Neighbourhood: Osborne Village
Address: 137 Osborne St
Phone: (204) 452-2745
(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)
Long before the trend towards tapas took over town, Basil Lagopoulous fostered social eating with a menu designed for tasting and sharing. The determined restaurateur with a 27-year history in Osborne Village endured a 2008 water main break at this location, and the subsequent web of municipal red tape, in order to open his latest incarnation, Bistrot by Basil, in December of last year.
An illuminated dessert case welcomes diners to the rambling 150-seat space with familiar furnishings of blond wood and banquettes sporting retro threads. During warmer months, the secluded patio is a romantic retreat that transcends its plastic furnishings.
The menu is an aggregate of dishes featured throughout the years, with sharable and substantial entrée components with Mediterranean roots.
Relics of bygone Tap & Grill era include baked Brie that sates a comfort food urge as only melted cheese can. Topped with sliced berries and a handful of pecans, this gooey treat is intended to be smeared over grilled bread doused in olive oil. Another throwback, deep-fried eggplant and zucchini chips, stirs memories with its peppery Parmesan-laced breading and tzatziki dip.
Each golden squid ring and tentacle is crisply battered and the tender calamari flesh is suitably enhanced with garlicky, cool tzatziki. This house-favoured condiment appears again to complement lemon and oregano infused grilled chicken.
The salad trio bursts with the colour of more than a dozen different fruits and vegetables. Forks first stab into crisp Romaine, red bell pepper and red onion. Then they pierce chickpeas that mingle with tomato, cucumber, feta and olives. Lastly, spinach makes a verdant bed for pecans, chèvre and sweet red morsels of pickled beets, strawberries and dried cranberries offset by a tart dose of balsamic vinegar.
Again on the grill, salmon is skillfully prepared to preferred doneness with nuances of lemon and garlic running through the delicate fillet.
Be sure to read to the bottom of the menu. Basil’s pizza achieves the Holy Grail combination of toppings supported by a crispy thin crust.
Bistrot by Basil is open Mon-Thu 5 pm, last seating at 11 pm; Fri & Sat 4:30 pm with last seating at midnight. )