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“Fantastic Cabbagetown Bistro”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Jam Cafe - CLOSED

Jam Cafe
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: French
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff
Neighborhood: Downtown
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Fantastic Cabbagetown Bistro”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 4, 2012

Don't be misled by the name: it's not a cafe, but a bistro, serving earthy, flavourful, well priced cuisine in a relaxed setting. It's a real treat to have this place in Cabbagetown, as it's the only bistro near Carlton and Parliament. They do delicious things with duck, bison, beef, and chicken. Local ingredients, creative menu, solid wine list. The atmosphere is quiet, soothing, and comfortable, with a real neighbourhood feel. Parking is easy on Carlton, and the streetcar stops in front of their door. It's only a 20 minute walk from Yonge St. I'm a Cabbagetown resident who wants to keep this restaurant in my neighbourhood for years to come. Go on a Sunday night, bring your own bottle(s) with no corkage fee, and have the steak frites. What's not to like?

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Membercat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

29 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    13
    13
    2
    0
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
164 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“A really nice evening”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 4, 2012

We arrived at this small, bistro on the edge of Cabbagetown just after 8 on a Saturday, without a reservation and were relieved when we could get a table. We have been here several times before and all experiences were good, so thought it might be full.

The menu has been simplified since out last visit - now with a few starters and five mains plus a few specials - but all looked interesting. I like to try different foods, so while the lamb shank (one of my favourites) and fried chicken were tempting, I had to go for the water buffalo (??) ribeye. It came perfectly cooked, medium rare, with a gamey intensity that blended nicely with the balsamic reduction, glazed mushrooms and thin, crispy frites.

The full bodied but very elegant red from the Veneto matched nicely with the meat - and only $50.

Service is friendly, helpful and attentive.

My only complaint is the the limited wine list has some good value selections (see above). But half of the labels are in the $150+ range, which seems a bit high for here.

There are few places these days in this city where you can get a really good meal for 2 for leass than $200, including food, wine, taxes and tip. Jam Cafe is one of them - and you could easily spend less.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FullCleveland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
82 reviews
44 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“Great, quiet atmosphere, terrific food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 15, 2012

Found this place a few years ago when staying at a nearby b and b. I like the cozy atmosphere (tin ceilings, dark wood tables and booths), soft lighting and generally soft music, a nice contrast to places on nearby CHurch Street, most of which play music at far too loud a volume to have a pleasant conversation. It would be easy to miss if you didn't know about it, but worth seeking out if you're in the area, along Carlton Street east of Church, near Parliament.
THe menu has only a few selections with a few daily specials added, and not much for vegetarians...the dishes included lamb shank, fried buttermilk chicken, steak frites, duck, with a few appetizers, We weren't served the nice warm bread with hummus dip that I remembered being offered while we waited the last time I was here, which was unfortunate...It was excellent..

But we had a very nice simple green lettuce salad, squash soup, and for main courses a wonderfully moist lamb shank with rosemary and mashed potatoes and the fried chicken, again very light and moist, served with a biscuit and a small dish of gravy...I normally never eat fried chicken but this was done with such a light touch and was not greasy at all.
Both dishes were prepared and presented beautifully..
For dessert, a delicious small apple crumble that was fresh tasting rather than over-sweet, like many are, and a very nice flourless chocolate torte that again had a nice dark chocolate taste without being oversweet...
The young waiter was friendly, the chef stopped by to ask how the food was and it was a great atmosphere for chatting.
I got a little tired of the reggae music that was on the stereo this time for most of our visit...I prefer jazz or classical and am not a big fan of reggae, but it was at least played at a quiet level rather than deafening...We will definitely come back here whenever in town...
They could update and improve their website...it still says "Summer menu" for example, so I thought it was out of date when I was looking to see what was offered...
Prices were also very reasonable...steak frites, for example, was about $20, when several other nearby places charge $25 to $28 for the same dish...Our very good dinner for two with a glass of wine each, appetizers, mains, desserts and coffee came to about $90.

  • Visited October 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Steve1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
503 reviews
252 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 264 helpful votes
“A gem in an obscure location”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 11, 2012

Jam Cafe is a small restaurant with a small menu, excellent wine list and focusses on locally produced food (it names the key suppliers). The quality of the food is generally excellent (after two visits), although the elk buger was rather dry. Service is exceptionally friendly and helpful and the decor very pleasant.

Jam is an an obscure part of town near Sherbourne and Carlton streets, but the Carlton streetcar stops right at the door.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank What
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto
Level Contributor
41 reviews
25 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“A hidden patio with fine food”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed May 28, 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of dinning with friends at Jam cafe. The back patio offered shady dining on a warm spring evening. The menu is very interesting with an emphasis on local and organic. The food was great, the service excellent, and the wine service a very pleasant surprise.
We will be back.

  • Visited May 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank 1947Toronto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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