I love me some meats! So when a friend suggested dinner at Branca, an Argentinian grillhouse in Little Portugal’s Brockton Village, I pretty much starved myself the entire day.
And, for the most part, it was pretty worth it.
A former residential rowhouse on Dundas West, now converted into a cosy and initimate space, this charming little restaurant brings its A-game with its wood-fired grilled meats and other delicious South American-inspired fare. Grilled on their very own asado (a cinder-block fire pit), Branca serves up the most flavourful, slow-roasted, smoked barbecue this side of Argentina.
It is … a carnivore’s delight.
To kick our taste buds into gear, a bowl of two chipas was served up. These are a type of cheese bread, most commonly prepared in northern Argentina. Soft and chewy, I could have easily eaten another two … or five.
Being our first time at Branca, my dining partner and I decided to share a few things, starting off with the Empanadas (because really, one does not dine at a South American restaurant and NOT have the empanadas).
Filled with corn, roasted poblano, gruyere and fontina, these little pastries, while savoury, to me felt fairly average.
Thankfully, the incredibly delicious Langostinos made up for the lackluster empanadas. Argentinian red shrimp placed on a bed of avocado, tostones and greens, drizzled with some crema were, as the kids say these days, completely on point.
For our mains, we opted to try the Asado De Tira (beef short ribs) and the Costillas de Cordero (Ontario lamb chops), accompanied by some extra Condimentos (Chimichurri, Roasted Garlic Poblano, Romesco and Harissa sauces).While both meats were delicious and cooked to finger-licking perfection, my dining partner and I both agreed that the steak was the better of the two.
Our mains were rounded off with a side Crispy Potato Strings and Roasted Cremini Mushrooms. Suffice it to say, all plates were cleaned out. Those darn potato strings get me every time.
The service was incredibly warm, providing a level of comfort that I’ve not experienced at other restaurants. I would also be remiss if I didn’t comment on the impressive wine selection. Very rarely do I find a restaurant that serves up several popular and affordable labels, all competing with an enviable list of cocktails … South American style ofcourse.
Overall, the meal was very enjoyable, the meats made me wanting more, the venue was warm and intimate, but it was the service that made me feel right at home.