Cabrito
By Diane Duflot

Travelling Tastebuds

When an opportunity arose for chef Alexandre Carrière to open his own restaurant on Commercial Drive in December 2015, he welcomed the chance. Alexandre is no stranger to taking risks; the accomplished chef relocated to Vancouver in 2008, leaving his native France, where he had experience at several Michelin-starred restaurants, to experiment with a different work-life balance here in Canada.

Since coming to Vancouver, Alexandre has done stints at a some of the city's finest dining French rooms, including DB Bistro Moderne, Le Parisien and Les Faux Bourgeois, as well as Middle Eastern favourite Nuba. While he was happy to hone his expertise in French cooking over the years, the curious chef eventually began to crave a new adventure.

Alexandre is a traveller at heart, and he was looking to expand his talents beyond French cuisine. “I think we can travel through cooking," he explains. "And I really needed to change my routine.” He had been too long in one place. and was ready to try something new. “I’ve been to Spain many times,” he says. “I love it there...the food, the music.”

Chef Alexandre Carrière has worked at some of the city's finest dining rooms.
Chef Alexandre Carrière has worked at some of the city's finest dining rooms. Photo credit: Daniel Marquardt
Small plates are ideal for sharing among friends
Small plates are ideal for sharing among friends. Photo credit: Daniel Marquardt

Simply Spanish, With a Twist

At Cabrito, Alexandre has created a simple tapas menu: there are no appetizers or mains, just small plates that are meant to be shared by friends around the table. Although tapas is a Spanish concept, Alexandre has added his own (decidedly French) twist. In lieu of a steak tartare, for example, the menu features a fresh beet tartare. The Escabeche-style mussels and clams would be just at home on either side of the France-Spain border.

Alexandre places an emphasis on local, seasonal food, as well. Cabrito's charcuterie and sausage is sourced from Granville Island’s Oyama Sausage, as well as a Spanish importer. Fish and seafood come from Finest at Sea, also on Granville Island, while the meat comes from North Vancouver’s Two Rivers Meats (who source antibiotic-, hormone- and chemical-feed-free meat from local farms), and the bread is from Kitsilano’s Beyond Bread. Cabrito also serves craft brews from Brassneck Brewery (located on Main Street) and from Four Winds in Delta.

Cabrito Tapas Bar's popular beet tartare.
Cabrito Tapas Bar's popular veggie-friendly beet tartare. Photo credit: Daniel Marquardt
Colourful cocktails add to the lively experience at Cabrito.
Colourful cocktails add to the lively experience at Cabrito. Photo credit: Daniel Marquardt

Mediterranean Hospitality on The Drive

A floor-to-ceiling window at the front of the restaurant and plenty of wood accents throughout the space work to create a warm ambiance that carries through to the open kitchen, which is a feature Alexandre says he loves, because “it makes me feel like I’m cooking for my friends.”

The dining room's clear focal point is the mural of a bull and matador covering one entire wall. The colourful artwork seems to anchor the dual themes that run through Cabrito – the warmth of Spain, and friendship – since it was painted by Alexandre's good friend, award-winning artist Yared Nigussu.

With an energetic vibe and eclectic menu of beautiful small plates, it seems that Alexandre's vision for Cabrito has come to fruition. “It comes alive in here night,” he says, smiling, “People spend time entertaining each other over dinner and drinks and allow the time to fly by.”

A colourful mural by artist Yared Nigussu is a focal point of the dining room at Cabrito.
A colourful mural by artist Yared Nigussu is a focal point of the dining room at Cabrito.
Cabrito's outdoor seating area is an ideal spot for people watching along Vancouver's eclectic Commercial Drive.
Cabrito's outdoor seating area is an ideal spot for people watching along Vancouver's eclectic Commercial Drive.
Close menu
Subscribe to YP Newsletter