Jules Bistro And My Umbrella-ella-ella
Torontonians by nature are foodies. Blessed with the multicultural delights of foreign foods and an array of dining options, you can eat well here as often as your heart, stomache or wallet pleases. While our streets lack the charm of Paris or old world Montreal, there are some hidden gems of french cuisine tucked nonchalantly in the city.
With a facade that is easily missed on Spadina, Jules Bistro (147 Spadina Ave.) is a cafe specializing in Southern French cuisine with an emphasis on bistro classics. Once you step through the threshold, you are immediately transported to a cozy restaurant in France, with whitewashed brick, vintage crystal chandeliers, wooden tables, gilded mirrors lining the banquette walls and dim mood lighting. Menus are transcribed on giant chalkboards (a touch I am quite fond of) and the open kitchen is doubly effective: watching cute chefs is highly entertaining and the fragrant aromas of fresh meals in preparation mount the anticipation. Writer’s aside: This is a great date place, picture flirting over a shared carafe of wine, making sexy eyes over flickering tealights. Oh yeah, hottt.
During the daytime, emo indie-rock plays (Strokes anyone?) and attentive foreign waiters suggest dishes. My friend N chose the French onion soup which was made with fresh baked croutons, vegetables and cheesed to perfection. I went for the Ratatouille* Quiche, with delicious herbed vegetables, goat cheese, the flakiest pastry and a side of frites (I had to ask this question myself. It’s fun to say but what exactly is ratatouille? a vegetable stew; usually made with tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, and seasonings). If you fancy a cheese platter with your wine, they’ve got it and the dessert of my life, a very Amelie creme brulee.
After we left the cafe, it was raining cats and dogs. To top off my very laissez-faire French afternoon, I thought I would invest in a clear parasol, channelling Catherine Deneuve in Les Parapluies de Cherbourg. Ooh la la!