French food evokes a certain je ne sais quoi–let's be real, butter, wine, and a great atmosphere are a triple threat. From gooey french onion soup to rich beef bourguignon, the city is dotted with excellent French restaurants that will have you wanderlust for France.
Should Les Faux Bourgeois' reservation scene be an indicator for how much Vancouver locals love it, you'd know it's a local favorite. They have created a warm environment, a delicious menu with all the classics (and then some!), and have paired it with excellent service and a very affordable price point. They're usually booked for prime times a couple of weeks out so you'll want to call well in advance to book a table.
If a restaurant has been around for over 30 years, they're doing something right. Le Crocodile has been a fixture in both Vancouver's fine dining and French cuisine scene for decades now and it's no surprise given Chef Michel Jacob's skills in the kitchen. Le Crocodile has built its success on exquisite food, impeccable service, and fabulous wine cellar. Expect to receive five star service and a memorable meal–it's perfect for celebratory meals.
For something casual with a twist, a visit to Linh Cafe is a must. Chef Tai Nguyen came to Vancouver from Northern Vietnam and has trained under some of Vancouver's best French chefs and he brings excellent French and Vietnamese cuisine to Kitsilano. Here, you'll find classic French dishes like chicken fricasse and cassoulet alongside Vietnamese dishes like banh mi cay hai phong and cha muc.
French restaurants are scattered throughout the city and cater to all budgets and occasions. These ten best restaurants will get you started on a culinary journey to France.
Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge
Located in the Wedgewood Hotel, Bacchus is a local gem that's been around for years. The room is filled with touches of rich wood, jewel-toned velvet, and soothing music from the live pianist. They're open from the early morning hours for breakfast through to the evening for dinner and drinks.
The menu is chock-full of delicious options. Start with the Nova Scotia lobster bisque served with smoked pepper beignets and cognac crème fraîche before tucking into the beef tenderloin and braised short rib that's served with creamed polenta, roasted root vegetables, and pan juices. Be sure to save room for a French classic, vanilla creme brulee!
After dinner, head to the lounge for a night cap in front of the warm fireplace. (604-608-5319)
Provence Marinaside is a go-to restaurant when you're chasing the sun with a hungry belly. Open for breakfast, brunch (weekends), lunch and dinner, a French meal can be enjoyed any time of day.
Breakfast and brunch has all of your classic favorites, like eggs Benedict, crepes, and omelettes. No brunch is complete without a mimosa and they have a few different twists on the classic.
Lunch and dinner offerings are comprised of French classics, West Coast-inspired plates and lovely antipasto options that are great for sharing. While the French food draws people in, the waterfront views are a welcome addition. The patio fills up quickly on warm days so if you want to sit outside and soak up the sun, get there early. (604-681-4144)
What happens when you combine traditional French and modern Vietnamese cooking? Linh Cafe, of course. This family-style restaurant's atmosphere is cozy and fuss-free, the service is friendly, and the food is excellent. Tai Nguyen, chef and owner, moved to Vancouver from North Vietnam in 2001 and after learning from some of the city's best French chefs, his love (and skill) for French cuisine was developed.
The menu can be described as "authentic country-style French cuisine with a twist of Vietnamese cuisine". Diners will enjoy French dishes like chicken fricasse and cassoulet or Vietnamese dishes like the Hanoi breakfast (beef noodle soup) and banh mi cay hai phong (spicy baguette sticks); it's all about enjoying the best of both worlds here.
Located in Kitsilano on West 4th Ave, Cafe Linh is easy to get to. They're open for brunch, lunch, and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. ((604) 559-4668)
Salade de Fruits Café
Want to feel like you've turned the corner and landed in Paris? Seek out this little cafe right in the middle of the French Cultural Center and your wallet will thank you in more ways than one; no airfare for starters, and a great value on well-prepared dishes. You'll need a rudimentary knowledge of French to make a selection from a menu that includes classics such as carnard confit and lapin grille entrees and for dessert creme brulée du jour or decadent gâteau ganache. The changing weekly table d'hôte is also a great deal. A leisurely brunch at Salade de Fruits is a wonderful way to spend a Saturday or Sunday. (604-714-5987)
Jules Bistro has been a Gastown staple for those looking for French cuisine since 2007. Born and raised in Dijon, France, owner and chef, Emmanuel Joinville, brings his skillful love of cooking to each dish he creates. After his apprenticeship and opening his own restaurant in Dijon, he ventured to Paris where he opened a small gastropub near the Eiffel Tower before moving to Vancouver and opening Jules Bistro.
Set among Vancouver's cobblestone streets, Jules Bistro serves traditional French dishes with West Coast touches. On the menu you'll find classic dishes like escargots bourguignonne, duck confit, moules frites and flavourful steaks served with your choice of sauce. For dessert, a sour cherry clafoutis with buttermilk-lemon sorbet does just the trick and is the perfect blend of sweet and tart. Jules Bistro is open for lunch, dinner, happy hour and weekend brunch. (604-669-0033)
L'Abattoir is located in the centre of Gastown between historic Gaoler's Mews and Blood Alley. The restaurant was built in the 19th century and is the site of Vancouver's first jail.
Originally buttressed to the city's main butchery and meat packing district, the name L'Abattoir pays homage to the neighborhood's colorful past. Set in a refurbished brick and beam building that combines classic French tile work with industrial fixtures, natural wood, and glass and steel finishes.
The restaurant offers a bar and lounge setting, elevated dining room and a plush, sun soaked atrium. The menu showcases artfully prepared dishes that pay homage to French cuisine. (6045681701)
Bistro Wagon Rouge
Bistro Wagon Rouge is the sister restaurant to Red Wagon, a popular brunch spot in Vancouver, but the only things they have in common are great food and reasonable prices.
Bistro Wagon Rouge is a blue collar French restaurant in East Vancouver. It's the epitome of a neighborhood restaurant-its cozy atmosphere, daily specials, and great service have attracted a following of regulars.
The menu includes classic French dishes like steak frites, onion soup, terrines, cassoulet and other familiar dishes. The menu changes regularly because they use what's fresh and in season, which makes dining here a new experience each time. The food is excellent and the price point is very reasonable for what you're getting. ((604) 251-4070)
If you have a love affair with Parisian cafes, Au Comptoir in Vancouver's Kitsilano doesn't disappoint. They're also open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so you've got options.
In the morning go for the flaky pastries or the omelette with gruyere, fine herbs, and salad; with a cafe au lait, of course. For lunch, you've got light and hearty options that'll keep you going for the rest of the day. The house burger and frites is worth the midday splurge because it's made with house ground beef, onion jam,and raclette cheese. Feeling extra indulgent? Add foie gras. Throughout the week they have various specials (along with the regular menu) that complement the well-stocked wine list.
The space itself nods to Parisian cafes; from the outside, classic French bistro chairs greet guests. When it comes to service, it's friendly and efficient. ((604) 569-2278)
Chef Michel Jacob's Alsatian-style cuisine is one for the books and absolutely worth the splurge. From the warm and inviting atmosphere to the impeccable service and incredible dishes, Le Crocodile continues to be a local favorite for special occasions.
The menu boasts plenty of sumptuous hot and cold starters that set the stage nicely for the main event. Finish your meal with French cheeses or a sweet treat to complete your experience.
Le Crocodile is a Vancouver institution and has been around for over 30 years. Locals know they can go to Le Crocodile for a consistently good meal and that old school French charm, making it one of the best restaurants in the downtown core. (604-669-4298)
Les Faux Bourgeois
Les Faux Bourgeois is a favorite among Vancouverites because the food is excellent, the atmosphere is warm, and the price is right. You don't have to spend a bundle to enjoy classic French cuisine in Vancouver, making this spot a perfect place to take a date. Most main course dishes are under $20 and the portion sizes are generous.
The menu features traditional French dishes like canard confit, mussels in white wine, and coq au vin. Appetizers include escargots de bourgogne, sweetbreads, country style pork pate and other mouth watering treats to start your meal. The menu hasn't seen any major changes since opening and diners love that they know they can always count on their favorite dish being on the menu. Daily specials are offered for those looking for a change, or to try something new. ((604) 873-9733)
About Natasha John
Natasha is not born and raised in Vancouver, but is pretty certain it's her spirit hometown. After jumping around Canada, Texas, Arkansas and the UK, she has her feet firmly planted in Vancouver's beaches.
When Natasha's not freelance writing and copywriting, she's either cooking up a storm in her kitchen, kicking back with friends over a glass of wine or exploring the North Shore with her fiancé.
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