French - Vancouver Restaurants

 

r.tl regional tasting lounge (Yaletown, downtown)

r.tl regional tasting lounge (web site, map, 1130 Mainland Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-638-1550) is a recent (and notable!) addition to the upscale Yaletown restaurant and shopping district of downtown Vancouver.

Late on a Saturday night, a friend and I were wandering the misty streets of this former warehouse district, and poked our heads into a bunch of nice looking restaurants such as Capones Jazz Club (which has live jazz every night), George Lounge (a cocktail bar), and Milestones (a chain restaurant with upscale decor). After a glass of wine and a chicken salad at Milestones, we were looking to go some place “cooler” and chill out the rest of the evening.

We meandered over to Mainland Street and were intrigued by the mysterious looking sign that simply said “r.tl”, like some kind of secret code for a fabulous New York hideaway that only a few locals know about. This may be closer to reality than one may think – Vancouver’s food scene is getting to be well known on the international stage, offering some dining experiences that are as every bit exciting and substantial as the most prized eateries in New York and Paris.

While making trips around the world to try new restaurants may be a pastime of the privileged few, r.tl has a new concept that lets the ingredients, recipes, and traditions of fine regional cuisines of the world appear in the easily accessed (and perhaps more affordable) realm of its sleek, laid-back dining room. r.tl is called a “regional tasting lounge” for a reason, as the restaurant rotates its menu every quarter through different culinary locales, choosing two complimentary world regions to accompany the local fare of Coastal British Columbia.

Currently r.tl is featuring Portugal and France along with the BC region. My friend and I were really amazed by the taste of the Pacific mussels we ordered, which were served in a kind of corn-chowder sauce with some chorizo sausage (around $11). The drinks list at r.tl is extensive, including a selection of hand-picked, rare wines and cocktails from around the world.

I was fortunate to visit another time to try some of their Canapes (pictured below) which are miniature versions of some of their larger dishes.

Check out the restaurant’s web site for their menu and more info.

Negroni (drink) - A bitter drink thats great preparation for a meal and an Apertif. Tanqueray gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso on the rocks.

Negroni (drink) - A bitter drink that's great preparation for a meal and an Apertif. Tanqueray gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso on the rocks.

Nicoise Salad - fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert nicoise olives, fingerling potato and seared albacore tuna

Nicoise Salad - fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert nicoise olives, fingerling potato and seared albacore tuna

Prawns Piri Piri - pan seared wild sea tiger prawns with traditional Portuguese chili sauce

Prawns Piri Piri - pan seared wild sea tiger prawns with traditional Portuguese chili sauce

Pate au Foie Gras de Canard - Duck liver pate with pickled red torpedo onions

Pate au Foie Gras de Canard - Duck liver pate with pickled red torpedo onions

The bar at r.tl regional tasting lounge in Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

The bar at r.tl regional tasting lounge in Yaletown, Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Dining room at r.tl regional tasting lounge restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Dining room at r.tl regional tasting lounge restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Crab cakes from r.tl restaurant in Yaletown.

Crab cakes from r.tl restaurant in Yaletown.

Duck Liver Pâté and baguette

Duck Liver Pâté and baguette

r.tl regional tasting lounge

r.tl regional tasting lounge

The entree sized version of the salad, La Petite Salad Niçoise, with fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert niçoise olives, fingerling potato, seared albacore tuna

The entree sized version of the salad, La Petite Salad Niçoise, with fresh micro greens, quail eggs, haricot vert niçoise olives, fingerling potato, seared albacore tuna

R.tl on Urbanspoon

13,593 views - Posted Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

 

Cassis Bistro (Downtown, French)

I made a visit to Cassis Bistro (map, web site, visitor reviews, 420 West Pender St. Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-605-0420) and was really impressed. Cassis Bistro is a French tapas bistro hidden away in a somewhat seedier area of downtown Vancouver on the edge of Gastown (about two blocks from the Granville Skytrain station).

Ron Brill of Martiniboys (click here to read review) writes of “…elegantly simple, modern tapas fare…alluring French flavours…” and I concur. Cassis Bistro is definitely deserving of the positive buzz it has been getting recently.

Pictured below are some of the items we ordered. First was the complimentary amuse bouche, which was olives and antipasto served with French bread. The olives and antipasto were served in an interesting narrow tray and whetted the appetite perfectly. For an appetizer, we ordered a crepe with Brie cheese (around $10), which tasted great. Looking at the photo brings back fond memories! For the main course I ordered the Duck a l’Orange ($17.50). The menu describes this item as:

Duck and oranges: a combination popular in many countries. This dish consists of Muscovy duck braised with oranges.

Let me say, the Duck a l’Orange was fantastic (or should I say merveilleux “en Francais”). I am a huge fan of orange juice and oranges in general, and duck is always a special treat for me since I don’t cook it at home. So this was a match made in heaven.

We also ordered a side dish of some vegetables: beets and zucchini (also pictured below, around $5). This went very well with a side of bechamel sauce.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a lorange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a l'orange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Cassis on Urbanspoon

10,572 views - Posted Thursday, March 19th, 2009

 

Cafe Crepe (Downtown, Granville)

Cafe Crepe (map, 796 Granville St, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-806-0834) is a restaurant that serves freshly made French style crepes, sandwiches, and Foot Long hot dogs.

The crepes are made in front of you, by smartly dressed chefs, at round grills at the restaurant’s front window. They are made sweet (try chocolate, or apple and cinnamon) or savory (pick from ham, cheese, or a bunch of other ingredients such as mushroom or spinach). Crepes (such as the ones pictured below) cost in the range of $5 to $8 depending on the ingredients. I really like the rich Emmenthal cheese and spongy crepe batter. For the Foot Long hot dog (pictured below, around $5) be sure to try their French mustard and maybe even mayo if you’re a fan.

There are two locations of Cafe Crepe very near to each other on Granville Street downtown. The smaller one (796 Granville, Cafe Crepe “express”) is located next to Future Shop just north of Granville and Robson. The larger one, further down Granville near the Commodore Ballroom (map, 874 Granville St, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-806-084), has more sit-down tables and even a private room for parties in the back.

Sometimes they get pretty busy and there might be a bit of a wait, especially if you want to eat-in. Take out orders are usually quite fast.

The other locations of Cafe Crepe in Vancouver are:

Robson Shopping District (map, 1032 Robson St, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-488-0045)

South Granville (map, 2861 Granville St, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 604-488-1326)

UBC Campus (map, 103-2151 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 604-221-1142).

French Hot Dog from Cafe Crepe (yum) - click photo for larger version

French Hot Dog from Cafe Crepe (yum) - click photo for larger version

Ham and Cheese Crepe from Cafe Crepe in downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Ham and Cheese Crepe from Cafe Crepe in downtown Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Cafe Crepe logo on a take-out bag with a glass of wine.

Cafe Crepe logo on a take-out bag with a glass of wine.

Another photo of the crepe from Cafe Crepe restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Another photo of the crepe from Cafe Crepe restaurant in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Cafe Crepe on Urbanspoon

Cafe Crepe on Urbanspoon

18,962 views - Posted Monday, February 16th, 2009