Birthdays are a great occasion to try out a new fancy restaurant,, wouldn’t you agree? This year, I decided to finally try L’Abattoir in Gastown. Afterwards I got asked how my birthday dinner was and I tried to describe the restaurant but totally failed. It is such a unique place that it’s hard to find the right words to do it justice. I guess they way L’Abattoir describes itself is the most accurate way: “French influenced West Coast fare”.

A little fun fact for you, which I enjoyed very much: The Restaurant is located in the building of Vancouver’s very first jail. Later this area became the meat packing and butcher district. If your french is better than mine (and with that I mean if you know any french at all), you might understand why it’s called L’Abattoir now. Well, I had to google the meaning of the name, shame on me, directly translated it means “Slaughterhouse”. Does kind of make sense now doesn’t it?

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

The Atmosphere

L’Abattoir has a great location in the middle of Gastown, very elegant looking from the outside. Stepping inside, you will see a big bar to the right and a staircase going up to the left, which leads into the main dining room. They also have a private area for events, which can be booked and trust me, you should once book it for a private event! It’s a stunning, beautifully decorated conservatory-type room and therfore must be a whole other dining experience.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review
Well not this time for us but maybe some other time. We got seated upstairs in the main dining area at a small but lovely table. The Team at L’Abattoir had done a great job at keeping the old features of the building, such as the brick walls but tastefully added some modern elements to the place. Overall it feels very classy, yet intimidating.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

Food & Drinks

Our waiter arrived promptly, reciting todays special dinner and drinks options and brought along some water. Since it was my birthday, I had to order some bubbles (a birthday is not a birthday without bubbles, am I right?), J. went for a beer. It might be worth saying that we have been living without alcohol, meat or sugar for the last 5 weeks, so we were very much looking forward to indulge even more in all these things that night. And oh boy did we!

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

Looking over the menu, I can not recommend to bring any vegetarian friends to this place, unless they eat fish and seafood. There was barely a dish on L’Abattoirs menu that did not at least include some kind of meat or seafood. Not that this bothered us but I thought it’s worth mentioning. Everything on the menu sounded intriguingly delicious and so we decided to order the Poached Humpback Shrimp with peas and fried ricotta dumplings as well as the Smoked Sturgeon with crunchy potato, radicchio and dill to start with.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

The presentation was just stunning and with so much detail, it looked more like artwork than food. I had a hard time as I didn’t want to destroy this beautiful creation. But then my curiosity won out and I had to see if the dish tasted as beautiful as it looked. And it did! Bot dishes were fantastic but the fried ricotta dumplings were the star for me. That crispy outside paired with the slightly melted, rich ricotta inside was a stunning combination and the perfectly poached shrimp transformed the whole dish into a truly delightful experience.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant ReviewThe smoked sturgeon, tasted gloriously smokey and was a great accompaniment to the crunchy potatoes. The light bitterness from the radicchio and the fresh taste of the dill rounded this dish up perfectly. What a great start into a meal!

For the main dish J. ordered the Lamb Leg and Merguez Sausage, while I decided to try the Duck Breast roasted on the bone. Again, the presentation was spot on. This time I had to dig right in, no time for admiration.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

The duck breast was cooked to absolute perfection and was, to my surprise, not served on the bone. It was super tender, deliciously pink in the middle and just so juicy, basically melting in my mouth. I am massive rhubarb fan but at first I couldn’t really imagine how it would pair with a meat like duck or add anything to it rather than distract. Bu let me tell you, it pairs very nicely! The sweet and sour flavours of the rhubarb actually kept the whole dish in balance. The whipped foie gras was the final touch!

The Lamb was a decent portion, however we were slightly disappointed about the lack of sausage. A bit more would have been nice. But regardless, the lamb and sausage together were fantastic. The dish was served with peppers, yogurt and harrisa, which made the dish taste slightly oriental. Packed with interesting flavours, which we couldn’t all identify and a touch of spice, this was a feast for all senses but calmed down by the rich yogurt. Overall a well balanced dish but we would have appreciated a touch more sausage.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

After all the amazing food at L’Abbatoir, we didn’t really have any space left for dessert but after not eating sugar in 5 weeks I was determined! It became clear that there was no way we could order and eat one dessert each, so we had to compromise and decide for one dessert to share. After a (very) serious discussion, I ordered the cheesecake.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

Now this wasn’t what you might expect a cheesecake to look like but I would have been disappointed with L’Abattoir if they would have served us just a slice of regular cheesecake. Oh no, this was cheesecake reinvented. A few drops of more mousse-like cheesecake in between bits of rhubarb, topped of with vanilla ice cream and rhubarb candy. Like all other dishes we had at L’Abattoir, it looked and tasted amazing. The cheesecake was rich, soft and sweet, which went well with the sour-sweet bits of rhubarb and the freezing ice cream on the top. The rhubarb candy on the top tasted slightly artificial and didn’t add anything to the dish for me taste wise but hey, it looked fantastic!

The Service

Overall the service at L’Abattoir was great and to the point. Our waiter was attentive but didn’t bug as every 2 seconds about how the food was, which is not a rarity here in Vancouver (“It still tastes as good as it did 5 seconds ago, thanks very much!”). He knew the menu very well and could recommend a few dishes, which is always a plus point. I would say the service is what you would expect from a classy place like L’Abattoir!

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant Review

Conclusion

We had a great time, with good service and fantastic food at L’Abattoir, I’d definitely recommend this place for a special night out (or even a casual dinner during the week if that’s in your budget!). Not the best option for vegetarians but if you appreciate well done meats, this is your place! To bad it’s on the more expensive side and not a place I could dine every month but hey, there are some more special occasions around the corner.

L'Abattoir Vancouver - Restaurant ReviewHave you been to L’Abattoir yet? How did you find it? What food did you have? Tell us all about it in the comments box below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this place!

L'Abattoir

217 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2, Canada

Phone Number: +1-604-568-1701

Cuisine Type: French, Meats, Upscale Dining

Website | View Menu | Make A Reservation

SUMMARY
L'Abattoir is the perfect restaurant for a fancy night out in a nice atmosphere and some stunning food! The food presentation is like artwork and will make you feel guilty destroying it when you dig in but you have to. It's just too good. Aside from mouthwatering food that leaves you craving more, L'Abattoir also offers a great selection of cocktails, which is worth coming for alone. Make sure you take someone who appreciates some good meat as this place is very meat and fish heavy and maybe not the best option for any vegetarians.
Atmosphere85%
Taste85%
Value for Money70%
Service85%
Assortment80%
Food presentation90%
Positives
  • Great atmosphere, very classy and modern vibe
  • Great cocktails, worth the visit just for that!
  • Food is stunningly presented, feels like artwork
Negatives
  • No outdoor area to sit in the summer
  • On the expensive side, so you might want to save this for a special occasion
  • Not many options for vegetarians
83%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0%

Reviewed on: May 18, 2016

About The Author

Hannah Breucker
Co-Founder and Editor

Hey, I'm Hannah Breucker from Munich, Germany but made Vancouver my new home and this food blog my new project! I love food and so I'm always on the hunt for new restaurants in Vancouver. But I also enjoy baking and cooking for my better half or friends. I am constantly trying out new recipes or improving old recipes, so if you love food as much as I do, come and join me on my food adventures!