I’m originally from Kitchener, Ontario but I moved to Toronto in 2010 and never really looked back. For the past six years, the only thing I’ve really miss about my hometown is my mom and a few friends from high school, since they still live in Kitchener.
I try my best to visit my mom as often as possible but unfortunately with our busy schedules, Steve and I have a difficult time driving out there. I was really excited to make plans for my mom and her boyfriend Stephan to come visit us in Toronto this past weekend. My mom, like me, is a big planner so she did some research and suggested we take a trip to The Shameful Tiki Room for dinner and drinks. This was, as you’ll soon learn, a great decision.
I had no idea this hidden gem was located on Queen West between Dufferin and Lansdowne, even though I lived in that area for almost two years. It’s rather unassuming on the outside: a simple black and white sign, no windows and a small entrance, which makes sense when you walk in the door.
Tucked away in this small location is a hidden restaurant that’s like walking into a different land. Accompanied by jungle-themed (or I suppose tiki-themed) music, the exotic decor and the ambience of The Shameful Tiki Room transports you far away.
As you can see from my somewhat terrible photos (sorry!), the place is dark – which adds to the appeal. It’s warm and inviting and encourages you to have exactly what The Shameful Tiki Room does best, drinks.
The drink menu is best described as overwhelming, with primarily rum-based beverages (excellent for me as I’m a big fan of all rums – I don’t discriminate) ranging from one to three ounces of alcohol, or as The Shameful Tiki Room declares “Mild” to “Yowza”.
- Akasha: Mai Tai
- Steve: Pain Killer
- Michele: Voodoo Grog
- Stephan: Zombie
After trying all the drinks it became clear that none of them held back, wow. I think I liked Steve’s Pain Killer best. The Mai Tai was pretty strong but I found it a tad too slushy.
Next up was the food! I have to admit that when I looked at the food menu online before visiting, I was having a hard time grasping what exactly I was in for and whether I’d enjoy the offerings. Thankfully, The Shameful Tiki Room did not disappoint.
We ordered the Small Shameful Tiki Platter, which offers a selection of three appetizers. We had: Huli-Huli Chicken Wings, Crab Rangoon and Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Ketchup.
The appetizer portions were small, but we expected this and also ordered: Jungle Diet, a mix of Red & White Quinoa Pilaf, Chickpeas, Pecans, Arugala, Goat Cheese and Rum-soaked Cranberries. We also had four “Humuhumunukunukuapua” Tacos which held a number of different, delicious ingredients but tasted like a classic fish taco.
Everything was amazing.
We decided that we couldn’t risk letting a great buzz from our first round of beverages dissipate so soon, so along with our food we ordered a Volcano Bowl. I think my absolute favourite part of The Shameful Tiki Room were the sound effects that accompany your order of a “bowl”, which the restaurant has three types of.
I have no info to provide on the contents of a bowl, as they remain a secret and I also won’t try to describe the sound effects as you really need to experience it for yourself. When split between 2 to 4 people, a bowl is a delightful option but can be a dangerous one – depending the amount consumed by each person.
Honestly, if you feel like the weather of late has you wishing for an escape – The Shameful Tiki Room is your place. The bill could add up depending on how many bowls or beverages you feel like but as their menu proclaims: The Shameful Tiki Room has certain drinks that offer 3 oz for $13, a deal you’re unlikely to get many other places in Toronto.
I’m pleased to say that our visit and affection for this spot went beyond the novelty factor, the quality of the menu and offerings of The Shameful Tiki Room were the reasons that it was Loved, Actually.