Restaurant Review: Colette Grande Café, Toronto

Pretend you’re actually sitting at a cute café in Paris, thanks to Toronto’s newest hot spot, Colette Grand Café.

All photography courtesy of Colette Grand Cafe.

All photography courtesy of Colette Grand Cafe.

TS_Minted_White_WebThe Vibe: One of the main things missing on the Toronto food scene was a true French-style eatery, from the food to the atmosphere. Colette has both in spades, plus equally chic people dining at the polished tables. The Parisian-like café setting (think elegant chairs, round tables, a marble bar and floor-to-ceiling windows) and the fresh seafood on the menu definitely make this one of Toronto’s best new dining options.

The Facts: Set next to one of Toronto’s hottest hotels, the Thompson Toronto, Colette is a cute café by day offering up creamy, foamy lattes and flaky, warm pastries. By night it turns into a swanky but approachable restaurant that has a fine selection of classic French dishes. Don’t bypass the full brunch on Sundays either.

colette-cafe

The Experience: You’ll feel transported as soon as you walk into Colette. It truly does feel like a trip to 1920s Paris with the quaint tables, high ceilings, feminine, cornflower blue booths and mirrored walls. Staff are all decked in crisp white shirts and aprons adding to the European flair – and are more than happy to offer up their favourite items on the menu. Don’t be surprised to see who’s who of Toronto dining as well – from hockey stars and their wives to local celebrities, Colette is a happening spot right now. It’s popular without being pretentious, trendy without being over-the-top, but you will want to call ahead to make a reservation in advance to ensure you get a good table.

colette-booths

Start With: Souffle au chevre
Ask any waiter at Colette and they will recommend this warm goat cheese and shaved beet salad as a fresh starter. Creamy goat cheese mixed with fresh, brightly hued beets sits atop a bed of spicy arugula. But the best part? The walnut and apple mustard vinaigrette that gives the right bit of acidity and tartness to the rich goat cheese. If you’re in the mood to share and love seafood the Colette oysters with cocktail sauce are as fresh as you can get and are the perfect start for date night.

Entrée With: Le poulet
Don’t assume this is just ordinary chicken. Done with a crispy skin and kept incredibly juicy, the chicken also comes with pickled beef tongue (trust us, you need to try it), crisped Brussels sprouts and pommes rissolees (which are delicious browned potatoes). Your other option if you’re craving a heavier meet dish is the traditional steak and frites — strip loin or skirt steak are made to order and served with shoe string frites doused in the perfect amount of salt.

Finish With: Riz au lait
Never, ever say no to dessert at a French restaurant, because you will likely regret it. Especially at Colette Grand Café. This rice pudding is elevated from what your mom used to make with lashings of cinnamon swirled into the toasted, creamy rice, then topped with a sweet and tart sour cherry gelee, mascarpone and crunchy pistachios, and served chilled. It’s rich, decadent and not too sweet all at once.

colette-seating

Table to Book: For a romantic dinner for two, request a corner booth table – it’s great not only for privacy and being cozy, but you also both get great people watching views.

Getting There: Take the Bloor/Danforth subway line on the TTC to Bathurst station. Then hop on the street car south to Wellington Street. Colette is just a short walk east from Bathurst and Wellington.

Where to Find:
Colette Grand Café
550 Wellington Street West, Toronto
647-348-7000
colettetoronto.com