Colette Grand Cafe in Toronto has a reputation for being a strikingly beautiful French restaurant and cafe, and it's easy to see how they hold that status. Pictured below is their outdoor pavilion, situated between a calm water feature on one side and a bustling park on the other.
Wednesday was a customer appreciation day of sorts, where Colette served up free food and sangria to local patrons. Upon entering the pavilion we were immediately offered freshly shucked oysters (good call guys!) and were greeted by the fragrant smell of a charcoal BBQ. Oysters are one of my favorite foods to eat in a restaurant because they are generally freshly shucked right before serving which reduces the possibility of cross-contamination. They are also a meal or snack on their own, and pair really well with either wine, bubbly, or beer, depending on the restaurant and location. There are enough varieties that the meal can be interesting without getting too adventurous into the front of unknown (and un-allergy-tested) foods. So oysters are unsurprisingly one of my go-to menu items to order when dining out.
I've been to Colette for coffee, lunch, and dinner many times and I'm always impressed with how they handle my food allergies. When dining with my family there are three of us with severe allergies and the staff is always able to accommodate our requests with diligence and grace. They tick off all the boxes I generally check for:
- The server is understanding, writes down the allergies, clarifies when needed, and doesn't make a patronizing remark
- They check with the chef before confirming that the item I've ordered is suitable
- The allergies are reiterated when the plate is brought to the table
- The staff is knowledgeable about the menu specifics and about allergens, cross contamination, etc.
Joella and Bran tasted some of their other offerings, including this delightful little salad skewer, a grilled octopus bite with raisins, and sangria. They gave rave reviews to everything especially the octopus. In Bran's words, "This is how octopus should be done!"
Another reason to visit Colette is the atmosphere. The place is full of thoughtful little touches and fresh flowers. It's a great place to sit and sip a coffee or linger after an abundant dinner.If you live in Toronto, head over there this weekend! And if you don't, add it to your list of places to try out on your next visit. You won't be disappointed.