I have been meaning to check out Rodney Bowers Croatian inspired beer hall ever since I read about its opening in Toronto Life. So on one hot summer night I hopped on my bike and peddled through U of T to the Annex hood where Hrvati Bar stood glowing bright.
The interior offers a humble space featuring a large communal harvest table in the centre of the room surrounded by stool friendly seating. The walls are covered in vintage portraits as well as whimsical Croatian cartoons. The bars extensive beer list is offered up on chalk boards located by the entrance to the kitchen.
I met up with my friend Robert to explore a cuisine we had both never experienced. We started off sampling the restaurants two imported Croatian beers. Both offered up a full bodied hoppy richness with the thirst quench and complimentary complexity you are looking for.
Hrvati’s food menu offers a few select dishes, probably a third of the offerings on their beer list. As it should be really, this is a spot to sample new beers and order a few hearty snacks. I say, “come for the thirst quenchers and compliment with the crunch and munch.” We ordered the Cevapi and Pljeskavica, two of the most Croatian sounding dishes on the menu. I figured the harder they were to say to our waitress the more authentic the dining experience would be.
I’m elated Toronto has embraced my love for the beer hall. It’s a great way to sample new lagers and ales while enjoying unique bits and bites from around the globe. Guu Izakaya offers up a unique Japanese experience while Wvrst showcases our favorites from Germany. Hrvati is a welcome addition to the tribe. My eyes moisten up just at the thought of what will pop up next. If I had all the money in the world you’d find me opening up an exclusive Scandinavian Smorgasbord restaurant featuring nordic, baltic and Russian treats. Toronto is in dire need of a sour cream and dill infused menu that offers a hefty beer list showcasing the best brews from Reykjavik to Moscow. Adding this to my to do list…stand by.
Croatian Beer Duo
ozujsko and karlovacko
7 oz prime ontario beef, smoked mozzarella, caramelized onions, pickles, croatian lepinje, yokon gold fries
Sausage Platter (Cevapi)
sweet pickled onions, kajmak, ajvar, lepinje, coleslaw, yukon gold fries