Need a date night idea? Check out Parkdale’s Geraldine, a 1920’s-themed seafood and cocktail bar.
A couple Friday’s ago, Mike and I were too lazy to cook after a long day at work and decided to check out Geraldine (@GeraldineResto). We didn’t have a reservation but were lucky to to snag two seats at the bar…in my opinion, the best seats in the house!
Geraldine is located in the former Cowbell space and is brought to us by Chef Peter Ramsay (former sous chef at Cowbell) and Alexandra Albert. The space was renovated to emulate the prohibition-era and I immediately fell in love with the space upon entering the restaurant. The dimly lit space feels very intimate and has a bit of a Paris bistro feel to it.
Mike and I loved sitting at the bar watching the bartenders in action. There’s no doubt about it, these guys, headed by Michael Mooney, know what they’re doing. If you’re coming to Geraldine for one thing, it’s gotta be for their cocktails.
I ordered The Scarlet Carson – Tanqueray gin infused with jasmine & rose petal tea, Campari, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit & honey syrup ($11). I’m not usually a fan of floral flavours so the rose petal tea worried me a little. Thankfully the rose flavour was very subtle and the drink had just the right amount of sweetness. Absolutely delicious!
Mike ordered the Carthusian Shipwreck – green chartreuse, Appleton VX rum, house felernum, lime, pineapple, Angostura bitters & fire ($14). We both thought that “fire” in the description referred to the spice level but it literally meant fire. It’s a really delicious cocktail but dangerous… it’s much stronger than it tastes!
As far as food goes, their menu is broken down into “small stuff”, seafood, meat and vegetables. We started off with the Crispy Fried Smelts – tossed in citrus, herbs & chili salt with garlic aioli ($14). It came with a good amount of smelts which you’d expect given its $14 price tag. While they were generally quite tasty, I felt they were too heavy-handed with the salt. Luckily the delicious garlic aioli helped tone it down a bit.
For our main course, we shared the Cioppino – octopus, fish, shrimp, crab & mussels in a rich tomato broth with rouille ($34 for two; $54 for four). We both really enjoyed this – the seafood components were all wonderfully cooked and I loved the tomato broth which had a really intense tomato flavour.
The last dish we tried was the Crispy Fried Cauliflower – with sauce romesco ($8). The cauliflower had a nice crispy batter but similar to the fried smelts, I found it to be over salted. I also wished they had the romesco sauce on the side. I didn’t even realize it came with sauce until we got to the last few pieces – the romesco sat on the bottom of the plate underneath all the cauliflower.
Overall, we found the food to be solid but not particularly memorable. The real standouts for us at Geraldine were definitely the cocktails. If Parkdale isn’t your hood, their cocktails are definitely worth the trek!
At a glance:
• 1920’s-themed seafood and cocktail bar located in Parkdale
• Open Tuesday to Sunday from 6pm until late
• Chef Peter Ramsay (former sous chef at Cowbell)
• Menu features “Small stuff”, seafood, meat and vegetables
• Amazing cocktails which make Geraldine well worth a visit
• Food is solid but not as memorable as the cocktails
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars