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Cafes

Le Neuf Cafe

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on December 5, 2012

Le Neuf Cafe TorontoLe Neuf Cafe is a serene little cafe and patisserie in a busy area of downtown Toronto.

Though I generally like to think I'm quite familiar with the city's downtown core, I have to admit I've never noticed Clarence Square. But just west of the SoHo Metropolitan Hotel is a roundabout road with a charming row of towns, which, granted, is probably old news for those who live and work in the area.

Le Neuf Cafe TorontoBut for the only-occasional King and Spadina visitor such as myself, Clarence Square is a secret (?) downtown stretch that offer a break from the congestion and, now, a little Parisian-inspired style.

Le Neuf Cafe TorontoLe Neuf Cafe just opened in the ninth townhome spot, offering French baked goods and pastries, coffee, tea, and come springtime, a patio. "Lovely" is pretty much the only word to describe the scene, which includes hanging teardrop light fixtures, gorgeous arched molding, and a mix-and-match of old victorian armchairs, custom created tables, and raised communal seating for a great window view.

Le Neuf Cafe TorontoMost often you'll find Fouzia directing traffic behind the bar (usually in French) equipped with knowledge from her years operating a bar back in Paris. After getting married and moving to Toronto about four years ago, Fouzia made it her mission to bring a little bit of Paris with her to the downtown Toronto scene.

"For me, a lot of this has been about atmosphere," she says. "I really wanted Le Neuf to feel like Paris."

Le Neuf CafeShe also wanted its offerings to taste like Paris, of course, so she's hired a baker from France to make the pain au chocolat, tartelettes, quiche, crepes, macarons and more. Le Neuf also offers a daily selection of soups, sandwiches, and salads, with brunches of galettes, crepes, and omelettes on the roster every weekend.

Le Neuf CafeWhile I'll concede that I never actually have been to Paris (yet), the atmosphere does seem decidedly different from the typical King West hustle and bustle. Granted, I'm sure the Francophone chatter over the cafe au lait ($3.25) in the corner probably has something to do with it, but I think it's the relative quietness that really prevails. Le Neuf has a couple of actual doors — not hinged glass — plus steps and a patio separating it from the sidewalk, and even then, Clarence Square doesn't come with the streetcar rattle and incessant honking of a block or two north. The effect is a pleasant one and definitely a downtown change — perfect for escaping with a cappuccino ($3.00) and Le Neuf's signature pain au chocolate ($2.75).

Le Neuf CafeSpeaking of, I can't help but indulge. The pain au chocolat is divine in terms of buttery flavours and soft texture, but could use a little bit more in the realm of "chocolat." For chocolate fiends such as myself the tartelette is, perhaps, the better option, but with tied curtains, lots of sweets, and relative quiet most of all, it really seems hard to go wrong with an afternoon at Le Neuf.

UPDATE: Le Neuf Cafe is now open for dinner.

Le Neuf CafePhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

42 Comments

Melissa / December 5, 2012 at 04:17 pm
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Lovely setting, friendly service and most of all nice pastry.
chet / December 5, 2012 at 04:23 pm
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Looks like a lovely little Cafe, but I really hope she spent as much time on the taste as the look. So often, Parisian style Cafes outside Paris are all style no substance. Please be different Please be different!
nicole / December 5, 2012 at 04:24 pm
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I've always had a soft spot for that little pocket. Can't wait to check out what looks to be a lovely café.
Ck / December 5, 2012 at 06:22 pm
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Tried it loved it...Finally a downtown Parisian cafe that meets the high standards of the French pastry !
Sylvia / December 5, 2012 at 06:41 pm
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This is my new hidden Parisian treasure in the downtown core!! From the delish home-made soups, to divine creations of salads to pastries and tartlettes, nothing has disappointed! Not to mention the real Chocolat Viennois, terrific Lattes and Cappuccinos. C'est magnifique!!!!
weird / December 6, 2012 at 12:04 am
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why do i have this feeling the comments so far have been written by Le Neuf employees?...
Alex replying to a comment from weird / December 6, 2012 at 12:54 am
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lol, you're right:-) look at the time of a post, several minutes apart:-))) hopefully it is as good as they say:-)
julie / December 6, 2012 at 10:41 am
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I am so excited to go here. Having recently returned from a 30 day trip throughout France, nine of those in Paris, I became very familiar with wonderful patisseries and have been missing them ever since. Please tell me they also sell pain au raisin. As for pain au chocolat, that's exactly how they were in France, just a tatse of chocolate, in perfect croissant type pastry. A delicacy to be savoured. But yes, I was also a tad disappointed the first time I ordered this. I tried many types of French delicacies in their patisseries, and I look forward to going here to relive something I sure do miss.
Collette / December 6, 2012 at 11:52 am
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This place is by far my new favourite lunch spot in the King/Spadina area. The food is excellent, fresh and VERY reasonably priced. Also their lattes are to die and again very reasonably priced.
nicole replying to a comment from Alex / December 6, 2012 at 01:07 pm
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I see what you're saying, but nope, not me at least. I just used to live in the area loooong before gentrification hit, and am happy to see something open to the public on that pretty little street.
MrsPotato / December 6, 2012 at 01:10 pm
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that street is dirrrty and run down. Piles of garbage bags ripped open in front of the row houses ... I have no idea where you're getting the idea it's a pretty little street!

With the new off leash dog park across the street freshly opened, the cafe couldn't have arrived at a better time. Dog parents are going to LOVE it.
Numeronino / December 6, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Highly overpriced for not a lot of substance. 3 times the amount of bread as filling priced at nearly 10 bucks for a small sandwich! Crazy. The food is delish but the price is Cafe Boloud level with not a lot to show for it.

Drinks and pastries are yummy and reasonably priced though.
mezimeen / December 6, 2012 at 02:03 pm
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This place was deeeeeeelicious and the people working there were very friendly. Glad to see something new in the area so I'll be def back.

chris replying to a comment from weird / December 6, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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You are right looks like all the employees are doing some communicaion!!
BTW very nice place, but a little bit expensive...
Sylvia / December 6, 2012 at 07:39 pm
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Yeah dude, I work for RBC not le Neuf. Don't get so easily offended by a new hot spot getting such rave reviews.
Fou / December 6, 2012 at 11:49 pm
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@numeronino be free to come back for a refund about your sandwich!! Obviously you have been charged for a large one, we do have 2 sizes !! sorry about that. :)
nicole replying to a comment from MrsPotato / December 6, 2012 at 11:53 pm
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Haven't passed by in a long time and was unaware it's gotten 'dirty and run down'. Besides, when it comes to handsome old architecture, - kinda rare in our city - I only see potential. Garbage can be swept away and run down can be renovated.
chris replying to a comment from Sylvia / December 7, 2012 at 07:23 am
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Ten people made a comment before me, I wasn't pointed you, but just confirming the thoughts from weird. Don't get offended by a comment...
Alicia / December 9, 2012 at 03:09 pm
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Beautiful decoration, excellent coffee and delicious pastries… I love this place, reminds me Paris!
BIff / December 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm
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Looks really lovely. Can't wait to give it a try! But to those of you who are saying that they're glad to finally have a true Parisian style bakery that meets the high standards of French Pastry... have you never gone to Bonjour Brioche, the most authentic french bistro/cafe in the city?
Dolly replying to a comment from BIff / December 14, 2012 at 04:11 pm
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Give it a try, even if Bonjour Brioche is the best bistro in Toronto, Neuf Cafe is not that bad. The prices are lower in Bonjour Brioche and portion bigger but the Neuf Cafe's soups and macarons are very good.
lowrez / January 7, 2013 at 02:32 pm
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Looking forward to visiting this place. Hopefully the espresso is up to our standards (coffee is generally awful in Paris).
annakarenina / January 7, 2013 at 06:16 pm
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loooove this place, and right across the street from me
lisaD / January 13, 2013 at 09:00 am
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Haven't tried the food, but all 4 of us got burnt coffee that day. Won't be going back in a while.
alwayshappy / January 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm
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I was there just yesterday and the owner said that they will be extending their hours! Its a great place!
darrin / January 15, 2013 at 09:36 am
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I have not seen an ambiance like this since I have been in Paris!! Best eggs Benedict I have ever had!
Ben replying to a comment from MrsPotato / January 23, 2013 at 03:50 pm
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it is not dirty at all. surprised to see how clean it is right now. very quite street.
Mat / January 28, 2013 at 09:48 pm
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As i'm french, i can tell you that it doesn't look like a french coffee... or well 50 years ago, event not a Parisian coffee.

Also about the service... I know that french is trendy in Canada... but it's better when it's also about quality. And it's not.
Agnes replying to a comment from Fouzia / January 30, 2013 at 06:18 pm
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I work near le neuf cafe and I am having my hot chocolate every morning !!! How I have never met you there hogo !!!! Weird !!!!
Trish / January 30, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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There are a few all-season patio chairs that overlook the park, too. I love that. Nice days and evenings happen all year 'round.

Comfortable and airy indoors. Great coffee and treats to go with that French. Oui.
Hannah / January 31, 2013 at 06:01 pm
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I love this place it's right beside my house.
I love the veggie salad and the crepes.
I also try the brunch 3 weeks ago the benedicto is great.
I also love the fact that you can choose your chocolate for the hot chocolate
Lovely place I will go back that's sure
thomas / February 9, 2013 at 12:04 pm
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Bravo!!! Being in Canada for 6 years now, and after eating at most French restaurant in town, "just to get a nostalgic filling of my motherland" I can definitly say that "Le Neuf " is now, for my wife and I, our little piece of Paris in Toronto! Love it, and will definitly go back with Family and Friends visiting!
lillie / February 15, 2013 at 09:09 pm
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I had a lovely Valentine's dinner the foie gras was amazing.
Thx le neuf !!!
Nelson / February 18, 2013 at 10:15 pm
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Looking for a real Parisian coffee, I am pleased now to know exactly where to go ! What a variety in the menu: coffees, croissant, salads, soups, cakes...Tasty french food in a scenery typically Parisian !!!
Amy replying to a comment from chet / June 26, 2013 at 11:21 pm
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just another pasty lover like yourself. I am wondering if it was different? should i head down there to give it a try?
Kelly / August 20, 2013 at 09:38 am
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I had my morning coffee there today, very nice setting, beautiful place. However the employees were not so nice!

They told me to my face that I should go to China Town when I asked if they sold the coffee beans for the coffee I so much enjoyed this morning. I feel seriously offended and they didn't say a word. So much for the reviews of "friendly" staff.

Seriously, this is Toronto! I just wished that I had a video camera with me so I could film the whole scene to put on youtube. Let's see what other people says about your "nice attitudes."
NativeTorontonianAl / October 18, 2013 at 05:21 pm
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This place has staff that look like ex-cons having done hard time, or have a past of being squeegee kids. Poor decor. With staff and some customers looking like that and behaving that way, there was no point in decorating Le Neuf like that. It might as well have been a Dark Horse.
NativeTorontonianAl / October 18, 2013 at 06:06 pm
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^ I didn't mean the decor is poor as in bad, but poor as in suffering due to factors.
Arezoo / March 30, 2014 at 01:02 pm
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The best chocolate croissant in town ;)
MissC / June 21, 2014 at 10:34 am
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Been here once and had a wonderful experience. Came back a second time along with some out if town guests and had the worst unprofessional greetings from the bald waiter. There was obviously a line up but when asked the estimated wait time he answered quite rudely. Service and social skills is lacking and definitely will not return despite it being a cute place. What a waste.
Leroy / July 9, 2014 at 11:01 pm
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Had coffee and almond croissant today. Very good! However it seemed the male cashier had Avery bad attitude! Perhaps he was on his period! He threw my change into the tray after having screamed at the
French speaking waiter! Oh well, tres mal ! Je nai pas retourne!
Andrew replying to a comment from Alex / July 20, 2014 at 09:36 am
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So what? These articles appear on BlogTO's Facebook newsfeed and plenty of people see it at the same time. The world operates in very real-time mode these days.

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