A French Affair

Written by Katrina Geenevasen

Photography by Stephen Wild


Strolling through the cobblestoned streets of Paris is an unforgettably magical experience that makes it easy to understand just why the historic and magnetic city has been coined as the City of Love; you can’t help but fall in love with it.

The commanding architecture and sparkling 800-kilometre Seine may be a treat for the eyes, but it’s the city’s brasseries and bistros that truly delight the senses. Whether it’s the scent of a waiter passing by with a steaming plate of coq au vin, the taste of rich beef bourguignon on your palate, or the sight of a simple but fragrant basket of warm bread on your table, French dining truly is an experience to savour … in more ways than one.

If, however, a jaunt overseas to La Ville des Lumières isn’t in the cards for you, a trip downtown to Chien Noir surely is.

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Coined as Kingston’s Friendly Neighbourhood Bistro, Chien Noir first opened its doors to the Limestone City 19 years ago. Since then, it’s become a go-to; a place one knows they can enjoy the comfortable and relaxed ambience and excellent service just as much as they’ll enjoy the carefully planned menu.

It’s not a fine dining affair; it’s a neighbourhood bistro perfect for grabbing a plate of your favourite French comfort food, whether that’s steak frites, or an herb and a Dijon-crusted half chicken served with a white wine pan sauce. Craving a simple burger? Chien Noir has those, too. They’re just – like everything else on the restaurant’s menu – deliciously elevated. Think naturally raised Enright Cattle Co. beef, topped with manchego cheese, house bacon, gem lettuce, zuni pickles, shallots, and a special sauce all aboard a fluffy brioche bun. Your mouth is watering now, isn’t it? You’re welcome.

Chef Roy Seifried and owner Tim Pater have taken great care to ensure the menu reflects the overarching goal of the restaurant: giving Kingstonians and visitors alike a place to enjoy elevated comfort food in a cosy, eclectic environment that’s perfect for any and every occasion.

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Chien Noir also takes pride in utilizing locally sourced ingredients for their dishes when possible. Produce from local farmers will always yield a better taste than something brought in from somewhere else, after all. It’s also a great way to support local producers and is better for the environment.

While there’s of course something to be said for the bistro’s elevated comfort food, the staff is what truly makes the dining experience something to savour. The cooks, bartenders and servers are a huge part of what has kept Chien Noir’s clientele so faithful, says Pater, and are part of what keep people coming back time and time again, whether they’re on a casual business lunch, marking a special anniversary, or just don’t feel like cooking. (We won’t judge. We’ve all been there.)

If you’re ready to unwind with fabulous French fare, look no further than Chien Noir. Just don’t skip dessert. Bon appétit!

  Chien Noir Bistro was once again recognized by Where to Eat in Canada, for the 18th year in a row.