This review has been a long time coming. David’s Bistro has to be one of my favorite restaurants, not only in London, Ontario, but on the planet! We have been fairly regular visitors to David Chapman’s dining tables, all the way back to when he was the Chef at Anthony’s Seafood Bistro. There are so many things I love about David’s Bistro, but one of the most important is the consistency. I have never had anything less than a stellar meal and dining experience over the past 15+ years. And that includes dining in the restaurant, joining him for his special wine and food nights (lobster night is always a favorite) and taking home catered meals for birthdays and anniversaries. You just can’t miss with David’s Bistro.
With our daughter attending a “Parents Night Out” gymnastics event, we made reservations at David’s this past weekend. We ended up arriving 30 minutes earlier than planned (partly because our before-dinner errands went quicker than expected, and partly because we were starving) and as usual David was at the door to greet us and take our coats. That’s another thing I love about David’s Bistro. As business owners that largely work directly with our own clients, I appreciate the fact that David is not only the owner, he has direct contact with his customers on a day-to-day basis. Along with his daughter Natalie, you can always count on excellent service and that special personal touch.
As usual like on most weekends, by 6:30pm the restaurant was packed. Lots of chatter, laughter and energy – just the way the atmosphere should be in a good bistro. I always have a tough time with my order at David’s, because in addition to all the items I love on the regular menu (duck confit, short ribs, and a killer Fisherman’s Stew) – there are always several delectable sounding specials. This night was no exception. Along with some interesting special wine selections on the big chalk board (a must have feature in all bistros in my opinion) – our work was cut out for us!
For starters, we went with the Market Salad with Crispy Parsnips and Balsamic Vinaigrette and the Warm Salad with Roasted Artichokes, Tiger Shrimp and Arugula. Both featured fresh and crispy greens and the perfect amount of dressing and the shrimp were cooked to perfection (not an easy task for some establishments). For our main courses, we went with the Pork, Rabbit and Squab Pie with Savoury Crust and from the specials, melt-in-your-mouth Mahi Mahi and a beautifully creamy Saffron Risotto (again – far too many restaurants serve over-cooked and gummy risotto). Both dishes had us jumping back and forth between each others plates – very delicious. The Grüner Veltliner I chose was the perfect compliment to this outstanding meal. And although the desserts at David’s Bistro rock too, there was just no room in the tummies on this night.
And that in a nutshell is what makes for a great night out in my mind. Great food, great service in a great environment. David dropped by our table near the end of the meal and mentioned – “the night is young, what are your big plans for the evening?” We responded sheepishly, “grocery shopping!” We all had a good laugh and we also had a great night as always when we dine at David’s Bistro. I almost hesitate to get the word out to anyone that hasn’t experienced this London, Ontario gastronomical gem. Might be harder to get a table in the future! For now, back to the cage.