Bistro Bon Ton is the dream-come-true of married couple Vanda Oliveira and Victor Lelis. The experience at Bistro Bon Ton can be described as a gastronomical and artistic voyage through the taste and senses of the Lusophone Cuisine.
What is Lusophone Cuisine? Chef Victor Lelis has 25 years of experience touching on Portuguese, Brazilian, and Italian cuisine. Yes his cuisine is based on Portuguese cooking but it is a fusion of the other colonies’ dishes as well, such as Cap Verde and Angola. He even experiments with the influences of Mozambique! The open kitchen concept allows patrons to see Victor in action. The space seats around thirty. During the summer months a terrace is also available.
Your visual senses will be revived each month as owner Vanda Oliveira changes her exposition of local artists’ artwork on her walls monthly. It brings her much joy to share these with her clientele and to have varied musicians perform at her restaurant on the weekends.
The result is a fusion of flavours, culture and warmth. The love of what they do really does create a unique environment. Bistro Bon Ton is a gem nestled in a LaSalle strip mall. It is a Bring Your Own Wine concept too!
Vanda is happy to enlighten us, “We serve ‘lusophone’ cuisine,” she says, “It’s based on Portuguese cooking, but many people don’t realize that Portugal had a LOT of different colonies including Angola, Brazil, and Cape Verde to name a few… and the cooking influences of all these regions were passed back and forth to form a unique fusion of tastes. Ours is a gumbo of flavours gleaned from those many different cultures. I don’t think anyone else in the entire city is offering what we are.”
Bistro Resto’s “Bon Ton” name comes from the French for good taste or good quality, and everything is designed to reflect that and Chef Victor puts his own fusion spin on traditional dishes. Everything here is grilled with the exception of the home fries they serve with their speciality piri piri chicken which they also offer for take-out from Tuesday to Thursday. But what really sets most dishes apart is the addition of Victor’s signature “magic potion” homemade sauces ranging from tangy mango, pineapple, or blueberry to savoury grilled zucchini, or grilled pepper salsas. He also makes his own creamy mango vinaigrette for salads. Mains come with cool sides like artisanal potatoes mashed up with beets or green pesto and there’s also different daily desserts like custardy “cream of heaven”.
Mainstream offerings like black tiger shrimp, fish, chorizo, calamari, filet mignon and more are dressed up with Chef Victor’s creative flair but one of the best things about this spot is the opportunity to take your taste buds on a an exotic tour. Few places in the city will have Angola’s national dish “muamba”- chicken stew with eggplant and okra, or Cap Verde’s “kachupa” on their menu. Vanda says, “We also offer tapas from different colonies so our customers can try exotic tastes before committing to larger dishes. This cuisine resonates with the culinary adventurous.”
And adventure we did. We dined on the entire gamut of fare and paired our different courses with our own wines (it is a BYOW spot,) and finished with their own brand of espresso.
As an added bonus, there is often live music on the weekends and the restaurants walls are adorned with paintings by local artists, a different one each month. This place is truly a rare find and well worth traveling to LaSalle.