Real French in Toronto?
I'm reminiscing about the last time I was in France 4 years ago and am dying for the food in the bouchons of Lyon! I've searched this site for French and there was a previous string on French (Parisian) bistros, but having never been to Paris (I know, next trip) not sure if the food is quite what I'm dying for. There's quite an extensive list that I have yet to visit, so would appreciate some ranking from the chowhounds please! The places named: Jules, La Brasserie, Bouchon, Le Paradis, Matignon, Pastis, La Palette, Avant Gout, Arlequin.
Quality of food and reasonable prices are what I care about, don't care about decor/ambience too much.
Matignon is a nice cozy restaurant. It actually is a town house that was gutted out and turned into a restarant. The food is fresh and simple. Comfort food but the service superb. I forget the name of the French restuarant by the AGO and I think it is on baldwin street or close by but I remember having a really great experience there. It has been some time since I was last there but I remember it being delightful.
I have not been to all of those places but of the three I've been to, I would rate them Bouchon, Le Paradis and Jules in that order. Bouchon is quite good and the prix fixe menu is around $30-35. Food quality is very good. Le Paradis is a Chowhound favorite and food is not bad. I personally think of the place as a "value" proposition rather than a "quality" proposition. The food isn't bad but I personally don't think its worth any meaninful drive to go there. One thing though, it gets very crowded so either go early (around 6:30 on the weekends) or make sure to have reservations. Jules is ok for a casual lunch but I'm not a big fan of the place for dinner.
I too have only been to a few of the places on your list - I have really enjoyed Pastis Express (it became a less expensive/more casual resto a year or two ago) lately. There's a great buzzy atmosphere, the service is great and the food is very good. I would agree that Le Paradis is good, not great. It's a nice neighbourhood spot - the food is always good, though never remarkable and I find the atmosphere a little dull. I had a lovely dinner at Celestin last year - if you want a more upscale evening, this would be a good choice. Of all of these, Pastis is the most reminiscent of Paris. Bon appetit!
Jules Havent been,
La Brasserie disappointing; expensive for what you get,
Bouchon was excellent food but the chef has just left and havent been since
Le Paradis solid, reliable, the epitome of bistro
Matignon excellent value but food is a bit heavier north African influences
Pastis more upscale, probably the best food on the list but for some reason always seem out of wines.
La Palette great wine list; food can be uneven
Avant Gout also North African tinged, Excellent value comfort food.
Arlequin havent been since the ownership change
Celestin verging on the pretentious. Expensive.
I went to Provence in cabbagetown for my birthday two years ago and had a fabulous dinner. It was February and they had fireplaces going and it was real cozy. I have always wanted to go back and sit in tehir front patio...
Provence Restaurant Français, Bar,
Patio, Fine Caterer
12 Amelia street, Toronto
(Parliament Street and Wellesley Street East)