In the heart of Dundas West’s trendy restaurant row sits The Federal. Its interior features a vintage vibe, a quirky dichotomy where one gets the sense that the place has been here forever but at the same time feels a breath of fresh air pulsing through the space. Guests can tuck themselves into two alcoves that flank the breezy front door, grab a seat in the petite dining room or plop themselves onto a stool at the bar.
The team at The Federal were likely gob smacked in July when Monocle announced its World’s Top 50 Restaurants and placed the humble eatery as 22nd on the list. One of only two in Canada, the other being Nora Gray from Montreal coming in at numero 34. It’s a big win for Toronto’s food scene. So what is it exactly that woo’d Monocle to select The Federal out of the thousands of restaurants that regularly feed Toronto’s hungry foodies?
The Federal management team’s collective resume read’s like a tour of Toronto’s most beloved restaurants, with stints spent at The Swan, Woodlot, Terroni, The Local and Aunties & Uncles. The Federal’s success can perhaps be attributed to its focus on creating an accessible menu that appeals to people’s love for fine and fast food. The restaurants chef was born and raised in Trinidad and while the kitchen serves up perfectly executed comfort classics (burgers, fried chicken etc…) there’s a nice infusion of FTI (food from the islands) offering a nod to home sweet home. The cocktail list offers a slew of creative creations worth sipping through, a perfect companion to the menu’s tendency to match sweet with salty.
Here are my Top 5 at The Federal in Toronto:
1) Caipirinha LLB | leblon cachaca, angostura, white pop, lime
2) Trini Fish ‘Ah Fillet | catfish, slaw, sweet cabbage, tamarind, maracas sauce
3) Hot Fried Chicken | avocado, sweet aioli, cucumber chow
4) Four Guys Burger | american cheese, bacon, curly fries
5) Eton Mess | baked french meringue, macerated berries, bourbon cream