Chicken fried chicken. That’s the first reason you should take a seat at Deer + Almond for lunch.
This Exchange District spot has been on everybody’s favourite list, practically since the day it opened in 2011. Chef and co-owner Mandel Hitzer is a kook in the best possible way. He’s a bon vivant with big ideas who is willing to take chances. (His restaurant on ice—RAW: Almond is proof of that.)
In the kitchen, that zany spark translates into wild and wonderful food that falls in its own category: fusion comfort food with a side of global zing. Mandel’s madness has method. And that combination of heart and head make it easy to find reasons to love Deer + Almond.
Back to reason #1: Chicken fried chicken. On a recent visit, this bite jumped from the menu. Who doesn’t love fried chicken, after all. But Deer + Almond’s version gets extra marks for its crunchy, Asian-influenced carrot and cabbage slaw, thick-cut slices of capicola and cilantro-spiked sour cream.
Reason # 2: The roast turkey sandwich. This grilled panini version comes with rosehip aioli, grilled apples and dijon. It sets a new standard for turkey on any plate.
Reason # 3: Spaghetti squash soup with roasted pumpkin seeds. This was no ordinary soup of the day. Great layers of flavour and the added bite and texture of seeds made this a memorable bowl. Every chef should be able to make stand-out soups.
Reason #4: The sausage links hanging in the window. Decor is urban with a hit of rustic, and charming yet cheeky. Two walls of windows flood the room with light. Distressed wood tables, a street facing bar top for diners and a floor to ceiling chalkboard mural are just a few design highlights.
Reason #5: The menu surprises and delights. And that’s because Mandel doesn’t rest. And he certainly doesn’t rest on his laurels. He makes great plates but ‘good enough’ isn’t in his makeup.
Now, go find your reasons to love Deer + Almond.
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