter creams, and sugar free chocolates are all offered.

A very unique item Chelsea Chocolates produces is called a “smash cake”. This is a chocolate formed cake shaped shell, with a chocolate hammer alongside, that is to be used to “smash” through said chocolate shell, giving access to a delectable selection of truffles housed inside. Laurie shared how thrilled she was that Mike Holmes, he of “Holmes on Homes” fame, was presented with a smash cake on his final day of filming a local renovation this spring. Another smash cake fan was a local bride, whose wedding was showcased on “Four Weddings Canada”. While flipping TV channels just last night, I serendipitously found that very show and was able to see the wedding guests delight in discovering the goodness inside. How smashing!


Chelsea Chocolates can be purchased directly from the factory and may also be found locally at: the Royal Victoria Hospital gift shop, Café Fromagerie, Simply Tea and Chocolate and Apple Annie’s in Orillia.

Chelsea Chocolates
3471 Penetanguishene Rd. Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada L4M 4Y8
705-725-9210 | phone
705-725-1829 | fax

The factory retail store is open Monday through Friday 10:00am – 6:00pm
Weekends & Holidays 9:00am – 4:00pm.

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets

I simply must dedicate this review to Sheldon Creek

I simply must dedicate this review to “The Ladies”; the happy Holstein cows that are the inspiration and driving force behind Sheldon Creek Dairy.

These beautiful bovines are fundamentally responsible for the dairy goodness that stocks my fridge. It is the amazing milk that these gentle creatures produce, which is used to make the products that have created a strong following and a well-recognized name for Sheldon Creek Dairy.


This is multigenerational family farm who welcomes visitors to their onsite store, seven days a week. Can’t get to the store, no problem, with two Holstein painted vans making deliveries three days a week, your calcium boost can be purchased in local stores, grocery stores and specialty shops.

It is the quality of the milk that makes the Sheldon Creek Dairy products so delicious and healthy. The technology used is classic; the raw milk is pasteurized for mere seconds, it is non-homogenized and as a fresh product, the cream will rise to the top and separate, where you can scoop it off to use as cream or shake it into the bottle for a full rich flavour. Yes bottles, glass bottles, these keep the milk colder, are kinder to the environment and provide the nostalgic kick that often inspires shoppers to take some home to try. The milk is appreciated by raw milk fans, is often well tolerated by the lactose intolerant and wee babies, it is amazing in your morning coffee and the flavours are a great post work out electrolyte replacing treat.

This whole fresh milk is used for all the products Sheldon Creek Dairy makes.

The product line includes; original white, dark chocolate and the newest addition is strawberry.

While all their dairy products are natural, Marianne of Sheldon Creek Dairy, explained to me that the strawberry does include some artificial additions as it is not possible to present the perfectly pink strawberry flavour without helping nature along.


The yogurt flavours are wonderful; I adore the vanilla, and the raspberry maple is extraordinary. Original Greek yogurt is offered, as is sour cream. Feta cheese and cheese curds are also available and during the Christmas season, Sheldon Creek Dairy makes the best eggnog you will ever taste, with or without a shot of rum!

New product development is a priority for Marianne; soft serve Greek style frozen yogurt has just launched, with classic vanilla and strawberry flavours.

You will have to drive to the farm to try this one, as of yet it is not available in stores. I was fortunate to attend the 2nd annual Sheldon Creek Farm day recently, an amazing afternoon which showcased local products and producers at the farm, gave visitors a chance to meet “The Ladies” and get first hand knowledge of a working dairy farm, this opportunity is available year round to groups, school tours and families. What an amazing experience to share with your kids!

Customer service is paramount for everyone at Sheldon Creek Dairy; their delivery women are redefining the role of traditional “milk men”. These young women clearly take pride in the products,
they educate as they shelve and stock sellers fridge’s, they provide tastings and attend local community events.


I asked Marianne what message she would like me to pass on to my readers, her passion for Sheldon Creek Dairy was evident when her immediate response was to say, “Try this, go outside your normal routine and try something real. Help your local economy with your purchase, educate your family and introduce your taste buds to wholesome milk and dairy products. Educate yourself on what you eat, speak to the person who grows your food. We consider ourselves environmental stewards and we are producing great products, people just have to try it to see the difference”.

Marianne shared her five year goals for the dairy with me, and while I am sworn to secrecy, for now, I will share the news once she gives me the nod to do so. I am so excited!

Sheldon Creek Dairy milk is real, not re worked…this milk will sour if left out, as it is supposed to. This is milk as the cows made it; this is my favourite moo juice!

Sheldon Creek Dairy, The Farm:
4316 RR#2 5th Concession Loretto, Ontario L0G 1L0
Telephone: 705-434-0404
Cellphone: 705-440-3155
Coordinates: N44.10935° W-79.92293°

Written by: Penelope Morrow

Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets

SimcoeDining’s Barrie Patio Guide

The Potted Pig

10 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
Formally the At The Five restaurant, The Potted Pig has a large west-facing patio right downtown at the five points.

“There is also a nice patio you can choose to dine in – there are half-circle booths, raised tables for bigger groups, smaller booths for couples, and cushioned wicker couches for casual encounters.”
Read More

Info.: The Potted Pig

The British Arms

29 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
On the main downtown, The British Arms is on the south site of the street and features a large patio and a good selection of beers as well as other drinks and a menu of British fare favourites.

“During the summer months, there is a nice patio where one can sit with an ice cold beer enjoying the warm breeze and live music.”
Read More

Info.: The British Arms

The Queens Hotel

94 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
A large patio in downtown patio at this popular restaurant and night-club. Maybe not the place for a quiet evening, but you can do that anytime.

Info.: The Queens Hotel


66 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
Barrie’s highest patio with a great view of Lake Simcoe. On top of The Bank nightclub, this enclosed patio offers a great view of downtown Barrie and Lake Simcoe.

Info.: Skybank

Kensington Burger Bar

40 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
Features a front and back patio open late and, well, massive (and tasty) burgers made from scratch including The legendary Kitchen Sink (they need 48 hours to prepare that one) as well as other Canadian favourites including a heaping poutine.

Info.: Kensington Burger Bar

Donaleighs Irish Public House

28 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
Serving authentic Irish ales, lagers and stouts along with quality pub fare prepared from fresh ingredients plus front and back patios make this a spot worth checking out.

Info.: Donaleighs

Fitzy’s Crabshack and Wine Bar

143 Dunlop St. East, Barrie
This downtown spot features live jazz Sundays, martinis and front and back indoor patios. A good spot for passing a Sunday afternoon.

Info.: Fitzy’s Crabshack

Monsoon Lounge in Barrie

I came to the Monsoon’s around 5 pm on a Friday evening. Oddly enough, my friends and I were the only ones in the restaurant for the entire duration of our meal. Monsoon’s has a very posh design, with black, leather padded seating (sofas and singular seats) creating an overall comfortable, classy environment. There is no one to seat you when you walk in, so you can sit anywhere you would like. The restaurant is fairly large, with a very spacious bar if you’re only interested in going for a few drinks.


If you enjoy martinis then I am certain you will be in Wonderland when you look at the drink menu. Monsoon’s has 101 martinis – it was so difficult to choose only one! The martinis range from a variety of sugary sweetness to strongly liquored, as well as appeal to the sci-fi lovers and the girly-girls. Monsoon’s has surely covered all of their bases where martinis are concerned. Searching through the never-ending drink menu, I finally decided on a Butterfly Martini – a blue-green concoction that appealed to my sweet tooth and made my taste buds soar.

Our waiter for the evening was very attentive, friendly, and quick with our drink orders. He was also helpful in suggesting the best of Monsoon’s martinis. Being a very picky vegetarian, it is difficult to find food that I actually enjoy, but Monsoon’s greatly impressed me. The menu is centered on rolls, sushi, and sashimi, but there are many options available. I ordered a Japanese Garden Salad, which consisted of organic greens, cucumbers, carrots, and was dressed with a sesame-ginger vinaigrette. My friend and I also shared Thai Lettuce Wraps – leaves of lettuce topped with carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, and mint, with a peanut sauce to complete. The meal was absolutely stupendous. Another friend of mine ordered Yam Rolls and Sake Sushi (Atlantic salmon rolled with rice and vegetables). We were all very pleased with the quality of the food and the delicious taste.

The prices vary from around $6 to $13 depending on the meal you purchase. The portions are large, so make sure you visit with a big appetite. The only downside was that the food took a while to prepare, even though we were the only ones in the restaurant. You are given chop-sticks to eat with – a hard feat for beginners, but it is a simple skill that takes only a few moments to master. If you are unable to use chop-sticks, however, forks can be provided. Other than the long wait, we were full to the brim and very satisfied.

I inquired about the nightlife, and the waiter informed me that Monsoon’s is a popular venue on Friday and Saturday nights for customers looking for a classy pre-drink before they hit the town. Monsoon’s is a perfect lounge area to gather with friends, and also hear live music on certain nights.

Located at 140 Dunlop Street East, just past Manhattan’s, Monsoon’s is closed on Sunday and Monday, but opens at 4pm every other day of the week. It’s a little hard to spot, so make sure you are paying attention while driving by. If you’re ever in the mood for an affordable and delectable meal I suggest you try out Monsoon’s – you will not be disappointed.

Monsoon’s Profile

Valerie Colangelo is a writer from Barrie. Read her blog at: and follow her on Twitter at @vcolang