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Introducing: La Société, Bloor Street’s massive new bistro and people-watching hub

The bar at La Société (Image: Gizelle Lau)

La Société, Charles Khabouth and Danny Soberano’s new upscale bistro, opened last week to just the chic red-carpet reception one would expect, with guests like “jersey boys” Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong of Greta Constantine, media mogul Moses Znaimer, Canadian musician music manager and producer Jake Gold and Food Network Canada host Kevin Brauch (no RPattz sighting, though). We first scoped out the dining room’s impressive stained-glass ceiling shortly after it was installed, and returned last week to see how everything turned out.

The overarching theme of the Munge Leung–designed restaurant is resoundingly 1920s Parisian bistro, inspired by the likes of La Fontaine de Mars in Paris and New York City’s Balthazar (a resemblance that has not gone unnoticed on Twitter). The dining room’s main feature is, of course, the 20-by-30-foot, handcrafted stained-glass ceiling by Solarium Design Group. Located as it is on the second floor of the Colonnade (right above Sephora), La Société has large windows offering plenty of natural light, with traditional hand-painted bistro signage to alert shoppers below that there’s a new joint upstairs.

To the left side, La Société’s bar area has ample stool seating, as well as intimate alcoves with rich red banquettes. Here, the dark walls have been finished with a specially curated collection of bistro-appropriate prints, photographs and vintage frames by Hamid Samad at Commute Home (Briscola, Nyood, Colborne Lane). The antique bronze candelabra statuettes, meanwhile, were inspired by one Khabouth found in Paris.

In time for high patio season, La Société has two outdoor spaces: one at street level, with its own bar and optimal sightlines for people-watching on the newly renovated Mink Mile; and another on the second-floor terrace overlooking the street, sporting simple checkered bistro-style rattan chairs and small black café tables.

All told, the restaurant contains more than 300 seats for those looking to stop over for a schmooze, quick drink or sit-down meal. The bistro menu is chock-full of bistro classics, like French onion soup with gruyère and emmenthal ($10), steak tartare ($16), duck confit ($28) and macarons and profiteroles for dessert ($8). Despite its many meat offerings, the focus, says executive chef James Olberg, is on the seafood. The menu highlights items like its oysters platter ($19 for a half-dozen), its small ($65) and large ($145) mixed platters served on tiers, and Dover sole ($44), all sourced from Allseas Fisheries, Soberano’s fish-supply company.

Less than a week after its opening, the restaurant had already seen visits from the likes of Ben Mulroney (who raved about it on Twitter) and Deepak Chopra (he ordered the frisée salad and a lemonade). We figure they’re off to a pretty good start.

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La Société, 131 Bloor St. W., 416-551-9929, lasociete.ca.

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