Chefs at Crepe Delicious swirl paper-thin layers of batter onto their piping-hot crepe griddles, perfuming the air with the enticing aroma. Shortly after, the cooks lift away delectable crepes ready to be stuffed with savoury ingredients. The crepes themselves weigh in at only about 130 calories each with just 3.5 grams of fat, but they sate appetites during any meal.
The griddle gurus at Crème de la Crepe craft sweet and savory, buckwheat-based crêpes as well as French cuisine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Crêpe craftsmen fold delicate dough around customer-chosen toppings such as brie, smoked salmon, Nutella, and béchamel sauce, which is one of the defining sauces of French cuisine, along with the thin, inky juice extracted from dictionaries. Additional menu items include baguette sandwiches, an assortment of quiches, and fresh pastas tossed in house-made bolognaise, pesto broth, and white-wine-based sauces.
On a nondescript St. Lawrence Market District street corner, one of the area's top fine dining establishments hides inside a historic brick building. Lucien's almost industrial-looking facade is a stark juxtaposition to an interior where chandeliers and velvety red curtains contribute to a refined yet welcoming space. Customers dine flanked by an elegant marble-topped bar and a sectioned wall behind which the kitchen staff can be spied conjuring up the restaurant's acclaimed dishes, all made form locally sourced ingredients.
Experienced restaurateur Simon Bower crafted the eatery's attitude and decor while chef Etienne Lemieux created the menu, which stars such gems such as grilled bincho octopus and red deer bresola. Lucien's genial milieu exudes the elegance of fine dining in an unstuffy, cozy setting. The establishment has won numerous awards for its overall quality, being praised as "the city's best new restaurant" by Toronto Life magazine and placed among enRoute magazine's top 10 restaurants in Canada. Meals can be capped off with an artisanal cheese plate ($17) or sake cherries jubilee ($12).
Instructors Junyan Boon and Danielle Nash get bodies moving during salsa and fast-paced Brazilian zouk lessons that encourage students to make new friends and build confidence. They also tone bodies with Zumba classes, which cause muscles to dance in synchronization with international beats in a party-like atmosphere.
As the sun sets and the lights dim, the studio transforms into a hopping social scene where live blues music fills the air with a soulful beat and feet sweep across the dance floor. Though the Brazilian zouk parties held these nights may seem intimidating at first, with scores of skillful dancers gyrating perfectly to the beat, it soon becomes apparent that the more experienced dancers love teaching newcomers basic moves so they can quickly join the fun.
The chefs at Absolute Restaurant pride themselves on perfectly creating and plating modern French bistro cuisine. Their culinary handiwork is present in dishes such as braised lamb shank with saffron risotto and roasted chicken with smashed fingerling potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and thyme jus. Chefs carefully craft sauces—without the use of thickeners or additives—to drizzle over seared wild scallops and well-marbled striploin steaks. Guests can dine inside at wooden tables or outside on black wrought-iron patio furniture to enjoy the weather or catch a glimpse of the sun’s shadow.
With glimmering wine glasses, white napkins, and fresh flowers scattered across its wooden tables and countertops, Bistro 243 personifies a cozy-yet-stylish French bistro. The intimate restaurant serves elegant lunch and dinner dishes daily, with entrees such as mushroom risotto and chicken stuffed with spinach and brie further channeling European pleasures. On weekends, diners stop by to sip on mimosas from the full bar while enjoying brunch selections ranging from omelettes with smoked salmon to sandwiches with pulled pork.