Let’s take a trip to La Belle Provence for a minute and have chat about Le Vin Papillon, the third restaurant in the Joe Beef empire. All of these restaurants exist on the same block in Montreal, around Atwater Market, or subway station (if that’s what you’re into). Dubbed as a “wine bar”, Le Vin Papillon has consistently ranked amongst the top ten restaurants in Canada for the last few years, this is also according to Canada’s Top 100, which is mediocre at best in its rational restaurant reviews.
Personally, I will never write a review based on one meal. Restaurants can have a bad day, or a shitty service night. It happens! But come on- this is absolutely NOT one of the best restaurants in Canada. Primarily due to the fact that they barely cook!
I went to Le Vin Papillon here twice on hot summer days, longing for a cold glass of wine, and a bite of food that wouldn’t bankrupt me. Listen, the food is fine. It’s totally fine. Mostly working with a market to table style, it’s kind of basic. Chicken wings on the grill, with a parmesan/leek topping, or shrimp with the shell on in a typical scampi. I don’t want to be a Negative Nancy, because the food really isn’t that bad. It just isn’t the best in Canada. Hell it isn’t even the best food on the block! Joe Beef and Liverpool House are both just a couple of doors away, and they boast some of the most outstanding food Canada has to offer.
The wine list at Le Vin Papillon is very interesting. It is a personally curated list of wines that are quite rare and tantalizing. There are about 30 different bottles, and they change frequently. I spoke with the sommelier who said that she personally travelled to these destinations to find appropriate seasonal wines for her restaurant. This was a nice touch. I had a glass of the Slovakian orange wine one day, and it paired perfectly with the shrimp I had for dinner. We ordered a Bourgogne Aligoté on a separate occasion that was equally as impressive and around $70 for the bottle.
I’d go to Le Vin Papillon for a decent snack and a great bottle of wine. However I do not believe the restaurant should be ranked amongst the best in Canada, as it is just a bar with food that tastes pretty good.