Opened recently on a strip of Bayview Avenue that’s best known for Satay on the Road and Hollywood Gelato, L’Avenue, a new modern French bistro, is quickly making a name for itself among locals. The face of L’Avenue is Otta Zapotocky (he co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Jenna Kang), who has worked as sommelier and manager at Nota Bene, L’Unita, Malena and Wildfire.
Inside, the restaurant is old-meets-new, featuring reclaimed wood from Urban Tree Salvage as a backdrop to antique mirrors, paintings and chandelier pieces from the nearby Elegant Garage Sale. In true bistro fashion, there’s a vintage 1914 French ad for fur coats. The menu takes classic dishes like French onion soup and beef bourguignon and adapts them to showcase seasonal and local ingredients (cheese comes from Alex Farm Products, fish from De La Mer Fresh Fish Market and meat, soon enough, from Cumbrae’s, all shops along the same Bayview strip).
In the kitchen is
chef Nicholas Sward, who hails from northern California Appetizers include bistro staples like escargots ($10) and French onion soup ($10), and for mains, there’s chicken cordon bleu ($19) and beef bourguignon ($19). To finish, there are cheeses (one for $6, three or $15, five for $23) and tarts made by Sward, who’s no stranger to pastry and desserts from over a decade working in the hotel restaurant industry. The wine menu is predominantly French, but will feature Ontario wines and a good selection by the glass, says Zapotocky, who is used to cataloging wine cellars boasting 1,000-plus bottles.
A lighter lunch menu is also offered, with additions like a L’Avenue Burger with French onions that’s topped with beef bourguignon and gruyere cheese ($18). For weekend brunch, there are healthy options like yogurt with homemade granola ($7) and grapefruit bruleé ($5.50), as well as heartier dishes like croque monsieur ($12), eggs Florentine ($15) and brioche French toast ($12).
UPDATE: After this story was reported, Nicholas Sward departed as chef at L’Avenue, and was replaced by Jeremy Dyer.
L’Avenue Bistro, 1568 Bayview Ave., 416.485.1568, lavenuebistro.com