Address: 788 Corydon Ave
Indecision can be the bane of eating out, as any hungry would-be diner who’s ever spent too long searching for a restaurant online knows all too well. These days, when options have been converted to an endless scroll, a place where one can sit down and, with no decisions needed, be fed, is the Holy Grail.
Enter Beaurivage Bistro.
Chef/owner George Chamaa is at the helm of this charming Lebanese eatery, which recently relocated to an inviting strip-side spot on Corydon Ave, still bearing bamboo from its most recent sushi-slinging tenant. From his open kitchen in the centre of the room, chef Chamaa handily churns out mouth-watering Middle Eastern fare in a prix fixe parade that changes nightly.
For $35, sample three appetizers, two salads, and three main courses, or kick in for the $40 “dinner supreme,” which also includes dessert and Lebanese coffee, brewed to order. There is also a deluxe seafood menu available but it requires advance ordering (two days ahead).
Appetizers are testament to the versatility of vegetables. Fire-kissed eggplant is whirred into a silky, tangy and intensely smoky baba ghanoush served with warm slices of pita. Delicately spiced cauliflower reaches new heights, broken into florets and fried until crisp and burnished brown. A stewy mixture of rice and tomatoes, lightly redolent of mint, is neatly packed into warm grape leaf bundles under a generous drizzle of tahini.
Light and refreshing salads come next, including a crisp house salad and a parsley-packed tabouli, zippy and lemony, which is served with crunchy leaves of romaine for easy scooping.
Entrees offer heft in the form of well-prepared proteins. On one visit, beautifully spiced and exquisitely juicy chicken shawarma and kebabs of savoury beef were the day’s fare, served with a fluffy pilaf of bulgar lashed with tahini.
Lebanese kibbeh seem to have been dreamed up by a meatball mad scientist. A warm-spice scented ring of minced eye of round is mixed with pulverized bulgar and wrapped around a core of juicy ground sirloin.
Pro tip: just go for the dinner supreme. Otherwise you’ll be envying your dinner companions as they crack through crisp, warm layers of housemade baklava scented with orange blossom and tip their long-handled coffee pots to pour rich, aromatic cups of Lebanese-style joe.
For those wanting to sample Beaurivage before committing to a long languid meal, lunch offers a full a la carte menu. Service can be stilted, particularly at dinner when the server may need prodding to introduce mystery dishes as they arrive. However, the atmosphere is warm; each table tends to earn a visit and a chat from the chef himself.