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Pub vibes, quality food and eccentric décor all in the heart of Toronto’s Financial District.

Written By Jordana Colomby

Location: 411 Richmond St E, Toronto, ON M5A 3S5

Must-try eats: The crispy chicken sandwich is a huge hit among staff. For something lighter, their salad bowls are healthy, refreshing and exciting.

Libations: The Ivory Room Martini is a Walrus speciality, but they also make a mean classic vodka martini.

Where to sit so you’re in-and-out in 60 minutes: Take a seat at the Ivory Room bar.

The Vibe

The Donnelly Group’s newest financial district addition is everything you could ask for in a power lunch. Upbeat music playing at just the right volume to accommodate conversation, perfectly placed TVs to keep an eye on the game without stealing too much of your attention, and a menu full of elevated pub food, only exceeded by the extensive list of cocktails. Designed by resident artist Ricky Alvarez, The Walrus is inviting and fun; a place where you could take a break from your busy day to drop in for a bite. Or better yet, a drink. The Ivory Room, Walrus’s 40-foot martini and tonic bar, serves classic and signature cocktails beneath whimsical chandeliers. The walls are spattered with a collection of framed art curated by Alvarez.

Ivory Room Collection Wall by Ricky Alvarez

The stacks of books behind the bar may look random, but each one was carefully selected to reflect the restaurant’s vibe; a mosaic of the Donnelly Group brand. The whole restaurant has a light and easy atmosphere. Inside, the open-concept space is optimal for both large groups or intimate meals. On a hot day, wander outside to the 150-seat patio just passed the shuffleboard set and pool table. The eclectic assortment of decorations, a rotating glass box display currently housing and artistic display of taxidermy birds, set the mood for a casual and fun lunch between friends or business partners.

The Food

Pub food doesn’t have to be greasy, and at Walrus, it’s anything but that. Walrus’s menu hits all the boxes: light and fresh bowls, hearty sandwiches, and perfectly-sized pizzas. But the most popular items on the menu are the salad bowls. Cool down on a summer day with a cold salmon tataki bowl, a sweet beet and apple salad or the fan-favourite, tuna sashimi bowl with black rice, kimchi and pickles and ginger. 

Salmon Tataki Bowl

Vegetarian? No problem. The Walrus’s eggplant parmesan sandwich will fuel you for the rest of the day. With Buffalo Mozzarella and fresh basil, there’s really nothing bad about this classic dish. For a meatier meal, the chicken sandwich will be your go-to. Crispy chicken stuffed between a potato roll bun and served with a side of classic shoestring French fries. Before digging into the mains, stimulate some light conversation over appetizers: crispy cauliflower bites with a citrus jalapeno hot sauce are just right for a shared starter. Or, go for the daily selection of fresh oysters with house-made sauces.

The Drinks

It might be called Walrus Pub and Beer Hall but here, it’s all about the cocktails. Of course, there are plenty of beers on tap and a real-time monitor tracking the freshness of each keg. But the martini menu is what really sets Walrus apart. The Ivory Room serves up modern takes on the iconic drink at their 40-foot bar. Their namesake adaptation, the Ivory Room Martini, features Geefeater gin, Lillet Blanc, Tio Pepe Fino dry sherry, St. Germain elderflower liqueur and lemon zest.

Ivory Room Cocktail

For a traditionalist, the menu also offers nearly a dozen classic martini options including a classic vodka martini and a classic gin martini. A whole separate menu is needed for the rest of the drinks, which is full of light and refreshing concoctions perfect for lunchtime. The Twiggy is a fresh and bubbly mix of Ungava gin, Franklin & sons ginger beer, lemon, rosemary syrup, chartreuse and charred rosemary. In addition to their massive alcohol selection, Walrus also offers non-alcoholic cocktails made with Seedlip, the world’s first non-alcoholic distilled spirit.