We went to Toronto this fall for the Paul McCartney concert and to visit friends. I was at first a little surprised that are not more places that emphasize gluten-free dining there, although our friends tell us restaurants in general there tend to mark gluten-free items on menus as a matter of course and don’t seem to have gluten-free menus. I had some trouble finding out what was gluten-free and what wasn’t since the restaurants don’t seem to make this on their online menus. With a little research I found Relish Bar and Grill, a small little place on the Danforth. It was unassuming from the outside and there was plenty of parking on a Saturday (there is a paid lot across the street). It looks like a bar and when you enter, the front of the restaurant is a bar where they have live music regularly. The dining area is rather small but when we arrived there were plenty of tables.
They have a separate gluten-free menu which was quite extensive. Relish is a tapas restaurant,
so the idea is to order lots of small plates and share them. This suited us perfectly since I wanted to try a lot of what they had. We asked for our server to spread our order out, so we wouldn’t get all the food at once. Nearly everything was excellent. The trio of dips, served with gluten-free toast points, was fantastic. One was an olive tapenade, another was artichoke and white bean, and the third was roasted red pepper and feta It was so wonderful to have dip in a restaurant! All of the dips were creamy and flavorful. The artichoke was my favorite.
I was crazy about the
salmon potato and egg salad. Creamy chunks of potato with lots of smoked salmon and hardboiled eggs made this a very filling dish. The capers gave it a nice counterpoint. There was also some lettuce to help lighten things up.
Also gracing our table was a stuffed chicken roulade. It was nestled in a cream sauce and had proscuitto and spinach inside it. It’s always miraculous to go to a
restaurant and be able to order something that actually has a sauce and is gluten free! The chicken was tender and the filling was smoky and satisfying. It was true comfort food.
Next up was white corn tortillas with chicken, cheese, and guac. This was good, but underneath the chips was a very spicy salsa that took us by surprise. The chicken was shredded and went well with the creamy guac. On the regular menu this dish is served in a tortilla shell and I was so grateful that they took the time to have an alternative on their gluten-free menu.
The polenta with tomato sauce was the only thing we didn’t enjoy. There was nothing wrong with it, but I guess I’ve just
determined I don’t like polenta with a red sauce. Each element of the dish by itself was done nicely, but I didn’t care for them together at all.
The mussels were a fine way to end the meal. The steamed mussels were served in a chipotle cream sauce with toast points. The sauce was spicy, but it was possible to eat the mussels without getting too much of it.
We did not have dessert because the options were not exciting (if I see another flourless chocolate cake on a menu I might hurt someone). Despite this, this was one of the most varied and best meals we have had in a restaurant in a long, long time.
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