Finding an extensive wine list at a restaurant that’s open for lunch, wasn’t as easy as we thought, but through relentless efforts, we stumbled upon La Société, a French Bistro located in the Yorkville area of Toronto’s downtown. La Société is one of those hidden gems that unless you work or play in the area often, you’d have no idea of its existence. However, nestled on the second floor of a commercial building, it sets itself apart from the other establishments from its succulent scents, to the Parisian font used to showcase the restaurant’s name, and even door handles.
Entering the restaurant, you are immediately aware of its reputation as the tables are filled with not only those who work in the area breaking for lunch, but also the weary shopper who has investigated the generous number of designer establishments in the neighbourhood. Though the restaurant was fairly busy, we were still able to get a seat in an area conducive for conversation and lunch banter, without having to yell over the buzz of the room. Once seated, I took note of their wine list; a 12 page collection of wines by the glass, half-bottles and full. Needless to say, I was in heaven. Finding cared about wine lists at establishments open for lunch can be hard to do, unless you’re willing to pay dearly for the cuisine. With so many wine options, I was determined to cover as much as I could, which, unfortunately, meant that I left a few semi-full glasses of glorious wines on the table. To start my lunch experience at La Société, I had a glass of sparkling wine, Brut Blanc de Blanc from Domaine Luquet, which I drank mostly on its own and truth be told, it was the only glass I couldn’t force myself to leave behind. (Bubbles are one of my guilty pleasures). After, I had the Tuna Tar Tar ($22), which ended up being an elegantly dressed dish with a great grade of tuna being used. I paired it with a 2011 Muscadet, and it turned out to be fabulous pairing as the two combined, showcased the fruit flavours and finely tempered acidity in the wine. I followed the Tuna Tar Tar up with a Roasted Pumpkin Salad ($14) and paired it with a 2010 Red Burgundy. It’s essential to note that even though all of my wines at lunch came from France, La Société’s wine list is a fantastic collection of wines from all regions, old and new. And though my wines were more reasonable priced, there is nothing stopping you from indulging in the 2002 Andy Warhol Collection Dom Pérignon, for $500, if your expense account can support such lunches.
What we also found refreshing about La Société was the knowledge of the staff when it came to the wine list. With twelve pages of wine, coming from both old and new world locations, I can only imagine that keeping up with new additions and ideal pairings, can be arduous for wait staff. We posed this question to the restaurants AGM/Wine Director, Blair Cowan, and he stated that they take training their teams, on the wine list especially, very seriously. Cowan goes so far as to dedicate sessions where wine agents sit down with La Société staff for the purposes of training them on the wines. It was clear that Cowan’s dedication and diligence put into the wine list, and its presentation, had been adopted by all who work at La Société.
Between the wine, delectable food and welcoming service, it would be no surprise if we end up at La Société more often, than not, for exciting wine filled lunches! The restaurant is also open for brunch and it is another tempting reason to head back to La Société to try the rest of the bubbles, showcased on their wine list.
La Société is located at 131 Bloor St West, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 1R1, 416-551-9929.