Neighbourhood: St. Boniface
Address: 248 Avenue de la Cathédrale
(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)
Lifted right out of the French countryside, Chez Sophie is a charming, neighbourhood bistro nestled in the heart of historic St. Boniface. The affable owners, Sophie Wild and her husband—Chef Stéphane—have lovingly recreated the rustic ambiance of their native Alsace.
The small room’s Gallic charm is enhanced by the warm lamps, flickering candles and quirky bowl of roasted peanuts at each table. Sophie personally welcomes every guest, hanging each coat on a hook by the door.
The brief menu features a handful of salads, a few pastas, French-style gourmet pizzas, several interesting quiches (including the classic quiche lorraine) and half a dozen classic French mains—from steak au poivre to moules et frites.
Under the lid of a quaint soup bowl, curious newcomers find a golden brown sweet potato soup. With soft morsels of potato and a hint of pepper, the thick and creamy potage warms the soul. A handful of crunchy croutons resting on top adds texture and a bit of zip.
Tartiflette arrives straight from the oven, bubbling over with pale yellow fromage trappiste. Beneath the molten cheese and a layer of crispy, pink ham slices, the hearty casserole of fried potatoes, chunky side bacon, caramelized onions, more cheese and rich cream sauce is a meal on its own. It’s savoury, salty, stick-to-your-ribs goodness.
A tidy triangle of perfectly browned crust is the perfect companion to the fluffy egg, goat cheese and spinach filling of the tarte aux épinards et fromage de chèvre. The subtle flavours of salty cheese, earthy spinach and buttery crust combine to make the airy slice a hit.
The velvety camembert frit, flowing out of its delicate crust, is superb in its simplicity. Soft and mild, the classic French cheese is lightly breaded with crumbs, fried and served beside a stack of fried potatoes and a garden-fresh green salad.
The quiche au saumon et camembert is a generous wedge of eggs whipped with silky camembert sandwiching a thick, dark pink layer of smoky salmon. Another gooey slice of camembert is melted onto the top for good measure.
A reasonably priced wine list and a few traditional French desserts (including crème caramel and crêpes Suzette) round out the menu.
Call ahead to reserve the Saturday night table d’hôte. The four-course meal is $30.50.
Chez Sophie is open Tues-Thu 11 am-2 pm , 5-9 pm; Fri-Sat 11 am-2 pm, 5-10 pm.