I spent the past weekend on a little ‘staycation’ getaway, with a girlfriend at a house she was staying at in West Vancouver. We had a fantastic time exploring the area, and she played tour guide for me, as I haven’t actually been to that side of the city all that much since I moved to the Lower Mainland over 9 years ago.
On the first night of arrival, it took me almost two hours to get through long weekend traffic from the south side of the Cambie Street bridge, to the West End of downtown, and then to our final destination. Luckily, we were only going to West Vancouver and didn’t have to drive all the way to Kelowna – it took long enough just getting across town! As a result, we were starving at this point, and instead of heading to get groceries and then cooking something up for ourselves, we decided to head to La Régalade for an early dinner.
I’ve never been to La Régalade before, but had heard from a couple Parisian girlfriends that this was a definite ‘must’ in terms of French restaurants in the Greater Vancouver area. It is the only place that they said really encapsulated the atmosphere and food of Paris on the west coast. I’ve been meaning to get to this place for over two years now, and it was such a treat when it finally happened!
Since it was such a gorgeous and sunny evening, and we’ve had a lack of Vitamin D over the past few, well, months, we asked for a seat on the patio. It was early at the time – before 6 pm on a Friday evening – so we had plenty of space to choose from and decided to grab a table right at the edge, where we could see the sun shining in over the ocean, between a couple of buildings and trees. Once there, we grabbed a carafe of their house Pinot Blanc and chatted while basking in the heat for awhile before picking up the menu. A first for me!
Nearby the dinner specials were written on a chalkboard, listing a large variety of dishes available that evening. There was so much to choose from, and I was very excited and hungry at this point, so we had a bit of difficulty making any final decisions.
Happily, we both wanted share everything we ordered, so we went with a couple of starters followed by two entrees. Starting off, we had the Beet Salad, with shaved parmesan cheese over top, and chopped green onion. There was a lightly creamy dressing over top of the beets, but it wasn’t too much and still allowed for a fresh feeling dish for a warm summer evening. I absolutely love beets and enjoy ordering them when dining out. I don’t generally cook with them as I have the tendency to drop things and be a bit of a klutz – this just doesn’t mix with something that will dye everything bright red.
Next up we enjoyed La Salad Régalade, with baby romaine leaves, sauteed prawns, calamari, bacon and cheese. Again, this had a creamier dressing and was full of flavour. The squid was perfectly cooked so it still retained its tenderness, and the prawns were luscious and plump to bite into. The scary part is that the two of us were actually already starting to get full at this point, and still had both of our mains to get through.
We were in no rush that evening, so continued to slowly eat our food and enjoy our wine and good conversation. Then we realized we still had the bread and butter that was brought early on, sitting untouched. So what did we do? We pulled pieces of it off and dipped it into the remaining dressing.
Finally, we finished up (lapped up?) the last of our first courses, and our entrees arrived shortly afterward. My absolute favourite dish of the meal was the Beef Short Ribs in a Peppercorn Sauce. This was served in a yellow Le Creuset, with delicious carrots. I’m not a carrot person at all, but I have to tell you, these ones were fantastic! They were still slightly firm and went so well with rest of the dish. The short ribs were so tender and beautifully done, all while still retaining a crispy outer shell and numerous peppercorns throughout. Absolutely divine! I would highly recommend that you don’t miss out on this entree if you are to pay La Régalade a visit at any point.
This was served with a side of Potato Gratin. Sinfully rich. As you can see, these were baked with a nice crisp coating and there was not a single piece remaining once we were done with our meal.
Along with that, we tried one of the specials of the evening – Halibut Filet Piperade (a Basque descendant made with onions, red peppers, tomato and spices). The fish was really fresh, and I enjoyed the contrast of the seafood with our meatier dish. I’m glad that we ordered the halibut, but next time around I will likely try something else. It was still really good, but I think that it just paled a bit in comparison with the short rib.
I definitely enjoyed the flavours and the atmosphere during our meal at La Regalade over the long weekend. The food was delicious (albeit quite rich, and needed to be followed up with some hiking over the next couple of days), and sitting on the patio with the suns rays warming us and a view over the water was a treat in and of itself. The service was extremely friendly but not overbearing, and I can’t think of a single complaint in that area either.
If you’re looking to relive past memories of a trip to Paris, or want to prepare yourself to go in the future, a visit to La Régalade is a must. I cannot vouch for the Parisian vibe and food myself as I haven’t yet been, but my friends that grew up there have raved about it, and that should be enough to make you go!
2232 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, BC, V7V 1K4