Monday, March 22, 2010

Restaurant Profile: Mistral French Bistro

Location: Kitsilano
Chef de Cuisine/Owner: Jean-Yves Benoit
Restaurant Director/Owner: Minna Benoit

Mistral French Bistro is a delightful little restaurant that serves topnotch French food and enjoys a strong base of repeat local customers. The room is small but very comfortable with appropriate lighting and soothing décor. When you enter you’ll likely be greeted by Minna Benoit who speaks with a charming French-Finnish accent. She runs the front of the house with both professionalism and effortless hospitality. Her staff of servers is well trained, friendly and impressively synchronized – it’s a team effort at the tiny Mistral. Enjoy a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere or watch the chefs at work through the partially open kitchen.

Icon Wines Recommends:

  • Start with a savory treat and share the Cold Cut Platter. It’s duck-lover’s dream. There’s plenty for two to enjoy as a warm-up before a salad or even your main course.
  • When you think of French food you often think of land animals in butter sauce. Well, they do fish in butter sauce too and Chef Benoit’s Fresh Sablefish in Beurre Blanc is to die for.
  • Ask your server for wine recommendations. They don’t have a full-time sommelier, but I have found the servers very knowledgeable about pairing the wine in their cellar with their menu.
  • It’s a bit cliché to go to a French restaurant and order Crème Brulée, unless it’s as good as Mistral’s. Order with dignity intact.
  • Take a cab. Parking is available to the lucky few who find a local block with no permit requirements or to those willing to plug the meter. For the rest, take a cab and enjoy more wine with dinner.
  • On the return visit you are sure to want, make a point to arrive for lunch and choose from one of their regional set menus (Provence, Marseille, Riviera and Traditional). Prices range from $19-24 and include three courses.
Go to for an up-to-date menu and online reservation form or call them at 604-733-0046.

The restaurant is a personal favourite of mine and one that I have enjoyed both birthdays and anniversaries at. The quality-to-cost is hard to beat.
 - Liam Carrier

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