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May 17, 2012 01:41 PM

La Societe review - Lovely upscale French Bistro/Brasserie

I don’t know that I would call this place a bistro because it is a very large restaurant hence it feeling more like a brasserie. That being said, the decor is beautiful and really does evoke that French / Parisian atmosphere that I was hoping for – the tiles floors are simply stunning!

I showed up on a Saturday night with 5 of my friends and they were able to seat us no problem – not that the place wasn’t busy but they were very accommodating. The high level of service continued throughout the meal with 2 different servers tending to us the whole time.

We were seated at a spacious banquet in the bar area where all the action is. The food here is very good and is indeed French inspired. We kicked off our meal with a plate of oysters served with one the best mignonettes I have ever had, fresh horseradish and lemon. I am not sure what possessed me to order pasta as my main (it was a bit disappointing) but my appetizer of Scotch Barley soup was amazing. My friend had the slow cooked flat iron steak as her main and it was divine! Perfectly cooked and still medium rare. Another notable appetizer is the French onion soup overflowing with gooey cheese. The wine list is largely French and can get expensive but there are some good choices in the $40 range – we ordered a couple bottles of Reserve Perrin Cote-du-Rhone which suited our meals perfectly.

One sour note: trying to make a reservation here is impossible - they never answer their phone and do not call back when you leave a message. They might want to address this as it is poor customer service

Overall I really enjoyed myself here and cannot wait to dine here again!

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  1. La Societe is generally considered to have "meh" food, which probably explains why it wasn't busy on a Saturday night. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: TorontoJo

      We had a dreadful meal there about 3 months ago. Honestly four of us, appetizers, main and desert and it was all just plain awful from start to finish.

      The room itself is nice but they must have used cheap finishes in the washrooms because just 6 short months in to it and the fixtures were showing signs of wear and tear.

    2. This is one establishment that I still haven't been. However, seeing they, a French Brasserie, serving 'Scotch Barley Soup' really makes me think twice or thrice about making a trip all the way down!!

      1. you can make a reservation through opentable rather than using the phone.

        food here is completely meh, even the reviewer didn't like her pasta...steak is steak and hard to screw up...sounds like they might be competition for ravi soups if anything.

        i thought the service was aloof, incompetent, uncaring, uninformed, uninspired...

        it is a great looking room, filled with beautiful people and a great courtyard patio, but the rest...who cares...

        1 Reply
        1. re: ingloriouseater

          steak is steak and hard to screw up. You would think, huh. Esp at a bistro. But guess what, they managed. It was gristly and tasteless. No sear. Mr MG left most on his plate and the best part, they didn't even ask. We didn't say anything either because we were being treated that evening and felt badly. It had a weird texture to it, and even just looked awful.

          And yes, what's up with Scotch Broth!!

          We'd never go back.

        2. Has anyone been to La Societe recently? Have they managed to clean up their act?

          Was considering going on Sunday for their lobster special - $24.50 for 1 1/4lb lobster - as a late V-day dinner.

          2 Replies
          1. re: bringonthelbs

            been a coupla times for lunch -- burgers and such. i like their burger quite a bit, and they do nice frites. i've never tried them for dinner.

            1. re: bringonthelbs

              I have been there recently (well a couple of months ago) and found them to be very good for bistro. Staple items like Onion Soup, Steak and Frites can go toe to toe with any Parisian bistro IMO. Service was also quite good as we were checked on from time to time. Here is my review of the place.
              We came here on my guests last night in TO before they flew back. They wanted to have a late lunch that would carry them till their flight at night. I suggested this place as I thought it would meet their discerning taste.
              The setup is in a word wow! I would go as far as saying that it would give any Parisian cafe a run for their money. It feels like one has been transported to Paris central. The funny thing is one of my friends got married in the exact same location a few years ago when this used be a Chinese restaurant. Amazing transformation as the place is unrecognizable.
              I was seated promptly and went through the menu while waiting for the guests to arrive. The menu is a replica of a french bistro crossing the t's and dotting the i's.
              I knew exactly what I was going to order to compare it with any good bistro.
              My friends arrived and after a bit of debate we settled on the following items:
              Squash and french onion soups, pumpkin salad, hamburger and steaks and frites for moi (how else does one judge a french bistro)
              We also added a side of mushroom and brussel sprouts.
              The wine list is extensive. Unfortunately we ordered a bottle of Rosehall Pinot Noir. Folks this is the single worse Pinot I have ever had. My buddy kept drinking it, I am guessing he was parched from the long walk as his wife and I kept debating whether we should send it back. Any self respecting bistro should not have this wine on their list and I mean I have tried vinegar that tastes better!
              I ordered a glass of malbec and my buddy's wife ordered a shiraz to make up for this aberration.
              First the soups, onion and butternut soups provided the welcome relief on a cold day. The mains didn't disappoint as well. My friends enjoyed their mains and especially liked the pumpkin salad and the sides. The Steak was as good as any bistro which is quite an achievement. Steak was thin cut and was cooked medium rare as per my liking. Fries were nice and crisp.
              The weekdays specials to entice people also caught my eye and I intend to try them out when I get a chance.
              Just a gorgeous space and an excellent excellent bistro. If it wasn't for the misstep in the wine I would rate it even higher. A solid 4 star.
              P.S. I will come back here to enjoy their patio for sure.