The Bellevue

I think it's fair to say this blog post has only been a mere six months in the making. It's been welling up- percolating inside me for ages. I would write pieces and take pictures then go back again, with each meal trumping the previous one.

I've been to the Bellevue more than a handful times since it opened late last summer. Located at the Western side of Kensington Market, at the corner of Bellevue and Nassau, it's the best-kept secret in this city and the best thing to happen to Toronto since The Black Hoof.

And it's more my beat than those offal nose-to-tail spots. I'll delve into organs and exotic fare, but is it relaxing and pleasurable? Does that make me feel good? Does it nourish my body? Is it wholesome?

Daily Special: Shrimp Tacos
Ultimately no. I'm more Aristotelian than that.

I keep going back because the Bellevue is adventurous. The menu offers playful and exciting ingredients with an emphasis on local and organic fare. The owners are committed to supporting sustainable farming practices and working closely alongside local farmers.

I leave feeling pleasantly satiated, not stuffed with butter. I love the owners, the serving staff, and the casual easygoing atmosphere. I love the price points (reasonable), the piano out front, the perfectly thought-out portion sizes and even the unpretentious, run-of-the-mill toilets downstairs.

El Especial
The menu offers selections for vegetarian palates too. I contend there is something for everyone! Bring your hipsters, health nuts, children and even suits. Come one, come all (but don't make the lineup too long because I found it first!)

El Especial ($12) is The Bellevue's most popular brunch dish: scrambled eggs, salsa verde, three lean pork sausages or thick-cut bacon - both from Sanagan's organic butcher shop, a bowl of black beans topped with avocado and two tostadas.

More adventurous palates might appreciate The Unusual: 2 eggs sunny side up, Sanagan's summer sausage, kimchi, strong white cheddar, oven roasted beets with toast and fruit. It's a fun dish that I would order again because of all the different taste components.

The Pack o' Stancakes ($13) will please sweet teeth, all whilst being gluten free. These cottage cheese pancakes come with caramelized apples, fresh fruit and maple syrup. Amazing. Sweet. Split one with your darling along with a savoury dish and get the best of both worlds.

Pack O' Stancakes
Accompany your breakfast with espresso fare, $7 Caesars, $7 Mimosas, and $5 freshly-squeezed orange juice. Feeling stoic? Enjoy a plate of Greens with Envy ($8) - purple kale, dandelion, cucumber, green onion, nutty sprouts and broccoli in a white vinaigrette.

Leave some room for dessert. I had the best crème brûlée ($7) I've ever enjoyed in my life after dinner one night. A beautiful experience. Julie's Pies ($6) are baked by one of the owner's sisters with berries and fruits from their family farm. The flavours change seasonally. The cherry pie was the best I've ever had.

I deliver this review with mixed emotions. I want The Bellevue to succeed and thrive, but I want to keep it as a secret for myself. In the end, I'm giving the place the praise it deserves. The Bellevue offers care and love and consideration. It would be bad karma for me to keep that to myself. Let's face it, I'll keep going back no matter what.

This restaurant deserves the elusive ranking of five star anises.

Ranking: 5/5

The Bellevue
61 Bellevue Avenue
Toronto, ON
(647) 340-8224

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