What’s on the menu at Frenchy, Hilton Toronto’s new lobby bar and brasserie

What’s on the menu at Frenchy, Hilton Toronto’s new lobby bar and brasserie

It’s the centrepiece of the hotel’s full-scale renovation

A spread of French dishes and drinks at Frenchy, Hilton Toronto's new restaurant and bar

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Name: Frenchy
Contact: 145 Richmond St. W., frenchytoronto.com, @frenchytoronto
Neighbourhood: Financial District
Owners: Barney River Investments
Chef: Aaron Chen
Accessibility: Fully accessible

Frenchy is the new jewel in the crown of Hilton’s full-scale renovation, which also included a makeover of the hotel’s lobby and guest rooms. Carrie Wong, complex marketing manager for Hilton Toronto, says the French restaurant was envisioned as the nucleus of the refreshed building, both literally and figuratively.

“Right from the entrance, the first thing guests can see is the bar,” she says. From a morning coffee and breakfast cassoulet to evening cocktails paired with brasserie-style plates, Frenchy’s shape-shifting vibe accommodates the changing needs of hotel guests and locals throughout the day. “We really wanted to create a space that would have something for everyone to enjoy,” says Wong. “We’re trying to create a really energized and lively lobby experience.”

Related: What’s on the menu at Mossop’s Social House, Hotel Victoria’s Levantine-inspired restaurant, cocktail bar and café

Frenchy executive chef Aaron Chen
Executive chef Aaron Chen


The food

Frenchy’s unpretentious brasserie menu reflects the restaurant’s “something for everyone” mantra. “One of our key philosophies is classics done really well,” says executive chef Aaron Chen. “It’s all about dishes that are traditional, bold and uncomplicated.”

Related: Six of the city’s best new bistros and brasseries

Beef tartare with toasted baguette
Chen stays true to French traditions with this beef tartare made with egg yolk, cornichons, shallots, Dijon, tarragon and red wine vinegar. It’s served with a few wedges of toasted baguette. $22


A green salad with pickled shallots
This green salad is another simple-is-best staple. For it, Bibb lettuce is tossed with finely diced herbs, pickled shallots and Frenchy’s house tarragon-Dijon vinaigrette. $21


A plate of escargots
Chen knows better than to mess with the standard escargot recipe, bathing these slow-moving snacks in garlic and butter, then topping them off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a few parsley leaves. $23


A pain au lait
The escargot comes with a pain au lait bun brushed with a herb-and-garlic mixture


Mussels served with fries and toasted slices of baguette
Part of the “avec frites” menu, these PEI mussels are cooked in a rich sauce of chicken stock, garlic, cream and butter. Baguette slices for dipping and crispy house-cut fries are served on the side. $28


A dish of roasted carrots
Here we have a side of roasted carrots covered in a butter and wildflower honey glaze and finished with fresh parsley. $14


Trout almondine
This trout amandine, swimming in a brown butter sauce and topped with almonds and capers, is another French classic. Sustainability is Chen’s main priority when procuring protein, so while this trout isn’t sourced locally, it is raised responsibly. $31


A slice of chocolate cake served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream
This crowd-pleasing gateau au chocolat is garnished with swirls of orange-chocolate ganache topped with candied orange. It’s served with a scoop of chocolate ice cream on the side. $15


The drinks

For the drink menu, assistant GM Santiago Espinel Otero worked closely with Chen to ensure the cocktail program complements the approachable French ethos of the food. “Our motto: simple is better,” says Otero. Cocktails bring a playful French twist to familiar favourites, whether that means amping up the floral notes to evoke French perfume or adding smoky undertones in an allusion to the Napoleonic Wars. “We know we have to cater to not only the hotel’s guests—which can include people from around the world—but also a local crowd,” says Otero. “We try to have a little bit of everything for everybody while still keeping the identity of the restaurant.”

In keeping with the French theme, wine is also an emphasis of the restaurant’s drink program. Though the list isn’t strictly French, it focuses on grape varieties associated with France—think an Italian Syrah or a Canadian Marsanne. A small wine room off the main dining area highlights the restaurant’s deep vino collection and will host private wine tastings.

Frenchy's spin on a French 75
The restaurant’s spin on a French 75 adds house-made hibiscus syrup to the typical gin, champagne and lemon juice combo. A Hot Lips garnish gives a little bisou to every glass. $24


The Faux Pas, a vodka-based cocktail at Frenchy, a French restaurant in Toronto
The Faux Pas is an example of ingredients being shared across the food and drink menus, incorporating the same wildflower honey used to glaze the carrots. In this easy sipper, the honey is combined with vodka, abricot du Roussillon liqueur, lemon and soda. It’s finished with bee pollen and an ice cube imprinted with a honeycomb pattern. $18


An espresso martini
Frou Frou, Frenchy’s take on an espresso martini, is spiked with pistachio syrup to bring a nuttiness to the drink’s earthy, creamy coffee flavours. $19


The French Riviera, a non-alcoholic cocktail at Frenchy inside the Hilton Toronto
The French Riviera comes from Frenchy’s petite non-alcoholic cocktail menu. Fresh and fizzy, it features a house-made grapefruit-and-bay-leaf cordial, lemon, tonic and soda. A dehydrated orange slice and a bay leaf provide the finishing touches. $14


The space

DesignAgency led the extensive renovation project, including the curation of Frenchy’s Parisian aesthetic. The restaurant’s centrepiece is a stunning brass-accented bar, which serves as a connection point between the restaurant and the wider lobby.

Curved edges, soft textures and a palette of rich reds introduce warmth and intimacy to the airy space. Eye-catching chandeliers are reminiscent of floating flower blossoms, and a dramatic mural depicting painted figures of women further enhances the restaurant’s feminine feel.

Frenchy will soon launch a regular live entertainment program, including DJ sets and jazz band performances. “The hotel is so centrally located that Frenchy is a perfect stop to meet up before going to an event downtown,” says Wong. “It will become the heartbeat of the hotel and a community hub.”

The dining room at Frenchy, a new brasserie and bar on the main floor of Hilton Toronto

A closer look at the murals that line the walls of Frenchy's dining room inside Hilton Toronto

The bar at Frenchy, a new brasserie inside the Hilton Toronto

Decorative chandeliers hang over the dining room of Frenchy, a new restaurant inside the Hilton Toronto

Comfy couch seating at Frenchy, a new brasserie inside the Hilton Toronto

The marble-topped, brass-accented bar at Frenchy in Toronto

A small plate painted with a cartoon cat