663 E. 15th Avenue
T: 604 873 9733
Brief Description: A charming bistro that dishes up classic French dishes at affordable prices. A great place for a romantic evening or a first date.
Often there are times when I will fall in love with an eating establishment, not necessarily for the food or for the service, but sometimes I’ll fall in love with a place because of how I feel when I am there. That was exactly what happened with Les Faux Bourgeois. From the moment I walked into the quaint restaurant, I was in the midst of a dreamy French love affair. With dim lighting, soothing French music, and the aroma of warm, comfort food in the air, the restaurant felt welcoming and intimate. Whoa-oh. Immediately I fell under its spell and suddenly I felt that I had been whipped out of Vancouver and set down in a romantic bistro in Paris. Ooh la la!
Les Faux Bourgeois is located in an area of Vancouver that isn’t traditionally known for having restaurants, let alone renowned restaurants. In fact, East 15th Avenue at Fraser Street seems like an insane place to open a French restaurant but it would appear that nothing could be further from the truth. They are constantly booked so make sure you plan ahead and make a reservation or you will be sadly disappointed. The price-point is very reasonable for the standard of food and that must be part of the appeal – good quality food at a good price. Service was good – nothing to rave or complain about, although the cute French accents are certainly memorable.
The appetizer menu screams of classic French dishes; escargots de Bourgogne (snails in parsley and garlic butter), pate de champagne (country style pork pate), les tartes flambés (two types of puff pastry tarts), and fromage plates (cheese plates). The soup a l’oignon gratinée (caramelized onion soup, smoked bacon, Gruyére and mozzarella) is much revered on the foodie scene and so I started my meal with a bowl of it.
Before I could begin, I had to break through a glorious layer of baked cheese to get to the slightly sweet soup below which was full of onions and chunky cubes of salty bacon. So cheesy was it that I had to use my teeth to scrap the cheese off the spoon! A nicely rounded introduction to the meal but when I return I will likely order the snails in parsley and garlic butter instead. The blend of garlic with butter can turn any ingredient into a gastronomical superstar, even slimy little snails. The dish was heavy on the garlic – just perfect!
There are at least three salads on the current menu, however, I’m not inclined to use valuable calories that I’ve allocated for a restaurant meal on salad so I gave them a quick glimpse and moved on. If salads do tickle your fancy you will find fausse nicoise, and salade de chevre chaud (roasted goat cheese crostini, walnuts, seasonal greens, beets, raspberry vinaigrette) amongst those available.
Traditional entrées such as cassoulet (white bean stew with pork, duck and Toulouse sausage) and canard confit (duck confit) sit alongside saumon poelé (pan roasted salmon) and filet de boeuf grillé (beef tenderloin with a choice of toppings). Le steak frites (hanger steak with fries) seems to be extremely popular but I chose the only vegetarian dish on the menu; the Portobello parmentier – garlic roasted Portobello mushroom and seasonal mushroom sauté, with a parmesan and Gruyére gratinee potato purée, finished with seasonal greens.
I found this to be extremely substantial for a vegetarian meal and it was a pleasing alternative to the usual vegetarian pasta/burger option found in most establishments. I would definitely order this again. B ordered and enjoyed the delicate pan roasted lamb sirloin, which was served with vegetable ratatouille and horseradish cream.
The dessert menu is simple and classically French; crème brûlee, milk chocolate mousse, lemon cream tart, and a nut-crusted chocolate silk cake, all of which are around the $6 to $7 range.
Truthfully, dessert was a little under-whelming. I went with my one of my all-time favourites, chocolate mousse, but I was left desperately searching for something in this dessert to make it stand-out. Unfortunately, it was quite unremarkable.
Final Thoughts: Just like any great love affair, the haze has since worn off and I can now see Les Faux Bourgeois for what it is – another good addition to the already-great French restaurant line-up in Vancouver. Overall, my experience was a good one. The food was delicious, but worth the constant praise? Hmmm, not so for me but it was an enjoyable evening and I liked feeling as though I had spent the evening at a small bistro somewhere in France. Even if it was only for a few hours.