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“Still Great Food, but New Location Lacks the Old Hospitality, Feeling” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ici Bistro

Ici Bistro
538 Manning Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Little Italy)
416-536-0079
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Ranked #773 of 6,550 Restaurants in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Price range: $51 - $51
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Little Italy
Cross street: Harbord Street
Transit: Bathurst Station is the closest subway station. Take the 511 streetcar south to Harbord and stroll 2 blocks west along Harbord Street to ici located at the corner of Harbord and Manning.
Toronto
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Still Great Food, but New Location Lacks the Old Hospitality, Feeling”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 13, 2014

Although the food is still superb (and perhaps the most consistently excellent in Toronto!) and the service is very good (particularly from those from the old location), the new location at the Windsor Arms is pretty but somewhat reserved and a more than a bit loud. We were there for a special occasion on the same night a large scale event was happening in the hotel's "courtyard" (i.e. ballroom). A group of individuals attending said event were dining next to us, and owing to their numbers were incredibly loud. When I had suggested Ici for our special evening, I had pictured a romantic dinner at the small, cozy location on Manning, where the service was amazing and there was a real opportunity to interact with the chefs and owners. Sadly, I think that vibe/atmosphere has morphed into something else at the Windsor Arms. I wish them luck (and appreciate their reasons for moving), but I think it's unlikely we'll be back any time soon.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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67 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    43
    14
    3
    2
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“Horrible customer service.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2014

After reading a number of good reviews, I went to ICI Bistro excited, hungry and with high expectations. Our reservations were made 2 weeks prior through Open Table and we headed over there for our 9:30pm booking. First off—the address in the Open Table booking confirmation is still their old one. Something we only discovered after arriving to their original location and seeing a darkened restaurant with a note taped to the front door. They are now located in the Windsor Arms Hotel. After a drive over, we had arrived and were seated in the oddly bright restaurant (think dining room of a chain restaurant). After being seated, we waited about 20 minutes before flagging a server down to bring us menus. After she brought them over and we had plenty of time to find a drink and choose our dinners, we had another very long wait until we were asked for our orders. Our wine was brought to us probably 5 minutes before our food. We ordered the charcuterie plate and there was no bread, no crisps, nothing. We had to ask for some bread and waited again quite a while to have it brought out. We were halfway through the plate before we got any. Our next dish was the trio of beef tartare which was a huge let down. This was what brought us to the restaurant and it was the worst tartare I have ever had. It did not seem fresh and there was no difference between the three. We didn’t want to wait any longer (already having been at the restaurant for 2.5 hours for just 2 appetizers and a glass of wine) so we cancelled our main. I have never had to do this in a restaurant before. The people sitting next to us were also complaining of their long wait. They were compensated by being given free drinks however we were not. ICI Bistro had the worst customer service I have ever experienced in a restaurant in Toronto, it was absolutely appalling. You get better service at a McDonald’s.

  • Visited May 2014
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 1 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Montreal, Canada
Top Contributor
197 reviews 197 reviews
130 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
101 helpful votes 101 helpful votes
“As good as last time”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2014

I understand why getting a table at Ici Bistro is so difficult, it's always jam packed.
We had to wait for 5 minutes before our table was reset and were offered a champagne cocktail. Very nice and welcoming touch.
The service was very attentive and friendly.
We shared a small platter of assorted croquettes, very nicely done and tasty.
Our second serve was a duo of foie gras, exceptional.
We followed with a duo of lamb (the chop was so tender) and scallops with a lobster tail (butter poached). Generous, perfectly cooked and seasoned.
We finished our dinner with the house specialty, the traditional souffles.
J.P Challet's cuisine is very French classic but with a wonderful twist.

I will return even if Toronto has so much to offer but not all restaurants are as consistent as ICI Bistro..

  • Visited February 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Toronto, Canada
Top Contributor
62 reviews 62 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Simply the best French food; beware the foibles.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

We have been here a couple of times and the food is just outstanding.

However, do not try and book a table by phone it will never happen. Your best chance is to book online.
Do request a sit down table, otherwise you will be propped up on bar stools.
Don't be put off by the slightly pugilistic front desk.

The lobster bisque is to die for and you will forgive all the other minor imperfections this place has.

The croquettes appetizer is worth going for, as are the scallops. (See full menu here:- http://www.jpco.ca/index.html)

For those of us who like to share/taste everything this restaurant particularly lends itself to that. There are two sizes of plate for most of the dishes.

The Sancerre and the Bordeaux (Haut Medoc) on the wine list are both excellent.

Waitress service is very friendly and swift.

Enjoy!

  • Visited January 2014
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Brampton, Canada
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Small Intimate French Bistro”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2014

My wife and I dined at the ICI Bistro and ordered the four-course prix fixe menu on New Year's Eve. There were a number of alternatives for each course, that made the decision-making challenging. Each dish was complex, interesting and delicious. The wine list is excellent and we enjoyed the champagne served with dessert. The server was very knowledgeable, explaining the various choices on the menu expertly and making recommendations. The chef took the time to thank us and wish us well at the end of the meal.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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