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Le Paradis

I have been thinking about that hole in the wall in Toronto called Le Paradis, this is a place I have enjoyed in the past but it fell from my radar for the last couple of years. Has any one been in the past year, Id love to hear your experience.

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  1. Yes I have been and am a regular -- love it there. Especially love it when they have tajine on the menu. Very competent and lowkey fare. And well-priced.

    1. I used to always be a fan but was disappointed the last few times I've been. It's always been one of the best in town as far as bang for ones buck goes but now I think, "why do they even bother." Much rather go to a good pub like Abbot for the same price. Then again, maybe they've gotten their act together since the last time I've been (just under a year ago). Always worth another shot and with the bill total, what do you have to lose?

      6 Replies
      1. re: chef_vagabond

        I have been there a couple of times over the course of six months. The food was great and the service was even better. This place has been my favourite restaurant for the past 15 years. I am curious to hear about chef vagabond experience. I did notice that the owner David was not there on the evenings that I was there.

        1. re: theresah

          If I lived in the neighbourhood I'd likely go once in awhile but can't imagine going out of my way to get there. It's competent bistro food served in a dated atmosphere. Although the service was good, relaxed and friendly.

          1. re: jamesm

            To me, Le Paradis is the Toronto prototype of what a Fench bistro should be: consistently solid fare in a relaxed atmosphere at attractive prices. It's not great - bistro cuisine rarely is - it's merely very good, and eminently satisfying. Any joint that ordinarily has veal kidneys (an oft-neglected bistro classic) on the menu has my heart, and Le Paradis has had mine for more than two decades. It's even better when David is on the premises to direct the festivities. The locals love the place, and with good reason. It's often hard to corral a table even early in the week. There may be better such bistros around town - Coquine for Yonge&Eg liveliness, Simple Bistro for more cooking finesse - but few places can beat Le Paradis at its price point for all-round satisfaction.

            1. re: juno

              Well put Juno-you've mentioned your affection for Le Paradis before and its warranted. I agree that Coquine at Yonge and Eg has "liveliness" but the buck stops there. Escargots covered in cheese and flavoured with anise is not what I would deem classic (nor tasty). And phyllo pastry wrapped zucchini with goat cheese is something that reminds me of banquet food. Steak was competent but calf livers had a discernable "mushy" texture (not light and moussy as should be the case when well executed). The service was also rather spotty. I dropped my knife and the host literally picked it up, and walked away never to return!? I had to wave somebody down to get a replacement after waiting for at least 5 minutes. Won't be heading back.


              1. re: juno

                Couldn't have said it better myself, juno. The food is safe and satisfying. There isn't much exciting on the menu. However, the price point is exceptional. The service is efficient and more than competent. Some of the best wait staff I have seen - one man alone handles the entire lower floor basically on his own. I wouldn't rush to go there myself, but if someone suggests it - It's definitely a some place I would be happy to dine at. Great value and good food.

            2. re: theresah

              My past few experiences have never been with the service. The food during my last few experiences have been meat never cooked to specs, sauces that have obviously come from stocks that are treated as garbage disposals and just very ho hum take on standards like pot au feu or choucroute, which as far as I'm concerned either specialize in those things or don't do them. Again, for the price, who's complaining but personally, I'd just rather go and spend $14.00 on a really good burger at high end pub and when I really feel like bistro food, spend an extra $10.00 a head and go to Pastis or Batifole. Come to think of it, maybe La Paradis hasn't changed at all, maybe I have. Not to say I'll never go back, it's just that it will be for the service and the dated decor.

          2. I'm sad to hear about the bad experiences, because it's one of the few places I have found that is consistent and reliable. I trust them with difficult to prepare foods like mackerel.

            Could this be an issue of crowds?

            1 Reply
            1. re: arugula

              I think so. They grill chefs work so hard and really are masters at doing a $14 steak to perfection. I don't think their standards are ho hum and the stocks are nothing like a "garbage disposal". The steak frites is wonderful at Le Paradis as is all of their deserts (fresh fruit/custard tartes especially). I kind of like the dated decor. It's comforting to me. To each their own.

            2. Le Paradis is French as it should be. It never fails to please. My only beef is that you have to eat there early before they run out of things... can't tell you how many times I dream of something only for them to say they are out.... it is a testament to the freshness of their food but can be a bummer. Last time I ate there a couple weeks ago we had a feast - 3 courses plus wine for $50 including tax a tip - that can't be beat for what you get!

              2 Replies
              1. re: torontogourmet

                I've eaten there probably 8 or so times in the past 3 years and have enjoyed it every time. My only beef is that they don't always have the dijon chicken on the menu and sometimes they are reluctant to accomodate allergies (though sometimes they can't do enough for you, maybe it depends on the server and if they are in the kitchen's good books?) I have found the service consistently good, if you just want to be left alone they are fine with that but if you need a wine recomendation they are good there too. Plus the bonus of about ever other time I'm there some sort of Canadian celeb is at the next table!

                1. re: k8supergrover

                  I just really wish they would put some money back into the place and clean it up a little! Makes you wonder sometimes. Other than that, a great place for simple straight up bistro fare with always an interesting crowd!

              2. David Currie, who I admire for his sense of business, needs volume in order to keep the prices down. He has great bistro food without the flair. You can look at the website each day and check out the menu in advance.

                1. Has anyone tried their rabbit? How is it?
                  What about the salad with duck confit?

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: phoenikia

                    Bumping this thread.

                    Which are Le Paradis's best plats lately? If you had your choices narrowed down to the duck magret, lamb shanks or merguez sausage, which would you choose? http://www.leparadis.com/plats.html

                    I noticed their menu changes frequently (rabbit was posted yesterday, not today)

                    1. re: phoenikia


                      The menu does indeed change daily. I love their duck dishes, the mussels, the half chicken, and the bourride when they have it. The kidneys are also very popular with some of the regulars, although I haven't tried them yet. I haven't had the sausages, but have had different variations of the lamb shanks which are also very good. Apparently they make a killer lemon tart which hopefully I will try soon. The Marquise au Chocolat is killer too.


                      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                        Thanks for your helpful comments, SWS ;)

                        I'm hoping they'll have the lemon tart available the evening I visit.

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          I wasn't hungry when I arrived to Le Paradis last night to meet friends for dinner, since I'd already overindulged at a bridal shower. I was too full to consider eating an entree, and wasn't in the mood for meat, poultry or fish, since I had already consumed all 3 food groups at the shower;)

                          The portions looked pretty big at the other tables, so I was going to just get a salad and a dessert. The server encouraged me to get 2 starters, and I obliged, feeling somewhat cheap for only wanting to order a salad and dessert. The Auvergnate (arugula, walnut, apple, belgian endive and blue cheese) salad was nice, although I found the olive oil dressing had been poured with a heavy hand. Mind you, this usually is my experience in French restaurants- I usually think they need more vinegar in the vinegar: oil ratio. The salad was a generous serving, very light on the blue cheese, which I liked. For my second starter, I ordered the asparagus with melted brie and hollandaise which was ok, but nothing special. In retrospect, I really didn't need the asparagus.

                          I tried the Marquise au Chocolat, which was very good, and the serving size was very generous for $6. I was hoping for a more mousselike texture, but I really liked the flavour/sweetess level. Was surprised to see so many hazelnuts in the serving. A little too many for my taste ;) I did try a bite of the lemon tart- it was a great version. And the Profiteroles were quite good.

                          So, all in all, the food was quite good. If I hadn't been so full, I would have tried the duck, rabbit or merguez. Maybe next time.

                          At this price point, Le Paradis gives bang for your buck. I don't tend to eat much French food, and if I was going out intentionally for French in the city, I'd probably be more likely to spend more and dine at Celstin or Pastis. That being said, Le Paradis is the only place I can think of that is selling Creme Brule for $4, and Marquise au Chocolat for $6, or generous salads for $7. It is a steal for that pricepoint.

                          Thanks again for all your helpful comments;)

                      2. re: phoenikia

                        Yum yum. I agree with SWS about the duck dishes but I always order the bourride (usually they have some kind of variation on bouillabaisse) when I go because it really is delicious.

                        They always have a fruit tart with the fruit changing frequently, and it's almost always scrumptious.

                        1. re: phoenikia

                          This place is pretty good, from your list I personally would go for the merguez sausage! I like restaurants that switch the menu around a bit, otherwise things can get boring.

                          1. re: Squeakycheese

                            Thanks for your comments, Squeakycheese & Yum2MyTum :-)

                            Haven't had a good Merguez sausage in a while, so that's pretty tempting right now. Guess it will depend on the day's specials and my mood. Will report back after the weekend.

                          2. re: phoenikia

                            Last time I was there I had the flatiron steak and really enjoyed it. But my favourite thing there is really eating the baguettes with butter :).

                        2. great sweetbreads and grilled sardines. great all around value - wish it was easier to drop in and get a table.