Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Dessert at Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Play Food and Wine
Foods from Play Food and Wine

2011 Nov 8
Have been about 3 times in the last month, I LOVE this place!

First time I went with a friend and we were able to try the Trout, gnocchi, steak frites, and the pumpkin/coconut soup. All were absolutely delicious.

When I go on my own, I always do the lunch special, and get the steak frites plus another dish. I have had the stuffed quail, good but not my favourite so far, and the chocolate pate, which almost killed me it was so good!

The steak frites is definitely the standout for me, the marinade for the steak is just wonderful.

And if you are a non-drinker like me, get the elderflower water, it's a delicious alternative to water or pop.

2011 Nov 5
I went to Play Food and Wine with a couple friends last night. I had been once, but my friends had not been.

The food and wine were delicious, as usual. we tried several different dishes, trout, gnocci, squid, chorizo sausage, meatball sub, mussels. Everything was delicious and well seasoned. We also had the steak frites, which was by far my favourite. It was marinated in deliciousness.
My one complaint would be that the trout and mussels were overcooked, but still tasted good.

We stuck around until after 10pm to get the three wine and three cheese plate. This is my favourite thing about the whole place. For 20 dollars this was a steal! They were kind enough to provide us with both the blue and the 5 year old gouda, since we were sharing two plates amongst the four of us. I can't wait to go again!

2011 Nov 3
From all I had heard and read and my own taste of Beckta's, my expectations were much higher, so I came out Play Food and Wine rather disappointed last night. In fact, the food looked and tasted like something I could have prepare at home. After work.

I started with the pear & spinach salad with blue cheese and grapes. Given the quality of the dish, you could not tell if the pears had turned brown because of time or the balsamic. The blue cheese was tasty but lacked that fine crumbly quality. I then had the grilled hanger steak with mushrooms. The mushrooms were too chewy although the taste was okay. So, again, the texture wasn't right. The meat was decent, but nothing to write home about.

The staff is absolutely great, well-trained and professional. The restaurant's ambiance and decor are nice, the price very reasonable. We will try the food again, just to make sure this review is actually representative of what seems a fine establishment after all.

2011 Oct 21
Play Food and Wine is killing it.
This is my new favourite spot in the Byward Market, by miles and miles. It features incredible food at a pretty good price point. I couldn't afford to go there every night, mind you, but I wouldn't want to. This place is a special treat.
Yes, portions are small. No matter, though. It's not a turkey dinner you're after. You're going on a taste adventure. Like with sushi. You know.
My favourites of the night were: pork belly, beef tartare and the hangar steak and frites.
The only, only complaint I have is that the fries were over-salted. I'm sure it was an anomaly of a mistake, but I'll have to go back to make sure. :)
Between two girlfriends and myself, we ordered six plates and two bottles of wine (on the cheaper end of the spectrum). It came to about $60-65 a person including tip.
I'll be back in a week or so. Love you! MUAH!

Edited to add: I forgot one of the best parts! Play ain't snooty. The servers and everyone in there was having a great time and there wasn't a bit of pretentiousness in the atmosphere.

2011 Sep 18
Had a great meal at Play last night. We asked for a quieter table, and we received one, thus neutralizing my only real beef with this place (noisy). Cocktails were well-done. Food was spot-on: Charcuterie platter had some pate, pork rillettes, prosciutto, and Hungarian sausage, all with some nice accompaniments (cantaloupe gastrique, onion jam (I think), mustard, and apple mostarda. Beef tartare was beautifully presented, and the meat was so red and fresh that it hurt to look at it. Mussels were also a big hit with the table. Wine list is modest in size (maybe 80 items), but they are carefully selected. We were thrilled to get an 2007 Stratus Cab Franc for $60. Service was relaxed, inconspicuous, but attentive. We will be back.

2011 Jul 12
Located on York Street in the Byward Market, Play is all about small plates, a deep wine list and a stunning array of local, fresh, food.

The atmosphere is bright, clean and smooth, it has an uncluttered simplicity much like the food that they serve. You can eat a little or you can eat a lot by cruising the menu, sharing plates, noshing, snacking, nibbling, sipping.

Wine Director Grayson McDiarmid, just happened to be behind the bar pulling bottles and recommending grapes.

I went with a white, something bright and fresh - the Chenin Blanc, L'Ecole 41 (Washington) was fragrant and enchanting. It was like a breath of fresh air. My playmate, Paola St.Georges, started with the White, Tollgate, Stratus (Niagara) then switched to a red, which was lost in conversation (a grape for another day).

Play - Food & Wine; a perfect place for a meeting of the minds.

Ms. St-Georges and I declared a mutual love for duck fat over a plate of mixed charcuterie - pork rillette (with duck fat) and a pineapple mostarda, lamb pancetta with red wine cherries, oxtail and duck liver terrine with Dijon and cornichons and a Pingue prosciutto with fig jam.
From the sublime to the rillette. A balanced plate. Sharp. Sweet. Salty.

I love to play with my food.

It's a scientific fact that women think better when they eat cheese (and drink wine) so... we ate cheese.

A selection of wicked Canadian cheeses. Straight off the menu: Avonlea Clothbound Cheddar/ P.E.I. / raw cow - dense, salty, creamy. Grey Owl / Notre-Dame-Du-Lac, QC / goat - creamy, chaulky, ash rind tangy. Roche Noire / St. Raymond, QC / cow - creamy, fruity, tangy.
Joyful to a one. We, gathered for this meeting, are not afraid of strong cheese or veins of blue or raw milk. We live for that stuff.

The insider info:
"The Avonlea cheddar is aged in potato sacks for that earthy nose."

Bartenders know everything.

On my Gypsy palette: a cheddar unlike any I'd ever experienced, richer, denser, like a parmesan. I claim it for its protein properties. I would like to melt the Avonlea on things, and make sauces of it. I may erect a shrine to it. (It must be the red hair.)

And then --- a little bowl of popcorn, drizzled in truffle oil, appeared before us. A Play signature item.

I'd like to say to whomever the evil genius was who invented the truffle oil popcorn --- I can't decide if I love you or hate you.

Because now every time I go the movies and the teenager behind the counter asks if I'd like butter (which used to be just fine BTW) or topping, I'll sigh and say "do you have truffle oil?" and she will just roll her eyes and say "no" and I will be sad.

To be continued... I haven't even begun.

2011 May 8
Today's brunch at Play was good. It was my mom's first time and she was quite pleased with the meal.

The Art-is-in bread was delish.

We ordered:
- banana bread french toast (I think it came with ricotta and honey - quite tasty although the addition of some crunch from walnuts would have been perfection)
- veggie quiche with side salad (absolutely delish although I wished the quiche were warmer)
- gnocchi with asparagus and mushrooms in a truffle cream (just as tasty as last time)
- steak and frites (so tasty and the frites were particularly good)

I walked away stuffed to the gills and pleased as usual.

2011 May 2
I went to Play Saturday night with a few girlfriends. After 10pm they have a wine and cheese sampler for 20 dollars. They gave me the option of opting out of a blue cheese, which I really appreciated. Sometimes they are too strong for my liking. Great service and great food. I defintely got more than 6 oz in wine samples! Yum!

2011 Apr 30
Dinner for TO foodie and SO at play celebrating a birthday. First I must say that I love old buildings and play was such a beautiful one. The second floor dining room was a welcome surprise as well as the complimentary coat check. I.loved the banquettes and the red on the ceiling.

We understood the small plates concept but was also very kindly explained the menu by our server. For first courses we ordered the halibut for SO (was hungry) with bok choy andblack beans and the braised squid with napa, soba noodles, bacon and scallions for me. Halibut had a nice sear to it and cooked to flaky goodness. The bok was okay and what I tastes of the black beans weren't too appetizing. The squid was tender and paired nicely with the other ingredients, but ended up fairly salty with the bacon which drowned out what was supposed to be sake and mirin in the broth.

Second courses were the grilled hangar steak and the beef tartare. The steak was flavourful in its marinade and cooked nicely. Frites and mayo were okay as well. I probably made the wrong choice to have small plates since SO is a bigger eater than me, but good tastes all around. The tartare was a bit coarse for my liking . The bacon was not apparent in the aioli until i looked at the menu again ordering dessert. The hot mustard was a nice complement but the dish was underseasoned for me as a whole. We had also ordered frites on the side but it got lost on the way to being ordered and we didn't want them in the end.

We ordered the grapefruit cake which seemed the most adventurous one to pick. It came with a scoop of grapefruit sorbet which was refreshing. The cake was a bit dense but nice taste. The meringue was too sweet for the both of us and I tasted a bit of graininess from the sugar.

Overall dinner was alright but I wasn't blown away. Great atmosphere and I loved the open kitchen. The lounge looked liked fun too.

2011 Apr 15
Had a great dinner at Play last night.

We both had the gnocchi (SO delish!): light pillowy gnocchi, smothered in a rich truffle cream with chard and mushrooms. Mmmmmmmmm.

To accompany my gnocchi, I had a side of brussel sprouts (WOW!): brussel sprouts sauteed with salty delicious cubes of bacon and parmesan. I considered ordering a 2nd batch.

My friend had room (well barely) for the beef tartare. It was a very generous portion accompanied by house-made chips, dijon and bacon aioli. She said it was delish!

For dessert, I indulged in the earl grey creme brulee (with lemon-honey biscotti). Very tasty!

My friend had the grapefruit cake with honey meringue and gelato. The server had described it as light but it was a poundcake so not that light but very good.

The service was top-notch.

A great dining experience.

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2009 Nov 26
Play's sommelier, Grayson, is the nicest guy. He always goes the extra mile to make us feel welcome, and is extremely adept at providing excellent wine suggestions. He's also quite the comedian, which makes the experience that much more enjoyable.

Wine 3



Dessert 1



2014 May 9
I had the mini baked alaska a few weeks back, which apparently was on the menu quite some time ago. Glad they brought it back. It was the best dessert I've had at a restaurant in recent memory. Chocolate base with After 8 gelato and covered in a soft and sticky peppermint meringue.

2011 Oct 18
Their creme brulee is basically their signature dish, though it changes with the seasons. The first two times that I went to Play, it was an earl grey creme brulee, and I scraped the ramekin down each time. I've since tried the lavender one...another one...and a cinnamon creme brulee with poached pears. Each was magnificent.

2011 Oct 15
I had the lavender crème brûlée here a few months ago, and honestly... I still dream about it. I'm not even a huge crème brûlée fan, nor even a lover of lavender, but it was FANTASTIC! The flavours were perfectly paired, the dessert itself was creamy and light. GET IT!!!

2009 Jul 13
My friend's pavlova. I tried some and thought it was excellent!

2009 Jul 13
The cookies I ordered for dessert. They were good, but I prefer crispy-chewy cookies. These were very shortbread-y. As Fresh Foodie always says "my problem, not theirs" :)

From left to right - lemon poppyseed, chocolate chunk, lemon sugar.

I'm a big chocoholic as well so wouldn't have complained if there were more chocolate chunks in the chocolate chunk one ;)