Sometimes I crave comfort food and solve this by eating at a neighborhood restaurant. It evokes feelings of comfort, warmth, and nostalgia. We all have a favourite hidden gem or two. A local place where you don’t have to dress up, are warmly welcomed, and the food is reasonably priced. Bernhardt’s Toronto, located on a residential street, tucked away at 202 Dovercourt Road and is deeply rooted in the community and is a gathering spot for family and friends.
This very laid-back, cozy, casual, somewhat rustic spot is in an old home that looks like it could have been a former convenience store. There are various Knick-knacks and collectibles throughout the three rooms. Yes, the chairs and wooden booths are uncomfortable, but I didn’t come here to linger.
Named after Sarah Bernhardt, the restaurant opened during the pandemic in 2020 and was strictly a takeout at that time, but has evolved since then. One thing that hasn’t changed is the rotisserie chicken, which is the star of the menu. Owners Zachary Kolomeir and Carmelina Imola of Dreyfus, Joe Beef, and Dan Dooreck are the owners. They provide wholesome food from local farms. The birds come from White Rock Farms in Harriston. The chicken is brined, chopped, and splayed. You can order a half or whole bird. It is roasted golden brown and is moist, tender, and juicy, served with coleslaw, pickles, broad flour rolls, and housemade gravy. It comes with a side of thrice-fried French fries or roasted garlic potatoes. Or, you can get half fries and half potatoes. There is a nice selection of seasonal vegetables that come from Matty Matheson’s farm in Fort Erie. There are also hearty salads, always a protein special (which was a pork chop on the night we dined). We had a great shrimp dish in a tarragon cream and a hearty morel, mushrooms, and bacon on toast. Sides and other dishes rotate depending on which produce is at its peak. Vegetarians also have a great selection of vegetable-forward dishes to choose from.
There is a rotating list of organic and low-intervention wines. If you bring your own wine, there is a hefty $60 corkage fee.
There are usually 2-3 desserts on offer. One of them is always a homemade soft serve. Ours was a rhubarb and celery concoction (yes, celery, don’t knock it till you try it). We also had a rich salted chocolate cake with dark cherries. There was also a dessert special of macerated strawberry pavlova.
The biggest challenge is finding parking in this area.