At 432 Wellington Street West sits my favorite French restaurant outside of France. Famed Chef Albert Ponzo has created a French Café and Bistro in the heart of downtown Toronto that is so cozy and authentic it is easy to get lost in conversation with your dining companions and forget that you are still on Canadian soil. I could go on and on, talk forever and ever (or type that is) about how much I love this restaurant but I feel pictures (and my recommendation) speak a thousand words.
Upon arriving at Le Select for the first time I was pleased to see the traditional French façade and an amazing patio space (and made a note to take friends here in the summer!) The front of the establishment features a classic French Bar (think Manet’s Bar at the Folies) that overlooks a warm and cozy café space that offers free WIFI. I made a second note to myself that this was going to be my new favorite spot to work away on my macBook and meet up with friends for a weekly essential espresso, crossiant and gossip fix.
All of the staff at Le Select must be bilingual in both French and English. This requirement certainly adds to the ambiance as I could hear the chitter chatter of the local dialect throughout my meal as a couple of French Canadian women giggled over a piping hot plate of Cassoulet.
My sister and I took my mother to Le Select for her celebratory birthday lunch. We enjoyed a life changing/mouth watering meal (both of which should always occur simultaneously at the dinner table). We delighted ourselves with the following treats:
Salade D’Endives au Benedictin
Belgian endives, walnuts, Quebec’s artisan blue Benedictin with cider dressing
Two bowls of soup
traditional French with fromage gratin and a sweet red pepper and tomato
Risotto a la Courge
carnaroli risotto with squash, sage, white wine and Parmesan.
Joue de Boeuf Bourguignonne
beef cheek braised in red wine, with pork lardons and button mushrooms.
Confit de Canard
traditional duck confit with crispy skin, served with potato au gratin.
espresso and a square of French Dark Chocolate
chocolate and hazelnut praline semifreddo
On my second visit to Le Select I was able to celebrate yet another birthday while attending Erica Mawson’s Saturday Birthday brunch.
Salade de Roquette
Provencal puff pastry tart with caramelized onions, tomato, olives and anchovies.
Noix de St-Jacques aux Asperges
seared scallops with a light hollandaise, served with asparagus spears
grilled lamb chops with a rosemary beurre Noisette and spicy Algerian Merguez sausage, served with an egg ravioli, mushroom and snow pea shoots.
Choucroute Garnie a l’Alsacienne
marinated cabbage braised in white wine, with pork hock, ham and sausages.
Creme Brulee au B52
served with fresh berries and a hazelnut biscuit
Tarte au Citron
lemon tart served with fresh fruits
Gateau au Chocolat
chocolate cake with Pure Caribe Cocoa and a Passion fruit sorbet.
#5 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010.