Check out the Latest Posts:

If you’re looking to get a Saturday night reservation at Ici Bistro, you better plan for it a month in advance! I initially wanted to try this restaurant for Mike’s birthday and tried calling three weeks in advance for a Saturday night. No luck. That’s when we ended up at Scarpetta instead (no regrets though, as we had a great time).

The amuse bouche: goat cheese and caramelized onion tarts

Since we still wanted to try Ici Bistro a try, we tried our luck at getting a mid-week reservation (they’re only open Wednesday to Saturday) and we were able to secure a spot on a Wednesday in the earlier seating. The restaurant has two seatings – 5:30 or 8:30, but I was told we could come at 6 instead…but I’ve heard they really hustle you out the door before the next seating.

Located on Harbord and Manning (between Bathurst and Ossington), the space is very small and intimate – seating only twenty-four people. And to maintain its intimate atmosphere, they don’t allow parties greater than four people.

After the hostess took our coats, she then proceeded to explain the menu to us. You’ll notice there are two prices for each dish – one for an appetizer size and the other for an entrée size. What’s great about this, is that you can create your own tapas-style meal, which is what we did.

Steak tartare

They started us off with an amuse bouche which consisted of a goat cheese and caramelized onion tart. These little bite-sized tarts had the delicious taste of caramelized onion with a subtle goat cheese flavour. What a perfect way to start off the meal!

Since the Steak Tartare ($22) came highly recommended from the server, we had to order it. It certainly didn’t disappoint as this was probably the best steak tartare I’ve had! The little quenelles of tartare were perfectly seasoned and left me wishing I had ordered this all for myself! The steak tartare came with several potato dauphine’s which are these addictive little crispy potato puffs – crispy on the outside and incredibly light and fluffy on the inside. The consistency was like mashed potatoes… just ten times lighter.

Lobster Bisque & Shrimp Frite

The next dish that came was the Lobster Bisque & Shrimp Frite ($12 – appetizer size). Since there were two of us, the server had the kitchen split the bisque into two portions for us. The bisque came in little tea cups and had a deliciously rich and smooth texture. We each got our own shrimp frite, which was a small shrimp wrapped in thin potato strips and fried. It tasted great on its own, but it’s recommended that you dip it in the bisque. Delish!

Our third dish was the Merguez, St-Maure Goat &Gnocchi ($13 – appetizer size). Since the menu said “gnocchi”, I was surprised to see the same potato dauphines served with the steak tartare. But since I loved these little potato dumplings, I wasn’t complaining.

Merguez, St-Maure Goat & Gnocchi

The Merquez sausage was quite moist, had a nice flavour and had a bit of a kick to it. Now, the thing I didn’t particularly enjoy from this dish was the cheese. The flavour of the goat cheese was just too strong for my liking so we ended up leaving most of it on the plate.

But things got better quickly, with the Seared Scallop, King Crab, Beurre Blanc Poached Lobster & Acadian Caviar ($36 – entrée size). Initially we were going to order the appetizer size but the server recommended going with the entrée size so that we would both get our own scallop. It was definitely a good call. The scallop was not something I’d be willing to share as it was one of my favourites of the evening. The scallop had a thin slice of pear on the top and bottom and was stuffed with a tasty king crab filling. I’m not even a huge fan of scallops but this was perfectly cooked and was to-die-for.

Seared Scallop, King Crab, Beurre Blanc Poached Lobster & Acadian Caviar

The other components of the dish included smoked sturgeon which came topped with Acadian caviar and a piece of butter poached lobster. While they were both enjoyable, they just paled in comparison to the scallop which was a real stand-out.

The last dish to arrive, before dessert, was the Rack of Lamb & Ontario Leg of Lamb Cannelloni, Monforte Tomme & Mushroom Truffle Ragout ($22 – appetizer size). The lamb rack was cooked to a medium rare and tasted great with the truffle ragout. Unfortunately, I didn’t love the lamb cannelloni. I found the pasta to be a bit thick and crumbly and I found the lamb had a strange flavour to it. The dish also came with a potato dauphine, the third time we’ve seen it this evening. They really love them here! Overall, I thought this dish was a hit and a miss.

Rack of Lamb & Ontario Leg of Lamb Cannelloni

When I saw soufflé on the dessert menu… wait, not just soufflé, but “signature” soufflé, I knew we had to order it. The Signature Souffle ($16) comes in two flavours – grand marnier or praline. Since I’m not a huge fan of grand marnier, we went with the praline. It says on the menu that the soufflés take about fifteen minutes to make, so keep that in mind if soufflé is your thing.

The soufflé was quite large and was incredibly light and fluffy. This was actually my first time trying soufflé and to be honest, I don’t think I’m a big fan of soufflés in general. I just didn’t particularly care for the consistency of it. Mike, on the other hand, loved it and gobbled it right up. I kind of wish I had gone for one of the dessert trios (banana, lemon or crème brulee) instead.

Signature Souffle

Overall, we had a great experience at Ici Bistro. Not only was the food delicious but the service was spot-on. Our server came by to check on us at all the right times and provided really great recommendations. Remember, if you’re like me and love variety, you can create your own tapas-style menu here. Just be warned, they served us one dish at a time so you could be here for a while. Our meal took about two and a half hours.

If you’re looking for a quiet, intimate evening out, Ici Bistro is highly recommended!

At a glance:
• All dishes have 2 prices: appetizer/entrée size so you can create your own tapas-style dinner
• Must order: steak tartare, lobster bisque & scallops
• Only seats 24, so reserve well in advance for a weekend reservation
• Two seatings: 5:30 and 8:30
• Quiet, intimate atmosphere
• Damage: approx $140 before tips

Ici Bistro

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4.5 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars

Ici Bistro on Urbanspoon

  1. It‘s quiet in here! Why not leave a response?