It’s true, the French know what they’re doing in the kitchen and I’m a sucker for it. Whether it’s their joie de vivre attitude, or that France is one of the most romantic countries, there’s something sexy and appealing when it comes to French cuisine. Vancouver is beautiful and romantic and we are lucky enough to have some fantastic French restaurants that would impress your maman or papa.
Pastries are something that the French have nailed down pat and Boulangerie Cho Pan have mastered this craft. Their almond and pistachio croissants are to die for. If you’re looking for a quick lunch, their smoked salmon baguette will hit the spot. Okay, so that’s a slightly West Coast influenced baguette, but it’s worth having while you’re there.
Cheese, the French love their cheese and in turn, we love their cheese. Vancouver has some stellar cheese shops and we are quite spoiled for choice when it comes to finding specialty cheeses. Les Amis du Fromage is one of the more well known cheese shops in the city and they have been so successful that they decided to open up a restaurant, Au Petit Chavignol. This is the spot to go to for all things cheese; raclette, fondue, tartiflette, or just plain cheese and bread. You just can’t go wrong with cheese, unless you’re lactose intolerant.
Les Faux Bourgeois is a popular restaurant because of its consistently good food, great atmosphere and friendly prices. They serve traditional French fare ranging from escargots Bourgogne, canard confit, le steak frites and of course, crème brûlée. It’s a bus or cab ride from downtown Vancouver to it’s East 15th street location, but it’s well worth the trip.
If you’re looking for something a little more lavish, Le Crocodile is standard in Vancouver. The service is top notch and you can expect to be pampered during your dining experience. The Soupe de Tomates au Gin et Crème Fraîche (tomato and gin soup) is a lovely way to start your meal, it’s refreshing, smooth and flavourful. Sweetbreads are a classic French ingredient and they execute these gems well. As a child my parents fed me frog legs at a French restaurant in Toronto and if I ever desire to re-live that moment, I will certainly do so at Le Crocodile. I don’t see that item being ordered for myself any time soon though.
Over in West Van is a culinary star, La Régalade. They have been serving up traditional French cuisine for many years and the portions are always hearty, the prices are right and they never have failed to impress my taste buds. Part of the charm is the way that they serve their dishes, in little pots. The homemade pâté is always a good bet to start, as well as the onion quiche or frisée salad. If beef bourguignon is on the menu the night you go, please do yourself a favour and order it! Otherwise, the chicken fricassee is equally delicious.
The idea of jumping on a plane and travelling across France on a culinary adventure sounds lovely and exciting, but for now a culinary adventure in Vancouver will have to suffice. With restaurants like these, I think I’ll be okay.