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.
7 thoughts on “Introducing: L’Avenue, a new modern bistro on Bayview”
Wow! A new “bistro” in Toronto with “reclaimed” wood. Has “reclaimed” wood screwed onto the wall become a pre-requisite to getting a liquor licence in Toronto? Or are they just paying tribute to every other restaurant that’s opened in Toronto in the past 3 years? Seriously, I look at that photo and the room looks beautiful (except for the stupid planks). I’m sorry but, it’s sad that it would have been such a pleasant novelty if they had not put those planks and had the wall looking as clean and sensible as the wall on the other side of the room does.
Ultimately, it’s all about the food and I’ll still check it out. But, we will make bets on the way if the front of house staff will be pleasant, sharply dressed, and well groomed or bearded, in untucked plaid-shirts acting as if they’ve done us a favor by sharing their “reclaimed” wood with us.
Chef Nicholas Sward has recently left his posting at L`Avenue.
He was unwilling to compromise his vision of simplicity.
HIs kitchen costs skyrocketed with the use of Fava Beans and was to be demoted to sous chef.
He has since been replaced by molecular inspired foam….
I have been there several times now. Tried both chefs’ menus–both great chefs, but i have to say last night’s beef bourguignon topped the list!!!
BTW, the wooden planks warm up the room:))))
We had a fabulous meal at L’Avenue on May-03-2012. The escargot was simply wonderful. I had the lamb shank and my wife enjoyed the salmon. Otta, one of the owners was extremely friendly and courteous. I would highly recommend this restaurant and plan to visit on a regular basis.
I was there last evening with my wife for dinner. Fantastic wine list for such a small venue. We had sweet breads, oysters, duck two ways and a fried chicken that was out of this world. We’ll be back!
It is always refreshing to have this sized bistro with a hands on owner like Otta. Service is as big a standout as the food. Great atmosphere that has the comfort you’d expect from the style and size of restaurant. I have been here 4 times and each time has been consistently good.
Great job Otta, looking forward to our fifth visit shortly.
cooks are reptilian aliens specifically crocodile aliens who keep people in lower chakras believe me and otta and the chefs are demons who sniff cocaine…. FACT
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