577 College St
Toronto, ON

Thoroughly Enjoyable

All of my previous reviews have been of disastrous experiences at restaurants, this one is different as it is about consistently excellent dining experiences at Sidecar (named after the classic Sidecar cocktail), a restaurant where I have enjoyed eating four times in the last 2 months. Although this review is written as though I only wrote it, it was actually co-written by me and by my wife.

The first time we ate at Sidecar was on Halloween. My wife phoned the restaurant the same day and was told there was a table available that evening. When we arrived we were offered to sit at any table that was available so we picked a table for two near the front of the restaurant ( There is no trying to sit you at a bad table). The staff were wearing various styles of hat to commemorate Halloween. Our server was very friendly and efficient and, as it was our first visit, we asked quite a few questions about the menu items including the ingredients and her opinions about the wines. She cheerfully and fully answered every question we asked.

Since that first dinner we have been at Sidecar three more times , just the two of us once more and the other two times with other couples. Everyone enjoyed it. Sidecar is a place where you can get a good contemporary style meal and not break the bank. The three course prix fixe, which is offered from Sunday to Wednesday, is even more reasonable ($25 for three courses Most main courses are under $20 dollars such as the 8 ounce steak frites at $19 which has a good quality tenderloin ($26 for th 12 ounce ‘the brick’ ribeye) ranging up to $24 for the roasted duck breast

Every time we have eaten at Sidecar, from the beginning to the end of the meal, it is very evident that the owners want to ensure that you have a positive experience and come back. The service is friendly and welcoming, there is no ‘attitude’. The severs know about the food and are fun to talk to, they are genuinely interested in providing good service. There is no problem about sharing items. In fact there is never any problem, period. That makes it a relaxing and enjoyable dining experience.

The sidecar salad, which is a chopped salad with jicama, is unusual and delicious. Each time we’ve been there, I had the steak-frites (I am in a Sidecar steak-frites rut but it is a good rut to be in) and, in addition to the steak-frites, my wife had the prix-fixe salmon and the non prix-fixe Papardelle pasta dish and she enjoyed both. One of our guests had the beet risotto which was pronounced to be delicious.

There are some reasonably priced wines available. (It is one of the very few places that has a very good Italian Primitivo, a Zinfandel equivalent, by the glass). They serve classic and specialize in unusual cocktails and the knowledgeable and enthusuastic bartender was very good about finding something that would suit my wife’s expressed tastes. He promised that if she didn’t like it , he would get her something she would like. but that wasn’t necessary, she said the Negroni cocktail was great. I had a taste and, at our next meal there, I had one too.

The downstairs is the Sidecar restaurant which is designed in a spare modern decor. The upstairs is a private club, The Toronto Temperence Society operated by Sidecar, which has a yearly membership fee and serves a very large selection of liquors and cocktails of the highest quality and access is restricted to members but, if they are fully booked downstairs, you may be able to get a table up there if there’s enough space available to accommodate members first. The upstairs is decorated like an old-fashioned bar with a sit down bar, booths, and period music to match. Both the downstairs and upstairs dining rooms are pleasant and have good atmosphere. The music downstairs and upstairs is at a reasonable sound level so you can easily carry on a conversation.

My wife and I seldom eat pasta when we are out, so I suggest that it would be good for Sidecar to add some meat or fish dishes to the menu , even if they are specials (e.g. veal, lamb).
My wife and I and our guests thoroughly enjoyed eating at Sidecar and we will definitely go back to Sidecar again, and again, and again…

There are many, many, very positive reviews of Sidecar by its customers on the internet. Just do a Google search for “Toronto Sidecar” and you’ll see how popular and highly rated Sidecar is.


I’m in a steak-frites rut at Sidecar.

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