Monday, August 20, 2012

The Old Country Inn Restaurant in Historic Unionville

Located in a charming 140-year old Victorian stone house on Unionville's picturesque Main Street, The Old Country Inn specializes in Austrian and German food such as Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Rostbraten and traditional Viennese pastries like Sacher Torte, the famous Austrian style chocolate cake. Built in 1872 by Dr. R.P. Eckardt, who was the grandson of the original settlers of Unionville, the restaurant was known as "The Doctors house", having been the home to a succession of medical practitioners for many years.

Main Street Unionville

Renowned for its heritage buildings, art galleries, charming restaurants, quaint shops and boutiques, Main Street remains virtually unchanged since it was founded over 200 years ago in 1794. Home to many festivals throughout the year, Unionville draws millions of tourists each year, especially during the popular Markham Jazz Festival which was held the August 17-19 weekend. Taking advantage of a warm sunny weekend, we headed up to Unionville to have lunch at the Old Country Inn, checkout the Jazz Festival and indulge in a little retail therapy at Pretty Thingz.

Markham Jazz Festival held every August

Main Street is open to cars during the day, but closed to vehicular traffic 
by early evening when the Jazz Festival gets into full swing

A cool shady garden patio, nestled along the side of the Old Country Inn, is a popular spot for those wanting to enjoy traditional Viennese cooking while listening to the dulcet sounds of Swing and Jazz coming from the street. For those wanting a more quiet lunch, there are also a series of quaint rooms inside the house, along with a new bright sunny addition at the back called the Winter Garden.

Lush, green and verdant, the outdoor patio is popular during the summer months

The quiet outdoor patio, looking onto Main Street

The Winter Garden Room with french doors and views of the garden

Although the Inn specializes in traditional Viennese cuisine, the kitchen also features lighter fare such as Shrimp Cocktail, Beef Consommé, Gazpacho and a selection of light salads, but judging by the girth of some of the diners, many come for the heartier fare of Wiener Schnitzel, Sauerbraten with Red Cabbage and Dumplings, Kartoffel (Potato) Suppe, Bratwurst and Krainer Sausages with Potato Salad and Sautéed Pork with onions and mushrooms served in a white wine sauce with homemade spätzle. And of course, no Austrian meal would be complete without an enormous glass of cold beer.

An enormous glass of Austrian beer

'Hering in Rahm', soused herring served with sour cream salad 
with sliced apples and celeriac

Shrimp Cocktail with six extra-large black tiger shrimp, 
served with Asbach brandy spiked cocktail sauce

'Kartoffel Suppe', a chunky Viennese potato soup

'Holstein Schnitzel' with fried egg, anchovies, home fries and 
broccoli with a cheese sauce

Traditional 'Wiener Schnitzel' with home fries and broccoli in a cheese sauce

Traditional Greek Salad with fresh cucumber, tomato, onion, Kalamata olives, red & green peppers topped with Feta Cheese and a warm corn and cheese scone

Apple Fritters with vanilla sauce 

'Palatschinken', crepes filled with apricot jam 

Apple Strudel with ice cream

Just a short drive from Toronto, Unionville is full of old world charm, with its beautiful heritage buildings, flower lined pedestrian-friendly streets, lovely restaurants, tempting shops and plenty of free parking, Main Street a delightful destination for enjoying a leisurely afternoon any time of the year. And if you find yourself craving some Schnitzel, homemade dumplings and a taste of Bavaria, you know where to go...