The Almanac is a new French spot on Whyte that offers a mix of pub fare and traditional French dishes. I always have a soft spot for French food (Montréal me manqué) especially considering quality options are limited in town (The Marc being the exception, the rest are pricey as eff).
Opened early December, the word clearly isn’t out yet. Perfect spot to catch up with a couple buddies of mine visiting during the holidays. We came on a Wednesday evening and only the booths in the front were occupied. The layout is as bit cramped but has a very cozy, intimate feeling to it. Lights are dimmed low, candles on the table, perfect spot to impress a date. Too bad I brought two bros with me? Oops.
Service was friendly. We were busy chatting so our waitress had to come back a couple times before we were ready to order. When we went, several of their beers were on special for $4.25/pint. Buddy numero uno was happy.
Menu is short and sweet. First page a couple typical French appetizers (moules frites always a good choice).
Second page is the main entrees. They also have a snack menu if you’re looking for something small or easy to share.
Mushroom ragu ($16.00)
Truffled gnocchi with seasonal vegetables. My buddy N went with the ragu. Lots of savoury mushrooms and the gnocchi was nicely al dente.
Arctic char ($18.00)
Couscous, seasonal vegetables and brown butter. My other bud S ordered the artic char, which I originally wanted to get. At least I got to sample it. The fish was perfectly cooked – super tender, flaky and nicely seasoned. Couscous, which I never eat enough, was nicely flavoured.
Boeuf bourguignon ($19.00)
Bacon, pearl onions, roasted potatoes, red wine and vegetables. Holy beefiness. Beef bourguignon is a classic French dish that used to be eaten by peasants back in the day. Think hearty, stewed beef slowly simmered in red wine. This was my dish and if you’re a beef lover, you’ll love it. So much beef. The sauce was pretty rich and could have used some sort of bread to soap up all the sauce and give the dish a bit more balance.
White chocolate pot de crème ($9.00)
Fall fruit compote. I’m a sucker for any type of custard dessert and the Almanac’s was faaaaaaaaaantastic. I don’t recall ever eating a pot de crème even though I lived in Montreal. What’s wrong with me? If you like egg tarts/natas/crème brulee/creme caramel, this is right up your alley. It was silky smooth, I could have easily ate one all to myself. The figs and orange added a bit of sweet and tartness to give the dessert some contrasting flavours. Order it!
Pretty impressed with my first visit. I always seem to be in the area so I’ll have to come back to try their snack menu (or even their brunch). Heck, they have board games on a shelf behind their bar that you can play. Say whaaaaaaaaaat. Check them out the next time you’re out on Whyte!
10351 – 82 Avenue