Restaurant Review: Chantecler – French bistro makes a lasting impression in new home
|798 Bloor Street West
|Dinner for four with drinks
In Toronto’s vast culinary landscape, Chantecler reemerges, not unlike a classic novel reborn in a new cover, bringing its steeped-in-tradition French cuisine to a fresh, yet familiar stage.
Walking into the new location of Chantecler is like stepping into a Parisian bistro that has been whisked away and gently placed in the heart of Toronto. The ambiance strikes a delicate balance between elegance and comfort. Dim lighting casts a warm glow over intimate tables, and the clink of glasses adds to the symphony of a restaurant alive with the pleasure of dining.
The menu at Chantecler is a love letter to French cuisine, yet it plays a delightful game of balancing the classic and the contemporary. Take, for instance, their fries – a simple dish, yet executed with such finesse that each golden, crispy straw becomes a testament to the kitchen’s attention to detail. The shrimp cocktail, is refreshingly succulent and a dish where simplicity shines brightly.
The steak tartare and duck liver mousse are chapters from an old French cookbook, told anew. The tartare is impeccably seasoned, its richness cut through with just the right amount of acidity, though it could benefit from a touch more brininess. The duck liver mousse is silkiness personified, spreadable luxury atop shortbread biscuits.
The whole sea bream, a star of the show, is a nautical journey on a plate. Cooked to perfection, it is tender and inviting, a delight in every bite. The vibrant hit of chermoula, spread generously on top, provides a nice contrast to the mildness of the fish.
And, finally, the dry roasted ribeye of beef is like a hearty handshake – robust, familiar, and deeply satisfying. It’s a tribute to the unadorned beauty of beef. The exterior char and the interior’s juicy tenderness create a satisfying contrast.
Desserts at Chantecler are the sweet finale of this gastronomic symphony. The crème brûlée, with its flawlessly caramelized surface and creamy heart, is a timeless masterpiece done right. The corn ice cream, combined with white chocolate and roasted peach sauce, is an innovative concoction, blending unexpected flavours in a harmony that’s bold yet comforting, even if the corn’s flavour could be slightly less pronounced.
As for the beverage selection, it’s a curated journey through French vineyards and beyond. The wine list is both extensive and approachable, with staff who navigate it with an expertise that is both impressive and warmly unpretentious.
Service at Chantecler is the perfect harmony of professionalism and warmth. Attentive without being overbearing, the staff navigates the dining room with a balletic grace, ensuring each guest feels both welcomed and cherished.
In its new abode, is a nod to the past and a toast to the future of French dining in Toronto. It stands as a testament to the beauty of French bistro cuisine when treated with reverence and a dash of innovation. It’s a dining experience that, despite a few minor culinary faux pas, remains as delightful as it is memorable. Consistently delivering on both food and service, Chantecler firmly holds its place on my list of Toronto dining favourites – especially for a cozy destination in the cooler months.
La rubrique de Madame Marie
1 étoile – Run. Before you get the runs.
2 étoiles – Mediocre, but nothing you couldn’t make at home.
3 étoiles – C’est bon, with some standout qualities.
4 étoiles – Many memorable qualities and excellent execution. Compliments to the chef.
5 étoiles – Formidable! Michelin Star quality. Book a reservation immediately.