Bistro Pastis

Looking for a good place to go for Dine Out this year?

Let me recommend the restaurant I went to last year which immediately earned the honour of being my favourite French bistro in town, based on the single excellent experience I had there, and which I returned to recently in December 2010 to celebrate the end of term with a good friend.

Located near Arbutus and West 4th Avenue, this gem of a place is usually out of my usual price range, with entrées going at $28 each. When I found a $25 for $50 worth of food coupon on one of Vancouver’s many social shopping sites to use at Bistro Pastis, however, I was more than happy to split it with a friend and trip off to enjoy another gourmet meal.

It did not disappoint.

When we arrived, we found this quiet nook beautifully decorated for the Christmas season. Service was warm, personal and impeccable, just as I remembered from my first time here.

After placing our order, we were very pleased to discover (as hungry college children are wont to be) that our complimentary bread basket was not only full of freshly baked, crusty bread and golden butter, but was also refillable. Gold star to you.

Bistro Pastis bread basket

Bread basket

The two of us chose to split a three-course meal between us, beginning with escargots — marking my first time trying this particular delicacy:

Bistro Pastis escargots appetizer

Escargots with mushrooms and tomatoes, accompanied by toast and salad greens

Since it was my first time eating escargots, and since I don’t think that they are quite to my texture-buds, I can’t offer a very enlightened opinion on them except I didn’t think they were awful, and everything else was really delicious (and sautéed in copious amounts of butter). The toast made a pleasant crunchy contrast to the soft, tender escargots, mushrooms, tomatoes and salad greens they came with.

Everything at Bistro Pastis is beautifully presented — our entrée of scallops and prawns were carefully arranged around a tiny pyramid of prawn, vegetables (asparagus and possibly gai lan). Also present on this dish were these delightfully squishy, tasty, dough-like balls which name remains unknown to both of us, so dough-balls they shall remain, even though I don’t believe they were… (I tried looking the name up, but this item on the menu has since been updated.)

Scallops and prawns

Scallops and prawns with vegetables

Again, everything was cooked in generous amounts of butter, which probably explains why it was all so delicious. It was fortunate we decided to split the three courses between us, because portions here are large. I’m not sure we could have finished more than a single course each, otherwise.

Dessert, of course, is a whole other matter for which I reserve an entirely different stomach.

After such rich French fare — be warned, not everyone can handle the amount of butter used here, so adjust your dining choices accordingly! — we decided to go for something with more of a tang:

Lemon tart

Lemon tart drizzled with cherry sauce

As my friend said, that really hit the spot! and evened out our otherwise very heavy supper.

Our total bill (including cost of pre-bought coupon, tax and gratuity) came to $49.96, which is about $25 per person.

If you’re interested in trying Bistro Pastis yourself, you can take a look at their Dine Out menu (same as last year). Alternatively, book a time through OpenTable or by calling them directly:

Bistro Pastis
2153 West 4th Ave
Vancouver BC
(604) 731-5020

Bon appétit!

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