It was a year ago that we had travelled to the South of France. We stopped along coast of the Cote d’Azur at different locations including Grasse, Cannes, Nice, Eze and Monaco. It was a trip that included many incredible meals from off-the-beaten-path cafes to Michelin-starred restaurants and, okay… a few tourist traps that were disappointing. Uh…40 euros for a bland sandwich just to sit at the choice table in front of the Monte Carlo casino was NOT worth it. But the rest of the trip left delicious lasting impressions.
A new restaurant had opened in uptown Toronto. A friend of mine who had remembered how much I had raved about the food I had experienced on that trip, mentioned that I should check out Pain Perdu Bistro. She had stumbled across it the week it had opened and raved.
Pain Perdu Bistro has been opened for a month now in the Yonge Lawrence area in Toronto — an area that is more known as a family friendly neighbourhood with the street filled with restaurants, nail salons and more coffee shops than any other neighbourhood it seems. But Pain Perdu is not new to Toronto. In fact, the original location has been around for 11 years on St. Clair offering some of the best croissants and other fine pastries in the city.
Owner and head chef Evaristo P. De Andrade was raised in the restaurant business. His father owned a restaurant in France. As he was growing up he knew that being a chef was his calling. After his studies at Lycée St. Louis in Toulon, France, Evaristo gained his experience in working at some of the most reputable restaurants in the world and most recently in California. Evaristo decided to personally come back to Toronto with his Canadian wife to be closer to family.
In April, he opened the doors to Pain Perdu Bistro offering dinner service of authentic French cuisine and weekend brunch service. Pain Perdu translation is “lost bread” but we think it’s definitely a real “find” in this part of the city!
This charming bistro has the touch and feel of the South of France. From black and white tiles flooring around the bar to the friendly, easy going and attentive service. You don’t feel rushed but you do feel like you’re being tended to at a natural pace. The staff is wonderful and inviting when we visited for Sunday brunch.
The menu is clean and not overwhelming. Brunch included quiches, omelettes, steak frites, croque monsieur, french toast and more. I immediately zoned in on the Foie Gras Casse Croute. I have an affection for Foie Gras – it’s an automatic order for me in French restaurants. Indulgent but once in a while it’s okay, right? Hubby ordered Eggs Benedict both were delicious. We sat close to the kitchen and can overhear the conversation all in French! FRENCH! Yay! Authentic is what we were after!
Evaristo surfaced out of the kitchen a few times to chat with patrons. He came over to us and introduced himself and brought out a couple of pastries for us to try. He is genuinely interested in taking the time to speak with everyone and we had a nice chat about France. He mentioned that his parents lives there and he still visits them when he can. We mentioned how much we adore that part of France.
We also overheard his conversation with another couple seated near us who had already been to this restaurant 5 times since it has opened and absolutely love the food and the service. Evaristo was humbled and ever so gracious. When he came back to us, I had said to him,“that must be the best compliment to a chef is to hear that people love to come back.” Which he humbly responded with a smile, “yes! it’s very nice to hear!”
We checked out the dinner menu that includes favourite classic dishes like Moules Marinieres, Cordon Bleu, and Steak Frites. We look forward to going back in the near future as it’s now our latest restaurant crush!
Pain Perdu Bistro is located at 3185 Yonge Street, Toronto. Visit their website at www.painperdubistro.com