Okay, okay... so, yet again, it has taken me too long to write, and now I need to write 2 blogs before our next restaurant. Crazy! It is so hard to believe that we are almost at the end of our adventure - in the mean time, the end of the school year was definitely a priority over the last couple of weeks. Now that it is summer, I'm happily enjoying some down time, and, some time to write. And with that, let me give you the nitty-gritty on Fanatics.
Situated right in the hub of it all, Fanatics is a "sports lounge" (that's from their website... I would probably just say sports bar and restaurant) on the corner of Princess and Barrie Streets. Getting a great deal of traffic from those walking and driving by, there are always patrons enjoying food, beverages and sports viewings inside or on the patio (I can't think of many other places with TVs on the patio so that you don't miss a second of the game!). Fanatics calls itself a sports-lover's dream suitable for any occasion - and I believe that that description is right on the money. A sports lover myself, I find it hard to focus on the company I'm visiting with given that no matter what direction I look, I am able to take in sports galore... Televisions hanging from the ceiling and mounted in the wall of each booth highlight all of the current happenings in the sports world. Basically, if you're looking for a place to watch a game and have a drink with friends - or you want to organize a viewing for a specific occasion - you've found the right place.
The atmosphere at Fanatics is open-concept and casual. Booths are well placed along the back wall and as a divider between the main dining area and the bar, but still allow for clear sight lines from one side to the other. Tables are basic, but comfortable enough to sit at for extended periods.
The menu at Fanatics is exactly what you'd expect from a sports bar... *ahem* from a sports lounge. Appetizers, pizza, soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, wings, all listed on a simple white-page layout. Plates are simple with no frills or fanciness about them, but are presented well. An added bonus - home-made chips that are a delicious combination of crunchy and salty are presented to the table when you arrive. Its funny how the "little things" make such a big difference.
So, what did we order?
Carrie: I split a caesar salad with Tonia to start and then ordered the "Everything Pizza": roasted chicken, pepperoni, bacon, peppers, onions, mushrooms, olives, tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella on a thin crust.
Tonia: Chicken Fajita Melt: Roasted chicken, sautéed peppers and onions all tossed in a homemade fajita spice, topped with jack and cheddar cheese and guacamole. Served on a ciabatta bun with a side of fries.
Samer: It was 1/2 price wing night, so Samer decided to partake in the special and ordered a pound of mild wings (he really is a risk taker!).
Todd: The Southwest Burger: local angus burger with crisp bacon, caramelized onions, jack and cheddar cheese, finished with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce; served with a side of poutine.
Our server attended to our table well and was very pleasant. Food came in good time, and - as I mentioned above - was presented well. We were both hungry and thirsty when we arrived, but we certainly didn't leave that way. It was nice to have full glasses, plates and, eventually, happily full bellies. I should apologize to my fellow diners since I couldn't seem to take my attention from the sports, but I'm pretty sure we had good conversations, too :)
And - what did we think of our food? Well, overall, things were good, but some mixed reviews as well.
Carrie: 4 forks. I loved the pizza. It is simple - but I like having all of those toppings on one pie at the same time, and, since I didn't have to share with anyone else, I got everything that I wanted. The Everything Pizza is a good combination of the usual tomato -sauce-taste and a little bit of saltiness from the olives. Dee-lish. The down-side of my meal was the caesar salad. It was good, but generic... and ultimately over-priced. It was pretty small for the $9 price tag. I don't know that I would order it again. Had it been a little more spectacular, I probably would have given Fanatics a 5 fork score.
Tonia: 4 forks. Tonia thought that her sandwich was tasty - she liked the ciabatta bun and was impressed by the presentation... (I was actually jealous of her meal when it arrived - it looked so good). Tonia liked her fries and the salad (although was equally unimpressed by the cost). The downside of her meal - the sandwich was a little dry.
Samer: 2.5 forks. I was expecting this score to be much higher. I've heard great things about Fanatics wings, and I know that Samer likes wings... so I was surprised. Ultimately, though, Samer said that the wings were waaay overcooked - they were super crispy and had shrunken to be (or perhaps started out?!) way too small, so they were dry. Overall disappointing.
Todd: 4 forks. Todd said that while there was nothing spectacular about his meal, it was good and he would definitely order it again as he has in the past. (In my opinion, going back again is definitely a good indicator of good food).
Overall score: 3.63 forks.
It's kind of sad that on wing night, the wings were ultimately what lowered this score... I'd be curious to go again to see if perhaps this was a "freak occurrence" (maybe they just got a batch of really little chickens, and were trying out a new fryer?) or if the reviews I've heard about great wings just don't match with our standards (I don't think I'm as conceited as that sounds... but we have had some pretty awesome food over the last 30+ weeks!).
When all is said and done, I will definitely be back to Fanatics. For a drink. For some food. For both. Oh yeah - and definitely for whatever game happens to be on at the time.