For six months, Isobel Drummond and her husband sojourned across France with their two teenage daughters, seeking out the country’s best cafés. The couple lingered over coffee and macarons in Paris, Bordeaux, St. Tropez, Marseille, and Nice. Now, at Simply French Cafe, they strive to capture the welcoming ambiance and gourmet foods they enjoyed in their favourite French eateries.
Simply French’s crystal chandeliers and Toulouse-Lautrec posters pop against dark wooden floors and exposed ceiling beams. Customers linger over paninis, tiramisu, and French-style pastries served on delicate pastel china. And in the evenings, a hands-on macaron-making class lets students create their own confections without the difficulty of growing meringues from seed.
Behind their storefront's wood sign and bright red door, Jimmy Flynn's Celtic Snug's bartenders pour cold pints of Guinness to complement hearty Irish stews, seafood, and meat crafted fresh daily. Each morning, chefs whip up black pudding for traditional Irish breakfasts and then use Guinness to enhance the flavours of later day offerings such as bison burgers and barbecue pulled pork sandwiches. In addition to draft brews, Jimmy's crew can also fill glasses with local and international red and white wines.
Creamy textured walls, Celtic-themed paintings, and panoramic views of the White Rock Harbour wrap around the eatery's cozy confines. The dining room also hosts occasional performances from live musicians and special events such as whisky tastings with James Joyce's ghost.
Calling Komatsu a market is a bit of an understatement. The shop is a trifecta of Japanese culture—one part Japanese grocery, one part carry-out restaurant, and one part cultural-education centre. Its chefs create Japanese teriyaki bowls and curry bowls and roll specialty sushi such as the eponymous Komatsu Roll, which consists of spicy tuna, shrimp salad, cucumber, imitation crab, and tobiko. After indulging in some fresh sushi, guests can stock up on specialty Japanese ingredients or enroll in a sushi-making class. The instructors also cover other, nonedible aspects of Japanese life. They teach cultural classes and basic Japanese-language classes.