I walk by Chez Laurent daily on my way to work and am always charmed by the restaurant, housed in a bungalow surrounded by condos. When a sign was erected nearby last year announcing a newly proposed building, I knew I had to stop by Chez Laurent at least once in the near future, just in case the property was being bought out by builders.
Atmosphere: Walking into the restaurant feels like visiting someone’s house for a home cooked meal. We were seated in the dining area with two other tables and it was a cozy night. Conversations easily travelled through the room. After a bottle of wine we were a bit louder and having a great time hopefully not disturbing the other two tables, one couple and a larger group. Each table still felt very intimate in their own bubble of space.
Service: The restaurant owner helped take our orders and checked in on us throughout the meal. She was very friendly and made us feel at home. There was one other server handling the room, and he seemed young (a relative?), a little unsure of where things were but friendly and super polite. Appetizers came out quickly and all our entrees arrived together.
Food: We started with an the antipasti plate and a few orders of escargot. The escargot was buttery, had a good chewiness and was still tender. Each component was the antipasti dish was light and flavourful. The cantaloupe and tomatoes were ripe, both went well with their counterparts of proscuitto and havarti. I also liked the pickles, which were crispy, a good touch of sour and sweet.
For my entree I ordered the daily pasta special of mussels and spaghetti. The noodles were cooked al dente and a good bounce to each bite. I was surprised with the size of the mussels, which were meaty and tasted fresh. The dish was also served with a healthy portion of tomato sauce. The sauce wasn’t a stand out, but it was a good base and not oily.
The boys both ordered the daily special of slow cooked pork spare ribs, mashed yam and rice. Again, the dish was good, everything was flavourful and cooked well. The ribs were tender and I really liked the mashed yam.
I had a good meal at Chez Laurent, but much of it I could cook myself at home. The appeal of this restaurant for me is the cozy atmosphere in addition to a comforting home cooked meal. I wouldn’t revisit with just the BF, but for a larger group of friends and close to home it’s a great option of French/Italian in the North York area.