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If you happened to be strolling along Dovercourt between Dundas and Queen at any point last week, you may have noticed a lively, sparkly patio suddenly occupying an unassuming spot tucked between residential homes, with a retro sign reading "Julie's Snack Bar."
Taverne Bernhardt's has quietly made this location their new home, offering a cozy neighbourhood destination for simple yet elegant vegetable-forward eats, plus a list of funky wine bottles and an all-around lovely atmosphere. The concept was dreamed up by the team behind Dreyfus, one of Toronto's most beloved and stylish French bistros, and the fare is in a similar vein: a streamlined menu of fresh, local produce that is excellently prepared and pairs perfectly with their rotating selection of crispy-skinned, whole rotisserie chickens.
The simplicity of the food allows the flavours to shine with little need for much more than the butter, herbs and light sauces that they thoughtfully use in creating the dishes (think peak summer tomatoes and corn with sesame, a salad loaded with local veg, buttery green beans and radishes and sweet roasted carrots with a chermoula sauce).
In true Dreyfus fashion, Bernhardt's boasts a list of carefully curated natural wines that are ideal for evening patio enjoyment and fit the bill nicely for a punchy sip alongside your meal. To finish off the evening, make sure to end things on a sweet note and try their impeccably creamy house-made soft serve.
The restaurant was cheekily named after Sarah Bernhardt, a leading lady of the late 19th and early 20th-century French theatre, and is an excellent new spot to try if you love tasty wines, flavourful local food and of course, juicy rotisserie chicken. Welcome to the neighbourhood, Bernhardt's!