If you ever find yourself walking down Bay St., casually dressed, and hungry, you may feel like a fish out of water. That's because in the world of the Financial District, full of numbers, projections, and suits, everything feels pretentious and stuffy, until you stumble upon the refreshing oasis that is The Gabardine. This gastropub is where Bay Street meets Queen West, where the waiters are dressed in plaid and the patrons don anything from suits to shorts.
The menu is filled with Gabardine's reinterpretation of your favourite comfort foods: mac and cheese, cheeseburgers, and chicken pot pie. We opt for the Shrimp Po'Boy ($16) and the vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan ($16) sandwiches as our fine grub and for our libations, we order the Hibiscus Royale ($12).
The Hibiscus Royale was a honey-infused hibiscus flower that never stopped swaying in the bubbly it was topped with. It was evocative of sea wind swaying in the ocean current – a poetic description that matches the drink itself – just one sip melts all your stress away.
Left to right: Shrimp Po'Boy ($16), Eggplant Parmesan ($16), Hibiscus Royale ($12)
The Shrimp Po'Boy featured fried shrimp garnished with butter lettuce, tomato relish, and aioli, and yes, it's as good as it sounds. Literally overflowing with shrimp, it was one of the most filling sandwiches we've ever had. The Eggplant Parmesan, though vegetarian, was comparable to eating the sloppiest of joes. Surprisingly, this sandwich was also completely loaded and a mission to finish. Both sandwiches were served with a side of fries that made us want to keep eating forever but we were so stuffed, we physically could not take another bite. We took them to go and then shed a tear when we were forced to dispose of them before a concert.
And you can't talk about The Gabardine without mentioning the service as well: their staff are super friendly and make sure you're taken care of the second you walk through their door, something that's appreciated considering their fast-paced location.
The perfect getaway, The Gabardine is where you escape the the stuffiness of the Financial District and stuff your stomach instead. Its laid-back atmosphere and ample servings make for a enjoyable dining experience, no matter the occasion.