The Rebel House

News and Reviews

The Bar Towel Review

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Without question, one of Toronto's finest good beer establishments. The Rebel House is a true Ontario pub, serving a large selection of Ontario craft microbrews on tap. They include familiar Brick and Lakes of Muskoka for the non-adventurous, along with Trafalgar, Kawartha Lakes, Wellington, Niagara Falls and Neustadt Springs for those looking for something with a little more flavour.

The Rebel House also has outstanding food, featuring many Canadian-themed dishes. My personal favourite: the big-enough-for-a-meal poutine. There is hardly a finer Canadian experience than a tasty dish of poutine and a fine ale.

Be warned, however, the Rebel House is not a large pub, and seating can often be difficult on a weekend night. The pub is very narrow, and has two floors, with a bar and table seating on each level. However, they do have an outstanding back patio when our weather co-operates.

Highly recommended. [original]

Blog.TO Review, December 31, 2009

Thursday, January 07, 2010

by Melissa Yu

The Rebel House has been doing its thing for over 17 years now. Co-owner, Bruce Roberts, has seen locals come and go, shops open and close, and the neighbourhood grow since he opened up shop with partner David Logan in 1993, but still the Rebel remains strong.

Back then, the Rebel House was one of the only joints of its kind in the area, and Roberts fondly recalls the two hour-long lineups that went out the door onto Yonge Street. Today there is more competition, but this also translates into more diners checking out the area as a whole.

On my first visit for lunch, the restaurant is busy and the extensive menu offers up bistro-fare as well as an array of classic pub standbys, like meatloaf and mac and cheese. There's also a modest vegetarian selection. Daily specials -- featuring a soup, salad, mussel plate, daily bread (an appetizer with toppings baked upon toasted sesame flat bread), main entrée, pasta and dessert -- appear on a separate menu.

I order the daily soup: potato, bacon chowder ($5.75), and the spinach salad with julienned green apple, slivered almonds, and cheddar cheese dressed in a creamy maple dressing ($5.20). The side portion I opt for is plenty, and spills off the plate with the addition of flavourful and smoky blackened chicken ($4.50).

My date goes for the risotto appetizer ($7.25), which is equally generous. The barley is simmered in tomato and white wine with mushrooms and grilled vegetables and is marvellous. The earthy flavour of the mushrooms compliments the creamy grain and the sharpness of the Parmesan that is sprinkled on top, while the subtle tomato compliments the red peppers.

The Rebel House RosedaleOn another visit to the Rebel for weekend brunch, I chat with Bruce and ask him what advice he can offer to up-and-coming restaurateurs. It's pretty frank: "Get ready to work a lot. The more time you can put in at your establishment, the more it will stick to your idea of the type of place you want it to be. There were days in the early years here when we thought we might throw in the towel, but if you can ride out the tough times and continue to put out a quality product, customers will appreciate it." He also mentions how important it is that customers see their owners actively engaged in the business, and says on any given night, he can recognize a lot of the faces in the dining room.

Over the Comics section of the Saturday Star and a cup of tea, I enjoy a side of bacon and the "Franglaise Toast," made from thick slices of French loaf, dipped in a thick egg batter and served with a fruit compote and crème anglaise ($8.75). The portion is again generous, and the batter is delicious and sweet.

The Rebel House French ToastWhen I ask Bruce about longevity and the dominating food trend focused on sourcing local, he notes that the success of the Rebel isn't about trying to follow trends. He has always been committed to serving a quality product, and good food is made from fresh ingredients that feature the best of what the surrounding area (Ontario) has to offer.

Their extensive beer menu includes draught and bottled beer mostly from local micro-breweries and they only serve VQA Ontario wines. Bruce says there is nothing trendy about that, it just what makes sense, and it's what they've always done.

Rebel House BreakfastAs I linger over the end of my tea and chuckle at Dilbert and the gang, I catch a shot of the eggs Benedict, served with peameal bacon and a salad, and make a mental note to order that next time. I leave with the prospect of more great meals to come, and with a pining for warmer days when I can enjoy a pint on the Rebel's excellent backyard patio. [original]

Dine.TO Review

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just across the way from Rosedale Subway (good to know if you're in a hurry), the Rebel House is named for Upper Canada's (Ontario) long history with taverns (which might explain a few things too) - specifically the 1837 Upper Canada Rebellion, which was fought in this very area. As a tribute, the Rebel House serves only Ontario brews (ok, Guinness too), and a selection of Ontario wines, along with Canadian-themed dishes (including a great poutine). [original] Review

Saturday, November 01, 2008

This casual spot is beloved by locals. Is the draw the warm welcome, the better-than-average pub grub, or the impressive selection of microbrews? The crowd is mainly 20- to 30-somethings decked out in designer casual wear, more intent on socializing than eating. The specialty of the house is hearty, simple fare; grilled Atlantic salmon and seared Angus strip loin are top picks. Pastas and salads are worth a taste, too. [original] Review

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Its unpretentious Canadian spirit is reflected in the mainly 20-30-something crowd that frequents this popular Rosedale haunt. Although there is an outstanding back patio with parachute roof, seating is limited. If you're lucky enough to score a seat, sample the numerous offerings from Ontario’s micro-breweries, the hearty, simple fare or the weekend brunch menu.

Rebel House is a find. Count on washing down some good old-fashioned bar food with a bit more thought than the typical Toronto tavern. Legend has it that one of the battles fought in the Upper Canada Rebellion involved a historic march down Yonge Street -- where Rebel House sits. And although it may be too young to be part of any legend, it's pretty safe to say that they are forerunners of a foreseeable culinary trend: Ontario, not English, Ontario tavern food. Tight quarters of the smoke-filled ground floor bar scene offer few tables for UCC grads and grizzly-faced regulars clamouring for another pint. [original] Review, 2003

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

This Rosedale eatery specializes in foods from Ontario includes fifteen kinds of draft beer from local microbreweries on its bar list. Specialties of the house include lamb and ale stew, scallop stuffed rainbow trout, wild boar sausage and P.E.I. mussels in wine. The whole trout smoked on a cedar plank is also recommended. The curious might want to try a bison burger.

The service is prompt and professional. Dinner per person including tip averages about $60. [original]

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