I have never been as surprised by the quality of a restaurant as I was by SPiN — Toronto’s ping pong destination of choice. Sitting at a picnic table in a cavernous room that still looks very much like the parking basement it once was with sweaty folk in business attire whipping balls at me, I thought I was in for a round of chilli fries and burgers. But I was dead wrong.
You can find SPiN on King West, deep in the condominium-clad heart of downtown Toronto. The décor is unassuming to say the least and I can’t say much for the ambiance, but it sure is fun. You have to reserve one of the 12 tables in advance, as this is a very popular spot.
Order delightful cocktails from one of the two bars. I would recommend the Tromba Ball (above) and the unfortunately named Gin Blossom. If you are pinging the pong with a group of friends, consider a punch bowl as a happy way to start your game. My favorite here was the Bottom Heavy.
Say goodbye to pub fare — but for some fancy finger food, opt for the Meats, Cheeses and Fried Pickles (below). These deliciously delicate collections of nibbles are beautifully presented. Some of the preserves and pickles are made in-house as is the pepperoni. I loved the homemade breads and the little touches like adding squid ink to the crab cake buns to make them black.
If you have worked up an appetite at the ping pong tables, then you are really in for a treat as their signature dishes will knock your socks off. I loved the Drumsticks: king capon chicken with chilli BBQ sauce and heavenly pickled slaw. And don’t leave without trying the Lamb Chops (below) — they’re bacon-wrapped with caramelized carrots and Nutella snow. (You had me at ‘bacon-wrapped’, or was it ‘Nutella snow’?)
You can indulge in desserts with guilt-free delight after having worked off the calories, so go for the winter shortcake (fruit preserves and buttermilk biscuits topped with cream) or milk and cookies (chocolate chip cookies and bourbon milk – just like Santa!)
A night out at SPiN won’t come cheap, but it’s sure as hell memorable. It’s not a great atmosphere for a fine dining experience, but if you want to play some ping pong while enjoying top notch food with your mates or a date, then SPiN is sublime.
461 King St. W.
Sunday to Wednesday: Noon – 1am
Thursday to Saturday: Noon – 2am
The writer was a guest at Spin Toronto. The restaurant did not review or approve this article.