Fraiche (West Vancouver)
When I decided I wanted to try Fraiche (in West Vancouver) and told JT and he agreed to drive all the way up to West Vancouver on a rainy and dark night, I knew that if it wasn’t amazing, I would have huge remorse. After all, we could have had a quiet dinner near by my place. But I had promised my friend Phil Reigh (who works at Fraiche) that I would come by sometime (and I wanted to surprise him). So away we went, and after a solid 45 minutes drive (with a couple of turnarounds and twists) we made it to Fraiche. Best. Decision. Ever.
Renowned as one of West Vancouver’s most celebrated dining experiences , Fraîche is a feast for the senses. The bright and elegant dining room provides a sophisticated and comfortable framework to showcase the spectacular, panoramic view, while the top notch service team similarly supports the talented kitchen brigade. Led by rising culinary talent Executive Chef, Jefferson Alvarez, Fraîche offers delicious and diverse menus for lunch, dinner, bar and brunch that incorporate westcoast sensibilities and ingredients with global flare and flavours. Enjoy an evolving and inspired selection of wines by the bottle and glass expertly paired for your meal or mood. Guests looking for a light lunch, indulgent weekend brunch, mouth watering chef’s table experience or savoury bite after the game will find a welcoming place at the Fraîche table.
While I know that my point-and-shoot digital camera does not make justice to Fraiche’s amazing views, I am pretty sure you can imagine how beautiful the view is. The dining room at Fraiche is spacious, inviting and delicate. The staff is simply out-of-the-ordinary. And they spoiled me. We all know how much I love being spoiled!
As soon as we arrived, we were promptly seated (even though we didn’t have a reservation – I didn’t want to spoil the surprise for Phil). The servers were incredibly friendly and attentive (not only with me, but I noticed that with everyone in the room). It was impressive to see that so many people had chosen to have dinner at Fraiche on the same night (considering how rainy and dark it was, it requires a bit of a trek to go up – but the drive is totally worth it – I will include detailed instructions on how to get there).
Very graciously, Phil sent a couple of appetizers to my table as well as a couple of glasses of sparkling wine (I totally wasn’t expecting this). Though I’ll admit, I’m totally a fan of the prosciutto. My photos aren’t the best as the lighting is fantastic for mood, but horrendous for photos!
I am really impressed with the culinary prowess of Jefferson Alvarez, Executive Chef, Fraîche Restaurant. From his biography on the Fraiche website:
Self taught chef, Jefferson Alvarez left Venezuela for Ottawa at age 16 where he briefly attended Le Cordon Bleu Ottawa Culinary Institute. Throughout his career, Alvarez has taken many return trips to explore Spain in-depth while working stages at exciting restaurants such as the three-star Michelin rated Arzak and Akelare. Ready for a new experience, Alvarez decided to move to British Columbia in 2009 to head up the kitchen at Divino. His experience and techniques paired with his culinary passions are sure to spell delicious and exciting times for the guests at Fraîche.
While Fraiche’s website purports this wonderful restaurant to be casual, it’s an elegant dining room that is well suited for romantic dinners or special occasions. And this is good as I’m about to publish my List of Romantic Places for Dinner for Valentine’s Day. Both JT and I commented on the fact that we were happy we had worn dressier clothes, as we would have felt bad to be in such nice place with just t-shirt and jeans.
For his dinner, JT ordered Smoked Bison Short Ribs with root vegetables (at $29, a pretty decent price for an upscale restaurant). For my dinner, I ordered Free Range Chicken Supreme ($30, soft truffle polenta, wild mushrooms, porcini jus) which was absolutely to-die-for. While some people may wonder why I didn’t order the Sablefish, I wanted to try the chicken supreme. The wild mushrooms combined with the porcini jus give this dish a salty, rich and fulfilling taste where the polenta provides texture and context. The chicken was perfectly well done and I totally would have done seconds if I had had room in my stomach.
(Sorry, my photos are a bit overexposed because of the flash).
While we could have been totally happy with this, we decided to go for dessert. Best. Decision. Ever. After, of course, deciding to have dinner at Fraiche.
I ordered a Chocolate Trio ($9.5, lava cake, jelly, honeycomb bar) and JT ordered an apple tart ($9.5). Both desserts were delicious, though I have to say my dessert was much tastier. I have no idea how we ended up eating this much, considering that we both were very full from our meal. The lava cake was fluffy, filled with chocolatey flavor, and the honeycomb bar was the perfect after-taste palate cleanser.
I totally will return to Fraiche, particularly on a special occasion. It left an indelible positive impression in my palate. And considering that it has such beautiful views of the city (including the North Shore), and how excellent the staff is, I have to say that I have no qualms recommending it as a romantic place for dinner and/or for a special occasion. JT and I agreed we need to come back. Soon.
You HAVE to drive, I think (you may be able to take the bus but I’d strongly recommend driving). Take Marine Drive (in West Vancouver) until you hit 21st Street. Turn right and take 21st Street all the way up until you cross Queens Avenue, and the highway (99 and 1). Immediately after crossing the highway turn left (west) towards Skylift Road. Take Skylift Road until Falkenstone (you’ll see Salmon House on the Hill, that’s where you should turn right, or North in this case). Go all the way up and then turn to the right towards Chippendale Road, until you reach 2240 Chippendale Road, West Vancouver V7S 3J5. It looks a bit convoluted but it’s totally worth getting up there.
Disclosure:I paid for both of our dinners on our own dime. We were offered a couple of complimentary glasses of sparkling wine and appetizers, but I paid in full for the rest (and we did NOT expect nor request any special treatment). As always, I retain full editorial control over anything I post on my site.