Saturday, November 17, 2007

European Eats by Lezah Williamson

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French, Italian and Swiss Food, Canadian Style

Recently I've had a hankering for Continental European cuisine. Maybe it's because my all time favourite restaurant, the Spanish eatery La Masia, recently changed its format; or maybe it's because we're looking at our next big holiday taking place in Europe. Who knows? Whatever the case, here are a few good places to try:

Cafe de Paris Bistro Francais (751 Denman, 604-687-1418)

We dropped in on this unique little taste of France recently, sans reservation, I might add. We were lucky to arrive late one rainy Friday night, otherwise we likely wouldn't have found a table. I was expecting something else altogether, but what we got was authentic fine French cuisine. I had the steak and pomme frites, which was fantastic, with creme brulee for dessert - very delectable. Dave tried the steak tartare, to mixed reviews. Nothing wrong with steak tartare, unless you don't like raw meat, but in that case, I guess you shouldn't order steak tartare! Apparently the speciality of the house is liver - but again, that's a little outside of my palate's comfort zone. But the service (and server!) was authentically French, and decor French-like. We enjoyed the experience, which was a little pricey but hey - it's cheaper than a trip to France.

The Italian Cultural Centre (3075 Slocan)

is where I was on Wednesday night. They have a large banquet hall there (I was attending the Good Neighbour Awards night, hosted by the Association of Neighbourhood Houses). We had a buffet dinner, which was similar to many buffet dinners I've had in my time. The big news was the dessert: authentic Italian pastries, with coffee. I've been telling anyone who will listen ever since that those pastries were the absolute best I've ever had - and I usually dislike pastries! The coffee was fantastic, as well - not your usual perked-in-a-big-metal-container-at-a-banquet fare.

Located at the Italian Cultural Centre is Dario's Italian restaurant

which comes to me highly recommended by my brother and his foodie girlfriend. They've enjoyed a couple of great meals there, and apparently the restaurant has a fantastic wine selection.

William Tell (765 Beatty Street, 604-688-3504)

has a Swiss Speciality menu. Dave and I ate there last spring and were quite impressed. Again, pricey.

Pastis Bistro (2153 W. 4th, 604-731-5020)

is another little French bistro I've frequently within the last couple of years. Again, I had the steak and pomme frites and they were wonderful. Here I tried the molten lava cakes, which were truly delectable. This 15 table eatery is located along funky W. 4th, and is a little less pricey (but not much).

Lamb photo from William Tell’s Menu Image from

Pastis Image from

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