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Restaurants

Coquine

Posted by Libby Roach / Reviewed on October 17, 2013 / review policy

Coquine Restaurant TorontoCoquine Restaurant is a bustling French bistro just south of Eglinton on Yonge Street. And I mean bustling - on a recent visit for lunch on a Tuesday the place was packed with suits, ladies who lunch, and Yonge and Egg-er's looking for a tipple to wash down their fine French food. In business for over five years, the restaurant took over from the old Manor Arms Pub.

Owned by Rob Prete, formerly of nearby Grazie Ristorante, Coquine has channels the interior decor of a Parisian bistro, brimming with those kitschy Martini vermouth posters, tiled floors and mirrored everything. A bar greets guests with black stools with comfy red cushions. Staff seem to know everyone, and seasoned servers make sure they are equal parts charming and entertaining.

Chef Sandro Bustamante (formerly of Gooderham House and Shark City) maintains a typical Parisian menu: staples like mussels, croque monsieur, and steak frites unsurprisingly dominate the menu, while a rotation of daily specials keep things interesting.

Coquine RestaurantWine and beer comes by the glass, ½ litre or bottle, and prosecco and champagne offer some bubbles. Prices are pretty steep for single orders ($14 for my glass of J.Lhor merlot, $10 for my friends domestic Pellar Estates Riesling), but bottles offer better rates. Cocktails are also nifty, with a cheeky chalkboard sign advertising their barrel aged manhattan ($14).

Coquine RestaurantBread with white bean dip is gratis (there's my OAC French credit hard at work), but we skip over those empty carbs for something definitely more French - poutine ($14)! Okay, while not a staple in the City of Light, this version could be. Frenched up with duck confit and brie, this massive portion was over the top rich and satisfying, just a touch too salty.

Coquine RestaurantEscargots ($9) come soaked in a buttery Pernod base topped with Gruyere cheese and a toasted baguette, and were so good I wanted to cancel my main and just re-order more.

Luckily I didn't, because the delicious Quiche du jour ($16, lead photo) is a creamy pie of eggs, herbs, shallots and mushrooms. The crust comes slightly burnt, just the way I like it. It's the perfect sized portion and the hit of greens with a lemony vinaigrette provides a nice contrast to the weight of the eggs.

Coquine RestaurantMy friend's Salade du thon ($15) is basically a gussied up tuna salad with omega heavy avocado and eggs. Flecked with chunks of celery, green pepper and red onion it's a decent salad, but just not really great value for $15.

Coquine RestaurantFlourless Torte au Chocolat ($9) is a decadent dessert and perfect for sharing. The presentation is sweet, with raspberry coulis swirl and a minimal two berries to fight over. The warm cake oozes out the good stuff, but we pretty much balked at finishing it. The coffee ($3) helped to neutralize the sugar buzz and refills were offered a few times.

With a wrought iron encircled side patio, (next to their Coquine l'Express Cafe for those in a hurry), a Yonge street facing patio, the cozy interior and quaint bar, Coquine makes their business through regulars who love this place equally for the food as it's charismatic servers. During our meal, the manager popped by to pick up a coat that we had dropped, and another server stopped to explain a menu item that we were mulling over. Service is one area that's commonly overlooked and here it's clearly celebrated.

Coquine RestaurantCoquine welcomes private parties in a dedicated event space as well as offering a full catering menu. It is not wheel chair accessible.

Discussion

27 Comments

Dan the man / October 17, 2013 at 10:45 am
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Looks super cool, thanks! I want that quiche right now. Is the wine list as good as everyone says? I'm going to hit this place up for lunch and see if it's as good as the author says it is.
AntoineB / October 17, 2013 at 11:49 am
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This bistro looks interesting but the poutine dish looks like hot mess. Don't expect poutine to ever catch on in Paris, my friends. They have far too sophisticated a palate to ever eat such junkfood.
Blueberry / October 17, 2013 at 12:17 pm
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The white bean dip is AMAZING.
Mike / October 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm
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Up the street from my work. Great place to have an extended lunch on the patio.
Lara / October 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm
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Best French Onion Soup in the city!!
Oy / October 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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Shark City? A reference to the '90s on BlogTO?


*MIND BLOWN*
tnt / October 17, 2013 at 01:45 pm
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Lol @Parisian charm
Alison / October 17, 2013 at 01:56 pm
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This place has been around for years (and it's so delightful)
MM / October 17, 2013 at 02:04 pm
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I haven't been to Coquine, but the cafe/bakery next door(also owned by them) called Coquine L’Express is pretty wonderful!!
Moneesha / October 17, 2013 at 04:38 pm
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The poutine looks like something the cat shit out after swallowing a laxative.
Snailspace replying to a comment from AntoineB / October 17, 2013 at 06:38 pm
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AntioineB: you know what the busiest restaurants are in Paris? McDonalds. Believe me, the french "sophisticated palate" is a long-watered down myth.
Katie / October 17, 2013 at 09:13 pm
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Sorry to break it to you but gratis is Latin, gratuit is French
Clouet replying to a comment from Snailspace / October 18, 2013 at 01:32 am
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You mean tourists in Paris, like yourself flock to McDonald's. Even McDonald's is still about two steps above the revolting slimy poutine. How Canadians can be proud of that crap is unfathomable.
evan / October 18, 2013 at 02:35 am
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I had suuuuch a nice date here quite a few years ago. It was super nice.
Frank replying to a comment from evan / October 18, 2013 at 07:19 am
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That's nice for you.
Whatevz / October 18, 2013 at 07:41 am
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I prefer the reviews of Guest Contributor.
Michael / October 18, 2013 at 09:23 am
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You won't find a more enjoyable culinary experience in the Yonge/Eglinton corridor. Additional the atmosphere and service are both superb.
Wino / October 18, 2013 at 10:06 am
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$14 for J. Lohr Merlot is pretty damn good actually! It doesn't come out at the Lcbo more than twice a year and it retails for $21, that's a pretty low mark-up for a restaurant. I've seen Farnese on menus for $14 a glass and it costs $8 retail! Just sayin'
Todd replying to a comment from Clouet / October 18, 2013 at 11:53 am
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Whatever.

We'll take nasty poutine and you can have your crumbling sophisticated society. Pretty soon everyone in France will be eating off the value menu at MacDo (or whatever you precious people call it) anyway, and it'll be served to them by the immigrant hordes they banished to the outskirts of Paris.

Hope you enjoy spit!

tnt replying to a comment from Clouet / October 18, 2013 at 02:34 pm
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See what I mean about Parisian charm?
Clouet replying to a comment from Todd / October 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm
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To "Todd" and "tnt". All I did was simply point out that poutine is a hot mess, which it is. Anyone with an IQ higher than their age will confirm that. The two of you seem to have flown into a fury over this simple observation. You think that your rabid response is "charming"? Don't worry, I am not impugning the culinary delights of your beloved Montréal, "The City of Lite". Relax and enjoy your steaming pile of hot grease and soggy "fries". Bon Appétit!
Michael Adams Cumberbatch / October 19, 2013 at 02:31 pm
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There is no where better to hang out with family and friends than Coquine!!

They make you feel like a part of their inclusive family!!

BlogTrash replying to a comment from AntoineB / October 22, 2013 at 11:45 am
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This from a guy who's country thinks the legs of an amphibian that lives in a swamp are a delicacy.... Get your head checked.
Todd replying to a comment from Clouet / October 23, 2013 at 08:21 am
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All you're pointing out is your opinion. And you weren't prompted to give it.

Like I said, we'll take poutine, and you can sit in the corner with your sophisticated crumbling society. When you apply to move here in a few years when the other shoe drops, remember that your adoptive homeland loves poutine.
Pilarica / October 24, 2013 at 01:14 pm
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Just went a couple of weeks ago for my birthday. Coquine has been around for years! Food is made to order and everything was delicious!!! One of my favourite restaurants in the city. Thank you BlogTO for the great review!
Eazy-E / November 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm
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to Todd, Clouet is right about the poutine being a hot mess, albeit a tasty one that hits the spot (esp in the dead of winter). Clouet, I tried the poutine here out of curiosity. The fact that they can butcher such a simple dish as a poutine would perhaps suggest they should stick to the classics. French cuisine has more often than not faltered when attempting a spin on international cuisine.
Robert / February 7, 2014 at 07:30 am
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Unbelievable food and unbelievable service! It was a great way to spend our winnings from a Fantasy Football league that we won!

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