Mississauga Restaurant Gems: Fred’s Bar and Grill

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First Impression:
One of our favourite places to go for a relaxing yet quick and reasonably priced lunch or dinner is Fred's Bar and Grill on Bloor Street, just west of Cawthra. We've been going there for ages. Fred's is a neighbourhood bar with a huge following of locals. Most of the bars around town are fashioned after British pubs in feel and fare, while Fred's is reminiscent of a New York Italian bar. Open since 1990, it's still a family-run establishment that's recently undergone a great renovation. Where it used to be quite dark and aged, it's now bright and airy with a huge bar, brick walls and lots and lots of screens for viewing all manner of sporting events. I don't think there is a seat in the house where you can't see at least two different sports without even turning your head.

The Good:

“We're always greeted with a great big hello and they are quick to take your drink order.”

The servers are quick, pleasant and have smiles on their faces. We're always greeted with a great big hello and they are quick to take your drink order. The food is made fresh and is always really good. I particularly like their tomato sauces - different depending on what you've ordered, but very fresh and delicious.

The Unique:

“I've had a lot of calamari in my taste adventures and let me just say that Fred's grilled calamari is the best I've EVER tasted.”

The grilled calamari ($15). Grilled calamari you ask? What's so special about that? I've had a lot of calamari in my taste adventures and let me just say that Fred's grilled calamari is the best I've EVER tasted. It is certainly the very best in Mississauga. It is a huge portion of very tender grilled squid, both bodies and tentacles, sprinkled with bread crumbs whose flavors intensify with the char from the grill. Served with an olive oil, garlic, tomato and wine sauce, the dish is outstanding. Add the soft, fresh bread that comes with it -- perfect for dipping into that luscious sauce -- and you've got a masterpiece. The huge serving could definitely be a meal in itself.

What they can improve on:

Basil, basil, basil! The pizza we ordered was supposed to have basil as one of the three ingredients, so one leaf of basil was simply not enough! It needed at least one leaf for each of the four pieces, not just one in the middle. Fred's also doesn't offer dessert and that's a shame. While I'm not a huge dessert indulger, once in a while I like something sweet to cap off the meal.

What else we tried:

Since we hadn't been to Fred's in awhile, we both ordered the grilled calamari, so we didn't really need much else for lunch. We decided to try the Fior Di Latte pizza ($8.50) and except for the lack of basil, it was really good. A simple pizza with tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil, the crust was crisp on the outside but with a delicious chew on the inside. Because the fresh mozzarella contains so much water, when it melts it gets very, very creamy - which is delicious against the freshness of the tomato. All in all a great pizza, but as I've said before, more basil would have elevated it so much more.

Final Thoughts:

With many different menu choices, including appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza and pasta, there's definitely something for everyone. They are quite known for their various pasta dishes. Although this is technically a sports bar, even if you're not into sports, go anyway. It's worth a visit for a great meal. The food is really good and you'll be happy you went. I guarantee it!

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