Haute Spots Boston: Aquitaine Bar à Vin Bistrot

Imagine stepping into an authentic French bistro from the comfort and convenience of Boston complete with an impressive collection of wines by the glass from France and California, a newly renovated bar area and a lovely South End location. That’s just what you will find at Aquitaine Bar à Vin Bistrot. The Parisian style restaurant recently underwent a massive renovation and has reopened with a new bar and dining area. The menu still includes beloved favorites like the onion tart tartin and foie gras torchon along with a few new additions like the tasty shaved Brussels sprouts Lyonnaise with a poached egg.

Our server greeted us with two fresh from the oven cheese puffs to get us started along with a crusty baguette and creamy side of butter. One of the best appetizers here is the garlicky escargots, a traditional French favorite made with a buttery white wine sauce.

Aquitaine BarPhoto Credit: Aquitaine

When it first opened more than two decades ago, Aquitaine Bar à Vin Bistrot quickly became known around the South End as THE French bistro to go to. Since then, several other Parisian inspired restaurants have popped up, but Aquitaine remains the city’s beloved classic.

For dinner, Executive Chef/Owner Seth Woods’ juicy steak frites remains one of Boston’s best made with black truffle vinaigrette, watercress shallot salad and natural jus. Each night, the restaurant serves up a daily special like roasted skate, Cassoulet Touloussiane (garlic sausage, duck confit, pork belly and ragout of haricots blanc for those who don’t speak French) and Bourride, a Provençal‎ fish stew filled with shrimp, scallops, cod and mussels.

On the night we visited, the Coq au Vin was the day’s specialty, a deliciously tender and crisp whole poussin (chicken) with bacon lardons, mushrooms and pearl onions in a savory, rich sauce. The crispy chocolate bread pudding or profiteroles of toasted Choux puffs with creamy vanilla ice cream and decadent Vahlrona chocolate sauce are absolute must haves for dessert.

The Aquitaine Group consists of partners Seth Woods, Matt Burns, and Jeffrey Gates, whose restaurants include Metropolis Café, Aquitaine (Boston, Chestnut Hill, and Dedham), Cinquecento, Gaslight Brasserie (Boston & Lynnfield), La Motta’s Italian Specialties and Greenlight Café.

Aquitaine Bar à Vin Bistrot is located at 569 Tremont Street in Boston.