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No. 16

La Banane


ON AN OTHERWISE grey stretch of Toronto’s Ossington strip, the blazing yellow front door at La Banane beckons diners like a ray of sunlight.

Inside the 80-seat dining room, the restaurant lives up to its sunny demeanour with verdant green walls, a sprawling marble raw bar and plush gold seating. Colourful artwork by Canadians Douglas Coupland and Talia Shipman adds further interest as disco music wafts from the speakers. Head bartender Christopher Weaver (formerly of Momofuku and Skin and Bones) mixes an enticing selection of signature cocktails, including the La Banane Royale, a creamy elixir of dark rum, banana and egg whites. Sommelier Christopher Wickens (another Momofuku alumnus) devised a wine list that focuses on Champagne and other eminent French growing regions. The selections are a natural fit for chef Brandon Olsen’s playful menu of French-inspired bistro fare.
Olsen formerly served as executive chef of The Black Hoof and Bar Isabel, and his menu includes several revamped renditions of offerings from those restaurants. His signature dish of sweetbreads and raw tuna with brown butter caper sauce, created at Bar Isabel, is presented at La Banane as raw albacore tuna bathed in brown butter, capers and dill. Less expected is the Euro bass en croute, served with its eye-catching latticework of salt pastry, a cooking technique that delivers fish of remarkable succulence. The standout dessert is Olsen’s famous hand-painted Ziggy Stardust Disco Egg, from his chocolate shop CXBO, smashed tableside to reveal an assortment of hand-rolled Peruvian dark chocolate truffles embedded with apricots, ancho chilies and coffee beans.

Sunday to Wednesday
6:00 PM until 11:00 PM

Tuesday to Saturday
6:00 PM until 12:00 AM

Photos by Rick O’Brien

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