La Banane is a new addition to the already competitive French restaurant landscape in Toronto, situated in the hip Ossington neighbourhood. It features a menu showcasing high-end fine dining, offering classic French dishes dominated by equal parts seafood and decadence (hello cream and butter!). The restaurant has quickly become very popular and reservations can be difficult to come by during peak weekend dining hours.
The newness of the restaurant means that there are definitely small areas for improvement. When I visited it has only been open for 9 weeks. The service was attentive if not superb, with recommendations, explanations, and a good bit of personality from the wait staff.
The food was for the most part unfortunately a little bit of a letdown. While the oysters were very nice and fresh and the widely lauded Eurobass en Croute deserved its accolades – the rest of our meal was all a tad bit off. The scallops were a bit fishy, the Vol-au-vent featured overcooked lobster and the ravioli suffered a bit from wonton wrapper syndrome, with an overly chewy texture.
At the end of the meal, dessert was skipped because the rich and buttery dishes left us needing a breather. I did observe a nearby table order the $50 Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg, which was the size of an ostrich egg, covered in a colourful, psychedelic design. The waiter encouraged the diner to give it a few hard whacks to crack the chocolate shell, which revealed numerous chocolate truffles inside.
Must eat: The Eurobass en Croute, a delicious take on a classic french dish with a yuzu hinted beurre blanc, is fantastic!
What to avoid: The Chilled Scallops were over salted and a few pieces did not taste fresh.
Best for: The dim lit atmosphere suits an intimate evening with a date, but there are larger tables for groups of up to 6.
For 2 people: ~$200, including 3 drinks, no dessert, and before tip.
Bellyminded final thoughts: La Banane appears to be trying hard, scoring high marks for service and ambience, but falls a little short with the food – the restaurant does show promise and hopefully finds its footing soon.