Southern Californian cooking has ventured north with the arrival of the Combine Eatery on the Danforth. This relatively new restaurant is a welcome addition to a neighbourhood dominated by souvlaki, feta cheese and phyllo pastry.
It’s freezing outside. Time to warm up and The Combine Eatery is just the place to settle in for some bright southern California sunshine. Alright, so sunshine is not on the menu at The Combine Eatery, but what better way to warm oneself on a bitter cold January day than with some good old comfort food, which can be found in abundance at this Danforth hot spot. Burgers, macaroni and cheese, and meatloaf are some of their standard classics. These are all great choices, but the real comfort food at The Combine Eatery can be found in the traditional Southern California style offerings such as fish tacos and potato taquitos.
The twice baked potato taquitos are absolutely delicious. Soft warm mashed potatoes and melted gooey cheddar cheese surrounded by fresh corn tortillas, deep fried to yummy perfection. The unusual combination of potatoes and tacos, served with fresh salsa and sour cream, is definitely an unexpected delight.
According to Albert Chan, who co-owns the restaurant with his sister Amy, one of the most popular items on the menu are the fish tacos. Served either fried or grilled, the tacos are made with basa, a light-flavoured white fish from South East Asia and Vietnam. They are served on soft corn tortillas and topped with cabbage, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and a drizzle of sour cream. The fish tacos at The Combine Eatery are not overly spicy, which allow the subtle flavours of the fresh ingredients to stand out. If you desire a little spice in your life, however, be sure to ask for some hot sauce. The Combine Eatery serves Cholula chili garlic and chipotle hot sauce, which are both a nice accompaniment to many of the featured dishes.
The interior of The Combine Eatery is a comfortable space. Exposed brick and duct work, combined with dark and light wood finishes, creates a cold meets warm atmosphere that suits the cold meets warm concept of a southwestern restaurant in Canada. Tables are situated in close proximity to one another and long wooden benches and tables encourage communal eating.
The Combine Eatery is also a family-friendly restaurant. Children and families are easily accommodated, as the restaurant offers seating options for little ones and serves a wide range of customers. The exceptional customer service also adds to the comfortable feeling of the restaurant.
With most meals in the $15 range, the prices at The Combine Eatery can also be described as comfortable. This may be a bit more pricey than the average family restaurant, but the unique food offerings and fresh ingredients are definitely worth the extra cost. The next time you’re on the Danforth and in the mood for something other than the standard Greek fare, stop by The Combine Eatery for some southwestern comfort food.
The Combine Eatery
162 Danforth Avenue, Toronto (416)792-8088