Borrel Is The Best Dutch Comfort Food In Toronto!

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Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

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!

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood
Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

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.

The Atmosphere

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.

Hallway Posters

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Bathroom Art – Can You Recognize Some Of These Famous Dutch People?

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

Unique art at Borrel Toronto Dutch Comfort Food Restaurant! #Toronto #comfortfood #restaurant #Dutchfood

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.

Appetizers

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!

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

Bitterballen

Main Dishes

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.

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

“Snert” soup

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

draadjesvlees

Dessert

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.

Visit Borrel Toronto Restaurant for awesome Dutch comfort food! #Toronto #restaurant #review #Dutchfood #comfortfood

Poffertjes

The Service

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!

18 Comments

  1. annerbananer1 says:

    This sounds like a fun experience because Dutch cuisine is rarer to find. The little pancakes look so cute and yummy!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      This is so true. I love finding these new foods and restaurants. The pancakes were delish.

  2. Lisette says:

    I’ve been to a few Dutch places around and though they’re all good and have something special, my favourite is Borrel! Food is great and the atmosphere is the best! I actually like it’s a little small, makes it more intimate.

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      That’s great to hear Lisette. You being Dutch makes you more of an expert in this cuisine than me :). Thanks for suggesting this great place. We should definitely go back.

  3. Seanna says:

    Those look so tasty! Did you draw the illustrations yourself, too?

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      No, I definitely didn’t make the illustrations. This was a great artist that I mention in the article.

  4. Crystal says:

    Love the graphics in your post! So fun!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Thanks for checking it out.

  5. pakulele says:

    I really like the drawing and would love to try food as well. Who know where the wind will take me next year? Maybe Canada 😀

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      I hope you do make it out to Canada soon girl 🙂

  6. Niki says:

    I am literally drooling! This burger thing with the difficult name (LOL) sounds so yummy! good choice tell your guy! I have tried those fried balls in Amsterdam and they were amazing! Man! This and a Heineken!

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Oh you tried the balls (lol, I dunno how else to call them) – they’re good eh? My favorite was definitely the dessert but I loved the soup and the pulled meat sandwich too. Ah so many goodies in one night.

  7. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits says:

    I haven’t been to Toronto and this eatery seemed to be really interesting and I love the fact that it owns a homey atmosphere. The food really looks tempting and luscious. I would surely get here, If I have the chance to visit Toronto next time. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      You’re very welcome. Hope you do come to Toronto one day.

  8. Tahnee says:

    Wow sounds like you found yourself a true diamond here. I love a great place to eat in and the art is doing it for me. I also think i would be a big fan of dutch puddings. It all looks so incredible. I hope your friend had the best birthday x

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Thanks Tahnee. Yes my friend had a great time. This is a really awesome place with great food and atmosphere.

  9. Ana Marcia says:

    I loved this place, all these posts and these drawn walls are very beautiful. I love to eat bitterballen, it’s delicious

    1. thesavvydreamer says:

      Great to hear Ana. The bitterballen were indeed delish 🙂

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