It’s been a while since I’ve done a restaurant review but I have a perfect excuse why. To my defense, the weather in Toronto the past few months has been quite depressing. It’s been cold, rainy and pretty drab. Seems like winter is never going to end. Even the first signs of spring have since gone away and we’ve been back to the cold and gloomy weather. So needless to say I’ve been hibernating. But a few weeks ago I had a chance to finally get out and experience something new. My friend was having a birthday and she invited us to go out to a restaurant and celebrate. I jumped at the chance. Since my friend is Dutch, naturally she invited us to a Dutch restaurant. I’ve never eaten at a proper Dutch eatery so I was double excited. So this week I’m sharing with you a great local Toronto spot called Borrel. Read up below why I think Borrel is the best Dutch comfort food in Toronto.
Borrel Is The Best Dutch Comfort Food In Toronto!
About Borrel Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant
Borrel, the name of the restaurant actually comes from a Dutch word used to describe an informal gathering. I find that so neat. This restaurant started up as a pop-up and as it became more popular turned to a typical brick-and-mortar version. I for one am glad it did so because it’s such a great place for Torontonians to experience Dutch comfort food at its best.
When you enter Borrel you’re transformed into a little gem of a restaurant. The place is small and cozy and offers a great homey atmosphere. Because they’re pretty small you should probably give them a call before you plan on bringing a group. We did just that and managed to get a nice table for my friend’s birthday celebration. Before I arrived to this spot I visited their website to familiarize myself with the food options. I’ve never tried true Dutch cuisine even though I did go to Amsterdam on a school trip back in college. Back then I didn’t really have the funds to go to restaurants so we just stuck to eating out at fast food joints. Ah college years!!!
Back to the subject at hand, I found out on the website that the restaurant has some interesting art created by an artist Nanna Koekoek. Her unique art can be found all over Borrel and I was really looking forward to seeing it in person. She has created awesome murals in the basement of the restaurant and that’s one of the special things you should definitely pay attention to when visiting Borrel. Check out below some of her colorful creations. Not only you can have some of the best Dutch comfort food but also be surrounded by cool and interesting art.
Bathroom Art – Can You Recognize Some Of These Famous Dutch People?
The Perfect Dutch Comfort Food
As I mentioned before, I wasn’t all that familiar with Dutch cuisine so I had to look at the menu beforehand. Don’t ask me how to pronounce the names of the dishes as they’re definitely tongue-twisters. But that’s the whole fun of it, isn’t it? Borrel serves up typical Dutch comfort food and those familiar with it will surely recognize their favorites. I’m highlighting some of the dishes I was able to try below.
We tried a few of their delicious appetizers such as: ‘bitterballen’ (deep-fried balls of either meat or veggies served with mustard from Zaandam) and ‘Kaasbord’ (Dutch and Dutch-style cheeses and pickles from Good Cheese). I especially enjoyed the vegetarian version of the ‘bitterballen’, which was just delicious. I mean it’s deep fried goodness so who doesn’t love that? And the cumin infused cubed cheese was so tasty. I’m such a fan of cumin I even wrote a whole post about it. Check it out here!
For my main dish I tried the ‘Erwtensoep’ or a.k.a. “Snert” soup. It’s a traditional Dutch comfort food pea soup with smoked ham hock and Dutch sausage served with dark rye bread. It was very tasty and definitely had that meaty feel to it. I was craving pea soup so this was a perfect dish for me. I also tried my boyfriend’s ‘draadjesvlees’ sandwich. It’s a slow-cooked seasoned “threaded beef” topped with coleslaw on a bun and served with home-seasoned paprika chips. This resembles a pulled pork sandwich and it was very flavorful. The paprika seasoned chips were a great addition. My only complaint would be that there weren’t more of them. Give me more, give me more!!! He he he. My friend also let me try her ‘Boerenkool’. This is Holland’s most famous dish. It’s stewed kale and potato mash served with Dutch smoked sausage, bacon lardons and gravy. I tried the vegetarian version. It was definitely different but pretty tasty.
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the ‘Poffertjes’. My Dutch friend professed that they very delicious and I just had to try them. They’re apparently a favourite Dutch dessert for many. And I have to say they didn’t disappoint. In fact they were amazing and we all ate them up in no time. They’re mini puffed pancakes topped with icing sugar and butter. Hello, butter, pancakes and icing sugar? You can’t go wrong with that. OMG I want them now! This is Dutch comfort food at its best if you ask me.
I found the service to be attentive and friendly. Our server even stayed behind after her shift was over to have a lovely chat with us. We pretty much closed down the joint as we just couldn’t stop chatting. That’s what happens when we’re all been hibernating during winter and finally had a chance to get out. This place gives you that small family owned restaurant feel and it’s always a welcomed change from the big chain restaurants. I think it’s important to make sure you visit places like this and support local small businesses. They are usually the hart and soul of any big city. It was lovely to spend our night at this great restaurant and discover unique and tasty dishes.
I would surely recommend you visit this restaurant whether you live in Toronto or are just visiting. It’s very conveniently located right by the Greenwood subway station. Not only will you experience unique flavour of Dutch comfort food but you will be well treated.
Have you ever been to Borrel or have you tried Dutch comfort food before? Share with me in the comments below.
Looking for another great Toronto spot? Check out my review of Mi Taco Taqueria. And remember to sign up for our newsletter so you never miss a great local or travel spot. You’ll also get a chance to win contests and future giveaways!