Chambar is a stylish and hip restaurant downtown that offers Belgian cuisine in a fun and lively atmosphere.
Food: My dining compadre loved the veal (close to ordering a second portion!) and I wasn't that hungry and so ordered the Congolaise mussels for the both us which turned out to be quite good and with a large portion of mussels. Dessert was the highlight - we ordered the passion de chocolat and it was sublime. Rich chocolate cake with a sorbet on the side - a great way to end the night. The people sitting beside us raved about their desserts and now I can see why.
Service: Friendly and attentive but not overbearing - the perfect balance.
Value: portions were small - if I had been hungry, our wallets would have been in trouble. Large plates, small cuts of meat and very few filler veggies. The veal was described to have fingerling potatoes and what we got were 4 small little discs of potato, that all added up would have amounted to just 1 single small fingerling potato! Drinks were ridiculously overpriced for what was received. The saving grace is that the mussels were actually quite plentiful, so don't miss out on those.
Ambiance: great space but not acoustically pleasing - everything was very loud and the way the tables were packed tightly together meant that we were in listening distance to others and it made it difficult to carry on an intimate conversation. A whole mish mash of people, many of whom who thought they were god's gift to the world (to the couple sitting beside us who laughed when a young girl slipped and fell, if you're reading this, you guys are douches and we can all see that you guys are posers, evidenced since by your ugly wallpaper patterned shirt and cheap Breitling model watch and your girl wearing a cheap Guess top thinking she was so classy).
Overall, I would return to this place and recommend others to come as well since the food was very good. I would, however, choose to sit in the corner if possible to distance myself from the mega douches that seem to be multiplying in this city.
Wow! I LOVED this place! We had a super expensive meal for a Sunday night ($120) but worth every penny. From beginning to end - Chambar was top notch. The different Belgian Beers really piqued our interests, and when we can afford more, we'll definitely try out the rest of the beer menu. Of course you can't forget trying one of their signature dishes Moules-Frites - Congolaise: Mussels cooked with fresh tomato, smoked chilli & cilantro with a touch of coconut cream and lime. So yummy! Even after that large dish, we both ordered an entree each - I had the black cod/sablefish & my hubby had the duck. Very unique side pairings and the taste & texture very good. Above all the best thing that ended the evening was the Gaufre Liegoise - Belgian waffle with housemade white chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce, blueberry compote & cocoa tuile. OMG - we've never eaten a dessert this quickly - it was sooo delicious! They took it off the regular menu but our super awesome waitress somehow sneaked it in for us. =) What a great way to end the meal. Can't wait to go back for more!
I came here for dinner with my wife. The place is cool, the staff is very knowledgeable and the menu options (the food as well as the belgian beer list) are awesome.
Appetizer: I had the $23 Mussels Congolaise. The portion was generous, mussels were large, juicy, perfectly cooked.. but the broth wasn't as great. When I get a good broth with my mussels I drink it like a soup but not this time. The fries that came with the mussels were excellent, some of the best I've ever had.
Entree: I had the $29 Braised Lamb Shank. This was kind of different, the lamb was served in a broth. The dish was very tasty, a lot of flavor here.
Dessert: I had the $11 Chocolate Creme Brulee with espresso ice cream. This was a very nice dessert.
With 1 belgian beer each, tip and tax the meal comes to $185
Overall I think it's a cool place with great food as well as great food and drink options to choose from. I'll be back someday.
Visited during a weekday after making reservations. Greeted upon entry and shown a table. Was able to switch as it wasn't the best which was appreciated. The menu is not too extensive and the appies didn't sound too appealing. The drink menu is 3x the size of the food menu. Chose the mussels in tomoto cream sauce. Very nice portions with good flavours. A few not opened which they should of checked. Had a taste of the duck breast which was very good as well as the lamb which was a just oK. Didn't like the couscous with the lamb. Service throughout was excellent and the side rooom in the back was perfect. Value was not there as the mains were $25+ and for what you received, not worth it.
I celebrated Valentines Day here with the gf, and about time as I've been raving to her about a few of their standout dishes I've had here in the past.
Reservations were a must on this evening and we were seated immediately upon arrival with our coats checked. Decor is fantastic and can suit either a quiet or noisy dining experience, though this restaurant has taken upon the latter. Ambience continues to be borderline loud. I wouldn't say it's unbearable nor would you have to shout across your small table but a truly quiet evening out would be out of the question here (perhaps I am biased as I noticed they played a lot of my favourite music: Earth, Wind, Fire, Temptations, Isley Brothers). People must remember that this is not a fine dining establishment and compare it to others as such. This is most definitely a hotspot for the Downtown hip crowd therefore there are touches of ostentatiousness here and there.
We quickly picked out our dishes: the Venison Shortloin Carpaccio to start, the Congalaise, Artic Char and Lamb Tajine to share with the Pear Toffee Pudding to finish. My gf had the Blue Fig Martini while I had a bottle of Celis White. The venison was subtle and was accompanied well with the mild root vegetable julienne and chevril. The mussels are impeccable. Our Congalaise had a generous amount heat from the chilis while the lime and tomato pairing toned down the richness of the coconut milk. Copious amount good to share with 3 people. The frites on the side are not enough to sop up all the sauce - order the fresh, crusty house roll to soak up the rest. The Arctic Char was buttery smooth, and the lentil ragout was again a nice pairing, however ragout being a misnomer as the butter sauce was fairly thin. The fall-off-the-bone lamb shank was unlike anything you'd normally see done to lamb. The honey, cinammon and figs steer the lamb into a rich medley of sweet and savoury flavours, with the yogurt and African red chili pairings on the side help offset your tastebuds with a cool or hot linger. The toffee pudding could prop itself better as a finisher for our meal but was overall a nice, light offset.
Prices lean on the expensive side though the few standout dishes are worth the extra coin.
The service could step it up some to align itself with the better restaurants in town, but I'd hardly call it terrible. Service is somewhat casual though the ambience tends to call for it. Our server was polite and followed up after every dish (they sent out one dish at a time which we really appreciated).
What makes this restaurant so good are the unique pairings of ingredients you wouldn't normally find elsewhere, with a few dishes that make them memorable. To be truly above the pack refinements can be made all over though I think they're happy with how it is now. Their only flaw might be their hype.
Eminently good. Highly Recommend.
I'm a big fan of their mussels steamed in white wine. I also tried the duck and while it was done perfectly, the flavours weren't really anything new. All in all, a great place with consistent quality.
The blue fig martini is really good, albiet a little strong for me.. I prefer their pear martini (which isn't on the menu anymore but if you ask the bartender will make it)
After numerous aborted attempts, finally went to Chambar to celebrate a birthday.
I love the room (the brick walls, natural wood tables and the leather seating).
Our servers we pleasant, charming, and attentive.
I ordered the seared scallop appy, the mussels & fries entree, and the chocolate passion dessert. All were delicious, although I found the mussels a bit too smoky for my palate (lots of bacon).
My dining companions ordered the poutine side, flatiron steak, veal tenderloin, and the venison. For dessert they had the tropical flan, the Belgian waffles and the chocolate mousse cake.
As we are apt to do, every sampled each other's dishes, and we had glowing comments all around.
4 of us went to have dinner here, based on the rave reviews. We were not disappointed. Every dish was excellent, as was the wine, and overall, for the price they charge, it was good value for money. The decor is upscale casual, and the only drawback is that the place was very noisy, but that's what you get at a casual restaurant. Despite the noise, I quite enjoyed the atmosphere here. Somehow, one is made to feel very comfortable. If you sit in the back, there is a decent view out the window.
Nice blend of flavours in most dishes. I'm normally not a mussel person, but I'd have to say, I really do enjoy the mussels here. You really can't go wrong. So tasty and the sauce is so soupy, that you feel like slurping that up, too! Great for dipping and great for eating as is, and the added sea salt makes it even more delicious.
The halibut is really good--lightly battered, as tasty as the best fish & chips out there.
I'd avoid the foie gras de canard served terrine style here though as it wasn't very satisfying and definitely not worth the heartfailure thereafter from having consumed something so rich in fat. I don't know if it's because it's duck or what. Also, as far as duck goes, I'd also recommend passing on the duck breast. Way too chewy, and fatty, but somehow still a little dry... and again, chewy to the point where I just stopped eating it after the first bite.
The portions are fair and the prices are alright.
Good solid service. Nice lively casual atmosphere in the middle of a quiet street.
Went to Chambar with my brother the other night. The service was prompt and friendly, I was led to a seat right away. Loved the ambiance in the restaurant, it was quite hip and modern; the lighting inside was dim but not too dark.
We ordered the spiced fois gras terrine to start, then the coquette moules frites, and after much consideration, ended our great meal with the Symphonie Tropicale. Out starter took no time to arrive. It was quite unique, because we've never had cold fois gras before. It was definitely a very unique experience for our palate, a GOOD unique experience! But it would be great if there was more of the brioche french toast to go with the fois gras, because on its own, it was quite salty, but the everything balanced perfectly when eaten with the brioche french toast.
Next came the moules frites. The fries were served with a dijon mayo, which we both enjoyed quite a bit. There were plently of mussels in the pot with plenty of bacon. The broth was quite flavourful and delicious and the mussels were cooked just right. We were just too full to order a side of bread to scoop up the reminder of the broth.
We were a little hesitant when it came to dessert, but after much deliberation, we decided to go with the Symphanie Tropicale, which was a coconut macaroon with passionfruit curd and pina colada sorbet. It was a pretty tiny dessert for $11 (we each had about 2 small bites), but it was just so perfect that we couldn't complain. The pina colada sorbet was so refreshing that it make us felt like we were on the beach! We really just wish there was more of it.
Great experience, would definitely go back to try other items on their menu. Or might just go there for drinks and dessert!
Been coming here for the last 4 or 5 years and will return for years to come. The food is beautifully and consistently well made whether it's their famous mussels, duck, lamb or appetizers. In particular, I LOVE their foie gras appy and the accompanying brioche. The portion size looks small but it's so rich and creamy that it can easily be spread across many brioches over so you should order an extra plate of brioche. Service was great the entire evening and they didn't seem to mind that we took 3 hours to enjoy our meal. As noted in previous posts, the sound level can get fairly high but heck, what's a few hours in a bustling, noisy resto? At least it has great vibe and is full of energy. Prices have gone up, so the value mark has slipped a bit in my view. Great food for the pricing though but I would not consider this a weekly event, saved for special occasions. If you love mussels, you must come here and your benchmark for great mussels will be reset. Even the stuff in Brussels can't compare.
At the last minute, a friend and I decided to go eat at Chambar because the restaurant we did make a reservation at did not have the coveted AC during a summer heat wave. We were seated at the bar, even though we were offered a window seat at the front/loungy part of the restaurant.
Service: Bartender was excellent, she knew how to look after her guests and it was a great pleasure to see her mix up fresh creative drinks - using ingredients like vanilla and lavendar syrup and slicing up fresh fruit like lemons. Servers were professional, courteous and attentive.
Food: The tomato cream mussels were tasty. Lots of fresh mussels, served up in a tomato, onion and cumin broth. Would have liked to have tasted a bit more of the chili, but sauce was solid as made. The fries were a bit too salty. My girlfriend and I both ordered the duck done three ways: not sure the bold flavors of the sides actually worked: the beets in the orange vinaigrette was quite sour and overpowering, the goat cheese green beans was also overpowering in its piquantness, the cheese didn't seem to help mellow out the flavor, the walnut mash was interesting, but it just didn't wow me, and the walnut chunks were too large. The duck, however, was done medium and very tender and flavorful.
Ambiance: Chill, relaxed yet sophisticated. Very nice.
I came here with my boyfriend in December 2008 for some late night food. We got the mussels and we thought that they were cooked perfectly, not even a little bit of rubbery texture. We also tried the venison carpaccio and it was pretty good, it was a little bit more chewy than cru's carpaccio, maybe because it is sliced slightly thicker but it was great, I liked it more than CRU's, but my bf liked CRU's more. We also had lamb loin and it was great, my bf liked it. My only complaint for Chambar is just that sometimes it's a little too crowded and noisy so it was a little uncomfortable to chat. But, I would definitely come again.
Went with a group of friends, we had a reservation and were seated/greeted right away.
Service is always great; prompt, friendly, attentive.
My husband and I shared the beef carpaccio, tomato/cilantro mussels and the braised lamb. Yes I agree it's a bit pricey but well worth it; very reasonable in my opinion. Everything was flavourful, perfectly cooked and delicious. The mussels are by far a MUST when we visit, along with the poutine. Always a fabulous time, have been going for a few years and will continue to do so.
This time we tried the braised lamb; juicy, tender, accompanied by a couscous/tabouleh.. I loved it, my husband liked it but not as much as I did; he found it a bit small. Carpaccio was good but I would have like to have a baguette for some added texture; we didn't ask for any - it would have been nice; still good, well seasoned.
Busy, but not full around 730pm; after the hockey game it filled right up with post game diners; I have to say that parking is always a pain in that area. The impark lots charge $20 due to event pricing(on game days) so it ends up being costly. We valeted for $15(cash only) after driving around for 20 mins looking for a spot.
All in all a favorite. Try a few appies instead of a main course.
Overall, we had a good experience. We did enjoy ourselves. But the food and prices didn't match the service and ambience.
My lamb couscous was ok. The lamb tasted good, but I found the sauce was not sufficient for the couscous, which absorbed it all quickly - rendering the dish dry.
My fellow diners were NOT impressed with the mussels - neither the Congolais version, nor the white wine version. Comments were that the sauces did not allow the mussels to play a role in the dish.
Appies and desserts were good. Not outstanding.
I have no qualms spending big money for good food. For the food you get, it's big money. I think similar prices can get you far superior culinary experiences. My impression is that the food concept takes the piss a bit - i.e. it takes its own name, Chambar, as a high-end brand and charges accordingly. But as for me, I've never been impressed with something just because it's expensive.
Good selection of alcoholic beverages. Nice welcoming decor. Pleasant servers. Efficient kitchen. The menu is eclectic mix with Belgian/French/Middle Eastern flavors. The first few visits were very good. But the last couple of times wasnt as good. Tajime is a little too sweet for my liking. The fries were served somewhat cold. Great place to have a drink before the Hockey Game or Concert.
we went to Chambar for valentines day and the experience, the restaurant and the food definitely lived up to its reputation and its hype. right from the moment we walked in the door to the time that we finished our meal everone was polite, knowledgeable and went out of their way to make it a pleasant and special dining experience for us.
The food is delectable, and they had a wide array of lagers and beers to choose from. The food was unique and we had especially enjoyed the beef bourguignon. The Baked Alaska desert was the perfect way to appease our taste buds because it wasnt too sweet for myself, but sweet enough for my fiance to enjoy.
Like the previous review, this was my second time here as well. The first time was for drinks when they first opened. We were well received on a Sunday afternoon even though we were decidedly underdressed. Even got some free drinks on that occaision. We went there for dinner a few nights ago and were squeezed in without a reservation. The service was prompt and friendly and the food was excellent. We ordered Flatiron Steak and the Lamb Tagine. Excellent preparation and presentation. All the elements on the plate were disctinctly flavoured and individually prepared to perfection. Interesting contrasts in tastes and textures in the steak plate. as much as I like the food, though, I have a few complaints.
I somewhat understand the previous review about feeling unwelcome there. Besides the two times I've gained entrance, twice I showed up when they were full and there was no room. Twice I was made to feel very unwelcome and even stupid for not having a reservation by the same very abrupt and arrogant hostess. Also, I can't get over the feeling that the place is just a meat market reedeemed and sustained by good food. Everytime I've been there I've felt immediately scrutinized and could almost feel my wallet being weighed by both customers and staff as I entered the restaurant.
I probably will go back but pick times without the hostess from Hell and the gold diggers in attendance.
We went out with friends last night here, do your self a favour and make a reservation because it is very busy!
Everything about this place left me with a very good feeling of value and appreciation of our patronage, from thr valet service ($6 not bad!!)
to the excellent and exstensive list of belgian beers. The true forte of this place are the Moulle Frite, the mussels are cooked to perfection in a variety of traditional and new style sauces. My fave is the red spicy Congolese. The portion is filling and thier side/tapas menu is limited but very good, try the olive platter. The service was attentive friendly and unobtusive. All in all we would go back just for Beer Mussels and those addictive belgian fries!
This place is definately happening. Great martinis especially the Tin Tin with Puree. The Food is ok but the service is awesome. Best thing we ate there was the Yam Fries. Dunno what it is but those Yams are addicting, kinda like Lays Potato chips.
Love the brick wall setting and the restaurat ambience is great.
Make reservations or plan to wait in line like we did. Nice decor.