Top French Restaurants in Toronto

Toronto Life

For many, the idea of "French cuisine" may conjure up images of sitting outside a charming neighbourhood bistro, people watching Parisians strolling along the Seine. Or maybe it’s white linen tablecloths and chefs and waiters whose attention to detail borders on obsessive. Our list of Toronto’s best French restaurants offers a little of Column A and Column B, so whether you’re looking for an intimate bistro experience or a slice of Old World fine dining, you’ve come to the right place. Entrez-vous.

Auberge du Pommier

Address: 4150 Yonge Street
Website: oliverbonacini.com
Review here

In case you needed a reminder that downtown doesn’t have a monopoly on fine dining, Auberge du Pommier may be tucked away in a charming 19th-century cottage in North York, but has been a veritable Toronto institution since 1987.

Auberge du Pommier interior
Auberge du Pommier interior

Recently voted one of the "Best Restaurants for Visitors to Toronto" by Where.ca, the Oliver & Bonacini-run standout has long been a favourite with locals as well, thanks to its modern takes on French classics—from roasted foie gras with Bartlett pear, parsnip purée, and almond oat crumble to Cornish hen with caramelized chestnuts, grape, and Cognac jus—and its rustic, yet upscale ambiance.

beef filet ratatouille potatoes olive
Boeuf - beef filet, summer vegetable ratatouille, basil, fingerling potatoes, olive tapenade

Chef Marc St. Jacques’ rotating seasonal menus pair perfectly with the elegant country inn setting: cozy in the winter with its wood-burning fireplaces and making full use of a lush patio in the warmer months, resulting in an incomparable experience no matter what time of year you visit. Combined with the restaurant’s impressive wine selection (which features more than 500 offerings), it’s all helped Auberge du Pommier to become a constant feature on Zagat’s Best Of lists, and a long-time Toronto favourite.

ille flottante
Île Flottante - Ontario rhubarb compote, Champagne sorbet, citrus génoise

Le Sélect Bistro

Address: 432 Wellington Street West
Website: leselect.com
Review here

With its stamped-metal ceiling, subway tile floor, French movie posters on the wall, and Édith Piaf crooning out of the speakers, stepping through the doors of this King West spot is like being transported straight to an authentic Parisian bistro.

le select interior
The chic Le Select Bistro

And that fantasy isn’t dispelled at all by sampling chef Albert Ponzo’s menu, a veritable tour of classic bistro fare, from French onion soup to escargots, terrines of foie gras, tender duck confit, traditional favourites like cassoulet, boeuf Bourguignon, and, of course, steak frites. In fact, there’s even a special late-night menu featuring a steak frites dinner prix fixe, or, for late risers, there’s always the restaurant’s ever popular weekend brunch.

Le Slect Brunch
Weekend brunch at Le Sélect

Of course, no French meal could truly be considered complete without wine, and Le Sélect boasts a wine list that may very well be the city’s biggest and best. With over 1,200 choices in their cellar, including vintages dating all the way back to 1947, Le Sélect’s extensive selection is less of a wine list and more of a wine novel. But on the off chance you can’t find a bottle you like among the approximately 15,000 on hand, you’re also welcome to bring your own for a modest $18-25 corkage fee.

pumpkin brule
Pumpkin Brule for dessert?

Scaramouche

Address: 1 Benvenuto Place
Website: scaramoucherestaurant.com

Ever since it first opened its doors in 1981, Scaramouche has been a fixture on 'best of' lists like this one, consistently ranked not just as one of Toronto’s best French restaurants, but as one of the city’s best restaurants, period. A true fine dining experience, it’s difficult to say what’s more impressive—chef/owner Keith Froggett’s haute French cuisine, or the restaurant’s stunning views of the downtown Toronto skyline.

 

A photo posted by Scaramouche (@scaramoucherestaurant) on

Attention to detail is what truly sets Scaramouche apart, and every effort is taken to ensure a memorable dining experience. Attentive yet unobtrusive service gives way to exceptional, sophisticated dishes presented with the utmost care, such as spicy steak tartare, hand-made pasta, and bacon-wrapped quail. And for dessert, there’s the restaurant’s signature coconut cream pie (if you find yourself hooked after one bite, not to worry, whole pies are also available for take-out).

 

Needs no introduction..

A photo posted by Scaramouche (@scaramoucherestaurant) on

If you’re looking for elegant French cooking, Scaramouche is hard to beat—a position it’s been holding down on the Toronto culinary scene for an impressive three and a half decades, and counting. This is a restaurant that puts the special in special occasion, albeit with a price tag to match.

Chabrol

Address: 90 Yorkville Avenue
Website: chabrolrestaurant.com

One of Toronto’s best French restaurants is also one of its newest, as Chabrol opened its doors just last November. But the Yorkville hotspot is already making waves in the local Toronto food scene, thanks to Cava co-owners Niall McCotter and chef Doug Penfold.

LR ChesnutSoup5
Chabrol Chestnut soup 

After mastering tapas with their midtown Spanish standout, the pair decided to focus on cuisine from southern France for their latest venture, with a menu featuring standouts like their signature dish "Ttoro" (a Basque seafood stew similar to a bouillabaisse) and hearty braised lamb, along with tartines of cured trout or rabbit and braised endive, both served on bread made in house. But make sure to save room for dessert, because Chabrol saves the best for last: a delicate apple tart topped with Calvados Sabayon, sure to send diners home happy.

Ttoro by Chabrol
Ttoro by Chabrol

Operating out of the space formerly occupied by Le Trou Normand and set back off Yorkville Avenue, this charming little restaurant is on the small side, but seating will be nearly tripled come springtime once the courtyard patio opens up, allowing restaurant-goers to sit back and pretend they’ve been whisked away to Paris, even if it’s just for an evening.

LR Apple1
Chabrol Apple Tart 

Café Boulud

Address: 60 Yorkville Ave (The Four Seasons Hotel)
Website: cafeboulud.com/toronto

Celebrated French chef/restaurateur Daniel Boulud’s culinary empire has outposts around the world—from New York to London, Las Vegas to Singapore—but his Toronto flagship debuted to less than rave reviews when it first opened. Both the menu and the space at Café Boulud have since undergone a complete overhaul, resulting in a more casual brasserie experience, along with much happier restaurant critics and diners.

cafe boulud
Enter and find yourself in France.

But while the vibe at Café Boulud may be less formal these days, make no mistake. This is still a stylish, upscale spot to grab a bite, thanks to herringbone Hermès wallpaper and green leather banquettes (a nod to its French brasserie inspiration). The new menu has a similar feel: classic French comfort food cooked with modern flair.

french onion soup
French Onion Food

So Vietnamese-inspired bouillon pho and grilled kale share a menu with salade niçoise and steak frites. And borrowed from Boulud’s DBGB in New York, there’s the Frenchie Burger, a seven-ounce patty topped with morbier cheese, dijon mustard, pork belly, tomato-onion compote, and arugula. All while a rotisserie imported directly from France spins chicken, seafood, and even golden pineapple for dessert.

chicken waffles
Chicken Waffles

In its new, more laid-back incarnation, Café Boulud finally gives Torontonians what they expected from the master chef all along: a French restaurant worthy of being called one of the city’s finest.

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2 thoughts on “Top French Restaurants in Toronto

March 2, 2016 at 8:01 am
Brandon says:

I just LOVE Café Boulud. It’s the best, most inovative french restaurant in town. Would recomend everybody to try this one.

Reply
March 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm
Nicanadian says:

The list appears incomplete at best, the following entries are sine-qua-non…
La Palette
Cluny
La Société
Colette Grand Café

Reply

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