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Having eaten at a few places on Harbord Street, I’ve walked by the Harbord Room many times without even knowing it was there as it’s located in an old house which lacks signage.

The Harbord Room

Upon entering the Harbord Room, I was surprised by how small the space was. It’s long and narrow, featuring a bar down one side of the room. They also have a nice patio in the back – perfect for the summer.

Given how small the restaurant is, I’d recommend making a reservation. During our Saturday evening dinner, we saw them turn around many attempted walk-ins.

The interior

Known for their great cocktails, we couldn’t leave without grabbing some drinks. I went with something on the fruitier side, the Sangria – pink wine, fresh strawberry & rhubarb juice, a splash of brandy & a medley of berries and kiwi ($14). Their sangria is pre-made in individual mason jars and is oh-so-delicious. One of the best sangria’s I’ve had… and I’ve had a lot of sangria!


Mike went for one of the specials, the S.O.A. aka the Summer of Anton ($14) consisting of a berry balsamic preserve, tequila, lime juice and ginger beer. A really delicious tart cocktail…get it while it’s still on the menu!

The S.O.A.

Harbord Room has a charcuterie board which we were tempted to order. But since we had just gone to Caplansky’s the night before, we decided to go with something a little lighter to start. We ended up ordering the Ontario Whitefish Ceviche – poblano relish, tomatillo, pickled watermelon, corn nuts & lime cream ($13).

The presentation of the dish just shouted summer with its colours of green, white, bright red and yellow. Sometimes ceviche can be a little one dimensional but the one at Harbord Room had many layers of flavours and creating a light and refreshing dish.

The Ontario Whitefish Ceviche

I already knew what I was going to order for my entree before even arriving: their Naturally Raised Beef Burger – sharp cheddar, caramelized onions on an egg bun with fries and a little salad ($16). For an extra $2, we added the house smoked maple and jack bacon.

The Burger

Harbord Room’s burger was ranked first in Toronto Life’s list of best burgers, so I had high expectations. So, what’s the verdict? The juicy patty consisted of coarsely ground meat which was cooked to a medium rare. The combination of the delicious patty, cheddar, caramelized onions and bacon was perfection. The bun was also noteworthy as it held up well against the juicy patty. I can see why this burger was ranked #1.

A burger close-up

The burger came with an arugula salad which was fresh and lightly dressed – a nice side to complement the burger. However, I wasn’t a huge fan of the fries, which I would’ve preferred a little crispier.

Mike went with the Soft Shell Crab Po’Boy – red cabbage slaw, house pickles with tarragon & old bay mayo & chips ($17). Gotta take advantage of soft shell crab season! This came with two small po’boys (the menu also specifically indicates that there are no split orders or additional pieces).

The po’boys were tasty and the additional of the red cabbage slaw and pickles complemented the fried crab nicely. While it was a tasty sandwich, I wouldn’t say it was anything special. I actually found the chips more memorable. I just wish the order came with more of these addicting chips!

Soft Shell Crab Po’Boys

Since the portions of everything we ordered wasn’t too big, we still had a bit of room for dessert. While the Valrhona chocolate cake sounded tempting, I’m a sucker for doughnuts and decided on the Fresh Ricotta Doughnuts – espresso & caramel pot de crème, espresso tapioca & crumble meringue wafer ($9). While I couldn’t detect much ricotta flavour in the doughnuts, it made a huge difference in texture as they were a little denser and had a creamier texture. I think I prefer regular doughnuts… but Mike really enjoyed these.

I loved the second component of the dish though. The espresso & caramel pot de crème was delicious with the little crunchy bits of meringue. I thought it’d be too sweet for my liking but was pleasantly surprised.

Fresh Ricotta Doughnuts

Overall, I enjoyed my experience here. The burger was definitely the star of the meal so make sure you don’t leave the Harbord Room without trying it. And if you’re a fan of cocktails, they have fantastic bartenders here, so even if you’re not in the mood for food, drop by for a drink or two!

At a glance:
• You can’t come here without getting their burger
• Small space – reservations recommended
• Nice patio in the back
• Open late – they have a late night menu
• Dinner for 2 including drinks came to $95 before tips

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service:4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars

  1. TheJmoney (Reply) on Sunday 17, 2012

    I’m on a burger hunt over the summer. I’ll definitely add this spot to my list.

    • Jess (Reply) on Sunday 17, 2012

      I’m also on a burger hunt this summer. The Harbord Room was one of my first stops… so far, so good!

  2. Renée (Reply) on Sunday 17, 2012

    This looks so good! I’ve been meaning to walk down Harbord Street and try many of their restaurants! Thanks for a great post!!!

    • Jess (Reply) on Sunday 17, 2012

      Thanks for dropping by, Renee! You should definitely take a stroll down Harbord Street. Lots of great spots!

  3. Lisa (Reply) on Sunday 17, 2012

    I just came across your blog and I love it! I’ve been to the Harbord Room, literally, a million times. It’s our #1 go to restaurant in the city and has been for about a year or so. The burger is fantastic. The soft shell po’boys are an awesome addition to the menu. The gazpacho is to die for. And if you’re ever looking for a liquid dessert you HAVE to order the Athol Brose.

    • Jess (Reply) on Sunday 17, 2012

      Thanks for dropping by, Lisa! I can see why the Harbord Room is one of your go-to’s. Great food and cocktails! I’ll have to try your recommendations next time.