Jules offers a menu of hearty, unpretentious French bistro fare in a room straight from Le Marais. Kronenbourg 1664 on tap and a daily three-course table d’hôte for $26 make it as affordable as it is authentic.
I believe that Gagnon has not been associated with this restaurant in some years.
I do however agree with you about some waiters and the front of house at this location. More than once we have have encounterd the rude, often flustered man matching your description who thinks he can do no wrong. When you start your dining experience so far down, it's really hard to make up.
Food is good enough, however, with a number of brasserie type restaurants around town you are better off to avoid this gentleman and enjoy better food elsewhere.
Returned to Bistro Chez Jules on my usual pilgrimage -- every time I come to Vancouver, which is about twice a year. As usual, the reservation process was friendly and easy, the welcome heartwarming, the food good enough to make me eat a bit more than I wanted too and the service fantastic enough to warrant a really good tip.
I am not the kind of person people recognize by name or even by face in restaurants or hotels, but I have always been treated here like royalty and taken care of as such. Whether I eat steak-frites done exactly as I like it or a more complex dish, everything is always perfect and fresh and the French fries are homemade and to die for. The wine selection is good and they do have decaf espresso. After all that, they even offer to get you a taxi. Really my kind of place.
Not cheap but well worth coming back to.
Went here with the wife and a friend at 8:30pm on a Saturday night. Had to wait 20 minutes or so at the bar for a table, but no worries. The atmosphere was upbeat, people seemed to be enjoying themselves, and we were content to sip drinks at the bar while waiting for a table.
Food: None of us had a ton of food since we had all eaten a dinner of sorts at home earlier in the evening. I had the duck confit and my wife had the french onion soup, we shared a plate of fries and our friend had asparagus. Yup, just asparagus.....well, she's vegan and wasn't that hungry. But no worries! The server gave us no attitude and didn't care that we all weren't ordering full meals. She was all smiles all the time. Don't know what others are talking about with rude service.....I can't help but think, "you reap what you sow". But I digress..... The duck confit and salad were delicious, the fries were excellent, the french onion soup was fairly standard. For dessert we had the pear clafouti and the melting chocolate cake; both were yummy, I think I hoovered up my chocolate cake in about 10 seconds flat. Other entrees at tables around us looked really good and I would love to come back to enjoy a full, three-course meal.
Service: As noted above, there was no attitude and our female server was all smiles. A basket of yummy warm baguette and pitcher of cold water were placed on our table in a timely manner. Only gets three stars, though, since she didn't check up on us during our meal or to see if we needed more drinks, etc.
Value: Pretty good value. I've seen in other reviews people complaining about prices, which seems pretty de rigueur for whiny and ignorant Vancouverites. Listen, try dining out in London or New York City and talk to me again about high prices. Comparatively we have it pretty good here. Also remember that you are not just paying for the food itself, you are paying for the full package. So my duck confit was $18 or whatever; big deal. The ambiance was great and it is a small price to pay for a night out.
Ambiance: Loved it. A nice, cosy room with lots of exposed brick that reminded me a bit of some of the places my wife and I used to dine when we lived in Montreal. While the room was full and bustling, we never felt too close to any of the other tables and we could easily carry on a conversation.
In an earlier post had mistakenly identified former owner Stephen Gagnon as still being associated with the restaurant. He has since sold and this letter was received by the current proprietors who chose not to respond.
For some time we've been hearing rumblings, but last Saturday afternoon, my husband and I had our own unfortunate 'Jules Bistro' experience. We were seated alone on the patio at 3:30 for the purpose of holding a business meeting, and asked the server (blonde man) to leave the third chair at our table to set papers on. He told us we could use the floor and became visibly upset when we pointed out that the patio was empty and unlikely to fill at this time of day. He then moved the chair and told us that it was to stay where he had placed it. We considered leaving, but as this was clearly a case of somebody having a bad day, decided to overlook it.
We were attended to by another server, and all went well until the end of our meeting, when a large plastic vase crashed down from an upstairs window, glancing off one of the chairs at a table beside us. The blonde man again came out, rushing down the street to bring back the Lamplighter Pub manager, apparently responsible for the housing upstairs. He proceeded to berate this person loudly in front of us, and to refuse the person's offer to clear the refuse.
The blonde server himself then picked up the vase, moved out onto the sidewalk directly beside us and violently threw the object into the alleyway. At this point I lost my temper, there was little difference between what the people upstairs had done and the server potentially endangering anyone who happened to be in the alley. It is also very difficult to live in a neighbourhood where people coming here to work treat our streets like this.
The server's response was that he had the right to express his frustrations in whatever way he saw fit. We had a verbal sparring match and he then let us know we were no longer welcome at his establishment.
It appears this particular employee is taking on stress that should be borne by management and from our perspective, dealing with his Napoleonic complex was too high of a price to pay for a Saturday afternoon lunch. As paying customers, our experience was ridiculously unacceptable. We hope to hear from you, wish to continue to support you, and wish you much success with your continued business challenges
This place is awful. Stay away. Incredible overpriced in a bad location, terrible - rude and snob - attendants who will compete with each other to serve you but you may end up - like me - waiting and waiting for the drinks you ordered, and will have to order them again.
The steak with fries I asked clearly wasn't up to the price they charged. And talking about charging, double check your bill when you sign the credit card (they tried to charge 98 instead of 38... Like 3 isn't close to 9 in the keyboard, right).
Again, stay away from this terrible place, just like the owner apparently do (the only reasonable explanation for such a mess).
Let me start by saying that the two servers and bartender seemed nice and pretty good at their job.
Okay, now that's out of the way...
Judging by some of the reviews already posted I may sound like a broken record, but perhaps if you read this it may just convince you not to waste your valuable night out on this place.
We ordered and received a couple of drinks, ordered appetizers and mains, and received the appies.
The starters: Escargots - pretty good; Feature (Salmon Carpaccio) - awful.
Ever seen farmed salmon sashimi mascarading as carpaccio? It's pretty unimpressive.
When asked by the 60something manager if he could clear the escargots plate, I told him he could clear the mostly uneaten salmon, too.
Here it starts.
Why did we not finish the salmon?
Because it wasn't very good, and thick slices of farmed salmon isn't what I call carpaccio or appetizing.
Politely, I expressed our opinion and then this...
"That's what you get when you go to Europe."
And, "People come here from Europe and rave about this salmon."
Clearly, he doesn't get out much if he thinks it's worth being offended by customers who dare hope for wild salmon. Not to mention the fact that Europeans, who are used to not having wild salmon, might appreciate the opportunity.
He went on missing the point for another several minutes but did manage to find time to abruptly walk away to answer a phone call he proceeded to blame us for him missing.
Having had enough of his insecurity and cheek, we paid for our drinks and left.
We went over to Les Faux Bourgeois on Kingsway where they were polite and the food was good.
Wonder how many times that has happened?
We had such an upsetting experience at Jules and I wouldn't want any other diner to have to go through this. We arrived at 830 on a Tuesday night; there were four of us and we wanted to have desert and wine. We waited for a bit and then were seated by the owner. A few minutes later, when he realized we were there for desert, he stormed up to the table and shouted at us and tried to humiliate us. He simply raised his voice and demanded to know why we did not inform him we only wanted dessert and how he was shocked that hadn't. He said he could have seated other people in our seats and wondered how four people could sit down only for dessert. Other diners looked on and we were shocked by his behaviour. We have been to Jules many times before and we have taken our friends there. We were embarrassed that our friends were treated like this at a place we had recommended and we were totally furious. The owner of the restaurant didn't even acknowledge the fact that we have been there so many times before. The food is good and the prices are decent but a man like this does not deserve the business. I have never written a bad review before...I've never even felt compelled to write a review before but I just felt that I needed to tell people what had happened.
I can't count how many times I've been in the area and never noticed this wonderful little bistro. A spontaneous evening out found us at Jules. We arrived an hour before closing and were welcomed openly - they didn't pressure us to leave as they were closing, and let us finish in our own time. The live streaming of French radio was a nice touch.
We shared the octopus salad with shitake mushrooms - for my part, i enjoyed it, but would have prefered mushrooms that didn't come from a tin. For mains, we ordered the moules frites and lamb special - both were really well cooked, nice complementing flavours. The fries were so so, but the home made ketchup and mayo made up for the fries. Dessert was ok; not the biggest fan of dessert in general, but the flavours from the roasted pineapple were like a mini explosion in the mouth.
Service and the ambiance were second to none. Very attentive serveurs but not intrusive.
Jules is worth checking out!
I can't count the times my husband and I have gone to Jules Bistro. The food is always amazing. My favourite is the French Onion soup and the salmon with mashed potatoes. So good! My husband usually gets the tenderloin and never had a complaint. The best part of this restaurant is really the room. Small and warm. Neat little place in Gastown...
Have eaten poor, old fish here before....but stopped in for a glass of wine and was treated incredibly rude by the "host" what a snot! God forbid I sit down at the empty bar before speaking to him. Needless to say we left and will not return. We had always enjoyed the decor but the food is awful, poor quality ingredients. We thought we would be safe with wine I guess not!
I was told we would feel as if we walked off the street in Paris into this bistro..not true. It had a cold feeling to it and so little atmosphere..plain table settings and pictures and maps of Paris or France do not ambiance make.The waitress appeared to be bored and certainly did not make us feel as if we were welcome into her place of business. One of us spoke French with her and yet she did not continue the rest of her service in French...she neglected to bring us refills on water, did not remember part of our order, and showed no interest in us at all!!!! The food was mediocre at best and actually the salmon was oily and the frites dry and common.No refills for coffee were offered either..I wonder if she had her mind on other things?? It was certainly a great disappointment and the only saving grace was the cost.
The food is ok... just ok ....but the service the worst. I took my wife to Jules for her birthday and even though we had reservations we were told part way through our meal that we could have the table for only another 30 minutes. At this point we had only been seated for about 30 minutes. This was shameful. Needless to say we skipped the desert and headed to the door as fast as we could.
Jules is about getting you in the door, feed and out the door. If you stand in the way of their agenda you will corrected. Customer service is not a priority.
It was a beautiful, early summer night.
We decided to try this restaurant we've passed by so many times before. We were greeted by the host (a mix between Phil Spector and Mole Man). The room is romantically lit, warm and inviting. It was quite busy and we were shown to a table at the back of the restaurant. We ordered some wine and waited for some friends to arrive.
After the friends arrived we, ordered some wine, two of us ordered the steak frites, the other two ordered the moules frites, the fifth friend just had drinks. The steak was barely decent, it seemed to have been left out for a bit and was only warm by the time it arrived, the frites were a little too soggy. The mussels too fishy tasting. So let's just say the food was just barely decent.
If we had left before our SIXTH guest arrived this review would have gotten a few more stars. As we're eating, enjoying each other's company, my girlfriend sees something moving on the table and jumps up with a yelp. The place is dark and it took me a while to spot it (bad night vision), but I finally did see it. It was a cockroach about an inch or so long, crawling on the table right next to the bread basket. I didn't know what else to do so I reached down and grabbed it. I turned around and the host was right behind me asking what happened, I told him there was a cockroach in my hand and his face went even paler than it already was. I put my still enclosed hand out to him and he motioned towards the garbage can where I deposited our rude and ill mannered cockroach guest.
After everyone sat back down, the host explained that there is a "halfway house" or "detox centre" above the restaurant and that pests were a constant nuisance. He did apologize to his benefit, and said he'd "take care of us". He came back with a bottle of red wine and began to pour MAYBE a millimeter into everyone's glass. Everyone sat there staring at each other, saying nothing, trying to contemplate the four millimeters of wine we received as pestilence penance. Still stunned, we didn't complain, we paid and left.
I'm sorry but 4 millimeters of red wine, a few apologies and the reason he gave us just didn't cut it. Maybe we should have been more aggressively outraged? Perhaps, but I think it was the host's job to butter us up to the point where the cockroach would have been.......almost forgotten.
Having tried unsuccessfully to get a table at Les Faux Bourgeois yet again, I remember passing by this quaint Gastown Bistro on several occasions and looking through the window to the warmly lit interiors and small but glamorous bar. Last night some friends and I enjoyed a lovely meal at Jules Bistro and I felt compelled to comment here.
The escargot and tart appetizers were really terrific - flavorful ... full of bacon and butter and garlic - yum!
The duck confit and steak entrees were equally as delicious and nobody felt full or uncomfortable afterwards.
We enjoyed a nice bottle of Pinot Blanc for $38 .... these days, wine for under $40 is nice to see. Oh and most of the entrees were under $20 which is one of the reasons I always liked going to Les Faux Bourgeois.
The only unfortunate part was the flustered (owner?). I couldn't tell but he seemed like the owner. We were running about 10 minutes behind for our reservation and called the restaurant ahead of time to let them know. No one answered and when we had to wait for our table (which was no big deal; we sat at the bar), we mentioned calling but the flustered man made some big exasperated show of not ever being able to hear the phone and I found that all just a bit much. When the staff seem flustered and overworked, it stresses out the diners. So - if you're reading these reviews - please take note.
Otherwise, awesome! Look forward to going again!
I had to do a quick write up after the reviews below saying that the service here is bad.
I went to Jules a few weeks ago on a weeknight. I found the food, atmosphere and service was well above par. I had the goat cheese and roasted red pepper salad and the mussels and both were really solid. The salad wasn't really what I expected - I thought there would be more greens - but it was decently made and delicate. When I mentioned casually to the server that I was expecting more of a salad salad, he asked me right away if I would prefer something else. I didn't - what I got was fine - but I appreciated the gesture.
The mussels were also very good, and the fries were abundant and not greasy. My friend and I had a good glass of red at the recommendation of the server and my friend enjoyed her prix fix meal of salad, salmon and fries and a chocolate tarte.
The one thing that put this place above others is the service. I thought it was exceptional. It was quiet, attentive, welcoming. The owner seemed to run the place like a machine, and he popped by to say hello and ask us how our meal was going. I never had to ask for water, or for a refill, or pretty much anything. I'm sorry to hear that the previous diner had a bad time with the service, but our experience was the total opposite.
My wife and I felt like French this night and decided on Jules. First impression of restaurant was a fantastic French feel and is a great place to bring a date for that Romantic French dinner. Hostess was nice enough to find us a table for two, despite not having a reservation. Waitress was not warm or welcoming in any way and took our orders in an orderly, almost robotic way. I decided on the "Set Dinner" which consisted of Green Salad, Steak with Fries and a chocolate dessert. My wife ordered the French Onion Soup. The salad was very nice and the Walnuts with the Vinaigrette gave it a very unique taste. From there the meal went downhill. The Steak was a thin cut, gristly steak with way too much Peppercorn. Reminds me of the typical steak you receive at a Pub with an inexperienced chef using the Peppercorn to cover the lacking taste of a poor cut of meat. My wife's French Onion Soup had Onions that were not stewed long enough and therefore still hard. The Chocolate dessert was satisfactory. I don't want to come down too hard on this restaurant,as there is hope, but I believe that the Owner needs to review cooking habits of this chef in order to improve future Diners' experiences.
We went to this restaurant tonight for dinner. I had read some rave reviews about Jules and wanted to try it for myself. I knew ahead of time that I was probably going to order the prix fixe menu of salad, steak frites and chocolate terrine for $23.
Food: The food was okay. Previous reviews raved about the portions sizes...I didn't particularly find the portion sizes that big. Having said that, I realize that this is a French bistro after all. The salad was good, not great. The steak was on the small size, but cooked to medium rare like I had requested and I asked for the herbed butter with it. It came with french fries, which was a fairly large portion, but it's just potatoes after all. There was a tomato/garlic cheese garnish, which was the only vegetable to food on the plate...and that was quite good actually. The dessert was nothing special. Should have paid an extra $2 and upgraded it to creme brule. We had bread to start, which was probably the best thing about the meal....really crusty and chewy baguette with cold butter. And the price was $25, not $23 after all. Must have increased their prices.
Service: our server was quite attentive and friendly, without being obtrusive.
Ambiance: our reservation was at 5:30 pm, when dinner service started, so it was pretty dead when we got there. It's pretty nice inside, nothing to complain about. Famed music manager Bruce Allen came in and sat down at the table next to us with a group of 6 other people. Vancouver mayor Sam Sullivan was at Rosa's in Port Moody on a night that we went. We must attract all the celebs. ;-)
Value: The four of us had the prix fixe menu, with a bottle of red wine and 2 coffees and 1 tea and the bill came out to $151.98 after tax. I guess that is okay for gas town, but I definitely went away hungry. Wouldn't probably go back though for that price. I was okay, but I just felt it was too hyped and didn't deliver. I've had a prix fixe menu in New York about 3 years ago for $16 and the meal was way better than the one I had tonight.
My boyfriend was leaving for Halifax and he'll be gone during our anniversary so I decided we should go somewhere special. He liked the French idea and so Jules seemed like a good choice with relatively affordable prices. We arrived 10 mins late but our reserved table was still there! And it was a window-side seat.
Both of us went for the $23 fixed menu - I was especially anxious to have the ratatouille or spinach instead of the fries. Our server told me "sure!" and I was euphoric! Off the bat I was impressed. NOWHERE does this happen! I mean come on, Earl's asks for $2.50 when you ask for a salad instead of fries. And even more so because my partner has some severe food allergies and she was able to take care of it all! Down to the dessert, she offered him a special coffee I find this type of attentive service just rare in Vancouver.
The food was really delicious for the deal we got. How much could you ask for? Gosh even the salad came in a generous portion and my boyfriend got his own special balsamic vinegar/olive oil dressing because of his allergies. My major pet peeve is lukewarm food. I definitely don't mind scalding hot food for sure! So I found my steak done really well and the ratatouille was mellow and sweet. Eh the dessert was okay, I had the chocolate terrine: nothing special.
My only major beef with this place is the noise level. I can see that others here are concerned with rowdy patrons. Yeah unfortunately we sat near a group of 6 giddy women who could not stop shrieking and laughing. And the bar was really full of men yelling. I wouldn't have mind all that except combined with everyone else in the restaurant, having a conversation is futile unless you'd like to scream. And uh... we also occasionally saw some odd things going on outside the streets. Like the homeless walking around, stopping cars, lots of weird stuff. That was disconcerting but not the restaurant's fault I guess.
Definitely coming back again!
My first visit here was six months ago. I had the pate to start followed by mussels. The pate was not really the texture of a pate, and the mussels sauce not especially tasty. Then I went back and had the Alaska black cod and really did not like this. The fish itself was placed on a bed of very bitter vegetables - I forget what the menu said, either braised celery or endive... the bitterness overwhelmed everything, and the fish, obviously not smoked, was very much in need of a little salt. The side of scalloped potatoes was dry, the potatoes a little hard and the portion only enough for one (usually a la carte sides are enough for two to share). The creme brulee was very good though. And this place gets top marks for atmosphere - very European and no loud music like in so many Vancouver eateries. I would go back and try one more dish, but if that disappointed, then here is yet another Vancouver restaurant that has let me down.
Arrived on a busy Friday night. We had no reservations and despite there being a small group of people waiting at the door for a table, we were seated at two empty seats at the bar. Had a glass of wine while we waited.
We were seated 15 minutes after by the window. Our waitress was very professional and friendly. We ordered a bottle of bordeaux and she always poured our glasses before we had the chance.
To start we shared the country style pate with a blend of balsamic vinegar/caramelized onion on the side. The only thing that was strange was they brought out a plate of fresh bread with butter about 2-3 minutes before bringing out the pate. So we started to eat the bread, not realizing that it was probably for the pate. Because of this, we had more pate on our plate than bread (and who eats pate on its own?). We didn't bother asking for more bread because there was only a tiny chunk of pate left. In the big picture, no big deal.
Food was outstanding though. The filet the boeuf with morel cream sauce, ratatouille and scalloped potato was "très speciale" as they'd say in French - a signature dish that I would not hesitate to recommend to anybody. In fact, this is the second time I have eaten it, and I'm the type that likes to try new things - it was that good.
For dessert, the gateau de riz, essentially rice pudding cake with rhubarb compote, was decadent. Rich vanilla flavour with tangy sweet rhubarb. Definitely not old fashioned rice pudding, that's for sure!
Finally, the ambiance makes you feel like you're in France or in Montreal. "Less is more". The ceilings, window frames are painted a shiny black. The red brick walls are exposed. There's a beautiful extravagant chandelier adding style to the space. Mirrors on the walls extend the room, and maps of Paris and wine-producing regions in France add French character. So does the black board menus over the bar.
One of my favourite restaurants and a wonderful addition to Gastown's new identity.