By Wade Kinley
No matter where you live on the West Coast, we could all use a little more French in our lives. Now that’s especially true when it comes to our stomachs. Luckily for us in this part of the world, we’re never too far away from the rich taste and satisfying muah of a proper French dining experience. Here are five places in Metro Vancouver to find un repas magnifique!
This unassuming little cafe tucked away on an industrial block next to the on-ramps to the Second Narrows Bridge offers up no-nonsense, authentic French fare to those who seek it out. Chef Dhurev Jhanjee and his wife Nupur Jhanjee who runs the front have earned a reputation for attention and consistency to everything French, from the cornichons on the house foie gras plate to the etiquette of service that will make you feel like you’ve just ducked into a cozy little corner of Paris.
319 Mountain Hwy, North Vancouver
Transit: 5-minute walk from Phibbs Exchange
Long a bastion for fine dining on the south side of the Fraser, the Old Surrey has been run by the Aguirre family since Valentine and Lesley Aguirre realized their dream of opening a French fine dining restaurant in 1975. Their son Philip took over in 2007 after a stint learning the ropes in St Jean de Luz and Biarritz, in the same are his father was born. Now as Executive Chef, Phillip specializes, and his customers delight in signature dishes prepared tableside such as the Chateaubriand Bouquetiere (filet mignon with burgundy sauce) and flambeéd Crepes Suzette.
13483 72 Ave, Surrey
Transit: Near bus stops for R1, 319, 321, 322, 393, 394
Straight from the South of France where he ran a boulangerie for many years, Olivier brought over his passion and dedication to the slow-fermentation process so integral to that pillar of what the world knows as French cuisine – the bread. Today the master bakers here are also from France and adhere to the old-world, “slow-crafted” style of making bread. You can find Olivier’s products in grocery stores all over the lower mainland, but you can’t get it any fresher than from their Coquitlam bakery and cafe where you can enjoy a warm baguette sandwich or indulge in a flaky Chocolatine with your espresso.
12 King Edward St #101, Coquitlam
Transit: Near bus stops for 159, 169, 791
Overlooking the oldest vineyard on the Fraser Valley, the Bacchus Bistro at the Chaberton Estate Winery boasts not only some of the finest French cuisine you’ll find on the West Coast, but also some of the prettiest views to enjoy it with as well. The a la carte menu features true bistro-style recipes such as Prawns “à l’Andalouse” and Duck Confit, made all the more special with seasonal ingredients from right here at home. And of course, each dish comes with a suggested wine pairing from right outside the windows.
1064 216 St, Langley
Even after just reading about all that rich and decadent French food above, you may find yourself craving something a little sweeter, but just as decadent. Take a trip out to Burnaby for that, to Mon Paris Patisserie where Chef Elena Krasnova offers up her pastry and confectionary creations from the cozy cafe she opened in 2017. Elana honed her craft at the famed Ferrandi Ecole de Gastronomie in Paris and you can see her passion reflected in 100% authentic French sweets such as Peach Galette, Macarons and her ever-popular French Opera Cake with coffee and dark chocolate mousse.
4396 Beresford St., Burnaby
Transit: A short walk from Metrotown SkyTrain Station