Tiny Carthage Cafe has built up a loyal clientele these last few years, offering classic French cuisine along side some honestly prepared Tunisian fare. Commercial Drive doesnt have any other resteraunts doing French/Euro classics such as Coquille St Jaques or Chicken Zurichois so it seems to fill a niche. Homesick expats find solace in the hearty cous cous or tangine main dishes.
There are a half dozen mussel recipes to choose from. Splitting one of these is a wise decision. Under direction from our knowledgable and professional server we opted for a simple variation..pure French: Scallions, white wine and whole cream. They were superb. Served with baguette and perfectly executed french fries, the plump shellfish were among the finest I've ever had. An generous portion made it an absolute steal for $12
Next up, the mains. My friend chose one of 3 daily specials, the aforementioned Chicken Zurichois. Classic French bistro style, heavy on the whole cream and white wine reduction. Spiked with grainy mustard, the dish satisfied. It was served with roast potato and some mixed vegetables. My quibble would be the $25 price tag. At least $5 high. Note: Dinner specials here are pricey from what I can see. My cous cous dish was dubbed The Carthage. The dish consisted of a lamb shank, some chicken breast,Merguez sausage,(forgive my spelling!) combined with some root vegetables, some light tomato sauce served over couus cous and chickpeas. A monster portion that had me reeling halfway through. Sadly, I encounterd my arch-enemy...a turnip around this point. Phewy! Sorry, a personal problem and I digress. The dish is good value, incredibly filling. Best ordered after a day in the fields. We spilt a lovely and refreshing lemon sorbet for dessert.
Throughout the meal, our server was first class. Attentive, friendly but never pandering.
Turnip aside, I dig Carthage Cafe