Bannock

When my mom, sister, and I decided to go into Toronto for the day before the John Mayer concert last Wednesday, the first question we asked each other was “Where should we eat?”. If there’s one thing you should know about my family, it’s that food is always the first thing on our minds.

After a few days (yes, a few days… we don’t take restaurant decisions lightly!) of “researching”, we decided on Bannock (website) because it’s right near the Eaton Centre where we would be shopping, plus it got great reviews. I loved the vibe of it immediately as we entered. It had kind of a rustic Canadian feel to it with exposed wood walls and wood accents.

Bannock restaurant Toronto

And Bannock’s food also went along with its Canadian theme, with dishes like poutine, bannock, and warm s’mores pie offered on the menu. It reminded me of foods I ate at camp when I was a kid!

Bannock restaurant summer menu

My sister wanted to order the poutine with Monforte dairy curds and chicken gravy for the table, so I had a few bites. It was good!

Bannock restaurant poutine with Monforte dairy curds and chicken gravy

I was really impressed with Bannock’s salad menu – it was obvious they put a lot of thought into it, rather than just making the salads an afterthought. I ordered the “get your greens” salad to start, which had dinosaur kale, zucchini, kohlrabi, green mango, roasted chickpeas, and what tasted like a mango vinaigrette.

Bannock restaurant kale, zucchini, and kohlrabi salad with mango and chickpeas

I looked up their menu online beforehand and thought I would maybe order the minestrone soup or albacore tuna with buckwheat noodles for my entree, but that all changed when I saw their daily specials written on the chalkboard. After seeing venison chili on there, my mind was made up and there was no way I was ordering anything else!

Bannock restaurant venison chili

It had an unexpected flavour to it (cinnamon I think?), but it was still delicious, especially topped with cheese, sour cream and green onions. It also came with a piece of their bannock, which was like a soft doughy flatbread. This meal was pure comfort in a bowl.

I’ve read a few articles and opinion pieces arguing over the existence of a distinct Canadian cuisine – and most of them weren’t really able to come up with an answer. But I think those journalists need to have a meal at Bannock because it does one of the best jobs I’ve seen at defining it.

Do you research restaurants before you go somewhere?

Do you think Canada has a distinct cuisine? What foods do you think of when you think of Canada?

Bannock on Urbanspoon

26 Comments

Filed under restaurant, toronto

26 Responses to Bannock

  1. i had no idea canada had itz own cuisine… the only food i think of is maple syrup lol

  2. That salad sounds amazing! I absolutely love dinosaur kale and the roasted chickpeas sound like the perfect addition for some crunch and protein! Yum!

  3. I alwayssss check menus/restaurants out beforehand. Sometimes I wish I was a bit more spontaneous but I just have to know what’s there!

  4. Wait a sec – I thought everyone checks up restaurant menus beforehand…I guess it’s just us both then;)! This place looks incredible! Other than poutine I wasn’t familiar with Canadian food. I especially love the sound of that venison chilli- no wonder it made the specials board! Although the concept of eating deer isn’t as common, I think I might even prefer venison burgers to beef burgers- super yum!

  5. My family is the exact same as yours when it comes to finding places to eat beforehand. We look up the reviews, menus, prices, everything! It’s a fun thing for us to do, and it’s the best when the food turns out to be fantastic!
    My whole family is actually Canadian (either by citizenship or birth), so I knew about things like poutine, but I didn’t know it had its own cuisine! Maybe we’ll have to try Bannock the next time we go to Toronto! That venison chili looks amazing.

  6. The only food that really comes to mind when I think Canadian is poutine… Well that and maple syrup, of course ;) Apparently we can claim Nanaimo bars as well, but when it comes to actual entrees? Ehhhh. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Canada is such a mixed bag of people. We pride ourselves on our multi ethnicity, which kind of makes it difficult to pick out what’s distinctly Canadian.

  7. Poutine, tourtiere, Nanaimo Bars, maple syrup, game meats…while I don’t think we have the quite the same ‘cuisine’ level as some other countries (Mexico, Italy, for example) we definitely have some foodie national treasurers…but to be fair, I’d argue the same thing for American food – they have some distinct foods (hamburgers, apple pie) but probably not a recognizable cuisine.
    I’d be all over that venison chili too – I’ve only had venison a handful of times but I really like it!
    And I maaaay have already scoured UrbanSpoon for Minneapolis restaurants ;-) so yes, I absolutely research beforehand!

  8. That salad looks mighty tasty!!!

  9. I’ve been wanting to try out Bannock for so long! I am drooling over everything!

    I always check menus but that’s cause I want to make sure there are gluten-free options. I’m a major sucker for poutine. I don’t think Canadian food is too distinct (especially from American food) but the dishes that are distinctly Canadian are gooood. Poutine, anything maple, BUTTER TARTS, ketchup chips…ain’t so bad to be Canadian right??

  10. I reaearch restaurants to an embarrassing level before going anywhere…. Even ifim just meeting a friend for lunch. What’s the point in spending money if you won’t be satisfied? I went to Toronto 5 years ago and ate at a restaurant that was seriously the best chicken I have ever eaten. For the life of me I can’t remember what restaurant.

  11. Oh yes. Joe makes sure that we do plenty of research before we go anywhere for dinner/if we’re trying to find somewhere new to eat :P I’ve now gotten into the habit whether I’m going somewhere with him or not haha, so menus are usually open somewhere either on my phone or computer :P Your meal sounds awesome! I love it when chili has cinnamon in it….Joe’s has both chocolate and cinnamon, and it is easily my favorite. I swear I’m not bias or anything ;)

  12. Maple syrup, beer, poutine, whale blubber (do/did we ever eat that?), beaver tails, bison/beef, saskatoon berries, lobster, salmon. We actually have some pretty decent food here, all things considering! Man, I’d love that restaurant – I really need to come out east so you can wine & dine with me.

  13. Instead of saying the typical maple syrup and nanaimo bars, which are associated with Canada- maybe Anne of Green Gables? ok she can’t really be eaten.

    I use urbanspoon occasionally or newspaper recommendations but sometimes tend to stumble upon hidden gems. Love the detective work you guys do though ;)

  14. Oh wow that salad is awesome, I love when salads have more than just the typical salad ingredients. I was looking at the menu picture you had there trying to guess what you got, and I had my eye on the tuna- but I was wrong ;) That chili looks awesome and I love venison!

  15. My dad and mom love looking into places to eat – my mom ALWAYS gets a zagat book if we are going to a major city haha. Shannon and her dad grilled me some tuna steaks for the first time and I can see why you would eye an option with it – so delicious :)

  16. That salad looks so good! I definitely research restaurants before hand since I don’t eat meat. It makes it a little difficult but I can usually find some great places.
    I would say I think of French food when I think of Canada- which is a total misconception, I’m sure.

    • chelseadawneallen@gmail.com

      Canada is definitely known for certain French dishes like tourtiere, butter tarts, and sucre a la creme, so you’re not totally wrong! ;)

  17. I had a Canadian friend in high school who loved poutine so when we had to do a food presentation in our French class we did it on that haha so I got to learn plenty of fun poutine facts! I love restaurants that put some thought into their salad portion of the menu, especially when kale is involved. Also, I am attempting to send you an email and realized don’t have your email address! Help a girl out, lol?

  18. I always think POUTINE!! Mainly because Sam is always plastering it all over her weekend blog posts, but still! One day…one day I will try it…and hopefully not be let down! Ha!

    I almost always research restaurants before dining out, but I love being surprised by mouth-watering specials once I get there! That chili (with cinnamon?) sounds amazing!

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