We love bistros. When we think of a place for a date we rarely think formal dining room, starched tablecloths and 5-course dinners. We think cozy, easy to enjoy, an interesting patio or a view and of course superb food. Here’s the top three that in a city with hundreds of outstanding restaurants we keep going back to. Each one is located in a neighborhood that’s unique and just walking through it paired with a meal and a glass of wine makes for a date to look forward to.
Here are our 3 favorites:
Absinthe Bistro – Commercial Drive
Adesso Bistro – West End, Near Second Beach
Stable House Bistro – South Granville
We have to start with Absinthe Bistro. The first time we went there I was blown away with the food that was pure perfection. And I’m not saying it lightly. The rotating seasonal menu that only offers 3 appetizers, 3 mains and 3 deserts features dishes that are not complex or over the top, yet they are cooked in a way that every ingredient tastes the very best it possibly can. The scallops were the best scallops I’ve had in my life. And so was the mashed potatoes that accompanied them. And together with lemony creamy sauce and a spinach, that was the best combination I ever wanted to taste with scallops. The same thing with braised beef – deep, rich, melt in your mouth, paired with parsnip puree, highlighted by the sauce with such a succulent wine taste, you could not leave a drop on the plate. I can go on like that about every dish. The fact that those dishes are made by no more than two people in the kitchen, served promptly and warmly by no more than two servers and usually have every single table full and reservations stretching for weeks, speaks for itself. Absinthe Bistro is a very special gem of a restaurant in the heart of Commercial Drive district. If you have a special occasion coming up, book the restaurant early, plan to walk along the Drive, explore the quirky shops, enjoy people watching and stop by for a pre-drink in one of the many bars along the way. Then go to Absinthe and have the best simple meal of your life.
Adesso Bistro is so close to Second Beach and Stanley Park, which are amazing for a date night walk, taking in the sunset, seating on the logs by the beach. However, if you don’t know where it is, you’ll never find it. We’ve walked the neighborhood dozens of times, yet never turned into Haro St, one of the small streets just off Denman and not far from Robson. In a purely residential street, there is a beautiful green patio, with patio lights sparkling late at night, wrought iron chairs and blankets if the breeze gets cool. The menu is seasonal and features many local ingredients, hand-made pastas and Italian-inspired cocktail menu. Adesso brings together a unique experience, different from many Italian restaurants in Vancouver. It’s not pretentious, takes reservations and does not charge high end prices, combine that with two steps away from one of the best beaches in the city and you’ve got the place we’ll be coming back to over and over again.
Stable House Bistro is a relatively new addition to South Granville Dining scene and a really welcome one. Tucked away near Granville St and 12th Ave., with a tiny patio in the shade of nearby trees, Stable House offers a French twist on Brunch, lunch and a charcuterie bites. South Granville is one of my favorite neighborhoods and had been so for years. I love the closeness of Granville island, the walking distance to Kitsilano beach or along the shore walkways with view of bridges, mountains, skyscrapers. I also love walking along the boutiques, stores and visiting Chapters whenever I’m in the area. However, I never had a place where I enjoyed stopping by for a bite and now we discovered Stables House. It actually reminds me of one of the favourite places in Seattle (Le Pichet) that we made a point of visiting every time we’d cross the border. Yet now with this bistro being under 30 minutes away from where ewe live, charcuterie boards and wine lists that combine some of my most favorite items and service second to none (just imagine I walked in once after a long run, and then two months later we came in for a brunch. The server remembered who I was!). Another bonus is Stables Bistro is on the way home from work – I know for sure we’ll be coming back for casual dates over and over again.
So here’s the list of our favorites in Vancouver, are there any ones you’d add to that list? Please share with us in the comments.