Soif: Véronique Rivest’s unique wine bar in Gatineau

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Soif is the famous wine bar of the renowned sommelier Véronique Rivest. This wine bar in Gatineau serves excellent wines, very tasty food, and behind all this is a passionate and exciting team!

The French word soif is to be thirsty, an insatiable desire for which no apology is necessary when you know that sommelier Véronique Rivest is at the helm of this wine bar. Véronique Rivest is a pioneer in her own right: 2nd place (2013) in the competition for the world’s best sommelier (and the first female to be on the podium at this competition), two-time winner (2006, 2012) for the title of Canada’s best sommelier, and now she is the owner of one of the province’s best wine bars. Soif is a well-established wine bar in the Hull sector of the Gatineau, where it charms and quenches the thirst of many Quebecers and tourists who have been dropping in since it opened in 2014. The team chose to settle in this region alongside Ontario, in particular to benefit from Quebec’s deep oenophile culture.

To carry out the interior design, Soif asked Bruno Braën of Cabinet Braun-Braën (Montreal). The result is very attractive, as simple as it is elegant. The various styles of wood – the dominant product – add a wonderful warmth to the surroundings and do not detract at all from the stars of the show – the wines, but not to be overlooked are the quantities of stem glassware. The look of the wine bar with its 65 seats is understated and charming. Outside, the nice terrace can seat another 65. Véronique’s treasures are stored in a most elegant glass wine cellar.

“Wine without food is just sad!”

Véronique Rivest and her team have a wine list that changes almost weekly – she rarely buys more than 24 bottles at a time. With several rare grape varieties, the offerings are centered on local wines, those whose tastes reflect the geographical context of where they thrive. In addition, Véronique has also chosen to profile organic and biodynamic wines. The mission of Soif is to help the customers discover wines, but more importantly, share with them the team’s passion for this end-of-life product of the simple grape. Here at Soif, all the staff are trained sommeliers, and even if the oenophile in you is somewhat dormant, these professionals are capable of arousing your interest. It should be noted that because of Soif’s vicinity to Ottawa, the prices are slightly more expensive.  The cocktails are in the hands of Roxanne Mant who has suggestions that she herself describes as gourmet, because as she jokingly points out: “Anyone thirsty loves everything that has alcohol”.

“Wine without food is just sad!” is Soif’s motto. In the kitchen, chef Kris Kshonze is behind a colorful and fresh menu!  Because the chef also has a background of wine knowledge, the menu has been thought through to work together with the chosen wines. Soif proposes small plates to be shared that are as attractive to the eye as they are pleasing to the palate, and the uncomplicated menu knows what it has to do, and it does it well. The wine bar works with small local producers to offer seasonal cuisine in the vibrant colours of the Outaouais.

Soif wine bar is definitely a place to visit if you are in the area or as a destination outing. This wine bar has everything to make you want to be thirsty, whether you are or not – passionate people, excellent wines, small mouth-watering plates, and all in enjoyable surroundings.


Photography by Bar à vin Soif!



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