A deli walks into a wine bar at Grand Cru
Location: 304 Richmond St W, Toronto
TDI DATE VERDICT: Pre-show dinners, cute date nights, after work spot
The first thing you see on their website is: “A deli walks into a wine bar..” and it’s so totally true. When I first heard of this place I thought it was a deli only, with sandwiches and mustard and all that fun stuff. Much to my surprise, it is one of Toronto’s best and most unique wine bars.
Grand Cru Deli is literally in the heart of it all, close to theatres and bars, nightlife and shopping, yet remains quaint and quiet, and almost feels like you’re in a secret place where all you have to focus on is wine and food.
Walking up to Grand Cru is a treat in itself, you’ll find yourself approaching a bright, welcoming door:
The interior is just as nice and the staff there is so friendly, you feel like you could spend hours there.
DISCLAIMER: Their menu changes and items shown here may not still be available. Alternatively, items may be available now that aren’t shown here so you really just have to go see the menu for yourself!
Something really cool about this place, other than the fact that their wines are amazing and carefully selected to ensure the best quality, with a great mix of local and international, is that any of the glasses of wine on the menu, you can half the price of it and get half the portion to turn it into a sample, which then allows you to turn it into a flight because you can get samples of a bunch! Hearing this was amazing news, especially when you haven’t tried the wines before and don’t want to commit to a whole glass.
You will rarely find a wine bar without charcuterie board/plate options and this deli obviously has no excuse to be excluded, so they put together the nicest looking and tasting deli charcuterie plates with the most AMAZING grainy mustard that pairs perfectly with any glass.
Another cool item they had was this smoked salmon and everything bagel topping dip with cucumbers, cream cheese, and bagel bites. I thought of it as a deconstructed smoked salmon bagel and lox type of deal. Perfect for summer days on the patio when all you really want is wine and light snacks.
Speaking of more wine, the flight option really helped us out in trying all these AMAZING French rosé’s and reds. I could not feel classier.
The next thing to come out, at first, looked way too green and healthy for my liking. It turned out to be the one thing I’ve been craving ever since going! The Asparagus Burrata Salad with garlic is literally what all my dreams are made of (and yes, there IS burrata under there!)
The Oxtail Lasagna is something we saw on the menu before we even got there, and had our eye on. It sounds amazing, came out looking even better, and tasted to die for! The layers of lasagna mimic a traditional one, but the shape and filling of cheese and oxtail made it so perfectly different. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the fondest of lasagna, it’s a little tired for me, maybe because I had it so much as a kid, but I would go back for this in a heartbeat and highly recommend it if you’re hungry especially!
We ended off on a sweet note of the cutest dessert I have ever been served at a restaurant ever – this banana wafer ice cream bowl was topped with TEDDY GRAHAMS! I haven’t had those in forever and it was so yummy and nostalgic while still staying incredibly on-theme with the cute wine bar vibe.
All in all, my first real Toronto wine bar experience was one for the books and made me so excited to check them all out. Definitely started out on an insanely high note with the variety, quality of the staff and company as a whole, and food offerings, not to mention location!
This is obviously very much right up my alley and if I’m being honest, I’d spend all my days out at these wine bars learning about how they came to be, how they pick their wine, and how they choose their menus.
Keep an eye out for more wine bar trips!