There’s a lot to love about life in Davisville Village. The area features great shops and restaurants, high quality schools, and amazing nightlife. The neighbourhood is very multicultural, making it easy to enjoy cuisine from around the world right here. One of our favourite restaurants in the area isCoquine Restaurant (2075 Yonge Street) — a delightful French bistro serving classic French fare with a modern twist. We caught up with Coquine’s owner, Rob Prete, to discuss what to order and why he loves the restaurant and surrounding community.
Rob grew up in the Davisville neighbourhood. For some people, running a restaurant seems to be in their blood — it certainly runs in Rob’s family. He got his start in the business as a teenager, working at his cousin’s restaurant, Grazie. Grazie is a vibrant and unpretentious Italian restaurant located just a few minutes up the street from Coquine. The neighbourhood was his home and the people in it “became like family” to him, so when it was time to open his own place back in November of 2007, he knew this was the place to do it.
Rob was mentored by Joe Brancacella and Didier LeRoy at Grazie, and attributes much of his industry knowledge to his family and partners there. Rob knew he wanted to open a French restaurant in Toronto. He was passionate about French cuisine, and is even married to a French woman named Anita. With Coquine, Rob wanted to:
Recreate a classic French bistro environment, but in Toronto. Delivering classic French fare with the diversity of the city in mind. My aim was to introduce what we have in Europe to the citizens here.
When Rob opened Coquine, he brought Head Chef Alejandro Bustamente with him from Grazie. They had a long history of working side by side, studying together in the Culinary program at George Brown University, and working together at Grazie. They still work closely together today, collaborating on the menu at Coquine. One of the dishes on the menu that they are best known for is their French Onion Soup ($12) which Rob highly recommends to first time visitors.
Our French Onion Soup is made with artisanal French baguettes (which are expertly produced by Mark Thuet of Petite Thuet), organic beef stock, caramelized onions and gruyere cheese. We use our own fresh herbs and our stock is reduced with time, not flour.
Coquine is also known for their steak frites (8oz $27 /16oz $54), another classic bistro menu item. In their version they use local Ontario dry aged New York striploin, top it with herb butter and serve it with perfectly crisp Yukon Gold frites. Make sure you save some room for some of their Pudding Chomeur (Farmer’s Pudding $11), a delicious and warm maple apple cake topped with vanilla gelato.
When asked what he loves most about running Coquine, Rob said:
I love creating memories here, watching people smile, watching people with their families, watching them eat in silence. We do weddings here, funerals, bar mitzvahs…we do everything. We contribute to family memories.
We trust that Coquine will continue to put smiles on their customers’ faces with their amazing cuisine for many years to come. Pay them a visit for lunch, brunch or dinner for a meal you won’t soon forget.