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Introducing: Café Boulud, Daniel Boulud’s new casual fine-dining restaurant at the Four Seasons

Introducing: Café Boulud

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Last Friday, chef Daniel Boulud officially opened the doors of his first Toronto venture, Café Boulud, the third restaurant of that name (there’s one in New York and another in Palm Beach), and the 14th in his ever-expanding empire. Taking a corner space in the shiny new Four Seasons flagship, the Café aspires to be a go-to local haunt rather than a temple to fine dining like Daniel, Boulud’s eponymous three-Michelin-star restaurant in New York. Still, as chef de cuisine Tyler Shedden tells us, the different Café Boulud locations “are not just carbon copies of each other—you can expect a different take on things here.”

The second-storey restaurant is outfitted in a palette of browns, with stucco accent walls breaking up the space (Rosalie Wise Design was behind the interiors). Contemporary pop art paintings by Mr. Brainwash liven up the walls, while glass works by Canadian artists David Calles and Sue Rankin peer out from shelves. Floor-to-ceiling windows occupy the south and west walls, with views giving out onto the corner of Bay and Yorkville. Boulud describes the restaurant as “casual fine dining”—there are no starched linens or crystal chandeliers. Below is dbar, Boulud’s new bar and lounge.

The menu at Café Boulud is a collaborative effort between Boulud and Shedden, a British Columbian who was previously in charge of the private dining room at Daniel. “We were given free rein to do what we like,” he told us, although the menu is divided into four sections based on Boulud’s “muses”: “la Tradition” (French cuisine); “la Saison” (seasonal produce); “le Potager” (the vegetable garden); and “le Voyage” (international flavours). The vitello tonnato ($15), from the Tradition menu, is a seared veal loin resting on a bed of lemon, anchovy and confit tuna mayo, with caper berries, white anchovies, frisée and celery. The poulet au vinaigre ($29)—a classic French dish from Lyon—features roasted Chantecler chicken breast and leg stuffed with foie gras, tomato confit and tarragon. For dessert, the vacherin ($11), from the Saison menu, is built from orange mousse and meringue and laden with wild cranberries and maple-caramel sauce. The new restaurant might not be drawing the same fevered attention as that other recent New York import, but given its aim of becoming a Yorkville fixture instead of the latest buzzy joint, that probably suits Boulud just fine.

Café Boulud, 60 Yorkville Ave., 416-964-0411,, @CafeBouludTO

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  • howcool

    Look up the meaning of “eponymous” –> you’ve got it backwards.

  • caroyln devon

    this restaurant is a disaster. The decor does match the rest of the hotel, the unfinished walls look they were designed by wilma flintstone vs rosalee sharp and her idea of putting bad pop art on the walls is so dated, I keep thinking she is channeling Noodles from 30 years ago.

    Now, the food …of course Daniel is great BUT the portions are too small – this is not paris or new york – we want to eat. DO NOT ORDER THE STEAK…you get two tiny cubes of beef…it’s a bad joke. The menu is too serious to play the lead and only place to eat – it’s a hotel in Toronto people – let’s get real. My prediction is that once the A list stops clamoring to be seen …the menu will be overhauled.

  • Dissapointed


    Went for lunch last week……..the room is OFFENSIVE!! When we asked who designed it, knowing Yabu Pushelberg did the rest of the building we were told they had done this room also…SO NOT TRUE! Looks like a 1985 dentist’s reception in there, I can’t believe that a chef the caliber of Daniel would allow such a horrible interior….And that was just the start, the food was great but the service was horrendous. To the point that the whole meal was comped !!! They’ve really buggered this one up. Won’t be back.

  • Westiemen

    We went to d bar for a light lunch. Loved the space and the service was good but the food or should I say lack of it was a real rip off. $25.00 for a peice of lobster the size of the first didget on my thumb with a feww tiny bib lettuce leaves. What we had was tastey and well presented but come on, there was nothing on the plate. Went home hungry and ordered a pizza.
    They keep this up and it will be another empty four season restaurant you see on your travels

  • Downtowner

    Great. An upgrade on the Studio Cafe food for Yorkville menu scene for sure. The design and atmosphere are unique in Toronto and remided us of the cool chic design of Lever House in NYC. Might not appeal to the average Toronto eye, but thats what The Keg is for. If you want an interesting menu, a fresh design, and great service, then check it out.

  • TopDog

    Liked it. Not busy as they are only booking 30-50% full to work out the kinks. For a new place it was fantastic. Love the eclectic art and sleek design. Had the beef and it was very good. Service was top motch. Wine list needs some work, but I assume that will fill in quickly. Definitely worth trying.

  • LadyJane

    Definitely not your parents Four Seasons. Clearly the design is for the next generation if Four Seasons patrons. If you are expecting a typical Four Seasons of the 1990-2000 vintage, this isn’t it. It is new, fresh, stylish and International. The food should satisfy every taste. The wine list needs some work, but we suspect that is more an LCBO issue than a Boloud issue given the strength of his other locations. Service was excellent and the price was what we expected. A fresh new approach for Toronto.

  • Traveller

    All in all it was very good. Especially for a couple of weeks after opening. The menu is robust and delicious. The service was prompt and the decor is different but fun.

  • Carol

    Once at Cafe Boulud was a dud! The day our party dined the lunch menu had been changed to a brunch menu, We were not notified and had already had eggs for breakfast. The mains included two choices of eggs, one fish and one pasta. The Duck Hash consisted of potatoes with Chef Boyardi like gravy and a a few snippets of dried up duck, my friend had an absolutely tasteless pasta. We were given one pat of butter for four people, no bread and butter plates. There was no room on the table for the bread tray. The desserts were passable, but overall the lunch was definitely forgettable and I am not going back.

  • D

    The food was good – if a bit bland. What really bothered us was the old guy and his much, much, younger “date” seated near us. He was attempting to demonstrate his wealth by purchasing a $1K bottle of champagne while his escort chewed her gum and sat on his lap. Yes, the old guy spent way more than we did but put him in a private room. People trying to enjoy their dinners and a night out don’t need to see this.

  • Aviara

    Had a delicious meal at Boulud last night…all 4 of us agreed the food was superb, good serving ‘sizes’ and presentation was very cool! Interesting & varied, but not confusing menu…server gave a brief explanation of how to read it. It was busy (for a Monday night!) but not overly noisey as we feared initially. We all loved the room and thought the decor eclectic and NOT offensive at all! Service could have been a bit more attentive…but all in all a great place to go for a special evg!

  • BAWA

    Staff in the bar are not suited for an establishment like the Four Seasons. Maybe the local Pub. Reflects poorly on who did the hiring. Sat at the bar and ordered white wine Ladoucette from the bar menu. Our server said that she did not know Ladoucette but that she had Sancerre. She did not know that the Sancerre was Ladoucette which is very clear on the menu. Her attitude made us feel like we were the one that did not know. Another server wanted to take our appetizer plates from us before we finished. They lack proper training.

  • Derek S


  • Frank Miller

    Visited there last week for breakfast.
    It was a very disappointing experience. They pretend to be a 4-star restaurant, but service, table settings and food were that of a “2-STAR PLACE” (and I am generous here!!!).
    It boggles the mind, that a company can spend so much money on building a restaurant and then hires SEEMINGLY UNTRAINED people to operate it.