Reviews and Such Restaurants

Shannon’s Irish Pub – 175 Carlton Street.

I’m back on the revisit train today. This time around it’s Shannon’s Irish Pub on Carlton Street. 

You can find more revisits just before the original review.

original review

I paid two visits recently. One, rather brief, was on St. Patrick’s Day. I followed it up with a full dinner visit, a couple of Saturday’s later.

Kilkenny Cream Ale from Shannon's Irish Pub
Although the glass says Guinness, the content is Kilkenny Ale.

On St. Patrick’s Day, I showed up fairly early in the evening, hoping to find a spot to have a meal. The lineup was halfway up the stairs. So, I decided I would head to Ichiban for supper. After dinner at Ichiban, I wandered back up the street to Shannon’s. this time there was no real line. 

I paid the cover and went in. The place was packed. I grabbed a Guinness at the bar and went to stand by the stage to listen to the show. It was a solo performer with guitar. He sang mainly traditional Irish songs. Unfortunately, the crowd was so large and noisy that I really had a hard time hearing him. So, once I finished my drink, I left intending to return to Shannon’s shortly.

Note to self: Irish pubs on St. Patrick’s day are not a haven for introverts.

Shannon's condiments
Your condiments arrive at the table in a metal Sleeman container.

When I arrived on the Saturday night, Shannon’s was almost empty. I got a table where I had a good view of the big screen showing Toronto Maple Leafs Night in Canada. Fortunately, they were playing Montreal. Also, the sound was off, so I didn’t have to listen to the Sportsnet broadcast team.

Speaking of sound, there was in the corner to my right, a group of musicians enjoying a session of Irish Trad music. It was mainly instrumental, and the half-a-dozen musicians added a very pleasant element to my meal.

Basket of Wings.
A basket of crispy wings, seasoned with Montreal Spice.

There were a couple of things on special. One was half-priced wings. I ordered a pound of the Montreal Spice variety. For an entrée I added the three-piece Battered Cod and Chips. Having ordered a Guinness on my previous visit, I went with a Kilkenny Ale for beverage.

Fish and chips
A hearty portion of Fish and Chips, with three containers of tartar sauce.

In preparation for the main course, my server brought to the table a metal Sleeman’s container that contained: ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, white vinegar, and malt vinegar.

When the fish and chips arrived, I noted that there were three containers of tartar sauce. I am sure that they are intended for the three pieces of chips. However, since I don’t like ketchup, all the extra tartar sauce gave me plenty to dip my chips in. Definitely a win for me. Also, I love malt vinegar, so I really appreciated having that for my chips. 

The service at Shannon’s was excellent. Even with the big crowd on St. Patrick’s day, I had no trouble getting to the bar and ordering my Guinness. On Saturday, my server was efficient, took my order quickly, asked if I wanted my wings before my Fish and Chips(I did, as I usually do), and came by a couple of time to make sure everything was good.

I don’t know if the musicians who were there are around every Saturday. It’s worth checking out beforehand. There is music on a regular basis. I need to keep Shannon’s in mind when I’m walking around downtown. It makes for a good meal.

Recent Revisits

Little Korea

Victoria Seafood

Elephant and Castle

Yellow Dog Tavern

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Original Shannon’s review

Earlier this year I took in the Downtown Biz Tap in Tour. One of the locations on the tour is Shannon’s Irish Pub and Eatery. Shannon’s is a place I’ve dropped into in the past, and this tour made me think I should visit again.

Quiche from Shannon's Irish Pub.
Quiche from Shannon’s Irish Pub. I enjoyed this when I visited with the Tap In Tour

One dish that I didn’t try on my last couple of visits, but is my favourite, is Shannon’s Irish Stew. It comes with a good mixture of meat, vegetables, and potatoes, and plentiful, rich gravy.

Shannon’s: Downtown, Downstairs

You enter Shannon’s off of Carton street, underneath a rather nondescript office building. I believe it holds government offices of some sort. The room itself is dark but open. It feels more like it should be off of a back alley rather than a glass and steel office tower. The floor plan is open, with a nice little area in the back for parties. The back corner is the area where Downtown Biz holds their Tap in Tours, and is quite cozy.

There is also a stage area as the pub frequently hosts live events. This music is authentic but not necessarily traditional Irish.  You can generally catch Bombers games on the big screen. The sound was off when I went which gave the added benefit of not hearing the TSN crew.

Dinner Choices:

My first dinner choice is the pub staple, Curry Chicken. The dish comes on a bed of rice. The vegetables are just crisp. There is a good amount of chicken. I would like there to be a little more of the curry sauce, but on the whole a very good dish.

Next up, another pub classic: Shepherd’s Pie. One of the key things to Shepherd’s Pie is a good potato to filling ratio. Shannon’s does a great job with this. The filling itself is well cooked. The peas and carrots still have a little bit of crispness to them, so there is something to bite into. If you order this come with a healthy appetite. Mine arrived with a side of fries which made this a very filling dish.

The service at Shannon’s is very good. This is particularly true at lunch. I’ve never had a problem getting in or out in a reasonable time. In warm weather there is a street level patio that you can enjoy as well. Definitely take the time to go underground and visit Shannon’s.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.