Behind the Name: Vancouver's St. Lawrence

How the acclaimed Québecois restaurant got its name

Bringing various cuisines from one’s own country to a new city can be an exciting accomplishment, but to bring one’s own regional cuisine to Vancouver’s food scene is another feat entirely. Located in the neighbourhood of Japantown, St. Lawrence is an intimate ode to classic French cuisine, as well as the cultural and gastronomic identity of Québec.

Opened in 2017 by Chef Jean-Christophe (J-C) Poirier, this restaurant had collected numerous accolades, including being selected among enRoute Magazine’s list of Canada’s Best New Restaurants (2018), Vancouver Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant” (2018), Restaurant of the Year (2018-19), Chef of the Year (2019) and top five on “Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants” (2019-2020).

"The restaurant is named after Le Fleuve St. Laurent (The St. Lawrence River), that passes through the province of Québec. Growing up close to the river, it has a lot of meanings for me. It’s both a sense of being at home and a representation of my cooking career becoming more focused," chef Poirier explains. "The name ‘Québec’ — which comes from the Algonquin word ‘Kébec’ — means ‘Where the river narrows’, referring to the area where the St. Lawrence narrows. I like the metaphor of it, referring to my cooking career becoming more focused."

As for other naming options, according to chef Poirier, since he had chosen the restaurant's name roughly 10 years prior to actually opening, St. Lawrence was the only choice.