LOCAL FLAVOUR: Compass Lakside Grill & Lounge

by Barbara Deppisch

Situated beautifully on the shores of Lake Ontario in Bronte Outer Harbour is Oakville's newest premiere waterfront dining hotspot, COMPASS Lakeside Grill & Lounge. This is lakeside dining at its best with a spectacular atmosphere, new stylish modern décor and delicious local and fresh signature dishes from land and water.

Owners Morris and Lynn Mercanti, Director of Food and Beverage and Corporate Chef Antonio D'Anello and Director of Business Development & Marketing Roberto Ficzere have resurrected the former Lighthouse Restaurant with a whole new concept, menu and completely redesigned lounge, restaurant and patio. With a rich and successful background in the banquet industry, the Mercantis, who also own the Oakville Conference Centre and the Harbour Banquet & Conference Centre decided to take over this property and the existing restaurant when it became available.

D'Anello studied architecture technology for two years at Sheridan College before becoming a chef and designed the contemporary and chic look of the restaurant himself. “What we tried to do is no matter where you are sitting in the restaurant you can see the view so it's giving you the feel that you are on the deck of a ship,” he says. “It has a brasserie type of feel, something you would find in Montreal on Saint Catherine Street. A place you go to sit on a patio and feel comfortable coming in and having a good meal or a bottle of wine and some appetizers.”

The menu is a reflection of Chef de Cuisine Michael Demaline and D'Anello's shared FOSL (Fresh, Organic, Sustainable, Local) philosophy. Demaline attended Liaison College and has many years of industry training including the past seven at the Lighthouse Restaurant. D'Anello was so impressed with Demaline that he asked him to come aboard COMPASS.

Demaline loves the freedom he is allowed at COMPASS to be creative and says, “I believe in good quality simple products that are not pretentious. When they were talking about the new restaurant it brought a new life out in me.”
COMPASS' cuisine changes with seasonal availabilities and reflects their selection of only the finest and freshest local offerings. Wherever possible they utilize organic products from local artisans and farmers. The menu is studded in true Canadian fare with catchy names and incredible flavours. One of D'Anello's favourite items is Jensen's Cheddar & Truffle Burger with Quebec blue cheese, double smoked bacon, arugula, crema di tartufi and tarragon mayo. Bay of Fundy Jail Island Salmon prepared with mustard foam and lacquered with maple rye is another popular choice.

The Compass Signature Wings with chicken that comes from Brantford is glazed with Morris Mercanti's uncle Carmen's organic honey produced in Stoney Creek. So well-liked are they that D'Anello has even received a request from a customer, a pilot testing the new stealth fighter jet down in Texas, for the recipe as he could not wait for his return home to sample them again.

Theme nights are part of the charm: Mo-Ma Mondays (Mojito & Margarita's by the pitcher for $15 or by the glass for $5), Half Glass Tuesdays (any wine by the glass half price), Latin Night Wednesdays (Tapas Night and live entertainment 8 to 11 p.m.), Thursday Bron-T-Partini's (Signature Martini $6), Five on Fridays (Five dollar draft & appetizers), Smooth Saturdays (live entertainment/smooth jazz 8 to 11p.m.) and SunSensational Sundays (Sangrias in the Sun $5). In addition, every weekday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. is Happy Hour featuring two for one appetizers.

“We are getting a phenomenal response from people in the area saying that they've always wanted a place like this to go to. A place they can go and hang out and have a drink in the lounge or patio and also come back with their family and have a good, affordable meal,” says D'Anello. “All the while promoting local foods, suppliers, artists, musicians.

We are your local, little hangout.”

COMPASS is indeed a unique dining destination and one that embodies fabulous food, entertainment and atmosphere all with a view to remember.

““ 2340 Ontario Street, Oakville; 905.827.7037