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French Fridays: (A few of my) French favourites in Toronto

Thanks to our friends at Expedia.ca. this month I got to explore Toronto a little differently. Earlier in the  month I shared a bird’s eye view of Toronto – a very different way to see the city – via helicopter!  Today, I’m exploring some of my favourite places to find a taste of France in Toronto. As someone who lived in Paris, who spends a lot of time in France, who owns a holiday rental home in France and who writes about France every Friday right here, you’d think I’d have more info about my favourite places in Toronto to indulge in a French pastry or meal. Today’s post is hopefully the start of a series of occasional posts (because this list is most definitely not exhaustive) highlighting some places I like to go when I just can’t get to France but need my fix!

(a few of my) French favourites in Toronto

Nadège (various locations)

Nadège has always been my “go to” for their macarons…

Nadege macarons on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe flagship store near Trinity Bellwoods park is clean, bright and airy – a modern space offering classic French sweet and savoury dishes. From salads and sandwiches to classic French pastries Nadège really does offer a wonderful slice of France.

Sandwiches at Nadege Toronto on eatlivetravelwrite.com Sweet treats at Nadege Toronto on eatlivetravelwrite.comNadège imports many of her ingredients from France so there’s authenticity in every bite!

Pistachio raspberry croissant at Nadege Toronto on eatlivetravelwrite.comA great place to meet friends or while away a few hours on the sunny terrace with a coffee and a pastry… Nadège never disappoints.

Nadège Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

http://www.nadege-patisserie.com/

Delysées

I first discovered Delysées when I was on the hunt for a Galette des Rois last January. As well as finding an amazing galette, I also discovered a treasure trove of authentically French treats… Their éclairs are to-die-for – right up there with those from L’éclair de Génie in my humble opinion…

Afternoon tea at Delysées in Toronto on eatlivetravelwrite.comDelysées also offers a range of macarons with interesting and innovative flavours (check out the Champagne Collection this Fall!) and gorgeous cakes and pastries.

Delysees macarons on eatlivetravelwrite.comParis-born pastry chef Fred Naggar has really succeeded in bringing a little French flair to King and Bathurst, and offers not just baked goods and pastries but also savoury items like sandwiches. The modern space is inviting and bright, somewhere to stop and stay awhile.

Delysees Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

https://delysees.com/

Maman Toronto

Maman Toronto interior on eatlivetravelwrite.comInside First Canadian Place isn’t exactly where you’d expect to find a tiny piece of France so Maman, a café and bakery is a lovely surprise, tucked away in the building (they have a beautiful terrace too – an oasis in the urban jungle).  This is the second location in North America, after SoHo, New York. Offering  family-inspired recipes (savoury and sweet) from the South of France and North America, Maman features dishes created from high quality, local ingredients, and the menu changes daily.

Inside Maman on eatlivetravelwrite.comMaman is open Monday through Friday for breakfast, lunch and “cinq-á-sept” (5-7pm, after work where savoury bites as well as cocktails and wine are served). With a choice of pastries and desserts, artisanal breads, salads, quiches, sandwiches and soups (for dine-in or takeaway), there’s something for everyone at Maman. And I can vouch for these delicious buttery breakfast pastries – they transported me right back to Paris.

Maman breakfast pastries on eatlivetravelwrite.com
Maman Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
http://mamantoronto.com/

Brioche Dorée

“Brioche Dorée – isn’t that, like a chain?” I hear you asking…

Brioche Doree interior on eatlivetravelwrite.comWell yes it is and one I’ve been meaning to check out for a while now because I always wondered if they had pastries just like I could find in France. Founded in France in 1976 this IS a chain of stores which is now all over the world and it is excellent. They have all the breakfast pastries you would expect in a French bakery, as well as lunch items like sandwiches and quiche, and coffee. Here you see a mini chocolate twist and a mini pain au chocolat. The chocolate twist is what I know from France as a “pain suisse au chocolat” (custard and chocolate wrapped in croissant pastry) and was delectable. One bite took me back to Sunday mornings in Paris, when I would treat myself to one of these while I waited for my laundry to finish. The pain au chocolat was also excellent. Plus, I love the mini sizes!

Chocolate twist and pain au chocolat at Brioche Doree on eatlivetravelwrite.com Brioche Doree Sandwiches on eatlivetravelwrite.comDangerously located “kinda sorta” on my way home from work (depending on the route I take). Highly recommended (and a lovely surprise!)

Brioche Dorée Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

http://www.briochedoree.com/

Colette Grand Café

Described as “modern French fare in an elegant space”, Colette Grand Café is a great choice for a coffee and pastry in the morning or through the day or a fancier Saturday brunch when you want something a little different from the usual fare.

Patio at Colette on eatlivetravelwrite.com On a recent visit, I enjoyed a “Croissant Tart” (with blue cheese, sour cherry mostarda and a poached egg – sublime) as well as a couple of selections from their dessert tray.

Croissant Tart at Colette on eatlivetravelwrite.com Dessert selection at Colette on eatlivetravelwrite.comWith a beautiful patio, Colette is a great choice for the warmer weather but the main room is so bright and welcoming, it’s also a somewhere to keep in mind for the dark days of winter (all that natural light and fresh, French fare? What’s not to love?).

Colette Grand Café - Thompson Toronto Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

https://colettetoronto.com/

Le Baratin

Exterior Le Baratin on eatlivetravelwrite.comBlink and you might miss it – Le Baratin is a relatively new restaurant on Dundas West at Brock (it opened in May 2016).

Inside le Baratin on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis is totally the type of place I love, offering traditional fare (with a twist) without any of the fuss many people associate with “French food”. At Le Baratin, classically trained French Chef Jean Regis Raynaud serves French bistro fare, operating operates as a café during the day, and an accessible bistro by night. The simple menu offers in-house pâté, market fresh fish of the day and other classics like Steak frites, Conft de Canard and Ratatouille with desserts like Mousse au Chocolat, Tarte Tatin and Crème Caramel. The wine list features mainly French selections but also wines from Spain, Europe, and Ontario.

Charcuterie at Le Baratin on eatlivetravelwrite.com Steak frites at Le baratin on eatlivetravelwrite.comA fabulous taste of France in walking distance from my house? Yes please! We’ll be back!

Le Baratin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

http://www.lebaratin.ca/

Jules Bistro

This little gem on Spadina at Richmond is another example of fine French food in a fuss-free setting. Jules has been around for years and doesn’t disappoint.

Jules Bistro exterior on eatlivetravelwrite.comBistro Jules interior on eatlivetravelwrite.comThe tiny room can get a little noisy but in a way it’s reminiscent of a classic French bistro, all bustle and clinking glasses and cutlery rattling. They do a mean steak-frites as well as a very reasonable fixed-price menu.

Steak frites at Bistro Jules on eatlivetravelwrite.comGreat value and absolutely no pretension, it’s a fine example of everyday French done really, really well.

Jules Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

http://www.bistro-jules.com/

Chabichou

Ok so I’ll admit that the other day I was stuck home recipe testing and had a real craving for a “Sandwich Parisien” (basically ham and cheese in a baguette but when they are done well, they are true masterpieces!) and I started looking at all my food delivery apps to see if this might be a possibility. Lo and behold, Chabichou came through with the goods (oh and a quiche and a fruit tart to boot!)

Takeout from Chabichou on eatlivetravelwrite.comChabichou is a tiny storefront which sells pastries, bread, cheeses, charcuterie, ready-to-eat meals and desserts but now they deliver through Foodora. 20 minutes after ordering my lunch (and dinner) arrived via bicycle. And in pretty good shape – even the quiche! More dangerous knowledge, that this service exists 😉 French food on demand? Who could say no?

Chabichou Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

https://www.facebook.com/Chabichou

Do you know Toronto? What are some of your favourite French0inspired places?

Tempted by this list? Check out all the things to do in Toronto and look for a hotel deal today!

Expedia.ca Big World Explorer

 

Disclosure: Thanks to my friends at Expedia.ca for covering my stay at One King West on this trip as part of the Big World Explorer programme. I have not received further compensation and everything is written based on my personal experience on this trip. None of these meals were comped, in fact none of the restaurants was aware I might be writing about them. All opinions are completely my own.

 

 

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22 Responses to French Fridays: (A few of my) French favourites in Toronto

  1. Carrie September 30, 2016 at 11:02 #

    What perfect timing – we are heading into Toronto tomorrow for a few hours and now I have places to go for breakfast and lunch (and maybe snacks too!) Your pictures are amazing – I am drooling!

  2. Diane Galambos September 30, 2016 at 14:03 #

    Gosh one thinks one knows a city but there’s always more to discover. Love Nadege, Collette. Cluny in distillery has a French vibe. Can’t wait to check out the others!!

    • Mardi Michels September 30, 2016 at 20:06 #

      Yep, as I said this list is definitely not exhaustive and I feel a series coming on!!!

  3. Sally - My Custard Pie September 30, 2016 at 15:27 #

    So many gorgeous places to discover. That blue cheese pastry with an egg on top was worth making the journey for.

  4. Colleen Milne September 30, 2016 at 17:13 #

    Such a great post! I’m sharing with a Toronto friend 🙂

  5. Sean September 30, 2016 at 20:00 #

    I haven’t been in Toronto for a few years, but I find myself itching to get back now… I had no idea there were so many great French places to hit up in the city! And I seriously don’t get how the French manage to display such willpower when confronted by this food on a daily basis. I mean, I feel like I could gobble up every last crumb of those croissants and pastries. And that quiche fruit tart from Chabichou is such a cool idea!

    • Mardi Michels September 30, 2016 at 20:09 #

      Yeah there really are a lot of places when you set out to find them! And the quiche and fruit tart were two different items – otherwise that would be pretty weird! But the delivery process was very cool!

  6. Kavey October 2, 2016 at 07:08 #

    Darn, I guess I’ll just have to come back again soon to try all these treats that I missed!!!

  7. Geoff October 2, 2016 at 20:21 #

    Well, yes… but now I’m really hungry.
    Lovely post… Toronto a la Paris…

    • Mardi Michels October 2, 2016 at 21:09 #

      Thanks, so many wonderful places to discover 🙂

  8. Jessica October 3, 2016 at 23:01 #

    I love Jules Bistro and Nadege is one of my favourite places to grab a coffee and a snack before people watching in the park. I keep meaning to hit up their PATH location near Adelaide, but I always get lost trying to find it. Can’t wait to try some of the other places on this list!

    • Mardi Michels October 4, 2016 at 06:50 #

      I briefly considered trying to find the PATH location too but I don’t like it down there and I always get lost! One of these days I’ll get there! Happy exploring!

  9. Julianna October 6, 2016 at 06:49 #

    That looks so delicious – I’ll definitely take all of those macarons (and maybe the steak and fries too) !

  10. Mr. Neil October 8, 2016 at 12:39 #

    Methinks there’s an “Amazing-French-Eating-Race”-style adventure in there, somewhere. 😉

    Le Baratin is my new fav — just loved our dinner there. And as Mardi says…walking distance from our home? Oh my. (And far enough that you feel you walked off a bit of that dessert.)

  11. Sarah Law October 9, 2016 at 22:04 #

    Bonjour Brioche!

    • Mardi Michels October 10, 2016 at 08:40 #

      Definitely – on my list for my “next round of investigation” 🙂

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