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Apr 20, 2007 01:16 PM

A place like Batifole, but not Batifole!

I need a place for a birthday dinner for three that has the quality of food and service of Batifole but isn't Batifole (we've been there twice in the last month)...

I prefer French food but am open to other options... Looking mostly downtown or uptown (North Toronto) - not really in the 'burbs... we'll be cabbing it from Y&E area...

Thanks in advance for suggestions!

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    1. re: visconti

      I always like Le Select on Wellington - great service, reliable food, pleasant environment. It's not new though, nor is it exciting in any way IMO. Good if you want to talk for a long time in a nice environment and be well-treated.

      I also am a big fan of Rosebud at Queen & Bathurst. Prices seem to have come down so it would now be roughly at Batifole level. It's dark, small, cozy, and has great food worth talking about. The only disappointment for me was the vegetables which I remember as uniformly salty and heavy.... and the stodgy, un-sharp lemon bread pudding. But on the whole it's great.

      1. re: spigot

        I'm a fan of Zucca...Yonge St. just south of Eglinton on the west side of Yonge. I've been there a few times and have had good to very good experiences there. It's obviously not "french" but the menu is quite simple with fresh flavourful ingredients.

        1. re: andyman2

          I love Zucca. Other places to consider are POP Bistro (Queen St E) and Avant Gout (Yonge and Summerhill). I've had great meals at both places and the size/price at both is close to Batifole.

    2. Celestin on Mt. Pleasant, south of Eg.

      5 Replies
      1. re: diesta

        What about Provence. It's in Cabbagetown. We went as a large group in October to celebrate a couple birthdays. There were 10 of us. I don't recall what the bill was - certainly wasn't cheap. I think everyone loved their food. Beautiful little place. Very intimate without being dark overly private. Just small and lovely. Good selection of wines by the glass and a large selection by the bottle.

        1. re: kmoore

          I have never been to Provence- what's the menu like?

        2. re: diesta

          We thought about Celestin - as it is in walking distance and therefore is good for imbibing... But I am concerned that it might be too high a price point... It's my birthday but two other people are paying - I don't want to 'impose'! Thoughts?

          1. re: kawarthagirl

            Agree about price. What about Sauvignon at Queen & Woodbine?

            1. re: kawarthagirl

              I haven't been to Batifole, so can't comment on the price comparison; that being said, if you call and speak to the manager Jeffrey at Celestin and tell him you want a moderately priced set menu, they will most likely put it together for you (may not be able to on a Fri/Sat night, you'll have to ask.

          2. How about Le Paradis, Bedford and Davenport in the annex area. It's a reliable French bistro...reservations are a must, even a few weeks in advance.

            check out

            Note that markups are fair, and the food is great value for the price.

            3 Replies
            1. re: lonestartor

              Provence From what I recall those who ordered the steak enjoyed it. I had the Lamb steak - the special for the evening, delicious. My GF went for the shank, didn't really realize what it was, but enjoyed it none the less. I believe that the scallops were good too. They do a wonderful cheese platter as a finishing course, it is priced according to the number of people eating. I think 4 people shared it last time, they gave us 4-5 different cheeses.

              1. re: kmoore

                i loved provence, but the price is definetely not in the same league as batifole (although i prefer the food at provence more). i remember a 3 course meal for two plus a bottle of wine came close to $200. the service at batifole is a little too attentive for my taste, and i think provence has a better cellar than batifole. but thats just my two cents. i like gamelle on college. the menu selection is more limited but it consistently offers good solid french cuisine.

                1. re: happycamper

                  I didn't care for the atmosphere at Provence. I found it felt a little stuffy and geriatric. I thought the food was "good," but not good enough to remember what we ate. Nor would I go back given the other choices.

                  I second the Rosebud (great food, reasonable prices, cozy and intimate but not uptight). Although not classically French it's got a bistro-y, neighbourhood-y feel.

            2. Pastis! One of the best French bistro in town. Great fish soup, foie gras and grilled calves liver. The profitoros are to die for! Very reasonably priced. Reservations a must!

              2 Replies
              1. re: Charles Yu

                I just came back from a birthday party dinner tonight at Pastis Express.

                I had the ravoli filled with snails, herb butter... they came looking like little sombrero's and soaking in a ton of oil. I could hardly taste the snails or the butter/herbs, and the pasta in the ravioli was way too thick on the bottom.

                The steak frites was terrible... .steak was the most dead tasting piece of meat I've had in a long time, over cooked (I ordered med rare and got med well) and was overly salty. Frites were thinly cut but was too much breading on it... reminded me of the fries @ KFC.

                The lamb chops were quite nice and cooked & seasoned perfectly (too bad it was my friend that had that dish and not me). She also had the cod fritters which was nice... kinda like crab cakes but with cod pieces in a creamy dipping sauce.

                Mussels weren't particularly fresh according to our birthday girl.

                Dessert... the creme broulee was wonderful. Profiteroles were nice but a bit on the sweet side.

                Waiter was very rushed, spilling wine and water all over our table at times, and couldn't even remember the soup du jour.

                Prices were very reasonable and the place was packed by 7:00pm on a Sat. night. ... I probably should've ordered what Charles suggested... ugh.

                I still haven't tried Batifole yet, so I can't compare, but I had a much better experience going to Provence Delices (twice) than Pastis.

                1. re: Royaljelly

                  I'm sorry to hear that! I know they are always packed on Saturdays so I always pick a week day to go and the food are much more consistant. Irrespective, a good restaurant should have a kitchen that can handle volume traffic. No excuse for putting out bad food! By the way, you should have returned the steak. Lastly, Batifole can get pretty jam packed on a weekend too, so to play safe I would try eating early and avoid the crowd. Better luck next time.
                  PS: Yup! You should have ordered the calves liver. The sauce is amazing!

              2. Midi on McCaul. Not the city's most wide-ranging menu – but genuine bistro food at a very reasonable price. Or, as suggested elsewhere, Le Paradis.

                1 Reply
                1. re: deepcreek

                  Celestin on Mt Pleasant at Manor a great French Resto/Bistro...may need Reservations...Miranda