A luxe French bistro in Toronto

Café Boulud Toronto at Four Seasons Hotel Toronto has reopened with a splash, bringing a new look and warm, lively environment reminiscent of the fabled brasseries of Paris. The chef/owner, of course, is Lyons native Daniel Boulud, and he’s constructed a menu of French bistro favorites and contemporary plates for the Toronto outpost. Located in the iconic Yorkville neighborhood, surrounded by the city’s designer shops, the new Café Boulud are ideally situated for a meal before or after exploring the buzzy area.

The Look

A Toronto hot spot since its opening, Café Boulud was recently redesigned by London’s Martin Brudnizki Design Studio (whose work includes The Ivy and Cecconi’s Miami Beach) — the result is a charming ambiance within a retro-contemporary French brasserie. Sophisticated and yet inviting, the space features ribbed wrap-around banquettes upholstered with slick Jaguar green and tan leather, blue herringbone Hermès wallpaper, walnut accents, brass accessories and mirrors upon mirrors upon mirrors. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides of the restaurant allow a peek at tony Yorkville below, as the sounds of lively first-floor lounge Dbar waft up the floating staircase that connects the bar and restaurant.

The retro dining counter is the heart of the restaurant, made with glassy lacquered wooden panels, Calacatta marble and framed with a bronze and glass gantry that makes you feel as if you were transported to a different decade. Belly up to the counter bar for a quick bite or a drink or two — from hand-crafted contemporary cocktails to traditional favorites, the drink program at Café Boulud is sophisticated and varied.

The Food

Chef Boulud and chef de cuisine Sylvain Assié have created a menu that highlights favorites from the French countryside, like steak frites, boudin blanc or Lyon-influenced Quenelle de Brochet, northern pike dumplings in a Nova Scotia lobster sauce. But the seasonally inspired fare on offer also includes international twists such as bouillon pho, an appetizer of spiced beef broth, rice noodles and ginger, and Moroccan-style yellowfin tuna tartare. The wine program by wine director Drew Walker offers an extensive collection featuring traditional French appellations while also highlighting local Ontario producers.

Another highlight on the menu features the kitchen’s impressive rotisserie with poulet à la broche, rotisserie chicken that’s been cooked to perfection then served tableside in copper tableware. The rotisserie roasts more than poultry, its vertical and horizontal spits hold meat, fish and vegetables, too. The menu also celebrates Canadian ingredients like a seafood platter featuring Canadian oysters or the country-style pâté featuring Canadian goose, duck, foie gras and cranberries. And who could resist the Frenchie burger, made with morbier cheese, Dijon mustard, pork belly, arugula and tomato and onion compote?

Desserts are decadent, too — go for the soufflé Grand Mariner with crème anglaise and a warm basket of madeleines.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant

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Café Boulud Toronto

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