I started going to Maman a few years ago when a friend of mine who worked in the Path recommended it. Safe to say, it very quickly become my go-to spot for lunch, coffee, and everything in between (and by everything in between, I’m mostly referring to their famous chocolate chunk cookies – more on them later.)
First, it’s important to understand where Maman is located. Unlike most shops and restaurants in the city’s Financial District, Maman is actually located above ground on the Mezzanine Level. It can be found in the First Canadian Place, off of King Street West between Bay and York Streets. If you’re already inside the Path, you can make your way there indoors, or alternatively, there is a courtyard on King Street with a stairway that leads directly to the food court where Maman is located.
Now let’s dig into the history of this quaint French dining experience. The original Maman was founded in SoHo, New York, making Toronto its first and only outpost. (I have visited the SoHo location. While the NYC café is much larger in size, the Toronto location is brighter and cozier.) Maman was conceived by four partners: the head chef of a Michelin star restaurant in the South of France, an event planner, a restaurateur and entrepreneur, and finally, a media strategist. The idea behind Maman is to serve up French-North American fusion cuisine in a warm, rustic environment.
A quick note about the interior of Maman. The wooden tables emanate a rustic feel throughout, while the dishware consists of mismatched plates bearing floral borders, and decorative items include white porcelain rabbits and thin glass vases with a single flower in each. And we have to take about the takeaway cups; unlike your typical white coffee cup, their paper cups have a blue floral print that you won’t be able to resist snapping a photo of for the ‘gram.
Finally, onto the most important item on the agenda: food and beverages. Maman’s menu is available for dine-in or takeaway and is all made fresh daily. Breakfast options typically consist of yogurt and granola parfaits, croissant sandwiches, or three types of quiche – Lorraine (ham and cheese), Marie (goat cheese, fennel, and green peas), and Paulinette (leek and cheddar) – each one better than the last. For lunch, the quiche is swapped for an assortment of salads, ranging from Rose (quinoa, feta, roasted beet, walnut, lemon juice, kale, parsley and mint) to Caesaria (roasted chicken, kale, hard boiled egg, parmesan, red onions, and thyme croutons). To satisfy your sweet tooth, Maman has viennoiseries, lemon and thyme madeleines, three freshly-baked loaves that are to die for (I am partial to the white chocolate, blueberry, and lavender cake), and of course, Maman’s Nutty Chocolate Chip Cookie, which is truly one of the most delicious, most decadent cookies in all of Toronto.
Beverages include your usual slew of coffee options, from Cappuccinos to Americanos, however, where they differ is in their specialty latte and tea offerings, including maple and lavender lattes and iced tea made in-house daily.
If you’re looking for a slice of Provence in the heart of TO, look no further than Maman.