Note – this is an old review. This venue is under new owners as of December 2014. We will be visiting again soon for an updated review.Crêpes – those wonderful, thin pancakes! They aren’t just for sweet desserts but can be used as a base for a mix of savoury ingredients. La Parisienne Creperie in Oakville, Ontario is a must-visit for a taste of French crêpes. It’s been in business since 1991 in the Bronte Village area and operated by Marie-France and Pierre, who take the time to create an authentic French meal.
Our visit on a Saturday morning fell during lunch-time, just as the restaurant opened at 11:30 a.m. There were two other couples dining with us, making it a pretty quiet spot.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is a bit like a tourist shop – a hodge-podge of French memorabilia and kitschy items placed on the walls and around the main dining room. It certainly keeps you entertained while you wait for your meal (it takes time to make perfect crêpe). Small tables that barely fit two plates, and larger, roomier tables are available.
During our visit, trying to take a bigger table was met with a stern “Non, non… this is for more people. You can take a smaller table.” Marie-France obviously didn’t want me to be comfortable while eating her crêpes. We were ushered to a small table for two in a corner.
After this momentary, almost stereotypical French haughtiness, I needed to take a deep breath to calm myself and then enjoyed perusing the menu.
All was forgiven very quickly.
Any person growing up in a Polish household, as I did, will have had naleśniki (crêpes) with sauerkraut and minced mushroom filling, or ground chicken, rice and herbs, or sweetened, mashed farmers’ cheese – they equal French cuisine any day. So it was no surprise to see a list of savoury options offered at La Parisienne. We passed on the appetizers and went for the main savoury crêpes.
The bacon, Swiss Cheese, mushroom and salad crêpe ($10.95) is plated so finely that you don’t want to cut into it. The blend of ingredients works very well, including the salad, which has a delicious house dressing (I must get that dressing recipe!). It all tastes home-made. There are no short cuts – as the menu says, it takes time to prepare a great crêpe.
Frank chose dessert for his lunch – La Royale ($11.95). It includes a crêpe with vanilla ice cream, bananas, chocolate sauce, almonds and Chantilly cream. It’s pure decadence – a gourmet dessert when compared to the quickly put-together Belgian waffle and crepes desserts at Caffé Demetre (of which you find many in the Greater Toronto Area).
The fancy, kitschy decorations on the La Royale are a bit too much (although Frank admitted he liked the paper umbrella), but when you get down to the ingredients, they are a perfect blend of flavours that delight your taste buds.
Pierre, our waiter, was efficient and old school in how he served tables. Perhaps he wasn’t having a good day, but small talk with him didn’t result in even a hint of a smile. Ahh… the French.
Would I visit again? The answer is yes, and the main reason is the good food. There aren’t any trendy approaches to the menu options (nothing is organically or locally grown, or with exotic fruits). Just good food, based on traditional ingredients.
Another visit is necessary to try out the dinner menu – it’s more refined with enticing dishes such as Crêpe Lorraine ($20.95) with chicken breast, mushrooms, bacon, Béchamel and grated Swiss Cheese. For seafood lovers, there’s Odéon ($18.95) with smoked salmon, salad, onions, capers and lemon.
For a Saturday lunch (they are not open on Sunday and Monday), La Parisienne does not disappoint. The atmosphere is quaint and French. It’s not a hot spot of activity, but rather a good choice for a quiet lunch with friends or your date.
La Parisienne Crêperie
93 Bronte Road, Oakville, ON
Tel: (905) 827-2378