Tucked into a quiet residential pocket in Beaconsfield Village is your new favourite neighbourhood date spot: Julie’s Cuban.
Marked only with a vintage snack bar sign, you may have walked right passed this unassuming Dovercourt establishment a handful of times without giving it a second thought. Step inside and Julie’s colourful, rustic decor and dusty twinkle lights will make you feel like you just walked into a local watering hole in old Havana. In the summer, the restaurant boasts a small wrap around patio that – despite the exposure to pedestrian and other traffic – feels like a private garden oasis.
As the name suggests, Julie’s offers a variety of Latin American inspired tapas and cocktails to suit just about any taste. On my last visit (which was a spontaneous pre-concert date with a couple of lovely ladies), we split a pitcher of the could-have-been-stronger sangria and shared the avocado and mango salad (delightfully fresh and perfectly ripe), the guac and chips (because OF COURSE), the daily ceviche (huge chunks of citrus marinated fish accompanied by crunchy red peppers and sweet corn), the sweet plantains (raved about by a self-proclaimed plantain hater), the frituras de mais (totally worth the deep fried factor) and the vaca frita (the most traditionally Cuban of our choices and, I must admit, the least exciting).
Despite our ravenous bellies, we were fortunate to be joined by a fourth concert goer as the meal progressed – Julie doesn’t skimp on the portions and the food made it difficult to exercise self-control. The food tastes like the restaurant feels – as if you’re at home, but home is far, far away from downtown Toronto. Comfortable but special, Julie’s might not be the place for your next gastronomic adventure, but it is the perfect unpretentious spot for a mid week mojito or a romantic weekend dinner. One word of warning though: if you’re hoping to impress a date with this special spot make a reservation. While this gem is easy to overlook, the secret it out.