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Jun 5, 2004 10:23 PM

Review: Batifole

  • c

Went to Batifole for the first time. I live nearby, and was encouraged by the good reviews it's been getting. Don't know if I'll go back. The service was very iffy -- my salad came first, then my bread took a long time to arrive after that, followed immediately by the main dish. This was the saving grace of the meal: braised sweetbreads with bacon and pearl onions. The sweetbreads were pure texture and the sauce was smoky and delicious. However, the way they do things at Batifole, the main dish does not come with vegetables or potatoes etc. I kept looking at my 3 modestly-sized sweetbreads thinking, "I paid $15 for this?" Granted, there are much more expensive restaurants in the city, but the overall effect was disappointing. It is still a new restaurant, so things will improve, but for some reason, I didn't leave wanting to go back even though I live in the neighbourhood.

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  1. I went to Batifole with a group of friends last night, and we were very happy with our experience. Everyone enjoyed the appetizers: crab soup was very crabby, the crostini came with a generous portion of nicely flavoured olives, the duck terrine was tasty and garnished with gherkins.

    We had most of the mains on the menu (there were 12 of us). Two dishes stood out: the sweetbreads and the skate. As the earlier post says, the sweetbreads were very well done, not overcooked. The skate was served with a caper sauce and my friend enjoyed it very much. The one disappointment was the steak: it was a bit overcooked at the edges. For desert, we had an assortment of sweet crepes and the cherry clafouti: you must have the clafouti, it is quite perfectly served.

    In terms of the value, I think the food is well priced. All the mains are $15, and the sides are $5 each (we either had frites with mayo, or veggies - the frites were actually not french frites, but big hand cut fries). That means that you could get an entree for $20. In comparison to other resutaurants, I think that is a good price, especially for the typically more expensive items like sweetbreads, steak or tuna. Just for a comparison, I had dinner at EAT in the west end few days ago, and paid $17 for a fairly mediocre linguine in cream sauce with asparagus tips, where the asparagus was negligable.

    I agree that the service could improve - they are very friendly, but not well organized as yet, although I think that does take a while. We found the atmosphere very comfortable and inviting. I will definitely go back, and I would encourage others to try it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kasia

      I have eaten at Batifole twice and enjoyed in both times. The beef cheeks are fabulous and the duck confit also got good reviews. I have sent friends there and they were very impressed. The service is a bit was much improved the 2nd time from the 1st. I think it is quite reasonably priced for the quality. Best of all it is just around the corner from my house so no need for cabs or cars.

    2. I went to Batifole for a friend's birthday dinner on Monday night, and we had a delightful time. (The place was hopping for a Monday night). Service was charming and efficient. Food was excellent and very reasonable. The chef came out to wish our friend a Happy Birthday and to offer a complimentary dessert. We will definitely be back, and we will recommend this place to our friends. An outstanding value. We were very well fed for the money we paid.

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          1. Eeek. Batifole has gotten such good reviews. It smells delicious in there. We sat down and realized we couldn't eat one entre. How embarassing. Not very adventursome in the "game" department. I should have known with all the talk of glands and stingray and baby cows. Not mocking it. I'm a proud meat eater too. I kinda wish I wasn't so grossed out by it. There where other things on the menu like carrot squash soup and nice looking salads. Just a warning to all other chow hounds. Don't go there unless you are up for extreme meats. Definately not mainstream bistro fare. I wish I would have picked up on this before the tedious street car ride out to the east end!

            16 Replies
            1. They got a good review in the Star this past weekend.

              1. re: millygirl

                actually, it was Gina Mallet in the National Post ... a favourable review indeed -


                744 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

                1. re: JamieK

                  Right, sorry folks and thanks Jamie

              2. re: food face

                I haven't been to Batifole in a while but I wouldn't classify it as "extreme meats". Steak frites, cassoulet, snapper, skate, fich soup. I wouldn't look at beef cheeks as extreme nor sweetbreads. Perhaps some things like tripe might fit in that category for some. I know their Winterlicious menu includes chiken which is as unextreme as it gets.

                1. re: Aardvark

                  Last time I was there they had horsemeat on the menu....perhaps not extreme but I couldn't get my head around it and I'm pretty good with most other things. In fact love sweetbreads.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    If you can get your mind around it, I highly recommend the horse tartar. I think it's the best thing on the menu. If you like/eat steak tartar, this is even better! :)

                    1. re: Tara9000

                      Yes I love steak tartar and like I say, I don't have many food issues and I'm sure it's good BUT for me, it's just one of those things I don't think I could manage. I think it goes back to my childhood :)

                      1. re: millygirl

                        Lol... my mother has a similar 'mental' thing. She can't eat goat cheese, because to her it tastes like the barn-y 'smell' of goats.

                  2. re: food face

                    Very thankful for your post food face. My partner was trying to drag a large group here. Several of them including myself don't go for "off beat" meats..he kept saying "it's a bistro there will be steak and frites!" So pulled this up in a search and most have raved about dishes are fear factor material for me. I'll try anything once but generally prefer the taste and texture of mainstream chicken, beef, or pork the best for a full meal.

                    1. re: abigllama

                      Batifole does have steak and frites! Last time I was there, I ordered just that; I believe it was a flank steak (though I'm not sure), and it was served with a delicious porcini mushroom cream sauce. The frites are always excellent at Batifole. I, too, am pretty squeamish when it comes to such things -- sweetbreads, etc. are not an option for me -- but I have never had any trouble ordering at Batifole.

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        I wouldn't necessarily choose Batifole for a large group where the *majority* are looking for standards though. Just seems kinda beside the point of the place, especially if they coming from outside the neighbourhood.

                        1. re: abigllama

                          My Pleasure Abigllama. Not enough selection for us mainstream meat eaters that have no other main options other than our beloved steak frites. Glad to have saved you the awkward moment I had of walking out ashamed.