I've been taking myself on dates for awhile because there are cool restaurants in this city that I want to go to but don't always have the energy to wait around for people to scrape together the time and cash to join me. It turns out I am not the only person who does this. I was chatting with my friendly neighbourhood bartender at Deer + Almond, where I'd ducked in because it was raining and a Friday and I wanted to do something cool, and bam, inspiration struck. Forgive the shoddy pictures. These will get better now that I know this is a thing I want to do.
The main thing I look at is some variant of how awkward it is to eat at a place alone (seating, do I need resos, is there Wi-Fi, do the servers look at you funny). Then I'm going to tell you how much I liked a place out of 3 and the priceiness. Keep in mind that since I'm making these as dates to myself as opposed to, say, grabbing something at a drive-through, a 1/3 for price is still going to be expensive. Dining alone is not cheap, especially if you drink, so don't call me out on that one. I got it.
|The best popcorn is |
So, back to Deer + Almond then. This was my very first time going here and the staff made it super easy to grab a seat by myself. They had a sit-in bar, which I always appreciate, because then I don't feel like I'm taking away space from bigger parties as the place starts to fill. Mr. Bartender was totally on board with my eating out alone, as I mentioned before, and was great at recommending cocktails and getting me started there. The ones I tried were super strong and well-made. I'd say you'd be into them if you are more into stereotypically 'manly' alcohol. I like the girliness myself, so I'd recommend the Strawberrykin if that's what you're into. Also, they gave me popcorn as an appetizer while waiting for my... appetizers. Which was pretty rad.
|If you can't read through the blur, |
it says 'congratulations,
your dining choices
helped others today'
I'm a fiend for raw meats, so I ordered the deer tartare and omg, holy sh**, that is one awesome dish. Instead of just egg yolk, they use hollandaise my friends, hollandaise sauce. The texture was perfect and clearly, I thought it tasted great. It was served with plain salted chips which were too thin to support the weight of the tartare if you like doing that (I do) but it paired super well anyway. And, AND, just so you can feel even better about eating this thing, they donate $1 to the St. Amant Centre each time they sell one.
If I'd stopped there we'd be looking at 3/3 but I decided I should probably eat something else. I ordered a halloumi dish. To be fair, the menu did say it came with lentils and such, but I would describe it more as a lentil dish with halloumi rather than a halloumi dish with lentils. It was fine, but maybe my standards were too high after that tartare.
Anyway, I'm glad it rained on Friday and I'm glad I stopped in on my way home. It was a great place to dine solo, had some Wi-Fi for me to use and cool staff. The major downside for me was it was crazy expensive for one, even by my generous solo-dining standards.