Voulez-vous (dîner) avec moi?

Just a short year ago, a couple of dashing Frenchmen moved into the 2200 block of West 4th Ave to open up Au Comptoir – a stylish little café/bistro hoping to find its place in the neighborhood.  There was some buzz, as there always is, and speculation as to how it might be… but as we all know, in this city wonderful restaurants and lounges come and go in a hot Vancouver minute.  The concept looked lovely enough and their reputation was strong – see a preview here – But with their snappy outfits, classy crew and adorable accents – we didn’t even know what we were missing.

Critics said “only time will tell”, but that was a lie.  Because from the MOMENT they opened their doors, we were met with a truly beautiful place – and discovered a little slice of Parisian heaven.

Maxime Bettili and Julien Aubin are the real deal.  And they have truly brought Belle Paris to us.

From the ever-evolving cocktail list to each tile that was hand-placed (at 3am) by this pair of vanguards, the totality of the experience is clear.  There is a certain `je ne sais quoi“- a finesse – in the food, the ambiance, the staff, the air.  This is not any old `French-themed eatery` (Morrison- Scout Mag)

It is France.

You might think I`m slightly biased – partly because it`s right around the corner from my home and partly because I am now lucky to call them my friends.  But I assure you that every single person who ventures through those doors would immediately feel the same.  From the very first moment, you are greeted as a friend.  This is not simply a restaurant – it is a neighborhood gathering place – a home.

Au Comptoir opens at 8am for breakfast and offers lunch and dinner through until 10pm (closed on Tuesdays);  This means that at any time of day, you can find yourself with a book and a glass of beautiful wine, an immaculate meal with friends, or simply meeting a new face at the bar, over cocktails.

You can find praise and critique all over the internet, along with endless menu reviews and professional commentary – so I won`t bore you with that.  All I will say is that, in my mind, every little detail… is pure perfection.

Last week, we were honoured to be invited to celebrate this inaugural year, and to toast with the familiar faces we have met inside those doors.  Local musicians, Sly Business (aka Mark Ejack) and Dan Klenner, provided some smooth grooves to help us dance the evening away, and it really was a night to remember.

I’d like to offer not only my personal congratulations, but my many thanks as well, to the entire team over at Au Comptoir – And here’s to many more glasses of champagne on any given night for any, (or no,) reason at all.


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