French onion soup brings together some of the best things on earth: gooey cheese, savoury broth, crispy croutons, and golden brown onions in a gorgeous dish perfected by the French. Since originally becoming popular in North America in the 1960s, French onion soup has faded slightly in preference although it is still served all over Toronto in some of Toronto’s most-popular restaurants – many of which are in the King West neighbourhood.
In King West, the best French onion soup comes from Le Select. Made from Swiss raw-milk Emmental, there’s not a soup in close proximity like this. Le Select has been in business for over a decade in King West, as a classic Parisian Bistro. On its menu, you’ll find classics in salads, vegetarian options, fish, lunch, desserts, brunch, house wines and draft beers, and a children’s menu.
Now the many options, we bring it back to the French onion soup which is simple to make but incredibly difficult to master. How Le Select does it is by focusing on time. For example, onions require at least 45 minutes to arrive at their soft, sweet caramelized style taste. The croutons are fried so that they remain crisp on top of the soup.
Le Select is also not ungenerous with the amount of cheese they provide. Some believe there are almost equal amounts of bread and cheese in Le Select’s French onion soup which is perhaps why it’s so delicious. All of this effort in preparation is what has made the bistro’s French onion soup famous Toronto-wide. In fact, it was even featured in a Toronto Star article in September 2015.
Are there any other places to get French onion soup in King West? Thankfully yes! Although Le Select’s is unquestionably to die for, Fynn’s of Temple Bar also has a French onion soup on their menu. These two places have easily the most popular soups in the neighborhood, although other bars and restaurants may also serve French onion soup. As recipes for onion soup vary widely depending on the broth, if milk is added, if there’s any thickening agents, etc., you may find yourself preferring either recipe.
Needless to say, if you’re looking for a bowl of French onion soup, Le Select Bistro is really King West’s only answer. Start there. If you’re a fan of cheese and broth, you won’t be disappointed. So gooey, so cheesy. It’s a perfect King West bistro item that we hope continues to have a place on the menu for many years to come.