Right before heading on a long-awaited trip of mine – flying Emirates First Class on the A380 and staying at both Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai and the St. Regis Maldives – I visited Hexagon Restaurant in Oakville, Ontario and participated in their nine-course tasting menu.
Hexagon is one of my all-time favourite restaurants, and that’s not just because I used to work there. The real reason Hexagon stands out to me as being one the best restaurants in Canada is because they consistently deliver inspirational dishes paired with world-class service.
Hexagon – About the Restaurant & Chef
From the moment you walk into the restaurant, Hexagon impresses with its interior décor.
From the floor to ceiling windows with unobstructed views of Oakville’s Towne Square, to the sleek and modern honeycomb-shaped light fixtures and a back-lit agate stone wall feature, the place radiates opulence.
Walking through the restaurant, you pass by modern granite tables, with crafty dark wooden chairs and benches adorned with royal blue leather.
Moving further in you find a floating bio-fuel fireplace and an open concept kitchen, giving views to the team of chefs gracefully preparing the dishes for the evening.
With the main dining room seating 42 guests, this is a great venue for a date, business dinner, or celebratory occasion. During the summer months, the venue can accommodate an additional 20 guests when the patio is open.
Groups looking for a more intimate dining experience can request the private dining room located in the back of the restaurant.
Hexagon first opened its doors in September 2017 and became instantly popular among Oakville locals and Toronto diners alike. The restaurant also quickly gained notoriety as Toronto Life named them one of the GTA’s top restaurants.
In 2020, Hexagon received recognition of their culinary excellence and was ranked #81 on Canada’s 100 best restaurants list. In 2022, Hexagon climbed to #42 on Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants.
Hexagon is led by Executive Chef Rafa Covarrubias, who received the One to Watch award issued by Canada’s 100 Best and was a finalist in San Pellegrino’s national Young Chef competition.
Hexagon – Booking
Guests can book a standard dinner reservation, where they can enjoy items from an à la carte menu, or partake in the full experience of the nine-course carte blanche tasting menu, priced at $150 (CAD) per person.
As of the time of writing, Hexagon is only open for dinner service Wednesdays through Saturdays, and brunch service on Sunday.
Guests looking to enjoy a meal at Hexagon are advised to make a reservation, and even more so for weekend bookings. Even brunch tends to book up quickly.
Similarly to Atelier Crenn, reservations can only be made using the Tock platform, where a small deposit of $20 is required to secure your table.
Hexagon – Location
A trip into the heart of historic Downtown Oakville will lead you to Hexagon, located at the far end of the courtyard of the Towne Square.
The building entrance has no visible signage on the outside, making it potentially difficult for first-time guests to locate the entrance. Search for a royal blue awning and a large wooden door to find the venue.
You can find ample street parking on Lakeshore Road and the surrounding streets; however, complimentary parking is available for dinner guests at 211 Robinson St. Just be sure to ask your server to validate your ticket on the way out.
Hexagon – Dinner Experience
My wife Nicole and I were joined by two close friends for dinner, where we all participated in the nine-course tasting menu.
A carte blanche menu means the chefs have complete freedom over the dish selection, which adds an element of surprise to your dining experience – an aspect that I personally enjoy.
The menu is seasonal and new items are always being introduced, so you always have something to look forward to during every visit.
We were able to complete all nine courses in just over three hours. Portion size can be a concern for some at fine dining establishments, and I can say with confidence that everyone left fully satisfied with their meal.
The first couple of courses of the meal got things off to a delectable start: a seafood-inspired duo of Nova Scotia live scallop and hamachi ceviche.
My favourite courses of the meal would soon follow, so let’s dig in.
3. PEI Oyster
Cucumber, jalapeño, tonic mignonette.
The centrepiece of our first snack-course was Raspberry Point Oyster, known for their clean finish and minerality. I particularly enjoyed the subtle spice that came from the minced jalapeño.
4. Aged Beef Tartelette
Smoked tonnato, garlic blossoms.
Our second snack-course was a beef tartar-tartelette! If you recall from my review of Bymark Restaurant, I love beef tartar and this was no exception here.
The chef’s addition of smoked tonnato sauce was an unexpectedly delicious riff on this classic dish, and a unique approach to incorporating tangy ingredients like capers into the recipe.
Nova Scotia lobster, piquillo pepper, nixtamalized corn, almond crème fraîche
A visually stimulating dish that “wowed” the entire table. This lobster dish was equally unique and delicious, and while I did find the corn flavour to be strong, the sweet Spanish piquillo pepper was a great addition to the supple and sweet Nova Scotia lobster within.
Délice de Bourgogne, summer truffle.
Pasta, cheese, and truffle – need I say more? This dish was perfection in a bowl. I really enjoyed the use of summer truffle, which is less pungent than the Perigolds that can often be found on fine dining menus.
7. Iberico Pluma
Black garlic shoyu, smoked pineapple.
A butcher’s cut is a cut of meat that is not widely sold to the market, and the pluma cut is one of those. It comes from the neck of the pork and is known for its marbling and deep flavours.
This fatty, meaty cut was extremely tender and fell apart like it had been braised. Black garlic is a staple in my home pantry, and I always enjoy the depth of flavour it brings out in any meal.
8. Aged Duck
Heirloom carrot, sumo orange, anise.
Aged Duck is Chef Rafa’s signature dish, which won him the US finals for San Pellegrino Young Chef and brought him to Europe to compete alongside some of the best chefs in the world during the nationals.
It looks so simple on the plate, but is a laborious process that takes weeks from start to finish. The dry-aged Muscovy duck was cooked to a perfect medium rare, topped with a crispy skin. The contrast in textures, and depth of flavours that are produced by the multi-week dry aging process earned compliments from Nicole, who traditionally steers away from duck when eating out.
I don’t want to do a disservice to this dish by attempting to describe the numerous layers and intricacies of this plate; instead, I will leave it to you to make a reservation and try it yourself.
It comes with good reason that some people have nominated this to be the best duck dish in the GTA.
Hexagon – Service
It’s always a pleasant feeling entering a restaurant and receiving a warm welcome.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted at the door and informed that our table would not be ready for another 15 minutes. The hostess invited us to the bar and we were given a glass of complimentary Champagne to enjoy while we waited.
This is a great gesture of hospitality and allows you to settle into your evening immediately, avoiding the awkward moment while you sit at the bar and debate whether or not to order off the bar menu and wonder if it would arrive in time.
Once seated at the table, our server for the evening introduced themselves, took our water orders, and quickly confirmed that we were booked in for the tasting menu. The server also took the time to understand the dietary notes on our reservation.
For me, it’s always appreciated when the establishment I am dining at has taken the time to review the notes on my reservation and confirm with me at the table that they have understood them correctly.
It indicates a strong level of communication between team members and gives confidence that any special requests have been understood and will be accommodated.
The pace of our evening was perfect, with never too much or too little time in between courses, allowing us to indulge in our meals and socialize between plates.
With each course of our meal, either the server or the chef who prepared the dish would come and describe in detail the components on our plate. It was a truly engaging experience that keeps you involved in dinner, as you try and piece together the components on your plate – something that can be difficult when enjoying some of the more abstract dishes.
One of my favourite service elements of Hexagon that I believe they do better than any other restaurant I have dined at is their synchronous placement and removal of dishware.
There is a special feeling when you see three or four people approach your table and simultaneously pick up your plates and reset your cutlery.It’s like an F1 pitstop, and the team does it so gracefully that you might just miss it if you blink!
The service at Hexagon never disappoints, and you can tell that each team member is truly invested in making every single person who walks through that door feel at home. This further ensures that you leave satisfied with an unforgettable dining experience.
I had a great night out with friends at Hexagon. The venue is perfect for a dinner with a loved one, or for a professional outing. The service was welcoming and the atmosphere was opulent.
The biggest highlight for me was the Aged Duck course, which Chef Rafa is known for and has led him to compete with some of the greatest chefs on a national level.
I always look forward to dinners and brunches at Hexagon, and look forward to seeing what the team has to offer on their future menus. I’m also happy to see the high level of professionalism and care that I was taught during my time at Hexagon continues to be instilled in all of their staff.
I hope you have the opportunity to dine at Hexagon in the future… and who knows, with recent chatter of the Michelin Guide coming to Canada, this place may be getting a whole lot more popular.