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“Vive La Difference!”
Review of Ici Bistro - CLOSED

Ici Bistro
Price range: $51 - $51
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Neighborhood: Downtown
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
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Vive La Difference!”
Reviewed February 14, 2012

Finally Toronto has a high end neighbourhood bistro offering top notch food and service.
This is not your usual bistro fare. Dishes are lighter, perfectly executed, well timed, beautifully presented. Almost all items on the menu come in two sizes so you can order smaller portions if you wish. The service is professional, friendly and knowledgeable.
The wine list is well chosen but you can also bring a special bottle. Corkage is 25. Souffles are to die for.
The place is small and intimate but that's what makes it so good. You can feel the personal touch of the chef inviting you into his kitchen where together with his team he will strive to make your evening memorable. And J.P. Challet at the helm of his kitchen is just like the captain who steers his ship in the right direction ensuring smooth sailing all the way.
Yes, you have to book ahead but it is worth the wait. We visited twice, once with friends and once with family and we'll be back.

Visited January 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank venividimore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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
London, On
Level 6 Contributor
188 reviews
108 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“A Do not miss experience”
Reviewed February 9, 2012

We went for supper on Feb 3, 2012 and had an excellent evening. We each had three plates of the smaller size each paired with the suggested wines. (All choices come in small or main meal size) Choice is excellent, preparation and plates are definitely first class. Prices are a touch expensive but well matched to what you get so actually plenty of bang for the buck. Servers are friendly and helpful and attentive.
Bistro only seats 24 and is casual. I was the only man present wearing a tie.
We had reserved some 6 weeks in advance and the reservation got lost but they were able to fit us in and did so with grace and pleasant charm.

A must visit Toronto restaurant with excellent food and charm and grace.

  • Visited February 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank DaveLon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
60 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Three weeks for a reservation!”
Reviewed January 15, 2012

We were finally able to get into Ici Restaurant in Toronto; I say finally because, believe it or not, we made reservations three weeks ago! Ici opened in November 2010 on Manning Avenue in Toronto after two years of fighting ridiculous issues with a City Councillor; not sure what the hoopla was over since it's a very small French restaurant and not a after hours club! They serve "modern French food" with classics such as Lobster Bisque, Steak Tartar and Chicken Suprême.
I have to say, having to wait three weeks to dine with a reservation, I had expectations. It was a blistery cold day in Toronto and this place is in a residential area (the Annex), with street parking only. We had our first snowfall the day before and not everyone shovels their sidewalk as they should; we had to park about a hundred metres from the restaurant and I wore satin sling backs (OK, I'm well-known for inappropriate footwear so this should be of no surprise!) We arrive and the place is TINY - seating for maybe 25, half if which is along the bar and kitchen counters. We were seated at the bar. I said, "BUT we had reservations" this is all we have, was the response. Hmmmm. It's REALLY SMALL. No where to hang your coat -- they could have used hooks under the bar. The door is covered with heavy velvet drapery, but it's still not enough to stop the blustery cold from interrupting our comfort. People are turned away at the door, you really do need a reservation.The décor is quaint but nothing special. The napkins are linen tea towels. There are place-mats at each place on the bar, and we are not overly crowded (I can't even reach over to touch the next two diners, not that I would want to, but you get the picture). The kitchen has a window so you can see the action, and it's pretty obvious that they are not overly taxed.

The staff is attentive; we are immediately welcomed with a small but very tasty goats cheese tart amuse bouche; it had caramelized onion baked with the tart, creamy goats cheese -- it was delicious, which makes us both excited about our meals. The menu is short, only about ten things and they come in two sizes, appetizer portion of meal portion, which works out well for me. We order six oysters as our starter, they are small PEI oysters for $3. each; they are served with grated fresh horse radish, lemon wedges and a classic Mignonette garnish. They are quite lovely with a hint of brininess (I actually like my oysters a bit brinier!) and they are a lite great starter without taking up tummy-space. Because the restaurant space is small and there are not many people, it's a little quieter than most hot spot eateries, which is nice because I have a difficult time competing with noise, my voice tends to be the same level and I can't even hear myself talk! I ordered the steak tartar; the server said it was delicately seasoned with shallots, cognac, mustard and cornichons (not capers). I ordered the appetizer portion and it is served as two good sized quenelle shapes with similarly shaped deep-fried mashed potatoes. Although I am not a huge potato eater, my preference would have been the beautiful match-stick fries traditionally served with this dish. I ate half of one of the potatoes and gave the other half to JT. The tartar was tasty, not the best I've ever had, but certainly up there. JT had the Seared Braised Beef, Artichoke & Black Trumpet Ravioli, even the appetizer portion was a healthy serving. The meat was so tender and tasty, it was right up there for taste and quality but not the best he's ever had. We finished with a couple of very delicious espressos. The dinner was nicely spaced out, with reservations at 7:30 we left around 9:30.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank et-toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, France
Level 6 Contributor
372 reviews
290 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 214 helpful votes
“Cosy French restaurant”
Reviewed October 19, 2011

If you are looking for a restaurant with imaginative, nouvelle French cuisine, modern decor and a great overall ambiance, then, this is the restaurant for you.

The chef is originally from Lyons. Their menu has two prices for appetiser and main course sizes. The menu provides wine pairings for all appetisers/mains. You can order wine by the glass.

We started with the Merguez, St-Maure Goat & Gnocchi and the Foie Gras “Au Naturel” & Black Trumpet Croquette. Both were delicious.

For mains we had the Crispy Calamari à la Nicoise & Buffalo Mozzarella and the White Fish, Polenta & Lemon Beurre Blanc. The calamari was not only crispy, it was light. The fish was fresh and moist. We also ordered a Plateau of Croquettes to share. They were quite tasty.

For dessert we ordered the Trio of Creme Brulee and the Signature Souffle. The souffle was simply wonderful. You have to order it in advance as it takes time to prepare.

Had dinner there to fete a birthday and Ici Bistro offered the birthday boy a lovely birthday message written in chocolate, which was served with a delicious chocolate pastry. We really appreciated this kind gesture.

They only have 24 seats so you must reserve. They are open from Wednesday to Saturday and have 2 seatings at 5:30pm and 8:30pm. You reserve by leaving them a message with your name, telephone number and the date and time that you wish to dine there.

Service is very professional and friendly.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank nouglytourist
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Delicious French Food, better than most bistros in Paris”
Reviewed July 28, 2011

This gem of a restaurant is small. Only 25 seats. it is best to book a couple of weeks in advance. The front of house staff is very warm, Jenny is the chef J.P. Challet's business partner, she often takes reservations and welcomes you. The food is fantastic. There are two size/price options for all appetizers and mains. Jalousie of Escargots, bouillabaisse, Lobster Thermador all stand outs. The steak tartare with potatoes dauphinoise delicious. They are also very helpful at pairing wine with your meal and you don't have to commit to a bottle there are perfect glasses and those also come in 3 oz or 6oz sizes.

  • Visited July 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FinnishflashToronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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