Before going to Skin and Bones for dinner, I had to reassure my vegetarian sister that the name refers to the minimalist design of the restaurant and not actually to the menu items. This wine bar/restaurant in Leslieville used to be an auto repair shop and is testament to the massive transformation of the neighbourhood from working-class grungy to Toronto hipster chic. For a great night out without the kids, add Skin and Bones to your list of where to eat in Toronto.
Where to Eat in Toronto: The Menu
The occasion that brought us there on a recent Saturday night was my husband’s 40th birthday. We had eight guests, so the restaurant set us up with a prix-fixe menu for $45. Beautiful warm olives, duck rillette and a delectable charcuterie platter were brought to the table for us to nibble on while waiting for our mains. We followed with a starter of organic mixed greens or a grilled radish salad. The vegetarians had truffled gnudis with roasted squash, hazelnuts and caraway. The pescatarians had grilled branzino with sherry butter and lentils and kale – the best dish on the table. The meat eaters enjoyed hanger steaks with potatoes, leeks, confit carrot puree and horseradish cream.
For dessert there was sticky toffee pudding although it was made with figs instead of dates which kind of threw me off and fried apple pies with Beemster cheese grated on them- those were unbelievable.
Being a wine bar, the wine list is impressive and you can try different kinds by ordering flights of wine, which is three sampling glasses. The sommeliers’ knowledge is stunning and the one who served us even remembered what bottle one of our friends ordered when he ate there several months ago.
The overall service was outstanding. There was none of that familiarity between the servers and the guests that I can’t stand – it drives me bananas when servers sit down at the table and call me by my first name. The staff here were ultra-polite and attentive, even whipping over to the table to fold a napkin when someone got up to use the restroom. My water glass was never empty and they didn’t start clearing plates away before everyone had finished eating – my other restaurant pet peeve. I felt like I was in a fancy restaurant in Manhattan, not a wine bar in Leslieville.
The space is open and industrial but warm. The open kitchen looks onto a room framed by banquette seating, a wall of wine and a steel beamed ceiling. It’s a great place to reconnect with that cool person you were before you could sing every Wiggles song. It can be loud when the place is full, so this is a great place for a party and drinks but maybe not where to eat in Toronto for a quiet romantic dinner for two. There is a small area at the very front of the restaurant that is quieter if this is what you are looking for.
Try out Skin and Bones and let us know how you liked it in the comments below!