Le Vin Papillon is a cozy, rustic-chic wine bar with an outdoor patio, serving eclectic, farm-fresh fare. You can’t go wrong with this Joe Beef sibling on Notre-Dame Ouest for a delectable feast and wines you won’t find anywhere else. What’s your first impression? This narrow wine bar, located two doors down from its siblings on Notre-Dame Ouest, is the third in the family of businesses owned by the Joe Beef and Liverpool House chefs. A bar faces a white-painted brick wall on one side, with black-leather banquette seating, small round tables, and extensive blackboard menus on the other—the clatter from the busy bar and kitchen blends in with the chatter from the always-present crowd-like music. What do you notice? This venue is one of the most famous wine bars in town, so it’s always packed, no matter what day.
Furthermore, they do not accept reservations, so arrive early if you want a table. The food is delicious, but the wine keeps people coming back. And what exactly should we order? More wine, more wine, more wine. Vanya Filipovic, co-owner, has been a Joe Beef fixture since the beginning. This wine menu is her baby; it is ever-changing and reflects her insatiable curiosity and nose for the most excellent, out-there Old World products, including bottles from Hungary, Greece, Poland, and France. Filipovic favors natural, one-of-a-kind wines, which include varieties you’ve never heard of from vintners so small that they’re used to serving only their respective regions. Expect a tasty adventure and an enology lesson at a reasonable price, and take all the advice you can get about which choices to make.
What about the cuisine? The small shared plates resemble the appetizers at Joe Beef and Liverpool House; grab a snack here for a taste of the legend. The menu constantly changes, including duck, house-cured ham, smoked mackerel, and chèvre cheese. Don’t leave without trying the whole cauliflower head, a menu mainstay that’s wood-roasted and topped with fresh herbs, lemon slices, and chicken-skin crunchies. Is there anything noteworthy about the service? Co-owners Vanya Filipovic and chef Marc-Olivier Frappier will most likely be milling about and, if you’re lucky, serving you. The service is friendly, warm, and effortless, typical of the Joe Beef restaurant group. To summarize: why are we coming here? Le Vin Papillon is the spot to go for a delectable feast anchored by unusual wines you won’t find anywhere else.