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Jan 25, 2012 07:53 AM

Good find [Left Bank Bistro]

This bistro occupies a former bank on Avenue Road south of Wilson. Starters run from $7 to $14, mains from $16 to $26. A taste of house made creamy chicken pate ($4) with my pre dinner cocktal was luscious.My panko crusted sweetbreads on a bed of red cabbage with a Madeira jus ($12) were expertly cooked with the sweetbread flavour peeking out through the panko crust and sweet cabbage. A brave little dish which in lesser hands could be tasteless shake'n'bake. Very good. Equally enjoyable was the Spanish Mackerel en papillote ($20), the fish perfectly steamed and perfumed with julienned vegetables and new red potatoes. Well done and enjoyable. Wines by the glass are around $8 while a wide ranging wine list offers many choices around $40 a bottle. The room is sleek and comfy, the service polite and efficient. Other choices not tried by me include bistro standards like steak frites, onion soup, beef bourguignon and lamb shanks. A plate off assorted charcouterie changes daily. You can bring your own wine for a $5 corkage on Sundays and Mondays. All in all a very enjoyable experience and worth a visit in my opinion.

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  1. Can you provide the details for this place - name, address, ect? Thanks.

    1. Sorry, I thought it was included in my original review. Left Bank Bistro, 2015 Avenue Road, 647 349 5700

      1 Reply
      1. re: riknpat

        Guess I was there on the wrong night. Went with three other friends. Nice room, but the service was amateur at best. Four different apps, all average. I had the steak frites. It was fine, but nothing great. The beef borgonion (I know, I spelled it wrong) reminded me of something out of a Prelsident's Choice box and nothing more. If you're hungry, live in the neighborhood and don't feel likevcooking, the place is adequate. I is not a destination restaurant. Cafe St. Germain has them beat.......hands down.

      2. I would agree that Left Bank Bistro is a great North Toronto find. I've been on several occasions and found the quality of the food excellent. It's definitely traditional bistro fair...not foo foo shi shi, but a well priced bistro meal with great wine and good service is a good find.
        For starters the romaine and beet salads are both great if you're calorie conscious...I tend more towards the the shrimp bonbons (shrimp in delicate pastry tied with leek) or onion soup (magnificent broth, sweet onions and just enough cheese). The steak tartar is also quite good.
        For mains, try the duck confit or lamb shank, both perfection. The gnocchi and trout almandine are also both good choices.
        Prix fix menu before 7pm includes appetizer and entrée, with desert or a glass of wine for $27.
        Deserts are excellent...but we typically go with the wine.
        Apparently they're now open for brunch on weekends

        5 Replies
        1. re: AsLongAsTheresWine

          There's a lot to like about Left Bank Bistro. To start with, it's well designed, and spacious - as it should be, being in a former bank building. Larger than usual tables, lots of space between them - unlike too many joints downtown, when you can hear the next table's every burp. More important, the food's good. Mainly French bistro classics, mostly done with a twist, along with some offbeat specials to keep the chef sharp. The chef, who used to head the kitchen at Simple Bistro, knows his stuff. Lots of finesse. Even when he's off Sun. and Mon., the kitchen under the second banana doesn't falter (just slightly less finesse). Seems to have a deft hand with fish, of which there are several choices. I'm partial to the tasty trout almandine. Good selection of fairly-priced house wines (and six-ounce pours, too, not the sad little five-ouncers popping up on too many wine lists). Wide-ranging bottles at not too outrageous prices. The before-7 p.m. $27 prix fixe, noted above by AsLongAsTheresWine, is one of the better prix fixe deals around town, especially when you can get a glass of house wine (choice of eight) instead of dessert. (Us old folks don't do restaurant desserts much any more.) Good value, good service, reasonably consistent, lots of nice little touches. I've been in four or five times since it opened several months ago, and like it better each time out. Along with solid Kitchen and Copper Chimney, one of the stronger entries on that previously-underserved strip of Avenue Rd. between Wilson and Lawrence. Five-dollar corkage Sun. to Tues. (which I like), $15 the rest of the week (which I don't like).

          1. re: juno

            I went to Left Bank Bistro last night and had an enjoyable and very affordable dinner. That $27 prix fixe is a great deal. I love that you get to choose wine or dessert. There was nothing spectacularly outstanding about the dinner, but it was solid bistro fare and a nice addition to the neighbourhood. The leek soup starter was very flavourful, and my simple green salad was dressed nicely and served its purpose well. The trout almondine was really good, with perfectly toasted almonds (I hate when the almond are under-toasted or burnt) and a delicate sauce. My shortrib beef bourgignon was not particularly bourgignon-like, but was a very good braised shortrib dish. The simple vegetables and roasted potato sides were not exciting, but the variety of veggies was nice and everything was cooked very well (except the brussels sprouts, which were undercooked for my taste). The portions are very generous, and it's clear that they don't skimp out for the prix fixe menu.

            Service was friendly and attentive. Things were quiet at 6pm on a Monday, but the place started to fill up around 7. The prix fixe is only available from 5 - 7pm.

            This is a great addition to my "mid-week, nearby restaurant" rotation and I hope they do well.

            1. re: TorontoJo

              You're right, the brussels sprouts were a tad underdone last night, as I also noticed (I guess some folks like their sprouts overly crunchy). But aside from that minor quibble, everything else was spot on. By about 8-8:30 - doubtless long after you'd gone beddy-bye, TorontoJo - the joint was maybe half full. Pretty good for a newish place on a Monday night.

              1. re: juno

                Sorry we missed you and the missus, juno!

                I forgot to mention that I tried the black forest cake as well, which I got on top of the prix fixe. It was an unconventional, but delicious version -- a small round of chocolate cake, topped with chocolate mousse and filled with a bit of whipped cream and few brandied cherries, with more brandied cherries as a garnish. Not too sweet, not too big. Just right to end the meal.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  Went to Left Bank for the first time yesterday, on the basis of previous good reviews. It certainly lived up to them. The menu has a number of bistro classics. I had one of the day's specials - beef tongue bourguignan, at the suggestion of the server. It was superb! Also, the restaurant has a very nice ambiance. Will be back.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. I have always been a fan of Chef Tamaru's food, following him from his days at 'The Fifth' to 'JOV Bistro', 'Simple Bistro' and now at the Left Bank. IMHO, Left bank is one of the better finds up north, with simple but great tasting food and great prices as well.

            Tonight, with wives away, my brother-in-law and I decided to have a simple men-only dinner.
            At the Left bank, we did our usual, by ordering a fish course as appetizer and then followed up with a meat course. Tonight we had:

            - Seared Atlantic Cod - Meuniere, caper butter sauce, seasonal vegetables, roasted potatoes.
            - Nicoise - Seared Albacore Tuna, tomatoes, olives, potatoes, green beans, Dijon Thyme
            - Roasted Venison - Black currant & Cassis reduction, mini potatoes, Seasonal vegetables.
            - Gateau Au Chocolat, Pistachio Ice cream.

            Overall a very satisfying meal. No eye-popping super artistic plate presentation or funky MG influenced dishes. Just simple, well prepared and tasty food. Only slight mishap was the 'touch on the medium side' venison , which we both ordered Medium Rare. Understandable, since the restaurant was already packed at 7:00pm!!

            Where else can one get a tasty 3 course dinner with wine and involving 'game' for $80 all inclusive of tax and tips???!!!