I seldom visit the Pickle Barrel restaurant, not because a lack of decent food or a dislike with the atmosphere but simply because it never springs as a go-to option when hunger strikes. I’ve gone a total of 3 or 4 times in the past, mostly to this exact location since it is the closest to my home.

My sister had just gotten another acceptance letter from another university so our family decided to celebrate by going out for the night and getting some food. After much deliberation as to where we could get what my sister was craving, we decided to head  down to Markville Shopping Centre and visit the Pickle Barrel for some dinner.It had been a long time since our last visit but we were excited.

The Pickle Barrel has a wide range of menu items for any meal of the day. Breakfast until late at night, there are many options to choose from. Although we had gone for dinnertime, my sister and I were drawn to their breakfast and brunch items (who could resist pancakes smothered in sweet goodness?) but we went the traditional route and stuck to dinner entrees. Pickle Barrel was also featuring new items on the menu as seen in the above photo. An adaption to the summer season, this menu has lighter, fresher options. I’m sure there’s something on the menu that would entice you.

My mother decided to get the Lobster/Jumbo Shrimp Angel Hair Pasta ($15.99) I’m not a big fan of sauced pastas but because it was a lighter pasta, the overall meal didn’t feel heavy. The vegetables added a fresh touch and the sauce was flavourful. Portioning was good for the value and the seafood was cooked pretty well. An enjoyable dish overall.

My father was craving some kind of sandwich so he decided to get the Hot BBQ Beef Sandwich ($9.99) with gravy. It came with fries and coleslaw as seen in the photo. You can opt to get their BBQ sauce instead of the gravy. My father was a tad disappointed as he was hoping to get the gravy on the side and just dip pieces of the sandwich into the gravy as opposed to being smothered in it. As you can see, the sandwich came drenched in gravy and he was left confused as to how he was supposed to eat it exactly. He figured it out eventually. I only ate a small piece of this. Beef Sandwiches generally aren’t my favourite for meals. The gravy wasn’t anything truly unique. My parents moderately enjoyed it. I don’t think it would be something that my father will try again but he’s more than willing to try other sandwiches on the menu.

My sister had been cravings ribs in particular for her meal out and it was her first choice on the menu. She choose the Full Rack BBQ Pork Back Spareribs ($18.99). Along with the order came coleslaw, fries and a pickle. This coleslaw is the same as the one my father got with his sandwich. I’m generally a fan of coleslaws and this one wasn’t an exception. It wasn’t the typical mayo drenched coleslaws. It definitely had a tang and the cabbage and other vegetables used remained crisp and delicious. I definitely ate it all up (because my sister doesn’t really like coleslaw, bonus for me!) As for the ribs themselves, they weren’t the kind that my sister had been craving. She had envisioned tender fall off the bone ribs slathered in sauce. This was more a dry rub treatment with no sauce whatsoever. Personally I enjoyed them and so did my dad since he’ not a fan of meat being over-sauced but of course it didn’t quite hit the spot for my sister. Some end bits of the ribs were a little more cooked and tougher than what I’d like but seasoning was pretty good. I’d suggest you try it for yourself if you’d like but I’ll definitely be trying other things on the menu instead of this.

And finally for myself, I decided to get my standard fav which is the “Best Ever” Meatloaf ($9.99). This is one of their specialities/signature dishes on the menu.  Every time I visit the Pickle Barrel, I decided to get it myself or encourage someone else to and share it. One of the things I love to eat is meatloaf. However I have yet to experience making it for myself. In the meantime, I enjoy the one at the Pickle Barrel. The meatloaf is soft, full of hearty flavours and holds together nicely. It comes with mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables and gravy. As always, the meatloaf didn’t disappoint. The mashed potatoes were tasty but only because of the accompanying gravy. Without it, I don’t think I could have enjoyed it quite at much. There wasn’t anything too memorable about the vegetables. The gravy is the  same one used with my dad’s sandwich. It helped to bring all the flavours together in the meal. Their meatloaf has remained consistent every time I visit and remains one of my favourite choices.

As for service, our waiter was very attentive with our orders, drinks and follow ups on the meal. The atmosphere in the dining room gears towards casual dining without going too far into the kitschy area. Everything looks classy, colourful and clean. There is an option for take out and catering for those interested. At the Markville location (and I suspect most of their other locations as well) there are displays outside of the restaurant where you can purchase things from their menu and eat in the designated areas or anywhere else. It’s sort of like cafe style for a quick meal on the go. A great alternative for a lunchtime meal before heading back to work.

Like I mentioned earlier, the Pickle Barrel is not necessarily where my family heads to when hunger strikes but it’s definitely something we return to from time to time. The pricing is fair and its value when you consider the portioning and quality of food presented. Everything is made fresh. There are numerous options for anytime of the day, whatever you may be craving and this particular location is conveniently located within a mall. I encourage others to stop by next time they’re out shopping and looking for a place to grab a bite. Happy Eating!

Markville Mall
5000 Hwy-7
Markham, ON

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