Reconnecting with La Regalade, West Vancouver’s Authentic French Bistro

La Régalade lamb sirloin with beef bourguignon tureen and potato side dish

La Regalade’s classic style has made it a West Van fixture

Update: CLOSED

Vancouverites are notorious for not crossing bridges, which may be one reason why I don’t get to West Vancouver’s La Regalade more often. Four of us made it there the other night, to be rewarded by a wealth of rustic flavours, ample portions, good service and overall great conviviality.

Our table was right across from the kitchen, so I had a good chance to take in all the action. As usual, owner-chef Alain Raye was in the kitchen—although that’s a somewhat grandiose name for it. Somehow, everything here (the main menu runs to a couple of dozen items) is cooked right behind the counter. It’s an impossibly small space shared by some seven or eight people at any given time—including the dishwashers.

la regaled wet vancouver chalk board

La Regalade’s chalkboard. Yes, I ran it large so you can read it!

La Regalade is so popular there’s barely room for the servers to get around. But they do, with nary a spill or a frown. Someone’s decided that book menus are a waste of space and paper (which they are). Instead you get a substantial chalkboard (smaller for desserts) right at your table, that’s extensive, and always up to date. Maneuvering these is another exercise in skillful choreography. Somehow, though, I don’t think you’ll ever see iPad menus here

First hit of the night: salad Régalade: I might be tempted to order it alone the next time

First hit of the night: salad Régalade: I might be tempted to order it alone the next time

I’d go back in a flash for the Salade Régalade, a protein packed compendium of warm prawns, whole (tender) calamari and bacon that will have you wondering how you’re going to eat your entrée. But you will. In my case it was perfectly cooked lamb sirloin (just-pink in parts) slathered in Chanterelles and roasted garlic cloves, with mildly addictive scallop potatoes in a mini skillet on one side.

West Vancouver Bistro La Regalade Prawn ravioli in superbly rich lobster bisque

Prawn ravioli in superbly rich lobster bisque

Other popular picks of the night: prawn ravioli swimming in shellfish rich lobster bisque, intensely flavoured, fork tender boeuf Bourgignon, served in its own substantial tureen, filet of sole, and the legendary La Regalade 7-hour slow roasted leg of lamb.

Wines span the French spectrum, with a respectable reserve list, as well as a good choice of mid-range bottles, plus a few better BC labels. Our mouth-filling, anise toned and gently peppery Perrin & Fils Vacqueyras 2010 ($60) fit the bill perfectly.

La Regalade Boeuf Bourguignon: deep, rich and rewarding

La Regalade Boeuf Bourguignon: deep, rich and rewarding

The mood is classic bistro buzz. And it really is all about the food, which is unswervingly French and very fairly priced. I watched Alain Raye working non-stop for a good couple of hours, as he coordinated everything, cooking and checking each plate before it went out. The plates aren’t fussy or fancy. They’re honest, flavour packed and doggedly authentic. Desserts, from an extensive list are tough to resist. In short, it’s exactly what bistro food should be.

West Vancouver's La Regalade tiede au chocolat

La Regalade tiede au chocolat

Given West Van’s well known aversion to pubs, bars, dance halls or other ‘dens of iniquity,’ there’s not a lot to do here beyond dining out. All of which means that the feeding window tends to be very concentrated. Translation: it can be quite manic between 6.30 and 8.30, so you might be wise to book early or later, especially on a weekend.

Most of the time La Regalade’s clientele understands that, somehow, the staff need to get around. But I did wonder about the couple who were spoon-feeding their baby, in a carrier on a chair, making it almost impossible for anyone to get by.

As for those substantial portions: there’s no grief if you want to have what you can’t finish packed up to take home. And a  lot of folks do just that.

My next visit could be for a lingering lunch (La Regalade is open daily except Monday from 11.30 a.m.), for which the menu is equally as tempting and well-priced. And, as far as driving across those bridges is concerned, after a couple of glasses of wine, I may well take the bus from door to door.

 La Régalade, 2232 Marine Dr, West Vancouver, 604-921-2228

 

 

By | 2018-01-21T15:05:20+00:00 December 1st, 2013|Belly's Best Bites, Restaurant Reviews|1 Comment

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.

One Comment

  1. Joy Metcalfe January 22, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Considering the fact that I lived for 35 years in West Van and now live in North Van, I have never had a meal at La Regalade. Could we have lunch there sometime soon?…Joy

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