A 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.
Once 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.
And 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.