The Good King Tavern is like a super-relatable movie quote. You know, one you can pull out at a party that never fails to get a laugh - like when your friend’s ex shows up to a party and you whisper to the people around you “He doesn’t even go here!” Similarly, you can pull The Good King Tavern out of your back pocket in pretty much any situation, and it’ll never fail to please whatever group you’re with.
This French, pub-like spot in Queen Village works great for a casual Friday night dinner with a few friends or a first date on a weekday night. It’s dark but not overly romantic, in a way that almost feels like you’re in a friend’s living room. There’s a long bar up front that’s lined with couples sharing carafes of natural wine or ordering their seasonal cocktails. The rest of the space is filled with big round tables and comfortable leather booths where small groups are deciding between specials from the rotating chalkboard menu.
Those specials make up nearly half of the menu on any given night, and they’re almost always excellent - like a duck of the day and sunchokes fried in rich duck fat. But the core menu is just as exciting as what appears on the chalkboard every night. The calamari, which is simply sauteed in a lemony butter sauce, is one of our favorite calamari dishes in the entire city. The tavern burger is the best version of a thick bar burger you’ll find in the area, and the sweet potato gratin might end up replacing mac and cheese on a list of our five favorite foods.
Maybe the biggest appeal of The Good King Tavern is that it’s always open, even on Mondays when everywhere else you’d want to go in the city is closed. While a meal here won’t blow you away, it’s a spot that feels both useful and cool. You can eat great food, drink great wine, always get a table or bar seat, and even slip at least one Zoolander quote into the conversation before the night’s over.
Out of all the calamari dishes you can get around the city, this might just be our favorite one. It’s lemony, buttery, and super tender - the perfect simple dish to start your meal.
What’s a French bar without escargot? The Good King Tavern’s version comes with a side of toasted baguette, and the escargot are braised in what tastes like onion soup and accompanied by a dijon creme fraiche. It’s delicious.
You don’t need to order these, but they’re cheesy and great for sharing if you need something to round out your meal.
The tagliatelle comes with shredded, bright orange, cheddar-like mimolette cheese on top, which at first seems kind of out-of-place. But just one bite of the pasta with the creamy mushroom sauce mixed in with the mimolette will make you want to buy a block of cheddar and shave it onto every pasta you make from now on.
This dish is what would happen if you replace the pasta in mac and cheese with slices of sweet potato. It’s both sweet and cheesy in a good way, and it’s quite large, so you’ll want to share it with at least a couple of friends.
It’s a simple burger with a thick patty, lettuce, cheese, and house aioli. But this can go toe-to-toe this against any great bar burger in the city.