A fine restaurant offers numerous opportunities to show off one's breeding, from ordering in a self-patented tongue to correctly identifying the soup knife. Demonstrate debutante delicacy with today's deal: for $35, you get $70 worth of fine dining at Tapenade Bistro, located in Steveston Village.
Tapenade Bistro cloaks each experience in a tasty tapestry woven from fresh Ocean Wise-compliant seafood, threaded with French and Mediterranean influences and brocaded in idyllic views of Steveston's charming fishing fleet. The bouillabaisse ($19 for lunch; $27 for dinner), a stew of fresh fish, prawns, diver scallop, Salt Spring Island mussels, clams and shellfish, shows off chef Alex Tung's talents for harmonizing flavors even as he elucidates them, while the coq au vin ($26), a Cornish hen accented in smoked bacon and fleur de Dijon spaetzle, will leave taste buds tingling with euphoria. Vegetarians can swaddle mouths with pillows of the gnocchi tapenade ($20), and a range of appetizers like beef striploin carpaccio ($11) and beet salad ($10) ensures that, unlike tipsy ballerinas, meals get off on the right foot. A six-page wine and drinks menu lists myriad choices for pairing entrees and plying imaginary spouses.
Tapenade Bistro has been extensively reviewed including mentions from Straight and Scout magazine; Tapenade Bistro has a four-star average from DineHere users, a 4.3-star average from OpenTable users, and an average of 4.5 owl eyes from TripAdvisors:
- Over the past several years, Tapenade has earned the reputation of being an exceptional neighbourhood bistro with great food, outstanding service and fantastic wine. The menu is steeped in French tradition, though is updated with west coast sensability and is presented in an approachable and informal setting. The philosophy behind the Tapenade kitchen is to showcase the natural beauty of local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients in an appropriate and sumptuos manner. – Scout magazine
- Tapenade Bistro (3711 Bayview Street, Richmond) is quietly turning out much more creative, refined seafood. Executive chef Alex Tung has worked for biggies like Jean-Georges Vongerichten in London and Daniel Boulud in New York, and his talent shows on the plate. The Ocean Wise dishes change with the seasons. The fall menu is just out, with a beautiful pan-seared lingcod ($25) that’s gussied up with a ragout of double-smoked bacon, mushrooms, peas, and pearl onions, all served with spaetzle. Yum. – Carolyn Ali, Straight
Even though the menu is influenced by eateries in the Old World, almost every other element of Tapenade Bistro is supremely local. Chef Colin Uyeda, who grew up in Steveston, got his first job in a kitchen at age 15 according to the Richmond Review. The reporter sampled locally caught seafood, going so far as to name the local fisherman behind octopus that's "succulently braised and served with in-house merguez sausage, harissa paste, a combination of pickled and fresh vegetables, and a citrus emulsion."
That's not the end of the regional influences though; there are Salt Spring Island mussels, cuts of Fraser Valley pork, and more, all of it made in compliance with Ocean Wise's guidelines for sustainability. Small producers from the region are well represented on the wine list, as well, and a special dinner series walks patrons through those offerings.