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Posted by Emily Thomas / Posted on February 13, 2009

ChabichouI happened by Chabichou on a wet and blustery day. It was perfect - full of cheese and comfort foods, with a cooking show quietly playing on the big screen TV behind the counter. Handwritten labels with neat calligraphy describe escargot in garlic butter ($12/dozen) and homemade pate ($6-$9.95).

Right in there beside the snails are cupcakes, chocolates and apple tarts baked at Tati Bistro, the restaurant down the street of the same owner/chef. And I have my eye on some interesting (and delicious) looking sausages. "They come from a special supplier in Quebec," I'm told, "andouilette, merguez and chorizo."

ChabichouAlong the walls are shelves stocked with vinegar, oil, salt, spices, crackers and cookbooks. Baskets of baguette, brioche and croissants cover the counter. They're baked fresh daily - from Ace bakery and Jules Patisserie - a compliment to the Caffe Brasiliano coffee I've missed since moving off Dundas West.

ChabichouBut mostly there is cheese - at least 61 varieties from France, Italy, Holland, Quebec and Niagara. Chabichou was originally conceived (and named) for a love of cheese. And the selection is exciting, but the prepared foods are as much of a draw.

ChabichouWhitney Brown, one half of Chabichou (the other half is chef Laurent Brion), is busy packing Macaroni and Cheese ($4.50) into small foil take-out trays, piling cheddar and Swiss cheese on top. Alyssa is hungry, suddenly. She wants this. We sit at one of the few tables, right by the window. It looks out at Central Tech, which I like. I like being reminded of not being in high school anymore. I snag some bites of the mac and cheese. It's bliss, delicate and rich and crispy on top. "Let me know if you need ketchup," offers Brown, tongue-in-cheek-like.

ChabichouThe Shepard's Pie ($6.00) looks great, a compact carbo-meaty treat (in one of those foil trays), but I want a Croque Monsieurs. Of late, they seem more... present in this city and I think about them all the time. Chabichou's CM is entirely satisfying. The bottom bread is so greasy and toasted. I'm still thinking about it.

I can only eat half. But as soon as I get home (like, an hour later) I stuff myself with the rest of it and I think it tastes even better at this point. I promptly fall sleep.






Photos By Alyssa Bistonath



Gloria / February 13, 2009 at 01:11 pm
Mmm. I've walked by a lot going home, and this review has convinced me to walk right in next time. Thanks!
replying to a comment from Gloria / February 14, 2009 at 06:47 am
We have watched Chabichou since the day it opened and purchased a few baguettes and have been pleasantly surprised by them. It is always nice to have a local bread and cheese place so close to home, but when we asked where the bread came from we were told they were made in situ. I love Ace bakery's bread but wonder why we were told they were not made by Ace bakery.
replying to a comment from / February 14, 2009 at 11:25 pm
Love this place! I think they may also offer another variety of baguette which is not Ace. Also, it seems the actual baking of the bread is done in house.
April / March 22, 2009 at 10:38 am
Does anyone know what the hours of this place is? I have tried calling a couple times and haven't been able to get ahold of anyone and there is no info on the website....thanks!!
replying to a comment from April / March 23, 2009 at 10:40 am
Store hours are Tuesday - Thursday 10-6pm, Friday and Saturday 10-7pm, Closed Mondays
Laura / April 14, 2009 at 12:43 pm
My partner and I stumbled into this place in search of good choclate croissants on Saturday, and we were happy to discover that they make the BEST in the city. They even rival the many I've had in Paris.

My mouth waters just thinking about them...
Anon. / October 20, 2009 at 08:31 pm
I love the food at Chabichou, the staff are friendly there but the service is consistency so slow. They hardly ever take the next person in line, instead waiting for people to come to them, so people who waited the longest don't get served first. In a server-customer interaction the staff should take a bit of a leadership role, ie. asking if you need help/would like anything else. Also, they should prioritize customer needs, like ringing up an order, before doing a task that could be done when you don't have people waiting. I go often and it just seems like some variation of these events always happens. This is just a matter of inexperience in terms of service, but overall the staff is really nice.
Bad_Self / November 17, 2009 at 11:47 am
I love it - a review of a cheese shop that barely mentions the cheese. Not even the eponymous one. Do they even sell it? Are they big on the goat cheese? Just a few questions that come to mind when I hear of a cheese shop called "Chabichou". Amateur review.
Bad_Self replying to a comment from Anon. / November 17, 2009 at 11:48 am
that is a french culture thing. They don't really do line-ups well.
moe / November 17, 2009 at 12:08 pm
I hope they keep everything as it is. Perfect little joint.
natsouko / March 18, 2010 at 11:16 pm
i give them my french seal of approval!
stuey / March 20, 2010 at 10:11 am
quiche was good, soup was good, but the biggest disappointment was the cappuccino! Watery, instant coffee flavour with just foam.

Thumbs up for food and cheese, way down for coffee.
KittyK / April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am
Meandered in here yesterday on an impromptu stroll down Harbord Street with my husband. I had a good feeling about it; so we popped in for a late lunch. Boy, was that ever the right thing to do!

The cheese selection looked fantastic, but we were here for the food. I had the best jambon buerre I've had this side of the Atlantic (paired with an Orangina, for an authentic, cheap-lunch-in-France experience). My husband had the boeuf bourguignon, and his outlook on what a simple stew can be is forever changed. He`d never had the real deal before and was blown away by Chabichou`s wonderful version. We shared the last apple tart available of the day. Perfect marriage of butter, apple, pastry -- delicious!

We`ll unreservedly recommend this place and return again ourselves.

Did not know the connection between this place and Tati Bistro -- we will go there now, as well!

[I get the point Anon. made re: line-ups, but it is also very much the French way, indeed. I personally found that refreshingly different.]
Stephanie / July 15, 2012 at 10:43 am
MarieAnnick, il s'agit d'un site web 3e partie. vous devriez communiquer avec Chabichou directement! Info is at the top on the right hand side.
Stephanie / July 15, 2012 at 10:43 am
oh, and I meant to say, I just love Chabichou! Fabulous croissants and tartines.
z / October 26, 2012 at 04:47 am
I don't understand how Chabichou and Tati are owned by the same lady, considering that Chabichou is a brilliant spot and Tati is awful.
Horrible time / October 26, 2014 at 12:07 pm
I had a terrible experience here, in many different ways all at once.

I went in with my partner to order some food and hot drinks. My partner sat down while I waited at the counter to order. The person behind the counter allowed two people to step in front of me and order before me. This was in plain sight of the person behind the counter, but she didn't protest it.

When it finally came to be my turn to order, I asked for the beef bourguinon special for myself and a Normandy grilled cheese sandwich for my partner. The girl behind the counter said, "Okay, go sit down. We'll bring it to you." I said, "Oh, but I'm not done ordering. I'd like to get a few more things." She said, "Umm, like what?" I wanted bread (can be added to any meal, according to their chalk board), an onion soup as a starter, and cappuccino and tea. After mentioning each one of these things, she paused me and told me to go sit down and she will bring it. So I had to keep countering with, "But I'm not done ordering." I have no idea why she was trying to get me to stop ordering, considering that (a) by this point the place was nearly empty except for us and two people finishing off coffees, and (b) it was nowhere near to their closing time.

I sat down and about 10 minutes later they brought the bourguinon. Five minutes after that, they brought the sandwich. The soup didn't come first, as we had asked. I tried to ask them about the soup, but three people came in, who all spoke French to the girls behind the counter, and then they stopped making our order in favour of theirs. By the time they finished serving those people, we had finished eating our mains and the staff had gone on to doing other things, completely unrelated to our order.

We only received half of our order (no soup, no bread, no cappuccino, no tea), and I figured we weren't going to get them at all at this point, because they started milling about the shop, rearranging things and making sandwiches for the next day. I went up to try to pay for what we received, and then one of them seemed to remember that we ordered a soup. Without speaking to me, she brought out a soup and put it at our table, in front of my partner. They didn't ask why I was waiting at the counter by the till, and they didn't apologize for bringing out the soup late, even though we asked for it to start, and they didn't ask if it was okay to still have the soup after our mains. They just tried their best to ignore us.

I returned to my seat and we ate about half of the soup before deciding that we weren't into it (it was just weird for us to have it after our food). I went up to pay, and the girl asked us what we had, even though she brought it all to us. So I listed off the three things we received. She asked, "And so everything is okay, yes?" I said, "Well, the food we had was good, but we wanted our soup to start. You brought us the soup about 20 minutes after we finished our mains. And we didn't get our bread, coffee, or tea." She said, "Ah, but the soup takes a long, long time to prepare." The thing is, I speak French fluently, and she said to her co-worker that "we forgot to give them the soup" when I had gone up to the counter earlier. But I didn't bring that up. I just said, "Even so, it would have been nice to have the bread and drinks that we ordered with our food." She just smiled --- no apologies, nothing.

There was no excuse. The place was not busy. Why make people feel bad just for trying to order in your restaurant? Why stop working on our order, even though we ordered before the French speakers who came in. Even if they were having an off day, why not give a friendly apology at the end?

Brevity is the soul of wit, so let me just say: I'm never going to this place again.
Alice / November 7, 2014 at 11:31 am
Love this place! Great food and coffee, plus the staff are very friendly. Best baguette I've had in Toronto!
Viv / June 5, 2015 at 06:16 pm
I visit Chabichou fairly regularly to have a coffee or tea and a sandwich or pastry to catch up with various friends. I like the relaxed feel of the place but this can have a down side:
the ordering can be haphazard if there are a number of people there, and some of the chairs need replacing; i know it's supposed to have a carefree feel, but some of the chairs are like in a school gym
the female employee who has been working there for at least a year or two seems rather removed (and often with long hair trailing into sandwich prep). But once she gets washing dishes, the decibel level of clattering china and cutlery at a high speed ramps up to the point where it interferes with the pleasant slow vibe and music and conversation becomes difficult.
Food is enjoyable although the breakfast croque recently was untoasted apart from the melted cheese on top. Nice melted cheese, untoasted bread underneath and cool apple slice inside.
Despite this, I like it and will return. I'm pleased that we have an independent and fairly reasonably-priced coffee place along Harbord. However the street is open to competition...
1 star out of 5 / July 20, 2015 at 05:39 pm
This place is terrible. The two ladies here are rude, inattentive, and lazy. They mill about the place, moving dishes around, washing a glass or two, moving cheese around --- anything to avoid making your order.

If you order more than one thing, or something that requires cooking, they start to get pissed off. Someone should tell them that more orders is a good thing not a bad thing.

The only things that the place has going for it are its deli selection and the overall quality of the food.

I have to agree with "Horrible time" above about the French language thing. The staff literally beam and smile every time a French speaker walks in, and they put aside any previous order. If serving English speakers is so painful and degrading to them, then why open a shop in Toronto?

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