Around the office, I’ve developed quite the reputation as a food snob. Whether its been bitching about the coffee or turning up my nose at some of my co-workers lunchtime selections (seriously, who eats Pizza 73?), there’s a belief that I dine in only the finest of eateries, lunching on caviar and supping on filet mignon.
Those who know me a little better however, realize I’m far too cheap to partake in such extravagances. Although I’m not averse to shelling out for the odd luxurious meal when the mood strikes, I’m more apt to delve into those dives that taste far more expensive than they cost. And if the value of food can be calculated by how expensive it tastes, going to District tastes like you’ve spent a fortune.
Offering some of the most upscale (and delicious) pub food you’re likely to find, the first thing most customers notice about District are the menus – or lack thereof. Forgoing the traditional paper hard copy for a series of chalkboards scattered to and fro, District’s menu is part local watering hole, part gourmet eatery.
Sure they have burgers – damn delicious ones at that – they’re just slightly fancier than you might find at most pubs. For my dinner on this particular eve, I chose the Lamb Burger. For around the same price of your typical pub burger, the lamb burger was very good – although my tablemate’s chicken sandwich was amongst the best bread, meat, veggie and cheese concoctions I’d ever tasted. And if lamb isn’t your thing, the District Burger is one of the best in the city.
District Lamb and Goat Cheese Burger. Photo by Kelsey Hipkin
That said, from my experience, it’d be a challenge to find anything on the menu that isn’t amongst the best bang for your buck food in the city. Having visited District since the place first opened, one of the best (and worst) things about visiting now is finding a table in a somewhat chaotic setting. In fitting with the informal menus (and I guess the whole pub aesthetic) no one seats you at District and there’s no real area to wait for a table to open up, as the bar is normally quite full of diners. It can be a tad annoying on a busy night, but the food (and the service – the place is full of very friendly staff) makes it more than worth it.
Also: Bacon. In buckets.
I’d only been to District once before, and then only for a quick couple drinks as well as robbing a generous soul of a piece of bacon from that bucket Cody mentioned. In that short time what looked like just another pub turned out to be quite the impressive place.
District feels warm and woodsy and one of the first signs it isn’t your average joint is the ice pack full of fresh oysters proudly on display on the bar. What’s that you say? Fresh oysters, nowhere near a large body of water, damn rights! (*Note: Should’ve taken a photo of said oysters and didn’t, my profuse apologies.)
The menu strewn about on the walls of District as opposed to the usual is quirky and original but a bit of a pain as you have to meander from board to board to pick your meal. (Important to note your waitress can wheel a chalkboard menu to your table if you’re so inclined.)
I went for the chicken club a. because it looked tasty, b. it was recommended by my dinner companions and c. the place was busy (as Cody mentioned) and I was hungry and didn’t want wade through random people to spend time reading the menu or make our server wheel one over.
The sandwich was very tasty, packed with chicken and fresh veggies including my favourite friend, avocado, and the bread was toasted enough to have a nice crunch but not rub the roof of my mouth raw. The fries were decent but I was not a fan of District’s homemade ketchup which tasted like a tomato, apple sauce hybrid, to each their own.
Next time I’d like to go when it’s a little quieter, for lunch perhaps, and try one of those burgers Cody talked about, and probably one or two of those gorgeous oysters.
District Urban Tavern
607 11th Ave. SW