You fancy huh? Sorry, I couldn’t get that part of the song out of my head once we decided to venture out to Bar Fancy for dinner. This spot has been on my list ever since it made Toronto Life’s Best Restaurants of 2015 list. So the first thing I did of course was google the place to check out reviews and get a sense of what I was going to walk into. Basically the only two words that you need to know about this place are Fried Chicken. Every single review talked about the chicken with one diner even saying that she would build a shrine and pray to it every day. Like woah.
Upon coming up to Bar Fancy on Queen (at Dovercourt) there is no obvious signage or even the restaurant name on the outside. There is a window with a bright yellow light above it but alas, where is the door? You need to go down the side alley where you will be greeted by a neon Tiger’s head to find the entrance to this elusive little spot.
Once inside you are instantly overtaken by the small little details and cozy seating options. To the left (where we sat) there are three small tables which back into ledge that doubles as a container garden. This area also comes furnished with neon Converse sign which I was actively trying to figure out how to take home. There is large bar with seating right in the middle and then more seating by the windows and near the back also adorned with potted plants straight outta your folks’ home. Overall super chill vibe, probably space for 25-30 people at one time with a Motown soundtrack to accompany your dinner. By no means fancy as the name would suggest but super adorable.
Photo Credit: blogTO
Photo Credit: blogTO
We lucked out when we arrived because it was in time for their happy hour which translated into $2/piece for the famous fried chicken and ½ price oysters. Not a bad deal. Note that they pretty much have wine and beer on their drinks list, cocktails are not their thing. We checked out the regular menu, ordered some Hungarian bubbles (which were fabulous) and then selected our spread.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Fried Chicken (2 pieces each)
There was something on the menu called the Numbing Wings which obviously had me intrigued so I asked the waiter to tell me everything about them. Apparently the wings (6-7) are served up in a blend of Schezwan and black peppercorn which causes a numbing effect as you eat them. He kindly compared the feeling to doing coke and that some people actually called them coke wings. Sure. We decided to not risk the possible aftermath of the wings for this night but can’t deny that I’m super curious. About the wings, not coke.
Anywayyyyyyys. The dirty nachos came out first and I’m going to say something that will make me super unpopular. I don’t really love nachos. I know, I’m a weirdo. BUT these nachos were ridiculously good. They were simple, everything tasted fresh and most importantly they mastered the topping distribution which meant that every chip had something to dip with. Crunchy tortilla chips topped with cheese sauce, sour cream, pickled red onions (which made the dish), jalapenos and a sprinkling of cilantro. Literally wiped the dish clean. I’m also apologizing for the picture quality, dim lighting doesn’t produce very postable photos. I also blame that converse sign.
The chicken and artichoke dip came out at the same time and since it felt like the chicken came RIGHT out of the deep fryer we dived into the dip. Nothing super outstanding about the dip – good texture, no overtly strong flavors. The BEST part – it came with Ritz crackers. I mean when was the last time you had a Ritz Cracker!? Perfect little combo.
And now for the chicken. Upon first bite it was still really hot but I got a good taste for the batter and the chicken itself. The meat is SUPER juicy and cooked to perfection. The batter is honestly something I will dream of. It wasn’t super thick and had the perfect crispiness to it. I still can’t put my finger on what the spice blend was but with every bite you got a little BBQ, a little Cajun, a little sweetness and just a touch of heat. I think they got the Colonel beat on this one. We ordered two pieces each but only 1 came out which was actually MORE than enough when accompanied by the other dishes. They are also quite decently sized so I can’t imagine someone having more than 1-2 pieces.
So overall – love! Not a place that you are going to find full entree sized meals but this is what owner/chef Jonathon Poon is well known for. The chicken apparently also won the battle for best fried chicken that was held recently at The Drake.
I will say one thing though, the service at first was really good, attentive and even funny but it took us FOREVER to get our bill and pay. I’m talking we had finished eating and spent 30 minutes getting and paying for our bill. Not good. So for some delicious (and filling) snacks, cute AF atmosphere and when you have time to kill head over to Bar Fancy.
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