L'Abattoir photo by KK Law
Who’d have thought that the site of Vancouver’s first jail would go on to house one of the city’s finest food destinations? Chic L’Abattoir, which nabbed the #3 spot in enRoute’s 2011 list of the best new restaurants in Canada, keeps diners coming back thanks to the French-influenced West Coast fare and scene-stealing decor. —Jennifer Patterson
Pork rack chop with Parmesan gnocchi and bacon jus, at Hamilton Street Grill. Photo by KK Law
4 Eco-Friendly Eats
Looking for a meal that’s as good for the environment as it is for you? These Green Table–certified restaurants are sustainable from top to bottom.
1 Hamilton Street Grill Warm and friendly, this converted Yaletown warehouse is known for certified Angus steaks and great seafood.
2 Raincity Grill Across the street from English Bay beach, regional-seasonal plates are paired with wines from throughout the Pacific Northwest.
3 Commune Cafe Right downtown, this minimalist cafeteria-style spot with a hipster buzz serves all things free-range, organic and sustainable, from dawn to dusk and beyond. (more…)
Boneta's new digs. Photo by KK Law
Gastown’s popular Boneta has moved—almost right next door. The edgy new spot, tucked in behind Gassy Jack’s statue, sports a French-inspired, locally grounded menu and a convenient back door off Blood Alley. Those seeking more traditional continental fare head to Water Street Cafe, while seafood lovers pack into Cork & Fin and hop hounds find the city’s best craft brew selection at cozy and casual Alibi Room.—Tim Pawsey
BONETA Bartender of the Year, Vancouver magazine 2011. This modern bistro serves artfully presented dishes on a constantly changing menu. Reservations advised. $$. D (M-Sa). 12 Water St. 604-684-1844. www.boneta.ca
WATER STREET Cafe Overlooks Gastown’s cobbled streets and trademark steam clock. Fresh seafood, veal, lamb and daily specials. Private dining rooms. Reservations recommended. $$. L/D (daily). 300 Water St. 604-689-2832.
CORK & FIN Casual seafood and wine bistro. Decadent seafood dishes, oyster bar and vegetarian items. $$-$$$. D (Tu-Su). 221 Carrall St. 604-569-2215. www.corkandfin.ca
THE ALIBI ROOM Trendy spot serves dishes inspired by the modern English tavern. Menu changes seasonally. DJs (F-Sa). $$. D (Tu-Sa), brunch (Sa-Su). 157 Alexander St. 604-623-3383. www.alibi.ca
The French Table photo by KK Law
Chef Hervé Martin, who closed his long-running Hermitage earlier this year, has resurfaced at Main and 23rd, just a short cab ride from downtown. The French Table (pictured), neighbourhood bistro in style, sports a menu hinging on classics such as coq au vin, duck confit, steak frîtes and pan-fried sweetbreads, along with an approachable wine list that still includes Martin’s family-estate Burgundy. Find more good Gallic fare at North Vancouver’s Chez Michel and at west side Mistral Bistro.—Tim Pawsey
The French Table, $$. L (M-F), D (daily), brunch (Sa-Su). 3916 Main St. 604-689-3237.
Chez Michel Restaurant, $$. L/D (Tu-Sa). 1373 Marine Dr., West Vancouver. 604-926-4913.
Mistral Bistro, $$. L/D (Tu-Sa). 2585 W. Broadway. 604-733-0046.
Moules frites at Tableau Bar-Bistro. Photo by KK Law
Tucked in below soaring glass towers in downtown’s Coal Harbour, Tableau Bar-Bistro at the Loden Hotel offers a West Coast homage to the classic French bistro, complete with black and white marble tiles and dark marble long bar. Chef Marc-André Choquette delivers a delicious updated take on classic French fare, such as French onion soup, rare-seared tuna niçoise and tender, juicy lamb chops. Drop in for a glass of local beer, sazerac or almond pastis, before moules frites (pictured) or a perfect lunchtime burger.—Tim Pawsey