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Say oui to some of the best French cuisine that the city has to offer
Husband-and-wife team Cory (chef) and Juliana (front of house) Pearson opened Absinthe Bistro in Vancouver after falling in love with French cuisine while working at Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris. Choose from their seasonal fixed price or a la carte menus, and be sure to try one of their absinthe cocktails like the Naughty Fairy or the Absinthe Martini.
Location: 1260 Commercial Dr.
Slip into a sumptuous velvet booth at Bacchus Restaurant, in the Wedgewood Hotel, order a bottle from their extensive wine cellar and dine on a selection of modern French cuisine from their award-winning menu made with local ingredients from the land and sea.
Location: 845 Hornby St.
Fifteen years after restauranteur and BC Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee John Blakeley opened Bistro Pastis in Kitsilano. The cosy, upscale restaurant is still a favourite for classic bistro fare, like bouillabaisse and sole meunière, and its wonderful wine list is heavy on regions throughout France.
Location: 2153 West 4th Ave.
East Vancouver’s Bistro Wagon Rouge a.k.a. “blue collar French bistro” has a retro diner vibe, classic French comfort food made with quality ingredients – like cassoulet and French onion soup – a nice little drink menu, and prices that will have your wallet saying, “oui!”
Location: 1869 Powell St.
The delightful Café Salade de Fruits, owned by Antoine Bonard and Balendran Rameshan, is wonderfully French, with their rotating selection of table d’hote (chef’s choice) and a la carte items, like salade de saumon fumé and poisson du jour.
Location: 1551 W 7th Ave.
Perched over the Burrard Inlet in the Pan Pacific Hotel, Five Sails offers breathtaking views and upscale dining with their classic continental cuisine and international wine list with a special focus on labels from the Okanagan Valley. Sails is overseen by husband-and-wife owners, BC Restaurant Hall of Fame inductee chef Ernst Dorfler and Gerry Sayers.
Location: 410 – 999 Canada Place
Satisfy your appetite for casual French food at this classy Gastown gem, with its brick walls and black and white tiled floors lit by gorgeous crystal chandeliers. Jules Bistro serves staples like quiche or croque-monsieur for lunch, and moules frites or duck confit with warm potato salad for dinner.
Location: 216 Abbott St.
Set in a historic Gastown building, which was once Vancouver’s first jail, L’Abattoir serves polished food – like the terrine of duck foie gras and smoked duck breast with confit leg, apricot and beans – in an unfussy room with an eclectic mix of industrial, heritage and bistro décor.
Location: 217 Carrall St.
On Davie Street, La Brasserie‘s hot spot’s large, picture windows reveal a bustling, jovial scene inside, where guests dine on Franco-German cuisine like steak tartare and mushroom ragout with spaetzle. For worldly sippers, the wine and beer list heavy on international labels.
Location: 1091 Davie St.
A relatively new fixture on Kitsilano’s main strip, La Cigale is owned by France native Brigitte Raye (former co-owner at West Vancouver’s La Régalade), whose son Kevin Raye, as executive chef, prepares authentic French food like escargot with garlic and parsley butter and boeuf bourguignon. Tres bon!
Location: 1961 West 4th Ave.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the acclaimed Le Crocodile, in the heart of downtown Vancouver, remains steadfast in its French fine dining roots elevated by chef and owner Michel Jacob’s “innovative West Coast style” and “Alsatian flair.”
Location: 100 – 909 Burrard St.
The just-opened sister restaurant to John Blakeley’s celebrated Bistro Pastis, Left Bank features “a hybrid menu of bistro classics that have been kissed by the French colonies: North Africa, Asia and the Middle East.” It’s also got a bright and cheery dining room, and a lovely 35-seat patio – the first laneway patio in the West End.
Location: 751 Denman St.
Owners Chris Stewart and chef Andrey Durbach (also of La Buca, The Sardine Can and The Abbey) strive for “simplicity served well” at Pied- à-Terre in Cambie Village, winner of numerous “best casual French” restaurant awards. On a date? Go for the three-course dinner for two that comes with a bottle of house wine for $99.
Location: 3369 Cambie St.
Provence owners and chefs, Alessandra and Jean-Francis Quaglia, run his-and-hers restaurants in West Point Grey and Yaletown, respectively. Their joie de vivre is infectious and permeates the French-Mediterranean menu, with lively dishes highlighting seasonal ingredients – like their annual Tomato Festival, with features like the Provençal tomato tartlette and halibut puttanesca.
Provence Mediterranean Grill: 4473 West 10th Ave. (pictured above)
Provence Marinaside: 1177 Marinaside Crescent (pictured below)
Open for lunch and dinner, this longtime neighbourhood bistro in Kitsilano will satisfy your appetite for modern bistro fare – whether inside or out on the corner patio – like the onion, black olive and anchovy flatbread tart or the Salt Spring mussels in a pernod tomato broth with frites. Plus, don’t you fall in love with a place named Smoking Dog Bistro?
Location: 1889 West 1st Ave.
Set in swanky Coal Harbour, Tableau’s sophisticated vibe carries through its beautiful interior, curated international wine list, stellar cocktail menu and classic bistro features (lunch, dinner and weekend brunch) like the albacore tuna Niçoise salad, rabbit terrine and moules frites.
Location: 1181 Melville St.