L’Abattoir is located in the center of Gastown between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley. The restaurant was built in the 19th century and is the site of Vancouver’s first jail. Originally buttressed to the city’s main butchery and meat packing district, the name L’Abattoir pays homage to the neighbourhood’s colourful past.
Set in a refurbished brick and beam building that combines classic French tile work with industrial fixtures, natural wood, and glass and steel finishes, the restaurant offers a bar and lounge setting, elevated dining room and plush, sun soaked atrium.
Chef Lee Cooper and Owner / Operator Paul Grunberg are dedicated to highlighting the finer points of eating and drinking in L’Abattoir’s informed but informal setting. French influenced West Coast fare is paired with Wine Director Lisa Haley’s eclectic wine program and an innovative cocktail list to offer a truly unique dining experience.
L’Abattoir adds to Gastown’s bustling breakfast scene with a menu mixing comforting staples with hearty, unique entrees. Thirsty brunchers can sip on creative cocktails, as well as daily feature vermouth on the rocks. Non-alcoholic options include daily bottled house made iced teas.
Just adjacent to L’Abattoir’s regular dining room is the restaurant’s stunning new private dining facility. The 1,200 sq ft. facility features historical architectural elements complimented by a contemporary design aesthetic. While large enough for 50 people seated or 70 standing, the room retains an intimate ambiance and a noise-reducing barrier blocks out the hustle and bustle of the regular dining room.
I and my wife came here because of this restaurant won silver in Best Casual Dining in Vancouver Magazine, and we were disappointed.
Not that anything was particularly bad, but at the prices they charge ($16 or so for appetizers, and $30 to $40 for mains), the food should be memorable, and it was not.
We just ate there an hour ago, and by now, I have already forgotten what I and my wife had for appetizers, so forgettable were the dishes. One main course was roasted squab, and the other was pork shoulder cooked in milk. We shared the poached pear dessert.
I can describe all the dishes the same way -- flavours were unusual, in that you won't get these flavours anywhere else, but none was particularly delicious, and everything was quite forgettable. the presentations followed the same vein -- interesting appearance, but not particularly appetizing.
The place, however, was architecturally interesting (but you go there for the food, not for the architecture), and service was top notch. Our server was never intrusive, but somehow magically appeared at the right time all the time, just when we needed service, without our having to seek her out or wave her down.
The wine selection was also interesting, and the glass of Poplar Grove Viognier I had was delicious. At $14, that's pretty much what you would expect at other restaurants.
I don't think we'll be returning.
A very nice dinner experience. Tried the raw oysters to start, already shucked and placed on a dish with some mushrooms and sauce, very good. Had a taste of the agnolotti, very good and not overly sauced. For the main, had the lamb loin and sausage - very good. Service was excellent with attentive service and lots of nice free bread. Finished off with the best molten chocolate cake/tart. Very smooth and came with lemon ice cream and rasberry jam. Prices were a bit on the high side but overall worth it. Nice decor with an upstairs and an rear seating area. The only downside was that there is only 1 washroom for the mens.
After reading good reviews in the Vancouver Magazine, we were eager to try this relatively new place in Gastown. At 7pm on a Thursday night, it was hopping & busy, but not packed- when you enter the restaurant, it's very cozy & warm and there are a few people greeting you so that was a nice welcoming feeling. We were promptly seated upstairs and while initially it feels small in the space, the tables extended further back than we thought. There's even a nice row of tables on the first floor in the back of the restaurant past the kitchen, which was also nice & cozy, but quiet. Only downside to those tables were they were located near the same corridor as the washrooms.
I thought our waitress, Yani was super friendly and very efficient. She explained the menu quite well and even though we only had the option of the dine out menu, there were still some add ons we could do for around $3-5 more. So both my husband and I started with the Poached egg, quinoa and swiss chard, homemade ricotta cheese, tomato sauce dish and it was quite delicious. Egg was cooked nicely and the combination of the tastes and textures of the other items in the dish were really good. It was a nice filling appetizer. While the appetizer came quite fast, it was nearly 20 minutes until our entrees arrived, which I thought took longer than expected. Yani came over to tell us that it was bit backed up in the kitchen and we were only one more ticket away from getting our food.
While we continued waiting, we found it hard to chat with the semi loud music in the background. As the restaurant got more full, we had to yell to each other over the noise of chatter & music. It didn't make for the most pleasant ambiance.
When our entrees did arrive, I was pretty hungry, so I said, "Finally." to the guy that brought our food, in which he replied, "Well, it's dine out y'know." Then after saying, "Enjoy, your meal" he just scurried away. I was a little bit taken back by his pseudo attitude, but let it go, because in reality they were pretty busy, serving
around 40 people in the upstairs area alone and probably another 15 downstairs, and yes it was dine out, but it made us wonder what it was like there during a regular night, would they be able to handle so many orders?
Anyways, we were drooling over our entrees and couldn't wait to try them. We were pleasantly surprised at the portion, it wasn’t very large, but also wasn’t very small; just right. My husband ordered their slow roasted loin of pork w/ cassoulet, brussel sprouts, and mushrooms; it was nicely cooked and had some delicious flavors. He really liked it. I opted for the Lamb Loin with sausage, celeriac, endive a la plancha. Very unique taste and combining it with the sauce and celeriac made a delicious first bite. Both entrees were done nicely, delicious, good portions and presentation, but I wasn't sure the extra $5 for the lamb loin was well warranted. We both thought that if it were just an a la carte option, each dish may have been better priced around $5 less, based on the portion size and what came with the dish.
We ended the meal with a Fizzy Lemonade and the Caramelized Bananas. The banana dessert was nice and not overly sweet. I loved the Fizzy Lemonade dessert made with blood orange sorbet, tapioca pearls and early grey granite. It was nice and sweet & sour, and cool & refreshing all at the same time. Definitely a yummy dessert.
Overall, L'Abattoir delivered a few good notes - the food quality and the portions were excellent, and our waitress Yani was great, but the poor attitude from the one server and the loud noise factor didn't quite make it a 100% great dining experience.
This is my second review of L'Abattoir within a year. I so want to love this place. Again, the food was really delicious - the service sub par.
We were one of three tables in the upstairs dining room at 6:30 PM on a Tuesday. We ordered two cocktails. I asked for a gin & tonic, with Hendricks gin, with a cucumber slice (Hendricks has cucumber notes, cucumber is recommended as a garnish). Our sweet-natured waitress said earnestly., "Oh, I don't think cucumber is something the bar regularly stocks". I let it go, and asked for a twist of lemon instead. Inside I'm thinking, "You have cucumber in some of the dishes on the menu. You're charging a fortune for a cocktail made from a premium brand booze. Tell your bartender to don his armour and go into the kitchen and steal, if he has to, a wedge of cucumber from the disgruntled kitchen staff".
I get my drink with not a lemon twist, but with a honking wedge of fresh lemon. Oh well.
20 minutes later (again, three tables upstairs) our cocktails arrive. Not 60 seconds after we start sipping them, the starters are put before us. Not nice. Bum's rush anyone? One of the starters was grilled octopus with smoked paprika sauce, fried jalapenos, pickled cucumber and breadcrumbs fried in pork fat. The octopus was super tender and the sauce a perfect foil. The other dish was a fresh crab tart, with thinly sliced green apples and fried chickpeas. Both delicious. There are large pieces of an usual fresh herb on the crab dish. My partner asks what it was. The response. "Um...hmmmm...basil?" You tell me sweetie! The correct answer is: "I don't know, let me check with the kitchen and get right back to you, so that I may endear you to me so that you might give a larger tip at the end of your special night out". We had to ask if, when dropping off the plates in the dish pit, she could pop her sweet little head in the kitchen and ask. She did. The green in question turned out to be the tops of fava bean plants. Who could have guessed?
We received our entrees not much later. Grilled tuna with big plump pitted green olives and baby potatoes. Nicely seared on the outside, more raw toward the centre - just like it should be. My partner had the smoked duck breast with duck confit and fava beans. The duck was super tender, generous in portion, very nicely smoked. Amazing sauce. The confit was stuffed into mini spring roll wrappers. Very tasty.
Then more rushing. As the dinner plated were being cleared the dessert menus were put before us (seriously. simultaneously). Not a moment to digest, unwind, reflect. It seemed as if it were a mad rush to get us the hell out the door and the table turned over (even though we were well under our "two hour limit").
A senior waiter saw our discomfort and came to chat with us. We explained that we really, really enjoyed the food, but that the timing of the service was just whacky and made us feel rushed and edgy. To the restaurant's credit, this fellow apologized sincerely and as a gesture of good faith/an apology comped our dessert. Nice gesture and we really appreciated it. Dessert was spectacular - probably one of the best I've ever had. Coffee-bean financier (small cake) with coffee ice cream, tonka bean mousse and caramelized bananas. Crazy delicious.
I really do recommend L'Abattoir for the food. It's really very tasty and the prices are reasonable. The service however, needs some tightening. That's management's job and I hope they manage to make make the investment. The food deserves service of the same level.
I would highly L'Abattoir if you are looking for fine dining in Vancouver. Dinner here was amazing to say the least.
The restaurant was quite busy when we arrived (6pm), so we sipped some cocktails while we waited for our table to be ready. Everything is good is this restaurant, even the complimentary bread basket. The steak diane was perfectly cooked, the meat was quite tender and had the right seasoning. The chocolate dessert added the touch of sweetness I needed.
While the meal was nothing cheap, I think it was fairly priced for the quality of food, service and location. I will definitely put this restaurant on my list of places to revisit when I’m in Vancouver.
We tried out this place for the first time a while back. The appetizers were universal hits, the beet salad is fantastic, and a friend ordered the foie gras appetizer and gave me a bite. I kept dreaming about that appetizer and when our anniversary came up 2 weeks later I wanted to go back and order it myself, so that's what we did. It was so good! I have rarely enjoyed a dish that much in my life. The mains are good to very good but not fantastic like the appetizers, I had the steak once and the halibut once, and both were good but not something I would order again. My friend did think the halibut was the best she ever had in her life, so it may just be a taste thing. Anyway will definitely return.
My experience at L'Abattoir was great. The service was excellent and the food delicious.
The drinks were between $10 and $13 and I had Tommy's Margarita (on the rocks) which was perfect, not too sweet and not to salty.
We started with a couple of plates (one cold and one warm). We wanted to share them...but they don't really do sharing plates very well. We had a salmon and crispy potato salad as well as a crab dish. Both were very nicely plated and more importantly, tasty.
The breads they brought out were sooo great and still warm. A bacon brioche, some sort of cheese twist and another crisp of some sort.
I had the steak with potatoes, so good. But like any french restauraunt, don't expect a huge serving. Although we were all full afterwards, it didn't seem like a ton of food when it came out. My date had the halibut wrapped in bacon with peas and gnocci (very good). I also tasted the scallops and ox tail, as well as the salmon...all excellent.
The atmosphere was casual and funky. They have a great private dining space downstairs, the bar was packed and upstairs wasn't full but there wasn't a ton of space either (we were there on a Sunday night - jazz fest).
Value is difficult determine. So I'll let you do it for yourself.
4 drinks, 2 appies, 4 mains = $200.
I've visited twice now. I should explain that though I had a mediocre experience the first time, I miss the old Irish Heather and returned for the room alone. They converted it into a fairly decent space with some atmosphere. However, the first time I went, the food was surprisingly not good. It is their recipes that are the problem: the croquettes with oysters did not go together, as who puts flavourless, deep-fried food next to fresh oysters? The terrine was perfectly good, yet the raviolis were watery and overcooked with some sort of bland "sauce" (read: runny salsa) on top, and the chickpea crab mousse was perfectly nice presentation-wise but, as a server pointed out, impossible to eat without mashing it up into an unattractive lump. The drinks were consistently good, indicating that the majority of the skill was concentrated behind the bar. The service was pretentious that night -- well, downright condescending, actually. The servers were very interested in themselves and the owner does not like people who aren't yes men -- he struggled to not have a tantrum at us for remarking that we thought a dish was just okay. Instead, he gave a long speech about perspective and how ours did not reflect the general opinion out there -- which was fine, because the general opinion out there isn't worth much. The second night, I had dessert there and that was lovely -- an Earl Grey pot de creme which had a wonderful, intense flavour that wasn't artificial-tasting. The server was much nicer than the bartenders, if somewhat forgetful, but a breath of fresh air in an otherwise heavy-handed place. I just felt that the whole enterprise depended too much on image, yet the food and atmosphere did not live up to the standard they were trying to project. It is very reflective of the worst aspects of Vancouver culture: pretentious, self-congratulatory -- all talk with little to back it up. But boy, do they have an amazing PR machine going!
Every time I have duck at restaurants, it ends up being too greasy and I feel bloated after... not at L'Abattoir. Their duck breast was amazing, very flavourful and juicy but not overwhelming. My boyfriend ordered the Steak Diane which is just as excellent... his plate actually looked like a work of art... almost too beautiful to eat. We then shared the Milk Chocolate and Earl Grey pot de creme for dessert and wow was that ever smooth. Loved the cookie bits in it as well for that nice crunch. I will definitely go back to L'Abattoir for more. The only thing I didn't like was that it was a little loud, even for a Wednesday, but I guess that's a sign of how popular this restaurant is. Thanks for having us tonight!
I won't be returning because of the sneaky service charge..The bread was delicious but I later found out refills were charged and they did not tell me in advance. Food was good, but not better than anywhere else (say, Market). I liked the oxtail dumplings and scallops and the rabbit canneloni. The waiters are attentive but one of them tried to clean the plates away even before we finish. It seemed like they were trying to kick us out. I didn't like the frizzy lemondade because it was not worth $9, although it was unique. The decor was nice but it was getting way too loud past 7 and tables were very close to another. Good to try but I won't be back.
Honestly, it was "blah". I'd heard great thing about this place, but both my dining partner and I were underwhelmed.
We started with the egg dish - I think it was duck stuffed pasta and then I had the crab/chickpea mousse. My husband said his pasta was quite good, but my crab/chickpea mousse was really nothing. It just didn't have any complex flavours, despite all the different components you could have in a bite, like carrots and toast, or crab and mousse. The mousse that was mixed in basically tasted like light mayo with a hint of lemon occasionally. It just lacked direction, although it did get points for presentation.
Next we had the roasted scallops, and the pork shoulder cooked in milk with kale. My husband said the pork was okay, but overall, dry to eat and rather one note on the flavours. The roasted scallops were blah, the entire dish was. There was no texture on the plate for contrast, unless you count barely cooked baby carrots, and the entire dish was covered with a super sweet orangey-lemon sauce. There was some type of citrus stuff atop each scallop, also not good. The scallops had zero texture, even though they appeared to have a nicely seared top, it was just soft and mushy. The headcheese croquet did not compliment the dish either. It was a bizarre combination.
For dessert, there was the Earl Grey pot de creme (good) and a chocolate creme tarte. The tart was totally strange, like it couldn't make up it's mind. It was kind of a mini baked alaska, with melting yogurt in the middle under what seemed to be a fizzy, failed meringue. The chocolate crust so tough it shot across the table when I tried to get through it with a fork. It had moments of blackberry, not strawberry that I could tell, and it didn't actually taste like chocolate - that was just the crust.
As I said, we were just left really underwhelmed. I don't think we'd go back for a while, there are too many other good restaurants to choose from and the hype for this one didn't live up. Trendy room though, I can see why people love the ambience.
I was quite looking forward to trying out this new spot in Gastown. After organizing a date for dinner, we were seated upstairs, and the waitress took our drink orders. My glass of "sparkling" came flat and warm. Still trying to keep things light with my date, I ordered the halibut - which should have stayed on the plate. The waitress avoided us trying to get her attention numerous times and we ended up leaving because we felt passed over. When I went looking for the restroom, noone tried to give me any help when I was clearly at a loss where they were.
This restaurant is a bit of a popularity club and selective about who they serve and when. This was not a fine dining experience.
Avoid this restaurant. It is overrated.
Great addition to Gastown. They did an amazing job with the space. Service staff were on point, warm, welcoming and polished. The food was good, really good. Be prepared to spend $100 per person if you want to enjoy three courses, a cocktail and wine with dinner; the value is ceratinly there and it exists in the ingredients and the craft. If you appreciate quality, you will appreciate L'Abattoir.