Where to Get French Food in Calgary

Where to go when you're craving eclairs and petit fours, cognac flambéed steak au poivre and escargots pineau, or sweetbreads and soufflés.



Photograph on the wall at Avec Bistro showing serving staff sunning themselves outside the restaurant.

Photograph by Jared Sych

 

In France, restaurants tend to adhere to the cuisine of only their area. In Calgary, however, French restaurant menus typically include a range of dishes from different regions and feature a variety of styles all in the same space, allowing you to do a culinary Tour de France of your own choosing.

 

Avec Bistro

photograph by jared sych 

Bison tartare at Avec Bistro.

Avec’s chef is classically trained in Paris, but this little bistro offers a slightly more contemporary and localized take on the French classics. Foie gras torchon, frog legs and peasant cheeses all make menu appearances alongside tweaked French specialties like bison tartare and a uniquely vegetarian French onion soup. 

550 11 Ave. S.W., 587-352-0964, avecbistro.com

 

Cassis Bistro

photograph by jared sych 

Cassis Bistro owner Gilles Brassart.

This cozy bistro specializes in the southern French dishes that owner-operator Gilles Brassart grew up with in Aix-en-Provence. Chef Stephanie Bayer even travelled to France to visit with Brassart’s mother, who helped her perfect secret family recipes like soupe au pistou Provençale (vegetable soup from Provence). 

2505 17 Ave. S.W., 403-262-0036, thecassisbistro.ca

 

Éclair de Lune

photograph by jared sych 

Eclairs from Éclair de Lune.

Tucked away in a northwest strip mall, Éclair de Lune doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it offers a number of spectacularly authentic French pastries. The eclairs and petit fours are appropriately fussy, and the bakery counter also features quiches and savoury croissants for takeout or to lunch on in the adjoining café. 

1049 40 Ave. N.W., 403-398-8803

 

Fleur de Sel Brasserie

photograph by jared sych 

Escargots at Fleur de Sel Brasserie.

A 4th Street S.W. fixture since 1998, Fleur de Sel’s menu spans the highlights of the entirety of French cuisine, including an authentic cassoulet, Alsatian choucroute, cognac flambéed steak au poivre and escargots pineau. The casual decor and neighbourhood feel has rightly earned Fleur de Sel a solid group of regulars. 

2015 4 St. S.W., 403-228-9764, fleurdeselbrasserie.com

 

La Boulangerie 

photograph by jared sych 

Pastry display at La Boulangerie.

More than just a French bread shop, La Boulangerie’s all-butter pastries (think kouign-amann, cannelés, tarts, eclairs, profiteroles and macarons) are among the best in the city. The shop serves lunchtime meals, too: sandwiches on fresh-baked baguettes and croissants, plus tasty crepes, soups and stews. 

2435 4 St. S.W., 403-984-9294

 

La Chaumière  

photograph by jared sych 

Roasted Noble Farm duck breast at La Chaumière.

The grande dame of Calgary’s fine-dining scene, La Chaumière has stood on 17th Avenue S.W. for decades and remains the place to go for fancy old-school French dining. The menu is full of tartares, sweetbreads, duck and soufflés for a classic white-tablecloth French culinary experience. 

139 17 Ave. S.W., 403-228-5690, lachaumiere.ca

 

Ollia Macarons & Tea

photograph courtesy of ollia macarons and tea

Inside Ollia Macarons and Tea.

Ollia’s focus is firmly on the much-celebrated macaron. Co-owner David Rousseau is from Brittany, the birthplace of salted caramel, which is one of Ollia’s most popular fillings. All the macarons are made with traditional French techniques, which die-hards can learn themselves at one of Ollia’s baking classes. 

810C 16 Ave. S.W., 403-457-9775, byollia.com

 

Royale Brasserie Française

photograph by jared sych 

Royale bartender Mitch Vernaroli.

Though his native Brittany is near to chef Dominique Moussu’s heart, the lively Royale Brasserie touches on a range of French cuisines. The kitchen aims for substance over style with classic menu items such as baked mussels (as well as steamed moules frites), rabbit terrine, and a beautiful côte de boeuf for two. 

730 17 Ave. S.W., 403-475-9457, royaleyyc.ca

 

Suzette Brittany Bistro

photograph by jared sych 

Normande crepe with caramelized apple, flambée au Calvados and Village vanilla ice cream.

Focusing on Breton cuisine, sweet crepes and savoury buckwheat galettes — stuffed with anything from seared scallops to merguez sausages — dominate the menu at Suzette. The galettes (a rarity in Calgary) are the must-try here, but the restaurant also does a great moules frites and, oddly enough, one of the city’s best mac ’n’ cheeses. 

2210 4 St. S.W., 403-802-0036, bistrosuzette.ca 

 

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This article appears in the February 2017 issue of Avenue Calgary. Subscribe here.