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“High expectations not met...”
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, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
46 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“High expectations not met...”
Reviewed June 7, 2014

Ici Bistro has been re-located to the Windsor Arms Hotel, we had reservation for 4. The restaurant is located in the hotel, so the atmosphere is not that of a French bistro. There are 2 menus offered, the regular hotel menu which has been reviewed and adjusted by Chef Jean Paul who is currently the executive chef for the Windsor Arms. They also offer the ICI menu which we chose from. We started with appetizers we had the escargot which was very tasty except the puff pastry was very tough. The salmon plate was also very fresh but I found the grapefruit a bit overwhelming. The goat cheese plate was bland, but I really enjoyed the steak tartare trio, it was everyone's favorite. For mains, I had the sea bass with ravioli and fennell salad. I have to say the fish was wonderful and cooked to perfection but the ravioli was tasteless and the fennel,salad didn't taste freshly made. I also have to comment that the presentation of this plate was disappointing in that it was all white and wasn't very appealing. My husband had the sea scallops with lobster and he loved it. The flavours were amazing and the seafood was perfectly cooked. My son ordered the lamb, there were lamb sausages, lamb chops and a sort of a stewed lamb. Both the chops and the sausages were very good but the stewed lamb wasn't his favorite. Our waiter chose both wines for us and I have to say his choices were great and complemented both the appetizers and mains perfectly. He was also very attentive,informative and knowledgeable and provided us with a description of each dish. For dessert we had the creme brûlée, it was excellent. The overall experience was good. We enjoyed the appetizers more than we did the mains. I am not sure if my expectations were too high, but I was slightly disappointed with some of the food and I would have enjoyed a different atmosphere. Perhaps,it was because there was a big event in the adjoining room and it was very noisy. It was expensive, approximately $130 per person so for those prices one expects great versus good.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Fa A
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
Victoria, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
193 reviews
122 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“New Location, Better Than Ever”
Reviewed June 3, 2014

The Windsor Arms Hotel is where you find this gastronomic mecca. Chef Sommelier, Jean-Pierre Challet has created a classy bistro, with old world elegance.
The menu is same as he had at his old location on Manning Avenue, "J-P's" cuisine nouveau classique is amongst the best in Canada. His lobster bisque and Grand Marnier souffle are to die for. His entrees are all served in small and larger portions. All of the choices on the menu are chosen with great care, with the creative passion to make things happen. You really can not go wrong with anything on the menu.
The service by the waitstaff is as it should be; knowledgeable and efficient. Helpful suggestions for wine pairing are appreciated. The wine list is carefully selected and you really do not have to spend a lot of money, to get a decent bottle.
Mr. Challet and his staff deserve every accolade that they get.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Freddie754
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 5 Contributor
52 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Excellent food”
Reviewed May 18, 2014 via mobile

It is very difficult to book a table via phone but we did succeed but it took over two weeks before we could finally visit this establishment. We had asked for a nice table away from the bar and did manage to get a small table at the far end of the room. We noticed that several tables in the quieter section of the room remained unoccupied and wondered why we weren't given one of these. Other than that the food was excellent although a bit pricey. The wine selection was very good and reasonably priced. Service was first rate and everyone tried to please customers.
Selection is from a limited sharing menu so if you don't like seafood this isn't the place for you.

All in all a memorable meal in a quaint hotel which needs to be spruced up.



Visited May 2014
Helpful?
Thank offkilter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level 5 Contributor
55 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Still Great Food, but New Location Lacks the Old Hospitality, Feeling”
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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank misplacedmaritimer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Horrible customer service.”
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
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Nikkiv1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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