Remembering the Elegant Weirdness of Yaletown’s Long-Shuttered Elixir Bistro

The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!

Opened in 2002 as the main floor dining room of the brand new boutique Opus Hotel, Elixir Bistro was celebrated as a chic, forward-thinking French bistro for the first half of its eight-year run. It was conscientiously cheffed by Don Letendre, who, to his credit (and despite a largely food-indifferent clientele), ensured the restaurant was a founding member of both the Green Table network and the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program.

Beyond the steak frites, beautiful horseshoe-shaped bar and reliably good service under pressure, Elixir was also known for its bizarre washrooms. These featured tiny TV screens above the urinals, thoughtfully providing those with penis-in-hand a live feed of what was happening back at their tables. (After sixteen years and a long overdue privacy complaint, the hotel smartly/finally swapped the feed to CNN in 2018.)

Elixir closed in 2010 and was replaced by a series of regrettable pop-up establishments, the first of which was called One Hundred Days (described at the time as “remarkably accurate exhibition of everything currently wrong with Yaletown”). Since 2012, the address has been home to an Italian-themed restaurant called La Pentola, which was originally opened by chefs Adam Pegg (La Quercia) and Lucais Syme (Austostrada).

  • Elixir Bistro
  • Elixir Bistro
  • Elixir Bistro
  • Elixir Bistro
  • Elixir Bistro
  • Elixir Bistro
  • Elixir Bistro

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