Thirty Five Elm Restaurant
35 Elm Street
The stretch of Yonge Street north of Dundas is an odd mix of family dining establishments, peppered with pizza and falafel joints. Turn the corner onto Elm Street and the restaurants are slightly more upscale, but predominantly Italian. And while Barbarian’s Steak House is a long-standing fixture on the block, most people wouldn’t know there’s a little gem of a space serving upscale seasonal and local cuisine just down the street.
Thirty-Five Elm fills the space on two floors of a 140-year-old Victorian mansion. The layout is mostly intact from the building’s original floor plan with a wide hall and massive staircase along with high-ceilinged rooms. The bar sits nestled in the front bay window with additional seating where a porch might have once existed. Through the dining room, guests can catch a glimpse of the pizza oven that was installed when the location was an Il Fornello franchise a few years back. Originally owned by Weir Ross of Barbarian’s fame, the restaurant is now run by his son, Chris, who wanted to turn it into something fun and cool.
That oven is both a blessing and a curse to Executive Chef Andrea Nicholson, who inherited not only the oven but a demand for Italian food from the restaurant’s clientèle, and who is trying to find a balance between the type of food that sells along this stretch and her fine dining background.