Best French Restaurants in Vancouver: Indulge and Find Romance
By Natasha John
Vancouver Local Expert
French food evokes a certain je ne sais quoi and when you're in the mood for it, nothing else will satisfy. Gooey french onion soup, rich beef bourguignon, comforting country pates, savory sweetbreads and creamy creme brulee are just a few of the dishes that come to mind.
Le Crocodile has been a fixture in both Vancouver's fine dining and French cuisine scene for decades. It's built its success on exquisite food, impeccable service and fabulous wine cellar. Expect to receive five star service and a memorable meal at Le Crocodile. If you're celebrating something special, Le Crocodile is a lovely choice.
Les Faux Bourgeois has hit the nail on the head and is a darling amongst Vancouver's dining scene. 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. It's a must visit!
If you spoke to a local Francaphone, one of their suggestions would definitely be Salade de Fruits Cafe. This French run cafe is located right in the heart of the French cultural center. The prices are reasonable, the food is great and you will likely be dining amongst French diners.
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.
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 follow 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 there a real treat! There's always something new to try. The food is excellent and the price point isn't going to eat up your entire budget. ((604) 251-4070)
This French bistro is in the heart of Cambie Village. This area is a lovely part of Vancouver and has a slightly slower pace, but is just five minutes from downtown Vancouver. Pied-a-Terre is just as charming as the neighborhood and boasts a delicious menu that will fill and delight your appetite. The menu is broken down into appetizers, mains and desserts, with the option to have a three-course menu for $39.00. On the menu you will see things like Quadra Island mussels steamed in Chablis and served with the traditional pommes frites with a spicy aioli twist. The Alsatian onion pie with tomato, bacon and watercress salad is the perfect intro before you dig into a plate of duck confit. If you still have room, their desserts are made in-house and are fantastic. The space itself is cozy and inviting, yet sleek and modern. (604.873.3131)
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, Provence Marinaside is there for you any time of the day. Breakfast and brunch has all of your classic favorites, like eggs Benedict, crepes and omelettes. Feeling cheeky? Try one of their mimosas at your next brunch. Lunch and dinner offerings are comprised of French classics, West Coast inspired plates and lovely antipasto options. The patio fills up quickly on those warm days when the sun is out in full force, so get there early. Lucky diners will enjoy the views of the Seawall, expensive yachts and False Creek. (604-681-4144)
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, but L'Abattoir has put their own spin into their food. (6045681701)
Twisted Fork Bistro
Twisted Fork is an unlikely gem amongst the sea of bright lights along the Granville Street strip. This restaurant serves fabulous bistro fare at a bargain price, especially if you make their blue fence special. The Blue Fence special gives you three courses for $28 and the portions are huge and delicious. The wine menu boast small BC wineries that are all reasonably priced and when the bill comes, you will be pleasantly surprised at this steal of a deal! Everything is made in house, including the bread, which gives it an extra kick in the flavor factor and is comforting, to say the very least. Brunch on the weekend is equally just as fabulous and you can expect freshly made food, for reasonable prices and full of flavor. ((604) 568-0749)
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)
La Regalade is a long time favorite French restaurant in West Vancouver because of the excellent service and authentic food. If you've had traditional French bistro cuisine before, you're in for a treat at La Regalade. Indulge in house-made terrines, escargot, ratatouille and prawns, steak tartare and chicken fricassee. They also serve daily specials and have classic items like canard roti, beef bourguignon, and navarin d'agneau. The beef bourguingnon is excellent and the portion sizes are very generous; you're not going to go home hungry. If you still have room for dessert, they have a great selection of cheeses and sweet desserts that change now and then. If the tarte tatin is on the menu, make sure to order it. Just don't be surprised if you find unwanted forks digging into it when it arrives at the table. Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, La R�galade will transport you and your taste buds to France while you tuck into a gorgeous meal. (1-604-921-2228)
The Alsatian-style cuisine at this elegant restaurant is most pronounced in the savory onion pie served with a glass of chilled Alsace Edelzwicker. Other rich and saucy classics include calf's liver in garlic spinach butter, duck in a reduction with olives, and rabbit in a pinot noir sauce. The salmon is grilled with the skin on, and the Dover sole is pan-fried to perfection. Finish your meal with French cheeses or nibble on them prior to indulging in one of the many fine desserts. Le Crocodile is a Vancouver institution and has been around forever. Locals know they can go to Le Crocodile for a consistently good meal and that old school French charm. (604-669-4298)
Les Faux Bourgeois
Les Faux Bourgeois is a favorite amongst Vancouverites because the food is excellent, the atmosphere is warm and inviting 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 $20.00 and the portion sizes are generous. The menu features traditional French dishes like canard confit, mussels in white wine, coq au vin and steak frites. Appetizers include escargots de bourgogne, sweetbreads, country style pork pate and other mouth watering treats to start your meal off right. 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. Les Faux Bourgeois is unassuming from the exterior and you can easily miss it if you're unfamiliar with the area. ((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.
Read more about Natasha John here.