Toronto folks can be a bit snooty about restos outside of the city limits. But Enver’s of Morriston, located at Highway 6 and 401 just outside of Guelph, is worth the drive.
The restaurant is located in the village of Morriston in a charming heritage building built in 1862. Owner Terri Manolis launched it in 2000, then purchased the eatery in 2007.
Manolis has created a homey atmosphere with a relaxed dining room on the main level, and cozy retreat downstairs, in the newly renovated space featuring exposed stone walls, fireplace and bar area.
Fine food without the astronomical prices
It’s the food however, that will leave you speechless. As well executed as expensive fine dining fare in downtown T.O. but nowhere near as expensive, the “eclectic, continental and very seasonal menu” will have you making regular trips out to the Royal City area.
The original chef, Ken Hodgins, worked with Manolis on a creative menu style that is upheld today by chef Kyle Smith (formerly of Aberfoyle Mill) and his team.
Everything is based on their philosophy of “scratch cooking” made with hyper seasonal ingredients - they even make their own Worcestershire sauce. During the warmer months, Manolis harvests herbs and vegetables from the garden. She also purchases local produce from a farmers’ market in Aberfoyle.
Known for their fresh fish featured nightly, Manolis says “We use ethical fish purveyors. We don’t like farmed fish.” And as far as meat goes, she says “If it’s locally raised, I’d rather get that.”
Dishes are simple and unpretentious – Mussels & Frites ($14), Pappardelle ($25) with veal ragout, and Braised Beef Short Rib ($30), for example – but sophisticated in flavour and execution.
Life, food and wine
Manolis chose the paintings in the dining room because “I like the old world countries and their philosophies about life, food and wine. It’s about appreciating the finer things, eating in someone’s home. I love that!”
She’s passionate about wine and relishes trying to find wines that “are a gem that no one knows about.”
Enver’s is also known for their classic cocktails such as martinis ($12-14) and Caesar ($10) that features tomatoes smoked in a Big Green Egg, a ceramic kamado-style charcoal grill.
Part of the family
Manolis makes you feel like family as soon as you enter the room. Server Katie too, who has worked here for 14 years and is married to original chef Ken Hodgins.
It’s an intimate space, though not crowded by any means, but there’s a familiarity that happens over the course of a short time in a gem like this. You’ll start to call Katie by name, as if you’ve known one another for years. She’s also one of the best – topping up your wine glass without intrusion, bringing extra crostini for the tartar – no extra charge – when she notices you’re getting low.
Comfort food with fine dining execution, a cozy room with an owner and staff that make you feel so welcome, you’ll stay well after the meal is over.
What are you waiting for? Go to Enver’s of Morriston for a meal you won’t soon forget. And one you’ll want to repeat ASAP.
Enver's of Morriston (42 Queen St.) in Morriston accommodates 34 guests in the main dining room, 36 in the downstairs and 30 on the patio area for lunch and dinner. Catering is also available.
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