La Palette Queen Street , Toronto

It doesn’t look like much from the outside: yet another narrow storefront on busy Queen West Street, amongst mainstays BarChef, Arepa Caféand Epicure Café. Step in, though, and some of the highlights you’ll find: creative cocktails; a jewel-toned room with polished oak woods, and a soundtrack played just loud enough to make you feel like you’re at a party, but not too loud for conversation; a good wine list, and Brook Kavanagh ‘s card of French fare.

La Palette Queen Street – brought to us by the owners of the original La Palette – has all the charm of the Kensington Market outpost – just more of it. While the original is a cozy little French affair with only 10 tables and a capacity of 26 (the small room feels like it could have been Proust’s own bedroom), the new La Palette 2.0 basks in an equally French vibe, but with more square footage than it knows what to do with.

Taking over the old Taro Grill space, owner Shamez Amlani , his wife Maria Litwin and head chef Brook Kavanagh have switched gears, serving their classic menu to gallery browsing hipsters rather than to Kensington Market hipsters. The neighbourhood, for their part, is glad the space won’t be another chain burger joint. Either way, the addition is suited to the area. Expect the same basic menu with a few surprise dishes, and a longer bar (more adaptive to the Queen West crowd). While it has the same La Palette interior flavour, the space is more “Queen Westified,” with the smaller patio, large windows, and basically more “rustic-chic” rather than just plain rustic.

Chef Brook Kavanagh kept most of the classic Palette dishes on the menu, like the Le Végétarién (slow roasted aubergine in pine nut chickpea pastry), Confit de Canard (confit duck legs with caremelized fennel) and the Cheval (hay rasted horse tenderloin from Quebec). Some of the new dishes include the Saumon Sauvage (wild red spring salmon with asparagus and potato salad), Navarin d’Agneau (stew with heritage breed lamb with baby turnip, heirloom tomato and tarragon), and the “Quack n’ Track” (horse tenderloin with duck confit)

Fun fact: La Palette was the first eatery in the area to start serving horsemeat, and Queen West location was used as a horses stable years ago when it was built. Straight in the Cool Coincidences folder.

La Palette opens quietly tonight Have a peek at the new menu here.

492 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
416 603 4900
Tues-Fri 5:30pm-11pm, Brunch Saturday & Sunday 11am – 4pm
Cuisine – French
Area – Queen West
Price – $$$ (Within Reach)

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