Cafe Leopold
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Cafe Leopold

Cafe Leopold joins the burgeoning culinary scene that's taking shape around St. Clair and Christie, which now features a number of notable and untypical establishments like the Stockyards , Vannis Bar & Grill and (although older) Mezzetta .

Open for three months, Café Leopold focuses on well-priced French bistro fare within a laid-back and somewhat industrial looking interior. Decidedly eclectic, the decor features glass Murano lamps, mirrors made from found objects, tiled walls and an unfinished ceiling that reflects the casual vibe. If only the lighting was a bit lower, the restaurant would have that added romantic mood.

Cafe Leopold

Appetizers, which range from $7 to $15, include a popular House Pâte and a Smoked Salmon platter served with capers and toast. We enjoyed the delicately sliced salmon slivers, which rewarded us with combination of richness and acidity that matched perfectly with our white wine and Leffe Brune beer.

The main dishes range in price from $14 to $25 and are quite impressive. Leopold rotates their menu regularly, and although meat-heavy, it does offer a decent selection of seafood. Prix fixe specials are also an option, and feature soup, a selected main and dessert for $25.

Cafe Leopold

Mussels with Frites ($14.00) were recommended to us and came heaping in a large bowl with diminutive slices of bread and a side of fries served in a paper-wrapped cup. The mussels are extremely tasty and fresh, but it is the accompanying broth, replete with the flavour of wine and stewed onion, that steals the show. In no way does the wine overpower the seafood and vegetable flavours of the broth, which is wonderful to sop up with the French bread.

The chunky "frites" (but really fries) are firm, crunchy and come with a sensational Lemon and Tarragon-mayo dip that gives them a refreshing kick. I definitely recommend them.

Cafe Leopold

The roasted chicken breast with green olives and Madeira jus ($17) was perfectly roasted with crispy skin, tender flesh and a suitably moist interior. The sauce is surprisingly subtle, with a woody character that's sublime. We just wish we had asked for more bread so that we could also get every last ounce of it.

The mains are generally unadorned and are served in a rather plain looking manner. I've always thought that when some effort is taken to make food look attractive, it makes some customers feel better about the money they are spending. But, having said that, looks aren't everything and most of the food we tried was well-prepared and satisfying.

Cafe Leopold

With some dishes like the roast chicken it's necessary to order a side a la carte. We tried the green beans with Roasted Almonds, garlic confit and brown butter ($5). They were bathed in buttery goodness, and thoroughly enjoyable. It's amazing just how good plain old green beans can be made to taste.

Cafe Leopold

We spied the couple dining at the next table enjoying another other choice of main, the stewed duck leg with pearl onions, smoked bacon and red wine ($23), and took note to try that on a future visit.

Cafe Leopold

Dessert was coffee and a chocolate terrine, which was a sizeable loaf of dense chocolate mousse with raspberry sauce ($7.00). This was luscious, creamy and rich -- the perfect way to end an indulgent meal.

Cafe Leopold


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