Tennessee Tavern Toronto is one of the most popular restaurants on Queen Street West in Parkdale. The Eastern European restaurant features a dining room decorated in quirky vintage finds and hidden back patio. It’s one of the best restaurants in Toronto to enjoy plump pierogies and crispy schnitzel.
Tennessee Tavern Toronto
I first moved to Toronto at the end of a cool November in 2010. I called an old mansion on Maynard home sweet home, waking up each morning to the sound of the King Streetcar whizzing past No Frills.
I arrived in Parkdale just as Toronto was beginning to rave for the up-and-coming west end neighbourhood. Coriander Girl had just opened her first flower shop, late into the night Wrong Bar was always right, and rowdy fine dining fans splashed outside the street at Parts & Labour. What a time to be alive!
A lot can happen in seven years. Walking through the neighbourhood now you’ll find a happy harmony of old meets new. Antique shops, family run corner stores and iconic eateries like The Rhino keep busy while a parade of some of Toronto’s most buzzed about restaurants have moved in to serve tacos (Grand Electric) and Polynesian pleasantries (Miss Thing’s) and damn good BBQ (Electric Mud).
Parkdale’s newest neighbour Tennessee Tavern, is the latest from Grant Van Gameren, the chef who manages to turn all of his food fantasies into gold (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, El Rey Mezcal Bar, Rosalinda). His team recently transformed a historic Parkdale tavern into a quirky meets kitschy restaurant, which celebrates the flavours of Eastern Europe.
Step Inside Tennessee Tavern Toronto
For years I’ve been bemoaning Toronto’s lack of Eastern European eateries, planning a pilgrimage every few months to Country Style Hungarian on Bloor for my fix of schnitzel and spätzle. It seems like plump pierogies, juicy pickles, sizzling sausage and sour cream slathered cabbage rolls are finally becoming more mainstream.
Pop open the door at Tennessee Tavern Toronto and you’ll find a massive bar serving rakija and rose. The restaurant’s spacious dining room is finessed with old Americana eagles frozen in time via glossy garage sale ceramics and quiet taxidermied forest frolickers.
The hidden back patio is one of Toronto’s best (check our our fave at Reposado Bar). Tennessee Tavern Toronto’s backyard offers a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street. It’s a petite oasis featuring a massive bird cage and sausage munching Pac-Man.
Tennessee Tavern Toronto’s Bar
Hop up at the bar and you’ll find an Eastern European inspired drinks menu. Tennessee Tavern has one of Toronto’s most comprehensive Rakija and Palinka collections. Spirit fans will also appreciate the bartenders whiskey offering. Hat tips to a well curated vodka list and petite selection for the absinthe adventurous. If in need of a cheap and quick fix, you can shoot back a $4 shot of Slivovitz on the daily.
Oenophiles will enjoy Tennessee Tavern Toronto’s selection of bubbly, white and red bottles. If you’re keen to try something new, you can sip through hard-to-find imports from Austria, Slovenia, Georgia, Lebanon and Croatia. Craft brewery fans wander into their own Nirvana when wagging their fingers through one of the best beer lists in Toronto. You’ll find bottles from some of the best craft breweries in Toronto, as well as seriously special bottles worth sipping slowly (setting you back $20-45).
- Tennessee Mule: Slivovitz, lime & ginger syrup
- Higher Ground: Akvavit, lime, celery & fennel cordial
- Sounds Familiar: Zubrovka, fino sherry, lemon & apple cordia;
- Don’t Shake My Tree: Vodka, peach rakija, coconut, lime & fernet float
- Old-Fashioned: Bourbon, sugar & bitters
- Negroni: Gin, campari & sweet vermouth
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Menu
One should throw their calorie counter over the fence before grabbing a seat to suss out the Tennessee Tavern Toronto menu. The kitchen offers a colourful tour of Europe’s best east end eats, which will likely take a few visits to taste your way through. If you’re like me, you’ll find yourself blissfully transported back to rowdy restaurants in Krakow, Prague, Bratislava and Sarajevo.
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Appetizers
- Trout Caviar: traditional Russian caviar service
- Salmon: smoked and poached salmon, trout caviar, fresh dill, lemon, leek, sour cream, butter zopf toast
- Big Pretzel with Mustard
- Boiled Eggs with Kielbasa
- Cucumber Salad with Feta Cream
- Cezar Salad
- Chicken Wings Paprikas: smoked chicken wings, paprikas sauce, pickled celery, tarragon, dill ranch dressing
- Tenny Corn Dog
- Badrijani: whole roasted eggplant stufed with walnut, garlic, cripsy garbanzo bean, pomegranate, dried cranberry, peppers & herbs
- Khinkali: braised lamb dumplings with fermented chili sauce & gouda
- Lobio: bean & walnut “dip” w/ fried pita and green tomato “salsa”
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Delicatessen
- Assorted pickle plate
- Mixed pepperette cup
- Smoked Fish
- 1/2 Sours
- Whole sours
- Pickled green tomato
- Smoked salmon
- Smoked trout
- Smoked mackerel
- Smoked eel
- Cave aged Gruyere
- Starsky & Hench Gouda
- Raw Milk Gouda
- Spicy pork dry whip
- Beef dry whip
- Hungarian salami
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Sausages
- Basket of mixed sausages
- Chicken and turkey
- Vienna frankfurter
- Spicy kabanos
- Blood sausage
- Country kielbsa
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Starch & Vegetables
- Spatzle with cheese
- Garlic button mushrooms
- Pierogies (6/12/24 piece) boiled with bacon and onion
- Cabbage Rolls: sour cabbage, bacon, pork and beef
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Entrees
- Solyanka: braised beef cheek stew with pickles, mushrooms, capers, olives, carrots & onions
- Beef Stroganov: hearty braised beef and mushroom sauce over hand made noodles
- Tennessee Platter: 2 veal schnitzel, debracyna sausage, wood smoked pork, 2 cevapi
- Veal Schnitzel: with lemon, anchovies and capers or Jagerschnitzel (mushroom cream)
- Dinner for 1: cabbage roll, 4 pierogi, spicy sausage, pickle, boiled egg, potato salad & soup
Tennessee Tavern Toronto Hours
Monady to Thursday: 6pm-12am
1554 Queen Street West, 416-535-7777