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Best French restaurant

bistroboy May 19, 2008 06:42 AM

What would be the best French restaurant in Toronto?

  1. m
    millygirl May 19, 2008 07:40 AM

    Don't know about the best, but these are a few of our favourite that immediately come to mind. In order of preference: Scaramouche, Pastis, Celestin, and finally Auberge du Pommier.

    1. s
      smr714 May 19, 2008 07:40 AM

      The Matigon on St. Nicolas is not the best, but I have had good food and it is reasonable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: smr714
        Pixela May 21, 2008 02:37 PM

        +1 for The Matigon... loved their fruit soup, but I think Celestin is still alittle better in terms of variety.

      2. JamieK May 19, 2008 08:09 AM

        I think it's difficult to identify the best French restaurant in Toronto because there are so many different kinds of French restaurants in the city. It'd be easier to name the best in categories, ie, best classic French, best contemporary, best bistro, best Mediterranean French, best old-school, etc, etc,

        1. c
          cookie221 May 19, 2008 09:18 AM

          I agree there are so many various types of French in Toronto, for Classic French try Didier , for modern Scaramouche or Celestin, I would also say that Auberge is always in the running when asked about a great French restaurant.

          1. JamieK May 19, 2008 09:42 AM

            Scaramouche is sometimes an Italian restaurant ;->

            I'm going to throw Batiole out there, even though I've never been, because it seems very very French and has lots of fans on the board. This (dated) link has more info about the Batifole than its own website -

            744 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M1Y3, CA

            6 Replies
            1. re: JamieK
              millygirl May 19, 2008 11:00 AM

              The italian seasons festival looks good...thanks for posting JamieK.

              1. re: JamieK
                Charles Yu May 19, 2008 02:44 PM

                Based on my dinner at Batifole a few weeks ago, I would rate its current food quality average at best. Meat dishes were too heavily sauced and too rich and heavy. Lacking real finesse. Pastis express has much tastier food.

                1. re: Charles Yu
                  millygirl May 19, 2008 03:00 PM

                  I've always wondered what the big attraction was at Batifole. It's lost on me.

                  1. re: millygirl
                    foodyDudey May 26, 2008 09:00 AM

                    It's OK, but nothing special. I have a bunch of friends and my wife also who won't go back when I suggest visiting again.

                    Has anyone got the impression that some of the dishes are just re-heated in a microwave from frozen when you order? I have. In spite of this, there are some items I like, mainly the seafood soup and certain appetisers.

                    1. re: millygirl
                      Vinnie Vidimangi Sep 6, 2008 05:54 AM

                      In the land of the blind, the one eyed is king.
                      The one that I was sorry to see go is Pony. Quite good, and reasonably priced, with no fooling around. I think that was the problem: no fooling around; he thought that he was cooking for adults.

                    2. re: Charles Yu
                      ms. clicquot May 20, 2008 07:15 AM

                      I've only gone to Batifole in winter months and felt much the same. I assumed the menu was meat-heavy because of a seasonal focus and lack of fresh local produce. Do they lighten up the menu a bit in the spring/summer?

                      I'm personally a fan of Celestin but I haven't tried a lot of the places people are recommending so that may be a summer project.

                  2. Bobby Wham May 19, 2008 08:22 PM

                    Not sure if it's the best but I love Gamelle, great food, atmosphere, service and the price is right too. A nice bistro.

                    1. skylineR33 May 19, 2008 08:38 PM

                      I like Scaramouche but I am not sure if I would call Scaramouche a french restaurant. So Centro, North 44, One, Splendido, Opus are all French as well ?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: skylineR33
                        cookie221 May 20, 2008 03:58 PM

                        Scaramouche is a modern french menu , have u ever been there? Centro is Cal-Italian, North 44 is american and opus is french as well yes.

                        1. re: cookie221
                          skylineR33 May 20, 2008 04:07 PM

                          Yes, have you ? It is more a continental cuisine not French to me same as Splendido, Centro and North 44. To me, I would consider Auberge and Didier french restaurant.

                          1. re: cookie221
                            JamieK May 20, 2008 04:09 PM

                            Scaramouche might use "French techniques" but when you look at the menu, it's not a French restaurant. That's probably why they bill themselves as "continental".

                            And you don't actually have to eat at a restaurant to figure out what kind of cuisine their menu is based on.

                        2. meld_la May 22, 2008 12:37 PM

                          Not sure about the best, but Bistro 990 has some great french bistro food at a range of price points, excellent service, and is a fun place to go (you never know which celebrities might stop by). They're also open late.
                          I've never been there, but Jacques Bistro du Parc on Cumberland has some devoted fans.

                          1. p
                            Paula from Toronto May 23, 2008 11:48 AM

                            Personally, I'm rather fond of Biff's on Front Street. The food is well prepared and mostly unpretentious. They cater to the theater crowd (being almost directly across from the Hummingbird Centre), and they pay scrupulous attention to service and timing.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Paula from Toronto
                              CIRCLES_SQ May 23, 2008 09:25 PM

                              I agree, BIff's is incredibly underated, there or Auberge.

                              1. re: Paula from Toronto
                                travelismylife May 29, 2008 12:16 PM

                                You are right, Biff's is great. The food is delicious, the service is spot on and the atmosphere is comfortable.

                                In addition Le Select is a nice bistro/resto. Steak Tartare is very good there.

                              2. f
                                frenched13 May 26, 2008 08:01 AM

                                try Fare on Queen east. Classic Bistro food. Really good.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: frenched13
                                  millygirl May 26, 2008 08:43 AM

                                  The one and only time I was at Fare it was horrible. Can't decide which was worse, the service or the food. One of my worst dining experiences ever.

                                2. hotsauce28 May 28, 2008 08:15 PM

                                  I tried Thuet a couple of weeks ago and I surprisingly, I really enjoyed it. I'm generally not into expensive places with portions the size for Barbie but this place really surprised me.
                                  I had 3 courses (a tar tar, foie gras and a small tenderloin). All 3 dishes and the other's I sampled from friend's plates were all fantastic. And the service was top notch!

                                  I wasnt' too impressed with Scaramouche. From what everyone's saying, maybe it's time to give it another shot.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hotsauce28
                                    Apprentice Sep 5, 2008 09:45 AM

                                    Why was it a surprise? Did you have previous experiences with Thuet's cooking? Or was it based on this board's reviews?

                                    I'm definitely in the minority on this board, but Thuet's food (from the King St location) has never disappointed me. It's actually one of my favourite restaurants in the city.

                                    I'm surprised that Batifole is even being mentioned in a thread opining on the "best" in the city, that's a stretch IMO.

                                    Edit - I just realized how old this thread is! Apologies.

                                  2. k
                                    KevinB May 28, 2008 11:15 PM

                                    Not an answer to your question, but I certainly miss "La Provencal" and "Le Chaumiere", two stand-out French restaurants as Toronto was coming of age in the 70's. And, of course, Gaston's. It was at those places as a young teen that I first experienced escargot, onion soup, cassoulet, salade nicoise, etc., and realized there was a lot more to food than roast beef, burgers, and generic Italian. Pardon this interruption..

                                    1. m
                                      MeMeMe May 29, 2008 12:15 PM

                                      The most consistent bistro fare around, in my mind, is Le Paradis. Always packed, always delicious. And probably the most reasonably priced meal (and wine) in town. Le Select is lovely to look at, but the food has never impressed me. A new kid on the block, Coquine, has also impressed me. (oh how i miss Bofinger!!")

                                      1. happycamper May 29, 2008 05:11 PM

                                        I am surprised that Provence (near Jarvis) has not been mentioned.
                                        That place is a gem: great wine, perfect service, great atmosphere. I adore it.

                                        I also love
                                        Amuse bouche

                                        1. s
                                          Sherm_TO May 30, 2008 12:55 PM

                                          I would also throw in my 2 cents for Midi? Very good French Table D'Hote near U of T.

                                          Midi Bistro
                                          168 McCaul St, Toronto, ON M5T1W4, CA

                                          1. s
                                            sam sobe May 30, 2008 05:54 PM

                                            le paradis, la gamelle, didiers and yes just like Kevin, still miss Le Provencal

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: sam sobe
                                              duchesse Sep 4, 2008 12:04 PM

                                              I like Batifole (and eat there every 4-6 weeks) but you have to choose, and you have to like French food- that means you are not averse to some butter or sauces. The fish soup (almost always on the menu) is the real deal. The salade verte is fresh and light, with a delicious vinaigrette- try it as a first course if you worry about heavy. The steak tartare is horse meat. If you say "neigh", get the steak, which is a cut chef has done in the restaurant, and it's superb. The cassoulet will be a heavy dish as is intended. The wine list iis extensive and novel... and priced extremely reasonably. I took a friend in the industry, super-knowledgable guy and he said it is extraordinary. The chef is a Breton and his cooking reflects his spirit and roots.

                                              1. re: duchesse
                                                tuttebene Sep 5, 2008 09:15 AM

                                                I can't agree more with duchesse. If you know and like simple, authentic French, Batifole delivers, consistenly. I can add that the lentils or escargots as appetizers are great choices and their wine list is French, extensive, and very reasonably priced. However, I have been disappointed with the steak frites repeatedly; the meat was generous in portion but tough each time. It's also one of the most affordable meals in town, IMO.

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