Being Frank About Food At The AGO

Duck confit dandelion greens, whipped ricotta, puffed quinoa sea buckthorn, elderflower vinaigrette, kale chips. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.Photo by Fotini Stephen.

Duck confit dandelion greens, whipped ricotta, puffed quinoa sea buckthorn, elderflower vinaigrette, kale chips. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Photo by Fotini Stephen.

(TORONTO, ON) – In case you were not aware, there is a very rare exhibit of Georgia O’Keeffe paintings at the Art Gallery of Ontario running until the end of July. More about that in another article.

I couldn’t think of a nicer way of ending our visit to this prodigious exhibit than by trying the Georgia O’Keeffe Tasting Menu at the AGO’s Frank restaurant. To make things easy and concise for you, I will just cut and paste the Georgia O’Keeffe prix fixe menu and add a few comments on the dishes which both myself and The Square photographer enjoyed;

Prix Fixe Lunch $35*

  • STARTERS
  • goat cheese
    mixed seed flatbread, preserved lemon, fennel fronds, nasturtium oil, hibiscus dust
  • bean salad
    fava bean, cranberry bean, grilled poblano pepper, dinosaur kale, heirloom tomato, puffed wild rice, roasted tomato vinaigrette
  • MAINS
  • duck confit
    dandelion greens, whipped ricotta, puffed quinoa sea buckthorn, elderflower vinaigrette, kale chips
  • grilled trout
    charred green onions, white bean, dill pesto, toasted sunflower seeds, artichoke and cultured cream purée
  • DESSERT
  • sorbet
    coconut mint mousse, toasted rooibos granola
Pommes frites with aioli. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.Photo by Fotini Stephen.

Pommes frites with aioli. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Photo by Fotini Stephen.

Prix Fixe Dinner $45*

  • STARTERS
  • goat cheese
    mixed seed flatbread, preserved lemon, fennel fronds, nasturtium oil, hibiscus dust
  • bean salad
    fava bean, cranberry bean, grilled poblano pepper, dinosaur kale, heirloom tomato, puffed wild rice, roasted tomato vinaigrette
  • MAINS
  • duck confit
    dandelion greens, whipped ricotta, puffed quinoa sea buckthorn, elderflower vinaigrette, kale chips
  • grilled trout
    charred green onions, white bean, dill pesto, toasted sunflower seeds, artichoke and cultured cream purée
  • DESSERT
  • chocolate and rhubarb tart
    bourbon white chocolate mousse, caramelized biscuit nougatine rhubarb gastrique

The grilled trout was fried to perfection, maintaining a perfect degree of tenderness. There was just the right amount of purée and pesto to compliment and not overpower the delicate trout. The duck confit as well was cooked to perfection, the slight sweetness on the palate was skillfully offset by the bitter dandelion greens.

The bean salad was remarkably light on its feet. Even the goat cheese, with slight sour tang, made it as fresh and tasty as a starter could be. And, the chocolate and rhubarb tart also was prepared in a light fashion that complimented the style of the mains.

I can’t stand those glunky chocolate desserts and happily enjoyed Frank’s tart.

I will also say I was impressed with the bistro presentation style. Stylish on the plate and not overdone.

All ingredients were fresh and locally sourced where available.

Grilled trout with charred green onions, white bean, dill pesto, toasted sunflower seeds, artichoke and cultured cream purée. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.Photo by Fotini Stephen.

Grilled trout with charred green onions, white bean, dill pesto, toasted sunflower seeds, artichoke and cultured cream purée. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Photo by Fotini Stephen.

In short, delicious and unpretentious food despite the “fancy fixings” listed as part of the dish.

Executive Chef Renée Bellefeuille and her team create menus which reflect Canadian heritage with global influences. She creates limited edition speciality menus influenced by current exhibitions at the AGO.

Bellefeuille has some twenty years of culinary experience which have included working at The Drake Hotel, the French Consulate, and five years alongside Jamie Kennedy, as his pastry chef.

The restaurant has a corporate bistro feel to it. The two-level design is the work of famous architect Frank Gehry with Danish furnishings, including very cool glass table tops shaded in different colours and a wall of wine cellar.

While the wine list is not exhaustive, it more than meets the need of fussy wine drinkers. Wine by the glass choices are a bit limited, but again this is a bistro styled restaurant.

Now, just to remind you that you are in an art gallery, a massive installation by Frank Stella runs from a floor in the AGO and sneaks up right through the restaurant.

Laid back, but attentive service.

Chocolate and rhubarb tart with bourbon white chocolate mousse, caramelized biscuit nougatine rhubarb gastrique. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.Photo by Fotini Stephen.

Chocolate and rhubarb tart with
bourbon white chocolate mousse, caramelized biscuit nougatine rhubarb gastrique. Frank at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Photo by Fotini Stephen.

Frank seats 140 and has a semi private area for corporate and party events for 40 seats and close to 100 if standing.

Lunch, brunch, and dinner are served. For hours check out the AGO Website.

(Frank Restaurant, Art Gallery of Ontario, 317 Dundas Street West, 416.979.6688, Square Media Group Rating 92/100)

Stock up on stamps at Canada Post with Stamp Coils! Get your stamps today - Click here!

Click for the latest news

About the Author

Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert Stephen (CSW)
Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he loves The Square. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."Email Robert Stephen
%d bloggers like this: