Ensconced in bustling Maple Leaf Square, right beside Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, Real Sports Bar & Grill pulses with energy.
It’s a cavernous, multi-level, high-ceilinged wonderland outfitted with almost 200 HD TV screens — including a 39-ft. screen — showing multiple sports events. Above the screens, sports news and scores crawl by on an LED stock-type ticker board. Over the PA, Top 40 music blasts. Our seats in the Player’s Lounge afford a perfect view of the packed and buzzing Arena area.
On the plate, the food sets a new standard for sports-bar fare.
Our shared app features smooth avocado puree garnished with crumbled feta, lemon and chile pepper. Scooped onto grilled, thick-cut pieces of ancient-grain bread, it launches the meal in fine fashion.
Mains continue strong, and include an open-faced sandwich anchored by a 6 oz sirloin garnished with Dijon mayo, arugula and shaved parmesan, all piled onto toasted sourdough bread. More impressive still is the single best turkey burger I’ve ever eaten. It’s built on a massively thick and supremely juicy patty garnished with jalapeno Havarti, lettuce, tomato, red onion and herbed mayo.
We finish with strawberry shortcake featuring sugar-sweet berries, angel food cake and whipped cream; key lime pie with thick, citrus-intense curd; rich peanut butter pie; and a sundae that layers house-made caramel-popcorn ice cream, crushed pretzels, roasted peanuts, popcorn and bacon caramel — sweet-salty heaven.
For groups, Real Sports Toronto offers a variety of event options. They include a venue buyout (675, seated or 1,000, standing); Gardens Suite (80, seated or 75, standing); Clubhouse Suite (20, seated or 35, standing) and Clubhouse Suite + Golf Simulator (40, seated or 70, standing).
A second location operates in Ottawa.
— Don Douloff has been a restaurant critic for over 25 years and, during that time, has critiqued more than 1,200 eateries. In 1988, he studied the fundamentals of French cuisine at Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne in Paris, France. During his time in France, he furthered his gastronomic education by visiting the country’s bistros, brasseries and Michelin-starred temples of haute cuisine. He relishes exploring the edible universe in his native Toronto and on his travels throughout Canada and abroad.