There is always a place for what I define as “traditional done well” in a restaurant. A dining establishment with impeccable service and a dependable kitchen, a restaurant that warmly welcomes guests of all ages, a restaurant where you can rely on being served a good meal, and Sixteen Front in Orillia fits the bill. This restaurant consistently serves, on average, seven hundred people a week!Chef Marcel Taillefer has been active for many years on the Orillia restaurant scene and he is now firmly ensconced in the Sixteen Front kitchen. He shared with me that he has some interesting plans for the menu in the months to come, including Himalayan Salt Slab cooking. This method of cooking is very fast, provides an aesthetically pleasing presentation while adding a unique depth of flavour to the dishes. While he is enthusiastic about introducing new culinary creations to the menu, longtime customers can be reassured that Chef Marcel remains faithful to them, and will continue to provide his signature dishes including; frogs legs, veal sweetbreads and foie gras.
Darling daughter accompanied me to dinner at Sixteen Front and we were both duly impressed with our server, Adam Hamilton, who stepped in to assist from his usual bar tending duties on this busy night. We ordered from the Barrielicious menu and were pleased with our choices.
My carpaccio was tasty, the avocado and shrimp tour salad artfully presented, and darling daughter said her steak was perfectly cooked. Those that know me or dine with me will understand when I share with you, that I stepped outside my usual tastes. I was interested to see if white linen service could elevate the lobster poutine to new heights. Yes I ate poutine, and yes it did! Chocolate brownie pizza with fresh fruit and maple cream provided a sweet ending to our meal.
Eating by candlelight, with the long table cloth draped gently aside my knees is guaranteed to create ambience, and ambience and good service are directly reflected in how I view a meal. Good food is a huge part of the dining experience but these charming additions exude comfort and isn’t comfort one of the reasons we choose a restaurant?
Gracious service and amenities are always welcomed and often forgotten. Artfully placed ambient lighting, fresh flowers, well-spaced tables and well weighted cutlery, these small touches at the table extended to the ladies room too, where I was pleased to find individual cloth hand towels, nice touch, pun intended! Live music is offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 to 9.
In conversation Chef Marcel shared that his father built restaurants and his own introduction to the culinary field came as a young lad of eleven, washing dishes.
He spent a number of years working in a family run Greek Restaurant learning hands on techniques, then studied formally at George Brown College in Toronto.
Experiential learning seems to be Chef Marcel’s style; he moved to Bermuda where he successfully owned and operated his own restaurant for five years. There he served the freshest of seafood and developed his interest in crafting meals with combined Asian and French fusion of flavours. In 1997 he was featured in Bon Appetite magazines BBQ issue, recently he was voted Orillia’s Best Chef and he also won the Chopped competition hosted by Casino Rama.
I was impressed with Chef Marcel Taillefer’s commitment to his guests; repeat customers seemed sincerely appreciative of his work and ask to speak with him table side.
There is integrity to this, with heartfelt handshakes and conversation about the meals before them, customers are content with their time spent at Sixteen Front.
16 Front Street North
Written by: Penelope Morrow
Penelope Morrow is a writer, editor and food aficionado from Barrie, follow her tweets @penelopejmorrow