“You like whisky? You should have the Donald Draper,” said a dark-haired, cheery waitress. I called her establishment out on the real-life clickbait-iness of naming a cocktail after the suave and dapper fictional protagonist of, in my opinion, the best television series ever produced. “Trust me,” she insisted, “it is a favourite.” Would the ad man have approved? Kentucky bourbon, an Italian wine, and a French liqueur combined with bitters… I’ll happily admit that it was a very good creation. The roasted duck breast that followed was also nothing to sneeze at.
To match an excellent menu, L’Abattoir has something foundational that would elevate many other ordinary eateries substantially: a gorgeous space. In a building built in the 1800s and the site of Vancouver’s first jail, Glasfurd & Walker, a local studio that has worked with local hospitality brands Pidgin, Bao Bei and Meat & Bread, has designed a contemporary antique. It’s a place you just want to stand in and look around and praise and positively appraise.
A local food writer had this to say about the restaurant: “In a nutshell, L’Abattoir is basically the restaurant Yaletown wished they had, Main Street secretly wished they had, and Gastown is pleased to have. For non-locals that just means it’s a happening, independent, hipster, but not so hipster restaurant that is somewhat disguised as non-pretentious, but is somewhat still a bit pretentious.” It’s not so complex. It’s quite simply a great place—despite what its name actually means.