French bistro bonanza

Rating: NNNNNMATIGNON (51 St. Nicholas, 921-9226) A down-to-earth neighbourhood boite, this bistro serves hearty French fare that defies gastro trends..


Rating: NNNNN


MATIGNON (51 St. Nicholas, 921-9226) A down-to-earth neighbourhood boite, this bistro serves hearty French fare that defies gastro trends. Check out the three-course $18.95 prix fixe dinner deal. Best: main-course fish soup with shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops and salmon scented with saffron-tinged mayo, shaved Parmesan and garlic croutons mussels steamed in white wine with a bowl of crisp frites curried and pureed vegetable soup rich with cream and butter triple-tier gateau layered with chestnut mousse. Complete meals for $30 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine. Open for lunch Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm, and for dinner Monday to Thursday 4:30 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday 4:30 to 11 pm. Closed Sunday and holidays. Fully licensed. Access: six steps at door, washrooms on second floor. Rating: NNN
BISTRO TOURNESOL (406 Dupont, 921-7766) Clamorous cafe serving up classic bistro fare with a contemporary twist from a seasonally changing, price-conscious $22 prix fixe menu. Regulars swear by the place, but neophytes might wonder what all the fuss is about. Regardless, don’t even think of showing up without a reservation. Best: starters like mussels steamed in Chardonnay and herbs, or saged risotto cakes over mesclun topped with chevre main course choices such as pork tenderloin cured in maple syrup, Provimi calf’s liver with garlic mash and leeks, or chevre-stuffed chicken breast rolled in crushed pecans. Complete dinners for $45 per person, including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine. Open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday 5:30 to 10 pm. Closed Monday. Fully licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN
VERVEINE (1097 Queen East, 405-9906) Downtown comes to Leslieville. This mid-size bistro from the folks who created Mistral serves classic European cuisine with contemporary spin. A smart room, smooth service and a kitchen with potential make this neighbourhood noshery a hit. Friday/Saturday reservations recommended. Best: mussels steamed in mango butter garnished with slivered spring onion maple-glazed chicken with grilled corn ‘n’ fresh fava succotash Provimi veal-liver terrine daily lunchtime $7 sandwich specials with first-rate frites bratwurst and rosti sauced with caramelized onion jus at brunch. Complete dinners for $40 per person ($20 at lunch or brunch), including all taxes, tip and a glass of wine. Open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday 6 to 10 pm, for lunch Wednesday to Friday 11:30 am to 3 pm, and for brunch Saturday 10 am to 3 pm and Sunday 10 am to 4 pm. Fully licensed. Access: barrier-free, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNN

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