Marché Mövenpick – Market Style Dining in Toronto

Food station at Marche Restaurant TorontoA few years ago, I was flying to Toronto from a trip abroad. I was seated next to a business man making his first visit to the city. We spoke about a number of things and food easily slipped in as a topic of conversation. When he asked me about a unique dining experience in downtown Toronto there was only one answer. Marché Restaurant.

Marché is a “front cooking” concept restaurant which originated in Switzerland and boasts a number of franchises around the world. Located on Front Street, in the business district of Toronto, it’s designed like a marketplace with a variety of freshly made food offerings to satisfy any palate. Being surrounded by so much mouthwatering food makes narrowing down your choices very difficult and you must be very careful not to mistake the restaurant for a buffet.

Upon entering, the hostess presents you with a plastic card which is swiped at every station when you request food or drink. The cost of the food is put onto the card and tallied by the cashier at the end of the visit. Speaking from experience, the food can easily add up as you wander around the “market” with a wooden tray, your eyes bigger than your stomache.

Foccacia station at Marche Restaurant Yonge St. TorontoOyster station at Marche Restaurant TorontoCafe bar with barrels at Marche Movenpick TorontoCupcakes and chocolate covered strawberries at Marche Movenpick Restaurant TorontoSitting area in Marche Restaurant Yonge Street in TorontoOnce you’ve selected your food, meander through the restaurant with your loaded tray to the seating areas. These are designed with different themes like “Scandinavian Cabin”, “Paris Cafe”, “Art Deco Lounge” to further add to the dining experience. My favourite is the French Bistro zone which has a very mellow European atmosphere.

I was able to snap some of these photos because I  was at the restaurant for an early morning visit. Most of the diners were business men and guests of the surrounding hotels. However, come lunch and dinner time, it is not unusual to find a line up outside the entrance. No matter time of day, the friendly staff make sure that each visit is smooth and enjoyable.

Interior view of bistro cafe with mirror wall at Marche Restaurant in TorontoLarge french clock in Marche TorontoInterior view of bistro cafe in Marche Movenpick Restaurant | Yonge Street TorontoAnd it wouldn’t be a complete visit to Marché if I didn’t indulge in a large Belgian waffle with strawberries, maple syrup and real whip cream. I will skip any savoury entree just to get my hands on this breakfast come dessert.

Belgian waffle with strawberries and whip at Marche Restaurant in TorontoI hope you give Marché a try on your next visit to Toronto. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

The Chic Toronto Hangout, Italian Style

Terroni Bar Centrale exterior TorontoThough not one to frequent chain restaurants, whenever I can avoid them, the Terroni chain of eateries have become my go to place for great Italian food and a relaxed yet stylish atmosphere. Each of the eight Toronto based restaurants serve traditional southern Italian food but are themed in different ways. You can choose between family styling dining with large sharing plates, traditional restaurant dining or a wine bar atmosphere.

I’ve now visited three of the establishments and Bar Centrale tops my list. Located along the Yonge Street corridor, and often frequented by the chic residents of Rosedale, Bar Centrale is more than a restaurant. It’s a neighbourhood hangout. A place where you take your family for an early breakfast, meet your girlfriends for brunch, or linger over dinner and wine with whoever makes your heart beat a little faster. The staff is young, friendly and attentive. No one rushes you out the door. And in fact the longer you sit, the more you will order….the menu items are simply irresistible.

Interior view of Bar Centrale restraurantGlass water carafe and brunch menu at Bar CentraleCoffee and cream at Terroni Bar CentralePandolci with preserves and nutella - Terroni Bar Centrale Toronto And if you would like my recommendation…don’t miss the pandolci. Tiny Scandinavian style pancakes served hot with a side of jam and nutella.

Terroni restaurant Toronto ON

Features of Front Street

Front Street fountain Toronto OntarioFountain and seating area on Front Street in TorontoGooderham Building fire escape - Front Street in Toronto Ontario  Gooderham Building artGooderham Building on Front Street in TorontoToronto is like my second home. I had lived there for over a decade and spent many years exploring the nooks and crannies of this city and indulging in all it has to offer. You’ll find me back in my favourite Toronto haunts at least a few times a month (hence also in the pages of this blog).

Front Street, like many parts of downtown Toronto, is a mixture of heritage architecture and modern living. As apartments get smaller, it’s wonderful when you have a neighbourhood that allows you to enjoy your life outside of four walls…especially when the weather is warm.

Eco Pets

Moss covered pet sculpturesI found this adorable pair perched outside a little flower shop on Toronto’s Yonge street. If you’re an animal lover short on space, time, or money, I think these “pets” would be a perfect addition to your home. Not sure about the allergies, but your neighbours will love you.

Osgoode Hall

Osgoode Hall Toronto OntarioOsgoode Hall front gate Toronto OntarioOsgoode Hall gate detail Toronto OntarioOsgoode Hall lawn Toronto OntarioOsgoodeOsgoode Hall gate Toronto OntarioOsgoode Hall streetcar Toronto OntarioToronto’s Osgoode Hall, it’s history and present steeped in the legal affairs of Ontario, is a landmark steps from the hipster and uber-trendy Queen Street West. Yet when you slide through the ornate gate, the noise of the city melts away. The old and new fuse seamlessly. Whether an afternoon rendezvous, a moment with a good book, or a snooze in the sun, consider yourself lucky to snag one of the coveted benches…I did!