Where to eat lunch this week: Auberge du Pommier

Where to eat lunch this week: Auberge du Pommier

The $18 midday menu at this legendary French fixture is the best lunch north of Bloor

The place: Auberge du Pommier is one of Toronto’s few remaining institutions at which servers will draw chairs and crown laps with linen napkins. But behind the stately service and rustic 19-century façades is a state-of-the-art kitchen that produces some of the city’s best French food.

The crowd: Well-coiffed society ladies and gentlemen buttoned up in hand-tailored suits wining, dining and chatting about travel, golf and cottage renovations. A cheery group of chic French immersion students absorb new vocabulary (“foie gras,” “pavé,” “supions”).

The deal: Chef Jason Bangerter’s sophisticated menu marries modern French cuisine with quality Canadian ingredients. Daily specials include a Parisian-style crêpe ($19), the plat du jour (market price) and the déjeuner l’express ($18)—a value-priced soup or salad, sandwich and frites combination.

The meal: The complimentary hand-made baguette and pain de campagne—exclusive riesling-based levain breads—arrives with airy artichoke spread. Puréed root vegetable soup is refreshed with chick peas, fava beans and bright lemon-infused crème fraîche. The day’s sandwich is a multi-sensory fork-and-knife affair: supple pheasant confit and musky chèvre on pan-grilled miche bread. Cucumber shavings and wilted arugula contrast with sweet braised shallots and green apple mustard. Pickled milkweed pods, heirloom carrots and watermelon radishes, a perfectly boiled quail’s egg, truffle mayonnaise and herb-dusted fries all come as a bonus. Fresh-pressed organic pear and ginger juice ($6) is the perfect accompaniment.

The time: We’re finished in 82 minutes but linger over the exclusive Fifth Town cow’s milk calvados-washed cheese for another 80.

The cost: $47.80 including tax, tip, a small bottle of Pellegrino ($3.75) and a pot of Twelfth Night Honeybush tea ($5.75).

Auberge du Pommier, 4150 Yonge St. (at York Mills), 416-222-2220, official Web site.

(Images: Renée Suen)