Published On: Fri, Feb 9th, 2018

Olympic sports bar eats that top the table

The Pyeongchang Winter Games will offer the thrill of victuals and the agony of dry meat.

So we learned in Toronto sports bars planning to screen the Games, running until Feb. 25.

In advance of today’s Pyeongchang opening ceremonies, we visited three bars with multiple TV screens and at least one (food) dish worth recommending. We were too early to try any Olympic specials, not to mention the liquid breakfasts expected on Feb. 19, 23 and 24 when Toronto bars are able to serve alcohol at 7 a.m. during live broadcasts of the men’s and women’s hockey semifinals and finals.

So whether it’s freestyle skiing or the Jamaican bobsleigh team, here’s the podium on where to eat while watching.

Gold medal

Of all the dramatic victories sure to come during the 2018 Olympics, chalk one up for the underdog vegan taco at The Citizen.

The surprisingly delicious and hefty taco, built on fried kale, avocado and coconut cheese, is $ 5 between 5 and 7 p.m. Basic drinks are also $ 5 during that time.

The bar area has tufted leather couches and 12 screens for nightly viewing. Its happy hour menu offers five appetizers; one of each makes a filling meal for two. They’re all good: hoisin-glazed meatballs, guacamole and chips, naked chicken wings, even the loaded baked potato-turned-spring roll.

Executive chef Binh An is offering a Korean-inspired burger ($ 18) for the duration of the Games with kimchi ketchup, charcoal sesame bun, pickled shallots, lettuce and a fried egg.

522 King St. W., 416-703-2800, TheCitizenTO.com. Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5 p.m.

Silver medal

Rally Sports Bar and Smokehouse isn’t opening for the 7 a.m. hockey games but promises to show Olympic events on its 41 screens throughout the day.

Any special Olympic food or drink planned?

“Nothing to start but when the Canadian hockey teams play for gold, we will create a special,” says Rally Sports’ Tony Vlachos in an email.

Meanwhile, try the subtly smoked chicken wings ($ 15 a pound) with an equally subtle Korean glaze (not spicy as advertised). The Korean sauce, which we chose as a nod to Pyeongchang, tastes of soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger and garlic.

Skip the dry spare ribs ($ 18 single rack) but consider making your own Olympic logo out of the onion rings ($ 8), frozen in origin but properly cooked.

Rally Sports Bar and Smokehouse, 1660 O’Connor Dr., 416-551-7356, rallysportsbar.com. Open Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Bronze medal

It will be up to diners to choose which Olympic events to watch at The Wallace Gastropub in Davisville.

“We’ll put on the hockey for sure. It depends what the customers ask for. We haven’t had any requests yet,” says a manager.

The Tudor-fronted pub has seven screens, 24 craft beers on tap and a menu of English pub classics.

The chèvre croquette in the spinach salad ($ 11.95) is a natural match for curling, since the breaded goat cheese round resembles a tiny, golden rock. Hurry (hard) for balsamic dressed spinach jazzed up with curly parsnip chips, grilled portobellos and crisp-creamy chèvre.

But the beer-battered fish & chips ($ 15.95), which should be as well-matched as Olympic ice dancers, loses significant technical points for undercooked fries.

1954 Yonge St., 416-489-3500, thewallacegastropub.ca. Open Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Amy Pataki’s restaurant reviews are published Fridays online and Wednesdays in print. Read more at thestar.com. Reach her at apataki@thestar.ca or on Twitter @amypataki.

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Olympic sports bar eats that top the table