A Toronto landmark where wheeling, dealing, and lots of eating have gone on since 1959, Barberian's is also romantic: Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got engaged here (for the first time). The menu is full of steak-house classics, like starters of tomato and onion salad and jumbo shrimp cocktail. Mains are all about the meat, be it a perfectly timed porterhouse, New York strip loin, or rib steak. Fresh fish of the day and grilled free-range capon also hold their charms. One of the oldest steak houses in the city, Barberian's offers a selection of 3,000 labels in its underground two-story wine cellar.
Nov 4, 2011
I've wanted to dine at Barberian's forever. Somehow, things never quite worked out until this year. The place is on a quiet side street just off of the ultra trafficked Yonge Street that is looked at as the main drag in Toronto. With luck, you might score metered parking right out front but don't count on it. More likely, you'll have to use a lot and walk. The place is stuck in time. Walking inside, you feel as if you've just stepped back
20 or 30 years. Things have been here a long, long time. Out front if you take the time, there's a poster with autographs of the famous who have visited over the years. There's lots of familiar names but then you realize most are of the past. The Toronto Film Festival may be drawing some of the top names from Hollywood these days but they are dining elsewhere. Back inside upon being seated, the waiter brings a silver bowl with pickled veggies to your table before even taking your order. It's something I haven't seen in years . . . again that time thing. We're there for lunch but the menu is heavy. It's pretty much the same as the dinner menu. No salads or small plates here, just the big steaks and meats right out of the power lunches from a half century ago. Time again . . . tick, tick, tick. The only thing not stuck in time are the prices. Lunch for two with a couple of glasses of wine or cocktails for each was over 200 CDN. It could have easily been higher as we were conservative. We shared an onion soup and skipped desert. Truthfully, we didn't have room after the entrees. The cuts of meat were huge and I must say some if not the best I've ever had in the city. Afterwards, they showed us the spot where the Liz and Dick thing took place. I say spot as the table's been moved to make way for an opening that wasn't there at the time. Suddenly, you realize it's not 1960 something but the hustle and bustle of today. If you need a jar to get back, that Yonge street traffic once back outside will be sure to do it too. But the trip back in time leaves you warm and fuzzy. At least it did me. And would I do it again??? I can't wait.