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2603 16th Avenue West
Vancouver, BC V6K 3C2
Daytime: 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday to Friday
11:00 am to 4:00pm Weekends and Holidays
Dinner: from 5:00pm Monday to Saturday
I’d heard of a promising dessert shop through a local friend of mine who recommended it, and a week back I finally made my first stop at Sweet Obession Cakes & Pastries on 16th avenue in Kitsilano. I’ll reserve comments on the desserts here, as this is a post on the establishment next door, Trafalgars Bistro, which I noticed as I was leaving the shop and made a mental note to check it out. Not totally surprising, I was there on the following weekend for brunch, as my curiousity got the best of me. [I later learned that the owners of both establishments are the same pair!]
A warm welcoming room with hardwood floors, and a French sense of style but not overly pretentious, Trafalgars Bistro also has a great landscaped patio which has almost as many seats (30) as there are inside (40), which seemed popular on a rare sunny day this week that has been dominated by rain. Immediately upon stepping inside, I noticed the long dark leather banguette at the back of the room, which serves as a nice anchor to the entire relaxed atmosphere. Seated right away by a gentleman who offered us a few choices of tables (unfortunately the patio was completely full), a nice touch which I always appreciate rather than just being led to a single available seating. Our very gregarious female server then quickly brought our menus and introduced the brunch special of the day ($14) – french toast with fresh strawberries and sauce (sorry, her explanation was much more detailed, something about a type of bread that had a lot of air pockets/holes in it), which my brunch companion ended up selecting, and was very happy with. Taking a quick bite, I soon realized the well thought out use of this type of bread as it was so fluffy and the holes just collapsed and were flooded with the poured on fruit sauce and allowed you to enjoy all the flavors at once.
Scanning the menu (daytime), there were six main offerings and then four sandwiches which could be paired with one of two soup selections. Figuring the poached eggs and hollandaise on potato latke was the most popular item, I passed on that and after some debate, went with one of the sandwiches: a tomato and artichoke grilled cheese (Piave, fontina, cheddar) on rosemary sourdough sandwich ($15). I don’t think I’ve ever hard this combination of flavors together, but the cheeses really pulled out the best in the nice warm tomatoes and artichoke inside. The rosemary in the bread was not overpowering, and grilled perfectly, not too soft and not too crispy hard. As my side soup, I went with the leek, potato and roasted garlic with an olive oil drizzle, which was creamy with a few chunks of the potato still remaining. It came out pipping hot, which was great as too often any soup I order comes out oh so lukewarm by the time it reaches my table.
The portions for both our orders were just right, not those overplatted, high volume messes that are often found at other brunch serving places in the city, and thus I think it would be a popular place for women or those with smaller appetites who prefer quality over quantity. Some might say the price point is a bit high, and I suppose that is true for the quantity being served, but I don’t think this is the place nor neighborhood for the “value” crowd, and for me on this particular day, it was just fine for me and I was a satisfied customer. Other final impressions were that the clientele here seemed to be more often than not, regulars or people who live in the neighborhood. I spotted several people going up to the bar area, near the kitchen to have an extensive chat with one of the proprietors, suggesting a strong familiarity. And lastly, for those with a food sustainability state of mind, Trafalgars Bistro does support the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program for seafood, so you can enjoy all the Sockeye salmon and BC mussels on the menu to your heart’s content!
Next time, I will have to visit the dinner menu…