Food / Restaurant

Dinner at Portland Variety

1-CollagesPortland Variety does a little bit of everything and does it damn well. From house made breads, cheese and pastries to seafood platters and fantastic cocktails, it’s all amazing.

The front of the restaurant serves pintxos– small tapas with unique twists. House made bread slathered with cheese roasted cherry tomato and a teeny anchovy. Skewers of olives and cheese. Slices of onion tart. Brie topped with eggplant. House made chorizo.

All of these bites are available to nosh on by the piece/skewer/slice.
There’s also a nice selection of sweets including giant chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bomb cakes and more treats.

1-July 20141From the front of the restaurant it seems like a small space but as you go further in it opens up into a large, sleek open space that seats 150. There’s even a patio if you feel like soaking up some sun. Portland Variety has just started to serve dinner.

The meal that I had was outstanding! All the dishes were sharing plates. Here’s the scoop.

1-IMG_2560House Made Ricotta with Honey and Pear ($9) served with toasted house made bread. We couldn’t get enough of this!


1-IMG_2575This fabulous Chilled Seafood Platter ($45) was brought to the table covered in a copper dish. When the server reaches your table the lid comes off to reveal a heaping dish of seafood. The platter includes lobster, shrimp, clams and amazing smoked trout. This is served with browned butter for dipping. Heaven.

1-IMG_2600Shrimp Pil Pil with Chili Garlic Oil ($17) is a bowl filled with spicy marinated shrimp served with a side of bread. Perfect for dipping in the chili garlic oil! One of my favourite mains.

1-IMG_2593Grilled Octopus ($24) offers up something different than calamari. The octopus is grilled and served with Iberico chorizo, smoked tomato and olive oil.

1-IMG_2612This is the Baby Eggplant and Byaldi Confit. (Confit byaldi is a variation of French ratatouille) For only $7 it’s a hearty and filling dish.

steakThe star of the show was this 22 oz Canadian AAA Porcini Rubbed Blackened Rib Eye ($45). The steak was tender and perfectly cooked to medium. It was served with melt in your mouth caramelized onions, and crispy cassava frites. So good.

Next up was dessert.

1-IMG_2633Dark Chocolate Praline Mousse ($7). The soft praline tops the dessert concoction of crispy nougatine and caramelized hazelnuts.

1-IMG_2647The Lemon Grass Granita ($7) is refreshing with local cherries and strawberry consomme.

1-IMG_2639Last but certainly not least are hot beignets ($7) filled with vanilla bean cream and served with warm melted chocolate for dipping.

You’ll be happy to know that the drinks were as fantastic as the food!
1-IMG_2570The beautiful bar serves up beer, wine, pitchers of sangria and a slew of impressive cocktails.
Each cocktail is stunningly creative and some are akin to performance art in the way they are served.

1-IMG_20140708_201111411_HDRIf you look carefully you can see tendrils of smoke curling from the Tequila Bong ($15). This cocktail is loaded with tromba blanco tequila, fresh lemon pineapple, jalapeno-infused agave with a hickory-mesquite blend.

1-IMG_2611Sour Heart ($14) is served with a teeny tiny heart cut out. Classic whiskey sour made with bulleit bourbon, lemon fresh apricot puree and egg white.

1-IMG_2591The Royal Garden ($14) is poured at your table over a giant wildflower ice cube sphere. Tito’s vodka, lemon, basil and cucumber.

1-IMG_2605Peaches and Cream ($11) Fresh peach puree is layered with Bacardi and topped with orange pekoe foam and caviar peach pearls.

1-IMG_2636They also have a selection of dessert cocktails. Above is the Mr. Belvedere, ($14) an espresso martini made with Belvedere vodka.

I am thoroughly impressed with Portland Variety, and I think that it’s my favourite new restaurant of the summer. Run, don’t walk to King W & Portland to check it out! Stop by for tapas or dinner. Brunch is in the works for the future.

1-IMG_2579Portland Variety, 587 King Street West


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