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Restaurants

The Bellevue

Posted by Melissa Yu / Listed on June 25, 2010 / review policy

The Bellevue TorontoThe Bellevue is doing something different. This inconspicuous diner at the corner of Bellevue and Nassau in Kensington Market is now open and serving breakfast, lunch and brunch fare that is inspired, creative and delicious.

In the former space of Heart on Your Sleeve, The Bellevue is now open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, except for Mondays. By the end of the summer, co-owners Chris Dardarian, Joseph Senisi and Ryan Thompson hope to have their liquor license and a full dinner menu. I am assured that live music will also be added to the bill.

It's their hope to be as sustainable as they can be in their operations. From paying money to Bullfrog Power, to the herb garden and tomato plants that line the perimeter of the restaurant, they are on their way. They are also hoping to set-up a system to collect rainwater to tend their garden. Moreover, they are taking steps to utilize the available partnerships and resources in Kensington Market, and sourcing locally from farm to fork.

Bellevue TorontoIt's a beautiful Sunday morning when my brunch date du jour and I hit The Bellevue. Delirious from the heat, we go overboard and quickly order two iced waters, an iced Americano ($2.50), a freshly squeezed orange juice (which Ryan tells me he's going to go squeeze with his hands) ($4), and an avocado-honeydew-banana smoothie ($4).

The smoothie is delicious - a delightful shade of green, it's thick from the avocado and sweet from the melon. With some encouragement, we order the El Especial ($12) and Steak & Eggs ($15), fitting for our appetites and my date, T.A. (The Albertan).

The Steak & Eggs is what I can only describe as a platter: a piece of seared flank steak; two perfect sunny-side-up eggs, and a beautiful potato dauphinoise, a buttery biscuit and cinnamon-spiced sauteed apples. T.A. waits patiently as I get a hundred shots of the plate before he can dig in.

The BellevueThe El Especial is The Bellevue's most popular brunch dish. The beautiful plate contains a heap of scrambled eggs; a pool tomatillo salsa; three pork sausages; a bowl of black beans and two tortillas for dipping and sopping up. I happily drizzle hot sauce onto the black beans and slather the mixture onto a tortilla.

The items on the plate aren't out of the ordinary, yet there is something special about each element laid out before me. Each have been crafted with care and attention that make it stand well on its own - the scrambled eggs are cheesy and sprinkled with scallions, the tomatillo salsa is mild and cool, the tortillas are piping hot and crispy from an open flame. After I've taken some time with each section of my plate, I try different combinations to my heart's content - black beans on the scram, salty sausage dipped into the salsa, a wedge of tomato wrapped with tortilla and egg.

The good thing about reviewing restaurants on my weekends is that I don't need an excuse to ask T.A. to trade plates, and he happily obliges halfway through. The portion is generous. Once again, the value of the dish is in each element of the plate. The potato dauphinoise sings - paper-thin layers of potato and squash softened in rich cream with a bubbly, crispy top. It goes down nicely with a thin slice of well-season steak. I fork a piece of sweet and tender apple on top of the buttery biscuit and sop it in runny egg for good measure. T.A. and I can hardly finish the end of the dish and throw in our forks when we're informed that there's fresh cherry pie waiting in the wings.

The BellevueThe thing about cherry pie is that if you can get it with fresh cherries, eat as much as you can - in fact, see about getting a whole pie to go. Fresh cherry pie is nothing like the cherry pie made from canned cherries. The fruit is soft and tart as cherries ought to be, and The Bellevue delivers. No gooey gelatinous mixture here - just bright fruit with a delicious lattice pie top ($4 per slice).

I applaud The Bellevue for its precise lineup of summer fare for the choosing. Items of interest on the lunch menu include a seared filet Rainbow Trout on top of a salad of dandelion greens and avocado; parpadelle with tomatoes, kidney beans, Parmesan, fresh herbs and dark beer; and sandwiches like "The Squirrel", containing peanut butter, sardines, hot chili sauce, cucumber, sprouts and cheddar on dark rye bread. I'm not a huge fan of sardines, but hey, they've certainly got my attention.

In a sea of blase restaurants and too-safe eaters that prefer sticking to the main road, The Bellevue isn't for eaters who don't like their peas touching their meat. It's for eaters who are crying out for something original. The Bellevue is run by a gang who are passionate about their product, their art. I'm happy to see the Bellevue added to the Kensington lineup, leading the way with thoughtful, creative fare that is faithful to high-quality ingredients and attention.

The BellevueThe Bellevue is at the north east corner of Nassau and Bellevue, and is open Tuesday to Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm. Come August, they will be licensed indoors.

Discussion

35 Comments

Cynthia / June 25, 2010 at 09:56 am
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Looks pretty tasty and sounds like a good date spot! I wonder what the pie crust is made of?
Mike / June 25, 2010 at 10:28 am
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Everything looks delicious. Curse you for having me read this so far away from lunch!
Jeff / June 25, 2010 at 11:21 am
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YES! this place is amazing. Try the hand squeezed fresh-to-order orange juice - nothing else like it.
Eric26 replying to a comment from Cynthia / June 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm
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Is that your way of asking, "does it have lard?" (cause it should).
Aaron / June 25, 2010 at 02:31 pm
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I've eaten here twice, and both times were fantastic. And I'm very surprised you didn't mention how AMAZING their coffee is! Great guys, great vibe, great place! Screening world cup matches too!
jules replying to a comment from Cynthia / June 25, 2010 at 07:56 pm
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the pie crust is made with love cynthia...and a lot of it!
daniel / June 25, 2010 at 08:19 pm
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looks yum...
marisa / June 26, 2010 at 05:28 pm
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we ate there this morning,
they've got the best coffee....so strong, reminds me of montreal.
i asked where it came from...they were secretive about it but let it slip that it's from new york.
i love secrets.
M-PC / June 30, 2010 at 01:53 pm
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my friend and i ate here on the weekend. i got "the unusual" and it was fantastic!!! such an unexpectedly delicious combination (want some pickled beets, kimchi and cheddar cheese with your eggs? YES). next time i'm trying the squirrel.
Ana / July 7, 2010 at 04:14 pm
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Me and my boyfriend ate here recently and the food was great! I had their Tofu Scramble (I'm not completely sure about the name of the dish) and it was delicious. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed and comfortable. We will be back for sure!
Jackie / July 12, 2010 at 11:53 am
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I ate at The Bellevue this past weekend and was pleased all around. The location is superb. Away from the chaos of the main streets and still oozing in all of the charm you expect from Kennsignton. The location hugs a corner street and is surrounded by trees and the locals who live in the area. My boyfriend and I opted for the choices above because they were just too tempting to pass up. The plates were beautifully adorned with yummy options and each flavour sang its own tune in every bite. I had the El Especial. I have never had beans where I was tempted to lick the bowl. You can taste the freshness in each ingredient they used. I'm a huge fan of coriander and it really stood out. I also ordered the fresh squeezed OJ which is actually fresh squeezed in house. I'm sick of getting let down at various joints that boast fresh squeezed only to find out its not and that it comes from a factory who fresh squeezed it a few days earlier. I could go on and on about this place. I'm excited about their eventual dinner service and will definitely be back.
abe / July 25, 2010 at 09:05 pm
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honestly, if you have a lot of time to waste sitting around waiting for you, this is the place! my order (being one of the 3 patrons ordering food) literally took 30 minutes. there was actually more staff than customers, and regardless, it does not take two people half an hour to scramble eggs, and cut up avocado on top of beans (which was a nice touch). the food was good, but at 15 bucks with a coffee and that long of a wait, KOS across the street is gonna bury this place.
Jane / August 18, 2010 at 10:13 am
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A fantastic spot. Great decor, great location, great food, great everything. It also doesn't hurt that the owners are ridiculously cute. And its bullfrog powered!!
PurpleNights / September 3, 2010 at 12:15 am
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I love this place!! And yes, the owners are super cute!!
dsweet / January 12, 2011 at 11:08 am
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Im so in love with this place. The food is by far the best Ive had in the city and doesnt break my wallet. The owners are courteous and like to have fun with you and the at home vibe is why me and my girls keep going back. Thanks guys for a great hang out! We love you!
Mae / January 21, 2011 at 06:25 am
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Gotcha! A place where delicious food are lined up. I would like to have my first brunch with this restaurant upon arriving at Toronto.
becky / February 28, 2011 at 07:31 pm
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I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!! it's everything i look for in a cafe. well done boys. not to mention how great the boys are :)
PurpleNights / March 15, 2011 at 10:42 pm
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This is one of my favourite places in Toronto! I am a vegan but my partner isn't so we have a hard time finding places that suit both of us. At the Bellevue we both can have amazing meals. The owners are great and the atmosphere is super laid back and comfortable. I always recommend this place to everyone I know.
Shirley replying to a comment from PurpleNights / April 4, 2011 at 01:55 pm
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Looks tasty!! Although, it's a crying shame that Kensington Market which thrives on being a gay positive space now has to contend with a homophobic business owner in the community, particularly(C.D)from Bellevue,don't let him fool you.
Shame really in this day & age.
Patrick / April 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm
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Shirley, I was thinking about applying for work there, but I felt concerned after reading what you wrote. May I ask for more details about your comment?
blalala replying to a comment from Shirley / April 13, 2011 at 08:44 pm
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Oh Shirley...spreading rumors is so passe. And very lame. These guys are definitely NOT homophobic. And Patrick- APPLY! You'll have a blast and be working for a couple of Toronto's coolest bosses!
You Are Lame Shirley replying to a comment from Shirley / April 14, 2011 at 09:26 pm
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Dear Shirley,

What the hell? Really? Are you in, like, grade 3? And do you think that blogTO is like... your locker?
Jeez Louize. Grow up.
Rob / May 26, 2011 at 05:36 pm
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This is definitely one of my favourite places in Toronto. Every time we go, the service is excellent, the food is fresh and delicious (especially the off menu items) and good times are had. If I'm not mistaken, they source their food from local merchants in the market and you can def tell the difference.

Last time I went with my GF Ryan came over and chatted with us a bit and thanked us for our patronage - small things like that make one want to return.

They are working towards being licensed for the patio soon - I am told some time in June. I'm really looking forward to that, it should be a nice contrast to the somewhat sophomoric Ronnie's Local which dominates the outdoor drinking scene on Bellevue Ave. I won't wait til then to return though.
NanaBooBoo / August 12, 2011 at 03:48 pm
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Ugh... so frustrating. 3 times I've attempted to have a weekday lunch at the Bellevue and three times thwarted. The first time I followed BlogTO's hours of operation in above article (Tues-Sun 9-5) but they had changed their hours to Noon-10. Second time I went at about 1pm on a Tuesday but they were now closed all day Monday's AND Tuesday's. Then today, deciding to not be let down again, I checked their facebook page for current hours. The most recent posting (July 13th) stated that they were open for lunch from 12 - 4:30 Tuesday through Friday. It was a sure thing this time... I had a brief thought of "can you imagine if they were just randomly closed again!" but no, no way, three times was going to be the charm. So midday today we pull up on our bikes, excited to try the deliciousness written about above, and guess what, chairs were on the able and the sign was turned to closed. Apparently they are no longer serving lunch on weekdays. My advice... call before you go!
Bob / October 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm
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Be wary of this place.
The food made my friend sick and the owner is a prick.
They treat the staff like shit and unfortunately this attitude trickles down into the whole experience.
I would try somewhere else.
Bob / October 20, 2011 at 12:13 pm
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Be wary if this place.
They treat their staff like crap and the owner is a prick.
The foods ok but the attitude puts a sour taste in your mouth.
I'd try somewhere else
Bob / October 20, 2011 at 12:17 pm
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Be wary of this place.

They treat their staff like crap and the owner is a prick.
The foods ok but the attitude leaves a bad taste in your mouth
I'd try somewhere else
morgan replying to a comment from Bob / October 20, 2011 at 06:58 pm
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dear bob,
you seem angry. was it because it took you three tries to get out what you needed to say?
unfortunately for you, i would not take any of your comments seriously because you just come off as a bitter ex-employee. and judging by the fact that you would stoop to write something like this doesn't say much for your character.

from all my previous experiences at the bellevue, i have only encountered super friendly staff who seem to be having a good time and i believe the owner is no exception, always friendly and inviting.

as for the food, it always leaves my belly feeling happy.

i would try the bellevue.

be wary of bob.
bearclaw replying to a comment from Bob / October 21, 2011 at 05:46 am
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Seems like "Bob" here can't find the right words to trash one of Toronto's best new restaurants. Your THREE limp and inarticulate attempts at fulfilling some personal vendetta (disgruntled ex-employee) against The Bellevue and its owners, are not only transparent, but laughable.

One attempt would have been sufficient in showing just how sad you are "Bob".

THE BELLEVUE / December 21, 2011 at 02:40 pm
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Bellevue's New Winter Menu
visable here:
http://thebellevue.tumblr.com/
and here
https://www.facebook.com/maggie.wrobel#!/pages/THE-BELLEVUE/297734292192

hours have changed since this review was done,
tues - fri 5pm - 2am
sat & sun 10am- 2am
El Tiburón / April 14, 2012 at 01:27 pm
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Just ate here last night. The food was really quite good. The presentation was very nice (though it was a little dark to actually see the plate), the ingredients were fresh and the flavours were excellent.

Unfortunately there was a bit of a disconnect between the food and the establishment. With dark lighting, loud music, and bar-height tables and chairs, the Bellevue is set up as a cafe/bar more than anything else. The food does not reflect that.

Portions are very small, and quite expensive. I think I can speak for everyone at my table when I say we went away hungry. Not really what I want when I'm dropping 18 bucks on a plate. Especially when you're having a few drinks, which is what the atmosphere makes you want to do.

I will probably go back to the Bellevue, but not to go out for dinner.
Alexis / August 12, 2012 at 05:36 pm
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I went there with a friend on Sunday. We waited 1 HOUR before getting served even if the patio wasn't full. When our food finally came, it was actually for another table (2 women who arrived 30 minutes after us). Upset, we obviously left...

Worst brunch experience !
CharleyB / August 25, 2012 at 09:13 pm
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My hubby and I ate here today with our 7 month old son, the staff were super friendly and particularly helpful with finding a high hair and adjusting the sunshades on the patio to make him comfortable.

Their coffee was great, the mimosa all it should be with fresh squeezed OJ..

The food was all Great.. I had the breakfast biscuit and hubby had the smoked Haddock. But more than anything we will definitely return for the beautiful patio and ambience created by a laid back but attentive staff. A perfect ace to while away a steaming weekend brunch...
John B. / September 8, 2012 at 06:18 pm
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coffee was decent, but the orange juice for the cocktail was off and had to return it, then waited 45minutes for food when there were only a few other people there. bit of a drag.
Michelle / April 27, 2013 at 08:46 pm
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This is place is now closed for business and should be deleted.

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