Churrasco Chicken

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Alex Rei Dos Leitoes, located at 219 Ossington Avenue, just South of Dundas

Ever since I first moved to Toronto some 17 odd years ago I have been somewhat obsessed with Portuguese barbecue chicken. What with my first apartment being located at College and Ossington, I was in one of the best neighbourhoods to feed my ever developing churrasco cravings. Around about two years ago I overheard a soused barfly at The Communist’s Daughter raving about a little churrasqueria spot nearby, but it wasn’t until I recently moved back into that neighbourhood that I took the opportunity to sample the barbecued delights of Alex Rei Dos Leitoes.

Snuggled between the Good Food Revolution office that goes by the name of Pizza Libretto, and the rather disappointing Fishbar, even although it has been serving up chicken to the neighbourhood for some 40 odd years, Alex Rei Dos Leitoes is easy to miss…

But once one steps through the door, views the small hot table, and takes in the aromatics of of their delicious charcoal roasted birds I can guarantee that your world, or at least how that world relates to barbecue chicken, will never be the same again. And it doesn’t end at the chicken, as you’ll see in the pictures…

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The chickens are roasted over two huge charcoal-burning barbecues, giving their chicken flavours that put it head and shoulders above anything else I have enjoyed in Toronto.

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On the Thursday we were there last, the hot table was filled with all manner of things: Grilled Sticklebacks, Pork Tenderloin, and Portuguese Stew or Cozido (with Chicken, Beef, Pork Riblets, Pigs Ears/Snouts/Trotters, Chorizo, and Blood Sausage). Now that will put some hair on your chest, that’s for sure. Note to self: Must order the Cozido next time. They are open seven days a week and have different specials every day… Cozido on Thursdays, Roast Cod on Fridays…

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…as well as some good old fashioned boiled Savoy Cabbage, Carrots, and Potatoes, they serve some of the creamiest rice I have ever had from such an establishment… oh… and hiding at the back there is some delicious Braised Goat, which is exactly what I plumped for upon this occasion.

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And here you have it, their famous Half Chicken Dinner with Rice and those irresistable little round potatoes. All for a modest $11 or thereabouts… although I just realised that this picture is lacking something… my girlfriend has an extremely sensitive palate and so she ordered it without any of their lovely hot sauce!

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Look at all that Goaty goodness. Goat can often be a little tough, but this was just perfect served over rice and potatoes… more than enough for lunch, I ended up having it for dinner too, and all for $14


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Edinburgh-born/Toronto-based Sommelier, consultant, writer, judge, and educator Jamie Drummond is the Director of Programs/Editor of Good Food Revolution
… And maaaaaaaaannnnnnn is that chicken ever tasty.