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The best French restaurants in Toronto

The best French restaurants in Toronto

Discover the best French restaurants in Toronto, offering authentic Parisian flavors, elegant dining experiences, and classic French dishes like coq au vin, steak frites, and crème brûlée. Perfect for any occasion!

Toronto, a city renowned for its diverse culinary scene, offers a delightful array of French restaurants that bring a touch of Parisian elegance and flavor to its vibrant neighborhoods. From cozy bistros serving traditional dishes to upscale eateries offering innovative French cuisine, these restaurants showcase the rich and varied tapestry of French gastronomy. Whether you’re craving a classic croissant, a perfectly seared steak frites, or an indulgent dessert, Toronto’s French dining establishments provide a quintessential taste of France, right in the heart of the city. Join us as we explore the best French restaurants in Toronto, each offering a unique and memorable dining experience.

Chantecler Toronto

Location: Chantecler Toronto

Website: http://www.chanteclerto.com/

Contact: +14166283586

Located on Bloor Street West, Chantecler offers a menu rich in French techniques paired with local Canadian ingredients, marking it as the famed establishment’s second venue. The original Chantecler, which opened in Parkdale in 2012, closed following a devastating fire in 2019. During the closure, owner Jacob Wharton-Shukster managed Chantecler Boucherie, a neighboring butcher shop, and also Le Phenix, a temporary setup across the street. Now re-established in Bloorcourt with Stephen Prickett as co-owner, the restaurant boasts a large patio and is led by head chef Diego Reyes.

Chantecler Toronto

The menu revitalizes classics like the hand-cut Steak Tartare and introduces new favorites such as the Brioche a Tete, known for its buttery texture and rosemary-honey glaze paired with whipped butter. Additionally, the menu features a Duck dish, originally from Le Phenix, offering both confit legs and dry-aged breasts in thyme jus. Not to be overlooked is the Roast and Ballotine of Chantecler Chicken, named after the restaurant’s namesake breed, presenting a pan-roasted breast and leg with crisped skin alongside a thigh ingeniously made into a sausage-like ballotine with mushroom duxelles and Madeira.

Cote de Boeuf

Location: Cote de Boeuf

Website: http://www.cotedeboeuf.ca/

Contact: +14165322333

Cote de Boeuf is a charming French butcher shop and bistro located along Ossington, designed to evoke a Parisian atmosphere. The small, cozy interior features wooden wine barrels as tables and a chalkboard listing daily specials. Owner Teo Paul, who also runs Union, opened the shop in 2013 after years of working as a chef in Paris. The establishment emphasizes farm-fresh produce and offers a selection of French wines, oils, vinegars, mustards, and crackers. Patrons often gather at the front tables to enjoy a meal or drink, making it a lively spot among the local food stops.

Cote de Boeuf

Head chef Damien Cochez, trained as a butcher, uses traditional methods to prepare various meats, including locally sourced beef, pork, and duck. The meat is dry-aged for 25 to 35 days, enhancing its flavor and tenderness. Signature dishes include the cote de boeuf, a bone-in rib steak dry-aged for 30 days and cooked in duck fat, served with roasted vegetables. The menu also features Iberico ham, beef tartare, escargot, and PEI oysters. The wine list highlights French selections, and a vanilla creme brulee is available for dessert.

Dreyfus

Location: Dreyfus

Website: http://dreyfustoronto.com/

Contact: +14163231385

Dreyfus, a French restaurant located in Harbord Village, is known for its comforting plates and an extensive selection of all-natural wines. Open exclusively in the evenings, this intimate, dimly lit space, which previously housed the Japanese brunch spot J’s Apron, is perfect for a cozy dining experience. The restaurant seats only 30 guests, offering various seating arrangements including along the banquette or barside. Named after the infamous Dreyfus affair, the establishment aims to blend French cuisine with the influence of Jewish culture in Quebecois food, although it essentially serves as a straightforward bistro offering quality dishes.

Dreyfus

The concise menu rotates, featuring about a dozen French-inspired dishes. Notable items include green bean almondine, a tribute to Tel Aviv’s Miznon, served with bread crumbs, toasted almonds, and vinaigrette. The jambon d’épaule with remoulade includes brined ham shoulder paired with celery, carrot, tarragon, and brown butter sauce. Another highlight is the Flemish asparagus topped with chopped egg salad, salmon roe, and Quebec lobster. The Manila clams from BC come with escargot, garlic parsley bread crumbs, and parmesan. The wine list is impressive, featuring natural wines from around the world, such as the French Apparente wine from Pueche Redon.

Pompette

Location: Pompette

Website: https://www.pompette.ca/restaurant

Contact: +14165161111

Pompette, a French restaurant and cocktail bar located on College Street, aims to evoke a sense of sensory delight through its menu of local and seasonal dishes. The extensive patio, once home to Capitol, features wooden benches and Parisian-style planters, creating a charming ambiance before diners even begin their meal. The menu includes house-made spelt sourdough and smoked cod roe tarama, a refined take on taramasalata, and leeks with creamy egg yolk and mustard seeds, offering a twist on the traditional French dish of leeks in vinaigrette. Mains like sweetbreads with morels and fresh peas are frequently updated, while staples like pate en croute remain constant. The wine list boasts nearly 300 selections, predominantly old world, with some Ontario wines, highlighting various producers.

Pompette

Desserts at Pompette change daily, with recent offerings including a dark chocolate tart with an almond base and an Ontario cherry brown butter financier with coconut Chantilly. The bar serves inventive cocktails like the Nitro Colada, made with fresh pineapple juice, house falernum, coconut water and milk, and rum, topped with curry leaves. This combination of innovative cuisine, a diverse wine list, and creative cocktails makes Pompette a noteworthy destination in Little Italy for those seeking a unique dining experience.

Le Baratin

Location: Le Baratin

Website: http://www.lebaratin.ca/

Contact: +14165348800

Le Baratin, which has replaced the former Bivy cafe, is now a cozy French bistro run by owner Pascal Vernhes and chef Jean Regis Raynaud, formerly of Le Paradis. The restaurant aims to offer an accessible and affordable dining experience, serving wholesome bistro fare without the typical French restaurant cliches. The goal is to provide comforting classics at reasonable prices, with a $40 dinner for two being commonplace.

Le Baratin

The menu at Le Baratin features seasonal influences, such as the tarte Provencale filled with tomatoes and chevre, and a beet salad with cumin dressing, pickled onions, goat cheese, and beet chips. Main dishes include steak frites and duck confit, with the five-hour braised lamb shank as the most expensive item at $21. The ratatouille, a simple yet flavorful medley of zucchini, eggplant, and red peppers, is a standout dish. Desserts like the tarte tatin and espresso-based drinks add to the bistro’s charm. Le Baratin opens early for grab-and-go pastries and also serves lunch and brunch.

Le Paradis

Location: Le Paradis

Website: http://www.leparadis.com/

Contact: +14169216424

Le Paradis, located in the Annex, exudes the casual allure of Parisian bistros. Despite its dated decor, featuring black and white posters, checkered linoleum floors, and a Southern French-inspired mural, the restaurant’s ambiance is charming and welcoming. The open kitchen and bar area add to its inviting atmosphere. Patrons, mostly locals familiar to the staff, exchange friendly nods, creating a neighborhood feel. However, the service can feel forced for outsiders, particularly if they skip the customary wine with their meal.

Le Paradis

The menu is reasonably priced, with most mains between $14 and $17, and a three-course set menu for $20. While the white bean and basil soup and Rustique salad disappoint, the steak in peppercorn sauce and duck breast fare better, though portions are modest. The lamb shank with tomato confit kidney beans offers comforting flavors akin to a cassoulet. Desserts, unfortunately, were skipped, leaving the experience somewhat lacking. Overall, while Le Paradis offers a slice of Parisian dining, its food and service do not consistently meet expectations.

Batifole

Location: Batifole

Website: http://www.batifole.ca/

Contact: +14164629965

Batifole, translating to “frolicking,” offers an experience that lives up to its name for French cuisine enthusiasts. Renowned as one of Toronto’s most traditional French restaurants, it combines affordable wine, a sophisticated yet relaxed ambiance, and excellent service. The concept of “bistronomy” is evident, featuring both accessible and upscale dishes on the menu.

Batifole

Each meal begins with complimentary fresh bread, such as a chia, pumpkin, and sunflower seed loaf served with salted whipped butter. Appetizers include a country-style pate made in-house from pork, chicken liver, and juniper, served with thin baguette toasts, mustard, olives, cornichons, and a house-made tapenade. On the bistronomy side, dishes like crab enveloped in zucchini with black radish slices and a gelee of zucchini, asparagus, and fish stock showcase exceptional plating and fresh, nuanced flavors.

Le Swan

Location: Le Swan

Website: http://www.leswan.ca/

Contact: +14165364440

Le Swan breathes new life into one of Toronto’s beloved diners, Swan, by introducing whimsical French cuisine. The menu is cleverly divided into “French” and “Diner,” offering classic French dishes alongside American counterparts. The establishment retains its original intimate booths and seating while adding personal touches like hand-painted art and a zinc bar top.

Le Swan

The Salad Nicoise ($15) elevates a traditional favorite with frisee dressed in champagne vinegar, tuna tonnato, and oven-roasted tomatoes, among other fresh components. The Steak Frites ($32) features a Denver cut steak dry-aged for 40 days and expertly pan-seared, accompanied by fries that undergo a meticulous two-day preparation process. The Rotisserie Chicken Platter ($42) uses local poultry brined and basted with duck fat, resulting in tender, flavorful meat and vegetables infused with its juices. Fondue is available after 11 p.m., providing a retro dining experience. The Provence cocktail ($14) combines gin, dry vermouth, absinthe, and herbes de Provence for a slightly bitter taste.

Conclusion

Exploring the best French restaurants in Toronto reveals the city’s dedication to culinary excellence and its ability to celebrate diverse traditions with authenticity and flair. These establishments, with their meticulous attention to detail, high-quality ingredients, and skilled craftsmanship, offer diners an enchanting journey through French cuisine. Whether you are savoring a classic coq au vin, indulging in a rich crème brûlée, or enjoying a glass of fine French wine, these restaurants provide an experience that captures the essence of France. As you dine in these exceptional venues, you’ll find that Toronto not only embraces French culinary traditions but elevates them, making each meal a memorable celebration of flavor and culture.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What are some must-try dishes at French restaurants in Toronto?

At French restaurants in Toronto, some must-try dishes include steak frites, coq au vin, duck confit, escargot, and bouillabaisse. For dessert, indulge in classic French pastries like crème brûlée, tarte tatin, and macarons.

2. Are there French restaurants in Toronto that offer vegetarian or vegan options?

Yes, many French restaurants in Toronto offer vegetarian and vegan options. Dishes such as ratatouille, vegetable tarte, and various salads are commonly available. It’s always a good idea to check the menu or call ahead to confirm specific dietary accommodations.

3. Do I need to make a reservation at these French restaurants?

Making a reservation is often recommended, especially for popular French restaurants in Toronto, to ensure you get a table at your preferred time. Some restaurants may accept walk-ins, but reservations can help avoid long wait times, particularly during peak dining hours.

4. Are French restaurants in Toronto suitable for special occasions?

Absolutely, French restaurants in Toronto are perfect for special occasions. With their elegant ambiance, attentive service, and exquisite cuisine, these restaurants provide a sophisticated setting ideal for celebrations, romantic dinners, and gatherings with family and friends.

5. Can I find French restaurants in Toronto that serve brunch?

Yes, several French restaurants in Toronto serve brunch, offering a delightful selection of French-inspired breakfast and brunch dishes. You can enjoy options such as croissants, quiches, eggs Benedict, and French toast, often accompanied by freshly brewed coffee or mimosas.

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