This Playful French Restaurant Is A Celeb Photographer’s Haven
Celebrity photographer Caitlin Cronenberg — who has captured everyone from Drake to Keira Knightley — tell us why Toronto’s La Banane is her “favorite room.” Her latest book, The Endings, is on sale now.
“I feel strongly impacted by the decorating of wherever I am, especially when I’m eating something. I love that the first thing you see when you walk into La Banane are those amazing light fixtures over the bar — they’re glass chandeliers that are kind of Deco. It just sets a tone that makes you feel warm from the inside out. I love the specific color of green on the walls, the mismatched tables and love seats at the front, and the funny, banana-themed art. La Banane is all about French food that’s the best you’ve ever had, but the restaurant never takes itself too seriously, and it’s beautiful.”
“You don’t ever feel uncomfortable here,” says Caitlin. “You can wear jeans if you want, but you could also wear a dress. It’s a casual feeling, but it’s amazing.”
Layers of green in the glossy teal lacquered walls, chartreuse velvet banquettes and pistachio-hued chairs create an intimate, clubby feel. “When I come here to eat, I always have their crazy mashed potatoes — the Pommes Aligot,” she says.
“When I’m with lots of friends, I really like sitting at the front by the window at one of the long tables,” says Caitlin. “That area feels really lively.”
Into the Grove, a 40-foot-long mural by Barr Gilmore, is inspired by banana palms and the works of painter Frank Stella. “I really love the booths; they’re so cozy and fun,” says Caitlin. “You face the bar, see people come up and watch the bartenders make drinks. I feel like each section of the restaurant has its own personality.”
At the bar, a marble counter, bentwood stools and brass accents are all classic hallmarks of French bistro style.
The chandeliers are ’70s vintage Craigslist finds salvaged from a renovation by Mason Studio. La Banane co-owner Sarah Keenlyside sourced the banana-themed artwork for the restaurant.