Bon appétit! Vancouver's excellent French bistros

Who isn’t always in the mood for simple, delicious, affordable food, served in a casual but elegant setting? Enter the bistro. The French may have mastered this perfect night out, but Vancouverites are happily carrying on the tradition, as is evident by the popularity of the bistros below.

Jules Restaurant

216 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2K8

The leafy, cobblestoned setting of this Gastown bistro is perfectly suited to the air of Frenchness it exudes. Straight out of Montreal, the interior is all black and white tile, dark wood and chandeliers. A perfect date restaurant and also great for a crowd, start with escargots or an Alsatian tart before moving on to entrecote or moules frites. An excellent wine menu rounds out the meal. Oh, and be sure to ask for another basket of that perfect sliced baguette.

Les Faux Bourgeois Bistro

663 15th Ave E, Vancouver, BC V5T 2R6

A pioneer on the formerly sketchy block of Fraser and Kingsway, Les Faux Bourgeois has expanded to accommodate the legions of Vancouver diners who have been flocking here since 2008. This is no-fuss, old world French cooking: salade de gesiers, pâté de campagne duck confit, bouillabaisse. Staff are charmingly French-accented and the space itself refreshingly unfussy. Reservations are strongly recommended, or find a spot at the bar if that craving for Cassoulet on a cold January night quickly needs addressing.

La Brasserie

1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1M5

Stroll by this Davie Street bistro on any given day and peer in the window to watch chefs at work. Golden chickens turn on the rotisserie and more than two dozen baguettes are piled on the counter all in anticipation of mopping up the evening’s Franco-German fare. The tiny space is romantically lit, the wine list is small but tight and the burger is brasserie food at its best (and probably best paired with any one of many German or French beers).

Wagon Rouge

1869 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1H8

Pushing any notion of snobbishness associated with French dining completely aside, the Wagon Rouge is anything but stuffy. Vinyl seats and 60s lamps abound. Servers in concert t-shirts and cut-offs expertly guide your food and wine choices. Local record stores curate the soundtrack and the fresh, changing menu is French-inspired with a Pacific twist. A fun, tasty night out in an intimate setting — this is a place that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Except when it comes to the food.

Salade de Fruits Inc

1545 7th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6J 1S1

Grab a table either before or after some French cultural programming at le Centre Culturel on 7th. Housed within the community centre, this lovely little café/bistro presents the classics as well as some additional items (think vegetarian lasagne and crab cakes). Focus your choices on those classics, though. Salade de grenouille (frog’s leg salad) and carré d’agneau (veal) showcase the traditional roots of chef Antoine Bonard. Try the changing weekly table d’hôte — a three-course meal at a very reasonable $28.

Tableau Bar Bistro

1181 Melville St, Vancouver, BC V6E 0A3

Lively, dark and filled with an eclectic mix of diners — suits, travelers, dates, girlfriends, older couples — Tableau in Coal Harbour encourages lingering. Stop in for an after-work drink at their bar and it won’t be long before your stomach starts to growl as you smell the aromas from the kitchen waft through the dining room. Have them find you a table in back, order dishes as you crave them and stretch out the evening — this epitomizes relaxed bistro dining.

From barrel-aging spirits to foraging local herbs, Vancouver's cocktail bars are as adventurous as they are creative. Here are Vancouver's best cocktail bars, straight up. [Photo © Yellow Pages / Pages Jaunes]
Ice cream: what more needs to be said? We've got the scoop on some of the city’s best. From taco-style waffle cones to virtuous vegan treats, here are a few of our fave Vancouver ice cream joints. [Photo courtesy of Rain or Shine Ice Cream]
No longer just the domain of bachelorette parties and late-night shots, tequila has been elevated to the sophisticated liquor it should be. With high-end, artisanal varieties finding their way to bars and into cocktails across Vancouver, you’ll see why this is the nectar of the Aztec gods.
Close menu