Seafood and a patio… ah, the days of summer


August is the month that county fairs begin and with that you know that summer is coming to a close.  It’s been a great summer and over the next few weeks I’m going to try to get to as many restaurant patios as I can, because before you know the cold weather will begin.

I decided to venture down to  the Distillery District as it has been some time since I was there last.  Much has changed and I was impressed this time by the number of restaurants that have settled in.  Pure Spirits, Oyster House & Grill had the most interesting menu for my Sunday food adventure.

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Lots of seating inside, warm wood and dark seats, and  lots of tables which I am sure get filled quickly Thursdays, Fridays evenings and weekends with its very comfortable casual atmosphere.  The brew menu included two of my favourite beers from Quebec, La Maudite and Blanche the Chambly as well as a full list of Sleeman beers.  The oyster menu has a good choice from both the east and west coasts as well as some international choices and daily specials. If you love oysters, Pure Spirits will satisfy.

Seafood is becoming somewhat hard to find in Toronto lately, when Filet of Sole on Duncan St. closed many years ago, it left a void in finding seafood dishes that could please even the pickiest fish eaters, but I think Pure Spirits may close the gap a bit.  I was intrigued by the Ceviche of Lake Huron Pickerel and the Blue Swimmer Cake appetizers which looked very delicious as the wait staff hustled plates of these to tables all around us.  We however, opted for the chicken spring rolls which arrived hot and golden accompanied by sweet chill dipping sauce, bean sprouts with a few sprigs of coriander.

The wait staff is helpful, friendly and the courses are well-timed. I had the mixed salad greens with shredded beet strips dressed with a zesty but not overpowering orange raspberry dressing.

Ah, but the best was the main lunch course -two haddock fillets with chips, purple cabbage slaw and tartar sauce, not only very authentic but incredible value at $16.00.  In most pubs and eateries in the city where you only get one fillet for $17.00 or $18.00. The hand cut fries are done right, crispy on the outside and tender without being oily or overdone, I have to say the fish and chips at the Pure Spirits is by far the best I’ve had in the city.

The dinner menu features Branzino (European Sea Bass), Arctic char as well as lobster and paella.  There are also non-seafood items like steak and chicken.  On my next visit, I’ll be trying the ceviche of Lake Huron pickerel and look forward to sampling the cheese platter from the late night menu.   As a seafood lover, Pure Spirits Oyster House and Grill will be on my list of places to bring friends to.  Make sure you go soon to enjoy the remaining days of warm sunshine, seafood to remind you of the beach and a nice cold beer.  Happy eating!

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