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Return of Cafe Brussel!!!!

Roger is back!

He's working on a new restaurant at Queen and Waverly due to open in July.

I am very excited about this.

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  1. Update? Is it open yet or to be opened?

    Brussels Bistro
    1975A Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L 1J1 416-694-0004

    11 Replies
    1. re: mskatsam

      Spoke with Roger today, and he says "2 weeks on the safe side".

      I was calling him because, in his former capacity with Saucier Foods, he was the "meat pie king" of T.O.

      Now I will have to resuscitate my years-old thread "ISO meat pies"!

      1. re: non sequitur

        Not only meat pies but quiche, croissants, danish, tarts, etc etc.

        I will miss him at the Farmers Market but this new venture makes up for it.


        1. re: mnajji

          Woodbine is not Far East, just below where I used to be on Danforth , ten minutes from the old place

          1. re: rogerwils

            Weren't you at Broadview and Danforth? It might be 10 minutes to Broadview and Queen but Woodbine?

            1. re: mnajji

              Woodbine is a piece of cake. I'd recommend leaving the car at home, though.

              1. re: Googs

                It has just clicked where Waverley is! Great, somewhere good in the Beach.

                1. re: mariecollins

                  Does anyone have any hints about where to park in that neighbourhood?

                  1. re: Herne

                    Parking, and "the beach" don't really go together (much like food, and "the beach" until now, I hope). Mainly you have to park on Queen if you can get a spot but there is a huge lot at Woodbine park. There is also a green P at Lee but you're looking at a bit of a walk from each - less from the green p.

                    1. re: Herne

                      Maybe park behind the movie theatre and enjoy the walk :-)

              1. re: Googs

                Is this the same guy from the original Cafe Brussels on Broadview? I remember going soon after it opened (in the late 80's?) and having the beers with special glasses and snacks.

                1. re: mariecollins

                  Yes same guy!

                  Opening is planned for mid to late July.

                  The menu is going to be much like it was and I can't wait!!!!

                  He had the best mussels and frites in town. And champer selection.

              2. I went there all the time. We are excited! His wine menu was amazing. Loved amuse as well.....too bad. What's taking Roger so long? Diana.

                1. My fingers are crossed that it will be open this coming weekend. Update please.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: mskatsam

                    I'm thinking he'll wait until the jazz festival is over.

                  2. Thank You for that, i really appreciate it

                    I will open on July 31

                    hope to see you , regards


                    9 Replies
                    1. re: rogerwils

                      My bf will be so excited to learn about the date you will be back in action. He adored your bouillabaisse.

                        1. re: rogerwils

                          Looking forward to trying your Carbonnade / Stoverij. Do you make it with tomato or hot mustard?

                          1. re: currycue

                            a little tomato, it will be in a special here and there, not on my regular menu this time,

                          2. re: rogerwils

                            Aww, you should do a soft opening for those of us on this thread! (Plus I return to Miami on the 30th). I hope it's a great success!

                            PS - this is my first ever visit to Toronto without a meat pie, now that roger has made his exit from wholesale permanent.

                            1. re: non sequitur

                              I've heard good things about the pies at Bristol Yard.

                              1. re: MissBingBing

                                no more pies, i made those when I had Saucier Foods, i make bistro restaurant fare like before.


                              2. re: non sequitur

                                well, you never know, maybe I can be ready, it all depends on the equipment being delivered and installed


                              3. re: rogerwils

                                Will you be serving the Duvel cocktail you used to make at your old Broadview location?

                                Stephen (formerly known as "Lassie")

                              4. This is wonderful news! Have been a fan for over 20 years.

                                  1. We used to go to Café Brussels for weekend brunch. However, as someone else said, Queen & Woodbine is a bit far.

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: syoung

                                      Queen and Woodbine is accessible by car or ttc. I missed Cafe Brussels. I am delighted enough to travel to the beaches for Roger's new venture. I wish him every success and wish to send positive thoughts his way.

                                      1. re: mskatsam

                                        Here here mskatsam. Totally agree!!

                                        Personally speaking, I will travel at great lengths if the food, service and vibe appeal to us. But that's just us. Why limit yourself I say.

                                        I am quite confident that Roger will deliver all of this and more making the trip worthwhile.

                                        1. re: millygirl

                                          Every once in awhile I think it's good to get out of one's usual comfort zone and try a new neighborhood. Too easy to take all our city offers for granted. My bf and I were crushed when we lost Café Brussels. It will be a good day when we get to see the new place in action.

                                          1. re: mskatsam

                                            Yes, once in a while, but not as frequently as could be if location is better. Location does matter.

                                            1. re: syoung

                                              He's opening up in the heart of the beach!!!

                                              It's unfortunate it doesn't suit you syoung however it's a perfect location for countless others.

                                              1. re: millygirl

                                                Even the people in the beach deserve something worthwhile! ;-)

                                      2. re: syoung

                                        Your loss is my gain; there are plenty of us east-of-Woodbine residents who are happy Cafe Brussels has opened in this neighbourhood.

                                        I do have to echo Carolla's observation that this really isn't THAT far east. It's not like the place has opened at Kingston Road & Meadowvale; now that would be far!

                                        1. re: AverageJo

                                          Hey! I'M at Kingston and Meadowvale - at least we have a zoo out here...
                                          Ok, it's pretty much a culinary wasteland.

                                          1. re: non sequitur

                                            And a very nice zoo it is too! Now we just gotta work on the restaurants...

                                            Seriously, though, I didn't mean to diss your 'hood. Apologies.

                                            1. re: AverageJo

                                              No offense was taken. Just thought it was funny that I happened to be so close to your random intersection pick.

                                              And yes Googs, we can walk to Fratelli, which is a great re-addition to the community.

                                              1. re: non sequitur

                                                Ah, that's all right then.

                                                I was trying to think of the easternmost intersection before the city limits.

                                            2. re: non sequitur

                                              You live practically on top of Fratelli Village Pizzeria. I WISH I were so lucky. I'd be there every week!

                                            3. re: AverageJo

                                              It's not a loss at all! With all due respect, you guys seem taking this personally. All I said was it's a bit far. I'm sure the beach is a great place but it's not as convenient a location for the majority as the original Danforth/Broadview location.

                                              I'll go once and if it's great, I'll be a repeat customer. If not, then there are many decent restaurants closer to the Toronto core. So when exactly does it open? End of July has past.

                                                1. re: Googs

                                                  We're going in the week after next. Can't wait!!!

                                                  1. re: millygirl

                                                    I still recall the beef stew I had there about 15 years ago on Broadview. But I don't recall the name:(

                                                    1. re: Herne

                                                      Most likely the carbonnade. I was hoping it would be back on his menu this time around but unfortunately it's not. I believe Roger commented somewhere down thread that it will be a special from time to time.

                                                      1. re: cheesymama

                                                        I think you are right. A Belgian or Flemish Beef Stew. Several years ago but I still remember it including the plate.

                                          2. I WALK from Queen/Kingston Rd to Broadview/Danforth in less than one hour! Why does everyone think the beach is so far away?
                                            I'm glad to hear the Queen East strip is getting a good restaurant finally.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Carolla

                                              Well, there's the metaphorical distance of being off the subway and having no good restaurants :)

                                              1. re: julesrules

                                                Yes, the beach does have that reputation of being self contained. Too bad though, as I think nothing of going to Ossington or whatever...I think the east end has this "isolated feel" to it. Fortunately there's enough locals this place should be successful. I've already emailed all my neighbours about it.

                                            2. We had a great dinner here. Wonderful rich salty butter with the bread. Crabcakes hot and fresh from the pan, full of chunks of crab. Brussels salad with strong salty blue cheese fine but unremarkable.

                                              Moules marinieres had a lovely translucent white broth with green peppercorns, no cream. Frites were very very good - golden and hot and crunchy, and lots of them! His steak was a perfect med-rare, and the Roquefort sauce was "demi-glace spiked with blue cheese" according to the waiter. It was gone before I had a chance to sample!

                                              No desserts for us. One glass of champage, two Belgian beers, two glasses of wine, $160. We'll definitely be returning. Reservations seem to be essential, as we were turned away on the first Saturday it was open.

                                              1. I'm going with a friend at the end of next week and would love suggestions as to what to try.


                                                1. I went today with a foodie friend. The drive to the Beach took about 40 min from my house in North York with no traffic down the DVP (an extremely rare case!).

                                                  I was seated at the "chef's table" which is basically the bar facing the kitchen. The back of my chair was broken so I couldn't lean back so I was never completely comfortable, but they said there was nothing they could do. The restaurant is small with modern décor.

                                                  Wine markups were very high (I collect wine so I know a little bit about prices), so I ordered what I know to be one of the least overpriced bottle which was one of the Rioja. They do not offer BYOW option.

                                                  I ordered the crab cake appetizer which had a decent amount of crab (good!) but otherwise unspectacular. My friend ordered the Escargot that he said was below par because it was burnt.

                                                  For the main, I ordered the Duck Confit with green peppercorn. It was decent with tender meat but not crispy skin. The flavors were a but muted but otherwise fine and, again, unspectacular. My friend had the lamb rack which he ordered medium but came medium-rare, but overall he thought was good.

                                                  There were only 2 dessert options (excluding fruit) a crème brulee and some kind of chocolate dish, IIRC. We decided to skip.

                                                  Overall, we both thought it was fair to good. If they were located nearer to the city central, we'd likely return, but it's not nearly special enough for us to be driving this far again anytime soon.

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: syoung

                                                    THanks for the info! I will take gembellina's hint and order the moules frites.

                                                    1. re: KAYLO

                                                      I ordered the moules snob and they weren't really all that good. Lacking in any mouth feel or richness for the broth. I suggest you avoid that option on the menu.

                                                      1. re: KAYLO

                                                        Talk about frites, we did order a side order of frites. Like everything else, they were OK, a few notches below the best we've had in Toronto. I recall frites at Café Brussels on Danforth were very good, but times have changed and the bar has been raised.

                                                        The kitchen was pretty small, though fitting for the small size of the restaurant and only Roger (owner) was cooking. He was going non-stop during the 2 hours we were there. It was pretty full by 7:30pm but dwindled to less than half full by around 9pm on that Saturday night. Also to add, service was very friendly.

                                                      2. re: syoung

                                                        Re syoung's mention of Cafe Brussels' wine markups: I recall Cafe Brussels' old location having some of the highest wine markups I'd ever encountered at that time in a mid-level resto in Toronto. I remember thinking that, compared to its markups, the Scaramouche list was a bargain. The food at Cafe Brussels was decent, the atmosphere was nice, the service was good, but nothing turns me off a joint quicker than what I regard as excessive wine markups. After three or four visits, ever searching for a respectable wine or beer markup, I never went back to Cafe Brussels. Looks like it hasn't changed in its new incarnation.

                                                        1. re: juno

                                                          Exactly! For example the Trinity Oaks is $48 at Brussels Café but retails for $8 in the US or about $12 in Ontario.

                                                          It's gotten to the point where we almost always only go to restaurants that allow you to BYOW. Even if it's high corkage, it's still worth it if their markups are 300-450%.

                                                      3. I took an out of town guest to Café Brussel last night. My guest was a big fan of Café Brussel - Danforth location. We took a $20 cab from King and Yonge. I am pleased to report that the new restaurant lived up to our expectations. My partner adores the bouillabaisse. We also enjoyed fresh bread with a charcuterie plate. lamb (him) and a steak frites (me). We had a 930 reservation on a Friday night. I recommend a reservation as all tables were full but in the midst of leaving. Service was wonderful especially a lovely server from Germany. It looks like Roger's hand and attention to detail touches every plate that leaves the kitchen so we would likely not book a table during peak dinner hours if you are in a rush. We sat in the front window. The restaurant has a charming appeal well suited to the Beach. It's a nice setting for an anniversary dinner. I could see bring my folks here for a birthday dinner celebration. No brunch hours yet. A wine bar is about to open upstairs but I stayed on the main level. I do have a soft spot for Roger. I enjoyed many evenings in the Danforth location so I am happy to report that we had another magical evening.

                                                        1. I have heard that the restaurant may be in trouble.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: mskatsam

                                                            the real estate listing's a giveaway, eh? :)

                                                            1. re: atomeyes

                                                              I don't live in the Beach. I learned of Roger's new venture on the board so thought I would pass along the info sent to me in a forwarded email.

                                                              Thanks for the confirmation.

                                                              1. re: atomeyes

                                                                Do you have a link to the listing? I can't find it. Thanks!

                                                                1. re: JennaBean

                                                                  Listing is on Homefinder, but only the business is for sale and not the building. There is no MLS number. Sad to see this happen. Sorry to say that the menu was not that appealing, and reviews over-all were not up to the standards either. One must always be careful of reviews when you are a business owner. There is always competition and complacency is not an option no matter how much money you throw into your business. Tough market, tough patrons.

                                                                  1. re: dianaroh

                                                                    Hmmm I was more interested in the building not the business. I really love the coziness of the space.

                                                                    Thank you for the additional details.