Located in the heart of lively Commercial Drive, Absinthe Bistro blends classic and modern French cuisine with a warm and friendly atmosphere.
Small French Bistro on Commercial Drive. The ambience is great, like Paris They take reservations and you might want to make one as it is a tiny restaurant about 12 tables. We didn't have a reservation but the table by the door was available and then they moved us when a better table became available so kudos for that.
The food is great. You can order a la carte, but they offer starter and main or starter and dessert for $28 or starter and main and dessert for $35.
We had the chicken liver terrine starter and the beef shank with scalloped potatoes main course. The food was exceptional. The bill for two with wine and coffee was $110, plus tip -- so not inexpensive but the food was very good and you are on trendy Commercial Drive. I would go again, I'd make a reservation and take out of town guests and impress the hell out of them.
It's a small bistro, fun ambience and first class service. They have few choices, which apparently change daily, but they sounded so good, we wanted to try them all. Settled for prawn cakes, beautifully sered and simple, seared scallops, duck confit- all well presented and as good as they get. Delicious accompaniment of scalloped potatoes. Small but well chosen and excellent value wine list, and they have a couple of chalkboard specials- we had a lovely Rhone that would have been great at twice the price. This must be the best restaurant on the Drive.
I feel special whenever dining at Absinthe Bistro. For starters servers welcome you very warmly, making you feel at home. Their menu is tweaked on a weekly basis making me look forward to visit every week. Value for money is worth it as you can already have a 3 course meal for only $35. To top it off, their food taste authentic, very close to the food I’ve eaten in France. It is the perfect place for a date, or an intimate dinner with friends. Absinthe Bistro has definitely made my list of go-to places for affordable French food in Vancouver.
It's been ages since I've written a dining review on this site but felt compelled to do so after dining last night at the fabulous Absinthe Bistro on Commercial Drive. The place was great, start to finish, and as the food was the best I've had in both recent and long-term memory, it deserves a little praise.
First, some things to consider: the bistro is small with only a 22-seat dining capacity, so if you are thinking of trying it, be sure to book in advance. I called to reserve about a week in advance for a table of two. The woman who answered the phone, and who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, the chef, is welcoming and sweet. The menu is small with just three starters, three mains, and three desserts. The price point is excellent, however, as you can order starter, main & dessert for $35 or choose two courses for $28. The drinks menu covers the bases with a reasonable selection of cocktails and beer. Cocktails are $10 across the board. There is also a good wine menu and bottles are priced mostly at $46. They have a small 'specials' board on the wall which seems to be strictly for drinks. We chose a $45 Beaujolais from it and were suitably impressed!
If you want selection, this place probably isn't for you, but I can assure you that while my husband and I tried five of the nine items between the two of us, we did see all the dishes coming out and everything looked equally exquisite. We each decided on the three-course menu. We both had the braised beef with pearl onions, carrots, and potato puree for our mains. This dish was to die for, especially the sauce. I had the goat cheese terrine with walnuts and beets to start and my husband had the creamy mushroom soup which he raved about. For dessert, I had the apple tart with house made vanilla bean ice cream (again, amazing), and my husband had the creme brulee, so good it's basically become a kind of house staple.
As for ambiance, the restaurant feels cozy and definitely has some character. There is tiled flooring throughout and dark wood tables, high ceilings with some exposed pipes. The service was friendly and attentive. The only slight hiccup was the service died off a bit towards the end of the meal and we had to request the bill twice from two different people. This detail was minor, however, as overall the experience was excellent. For two three course menus and one bottle of wine, our meal came to $150 after tax and tip. We will definitely go back!