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#1 dcdavidm

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 08:24 PM

Over the past decade we have traveled often to Vancouver to experience a magnificent city and especially its culinary delights. We haven't been there is a few years but are planning a trip for later this year. We have tried most of the "name brand" restaurants, such as Lumiere, C, Cru, Rain City, Villa del Lupo, Bishops, etc. with a variety of results. Do any recent DonRockwell visitors to the city have suggestions for newer restaurants that they would put into the "don't miss" category? Thanks!

David Missert
Washington DC



#2 DC in DC

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 10:20 AM

We had a great meal at Vij, the long-standing Indian restaurant. I'm no expert on Indian cuisine, but I thought everything was very tasty and flavorful, plus the dishes were not the standard Indian fare at all. The service was very pleasant. Vij himself makes the rounds. They do not take reservations, but you can wait outside in this nice Zen-like space with ponds. Servers come out with plates of little appetizers while you wait. Alternatively, there is a bar area in the back with comfy, lounge-like seating.

What did you think of C? We thought about dining there, but it looked suspiciously like a tourist-trap (location on the water, everyone there looked tour-isty), etc.
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#3 dcdavidm

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:23 PM

We had a great meal at Vij, the long-standing Indian restaurant.  I'm no expert on Indian cuisine, but I thought everything was very tasty and flavorful, plus the dishes were not the standard Indian fare at all.  The service was very pleasant.  Vij himself makes the rounds.  They do not take reservations, but you can wait outside in this nice Zen-like space with ponds.  Servers come out with plates of little appetizers while you wait.  Alternatively, there is a bar area in the back with comfy, lounge-like seating.

What did you think of C?  We thought about dining there, but it looked suspiciously like a tourist-trap (location on the water, everyone there looked tour-isty), etc.

Thanks for the comments on Vij.

Your instincts are right about C. We went there years ago shortly after it opened and it was wonderful--imaginative, tasty food; great service; decent wine; great view. Based on that experience we went back last year. The view was still there, but everything else was merely "okay" and the value had declined, in my judgment.

#4 Joe H

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 08:26 AM

I have represented a Vancouver company for over 15 years and have done my best to eat my way through that city. I probably know its restaurants almost as well as D. C. I agree about C and Vij's although Tamarind is excellent, too. Tojo's also and well known. The owner of Lumiere has opened Feenie's which is a more casual version. (If you ever in Toronto North 44 is similar and one of my favorites anywhere.) Mistral is one of the most anticipated restaurants to open in Vancouver in a long time-it opened two weeks ago. One of our favorite restaurants is the Cannery which is not in league with several of those above yet it has a fantastic view, excellent wine list and is one of the best overall "experiences" in any Vancouver restaurant. If you go their salmon in puff pastry is excellent. I would describe this as the L'auberge Chez Francois of Vancouver. The is the link to a post of mine from over three years ago about Sun Sui Weh, Vancouver's premier "live seafood" restaurant:

http://www.chowhound...sages/7171.html

We also like one of the original White Spots (North Vancouver on the main highway and easy to find) where they still have curb service and really good, greasy hamburgers. White Spot is all over B. C. but this is one of only two or three that till serve the way they did in the '50's.

This is an outstanding website for Vancouver dining:

http://www.evevancou.../food/index.htm

As an example of what I consider to be a superb tool for researching a city before visiting look at this particular page on evevancouver:

http://www.evevancou...obsonstreet.htm

D. C. should have something like this. Scroll around-there a lot there.

I personally think Vancouver has the most beautiful setting of any city on earth.

#5 liam

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 09:43 PM

We had a great meal at Vij, the long-standing Indian restaurant.  I'm no expert on Indian cuisine, but I thought everything was very tasty and flavorful, plus the dishes were not the standard Indian fare at all.  The service was very pleasant.  Vij himself makes the rounds.  They do not take reservations, but you can wait outside in this nice Zen-like space with ponds.  Servers come out with plates of little appetizers while you wait.  Alternatively, there is a bar area in the back with comfy, lounge-like seating.

I second the Vij's recommendation. I was in Vancouver and Vancouver Island for my honeymoon in June. We ate at Vij's our first night in town. We waited over two hours for a table on a Saturday night, but make great friends with some locals in the bar area in the back. They ended up buying our dinner & drinks. Incredible - but the people of British Columbia were wonderfully nice our entire trip, even when we didn't tell folks we were on our honeymoon.

Another stellar meal we had was at West. Now, we did sit at the Chef's Table and eat a seven-course dinner complete with wine pairings and a most amazing cheese course. But we'd return in an instant. The restaurant has a very modern, cool design scheme, a high ceiling, complete with deep colors and replete with wooden wine racks along one wall. Vancouver Magazine just named West its "restaurant of the year."

For a real coffee-shop style sushi restaurant (and a gorgeous view back to downtown and the mountains to the city's north), you must also consider Tojo's.

Richmond, a bustling city just to Vancouver's south, near the airport, is heavily populated by Canadians of Chinese ancestry, and is replete with many restaurants. We took a tour of the city with a local food critic and sample some dim-sum and other delicacies from a variety of food vendors and small cafes. Richmond also hosts a Hong Kong-style night market on Saturday evenings which is an experience undo itself.

Finally, I must pay kudos to Eric Pateman's outfit called Edible Vancouver, soon to be renamed Edible British Columbia, which planned our entire honeymoon for us. It caters to culinary travelers who want a unique food experience while visiting British Columbia.

If I get around to it, I'll try to post a few photos from our trip.

#6 dcdavidm

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 07:52 PM

I have represented a Vancouver company for over 15 years and have done my best to eat my way through that city.  I probably know its restaurants almost as well as D. C.  I agree about C and Vij's although Tamarind is excellent, too.  Tojo's also and well known.  The owner of Lumiere has opened Feenie's which is a more casual version.  (If you ever in Toronto North 44 is similar and one of my favorites anywhere.)  Mistral is one of the most anticipated restaurants to open in Vancouver in a long time-it opened two weeks ago.  One of our favorite restaurants is the Cannery which is not in league with several of those above yet it has a fantastic view, excellent wine list and is one of the best overall "experiences" in any Vancouver restaurant.  If you go their salmon in puff pastry is excellent.  I would describe this as the L'auberge Chez Francois of Vancouver.  The is the link to a post of mine from over three years ago about Sun Sui Weh, Vancouver's premier "live seafood" restaurant: 

http://www.chowhound...sages/7171.html

We also like one of the original White Spots (North Vancouver on the main highway and easy to find) where they still have curb service and really good, greasy hamburgers.  White Spot is all over B. C. but this is one of only two or three that till serve the way they did in the '50's. 

This is an outstanding website for Vancouver dining: 

http://www.evevancou.../food/index.htm

As an example of what I consider to be a superb tool for researching a city before visiting look at this particular page on evevancouver: 

http://www.evevancou...obsonstreet.htm

D. C. should have something like this.  Scroll around-there a lot there.

I personally think Vancouver has the most beautiful setting of any city on earth.

Thanks, Joe. We agree about the beautiful setting; that is why we keep going back there. I appreciate your recommendations and the links. We have booked Feenies for one of our evenings! Also appreciate the Toronto recommendation; we get there occassionally on trips to Buffalo to see family.

#7 dcdavidm

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 07:59 PM

I second the Vij's recommendation. I was in Vancouver and Vancouver Island for my honeymoon in June. We ate at Vij's our first night in town. We waited over two hours for a table on a Saturday night, but make great friends with some locals in the bar area in the back. They ended up buying our dinner & drinks. Incredible - but the people of British Columbia were wonderfully nice our entire trip, even when we didn't tell folks we were on our honeymoon.

Another stellar meal we had was at West. Now, we did sit at the Chef's Table and eat a seven-course dinner complete with wine pairings and a most amazing cheese course. But we'd return in an instant. The restaurant has a very modern, cool design scheme, a high ceiling, complete with deep colors and replete with wooden wine racks along one wall. Vancouver Magazine just named West its "restaurant of the year."

For a real coffee-shop style sushi restaurant (and a gorgeous view back to downtown and the mountains to the city's north), you must also consider Tojo's.

Richmond, a bustling city just to Vancouver's south, near the airport, is heavily populated by Canadians of Chinese ancestry, and is replete with many restaurants. We took a tour of the city with a local food critic and sample some dim-sum and other delicacies from a variety of food vendors and small cafes. Richmond also hosts a Hong Kong-style night market on Saturday evenings which is an experience undo itself.

Finally, I must pay kudos to Eric Pateman's outfit called Edible Vancouver, soon to be renamed Edible British Columbia, which planned our entire honeymoon for us. It caters to culinary travelers who want a unique food experience while visiting British Columbia.

If I get around to it, I'll try to post a few photos from our trip.

Liam -- Thanks for the recommendations. Looks like we will be booking West for one of our evenings! We will also do some exploring in the Richmond area; alas, we won't be there for the Saturday night market...though I have fond memories of Hong Kong.

#8 Joe H

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 08:10 PM

The "signature" dish at Toronto's North 44 is a filet mignon of tuna. I could be wrong about this but I honestly believe that it was "invented" here. I forget the chef/owner's name but he is known throughout Canada and has been quoted at length about why his version of this is so good. About six or seven years ago I was at North 44 and the French Laundry 24 hours apart. Remarkably, one of the courses at FL was a "filet mignon" of tuna. The portion was about one quarter the size of North 44 but delicious. Still, 24 hours apart, I thought North 44 slightly better.

Today, this is an off the menu special at North 44. If you go give serious consideration to ordering it. http://www.north44restaurant.com/ Also, North 44's chef/owner has opened a new restaurant called Bymark. I have not been but it's already "notorious." Finally, for Toronto restaurants, there was once a GREAT fusion restaurant whose chef, Susur Lee, built an international reputation from. This is a link to the current edition of Frommer's: http://www.frommers....nto/D49114.html He is back; I have not been to his new restaurant but if it is anything like the old one this will be an extraordinary experience.

Finally, the best liquor store in all of Canada (ABC) is on Young street, about three miles in towards downtown. It's worth a stop. Fantastic selection of Canadian ice wine.

Take care.

Edited by Joe H, 20 September 2005 - 08:23 PM.


#9 jasonc

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 04:27 PM

The "signature" dish at Toronto's North 44 is a filet mignon of tuna.  I could be wrong about this but I honestly believe that it was "invented" here.  I forget the chef/owner's name but he is known throughout Canada and has been quoted at length about why his version of this is so good.  About six or seven years ago I was at North 44 and the French Laundry 24 hours apart.  Remarkably, one of the courses at FL was a "filet mignon" of tuna.  The portion was about one quarter the size of North 44 but delicious.  Still, 24 hours apart, I thought North 44 slightly better.

Today, this is an off the menu special at North 44.  If you go give serious consideration to ordering it.  http://www.north44restaurant.com/  Also, North 44's chef/owner has opened a new restaurant called Bymark.  I have not been but it's already "notorious."  Finally, for Toronto restaurants, there was once a GREAT fusion restaurant whose chef, Susur Lee, built an international reputation from.  This is a link to the current edition of Frommer's:  http://www.frommers....nto/D49114.html  He is back; I have not been to his new restaurant but if it is anything like the old one this will be an extraordinary experience.

Finally, the best liquor store in all of Canada (ABC) is on Young street, about three miles in towards downtown.  It's worth a stop.  Fantastic selection of Canadian ice wine.

Take care.

Doesn't the Inn at Little Washington also serve a similar dish?

Anyhow, I've been living in Vancouver for a while now and have documented some of my adventures on my website. A review that isn't up yet is Hu Nan Chinese restaurant at Main and Marine Drive. It's off the beaten path but should not be missed. It's as if you are sitting in the owner's home and she's cooking for you what she cooks for her family - authentic, homey hunanese food. It was here that I was actually able to find a dish that was nearly too spicy for me.

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#10 Joe H

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Posted 12 November 2005 - 12:18 AM

Really nice website with a number of expressive, well written articles. Thanks for the introduction. Much appreciated.

I've had the filet mignon of tuna at The Inn at Little Washington. It is very good there, too. But North 44's is just charred "right" on the crust (for lack of a better word) with a depth of flavor that the French Laundry also had. I don't know if it's a particular source and a particular kind of tuna but I'v had North 44's a number of times over the years and, on each visit, it still is superior to any other that I've had. To be honest, the FL has about three bites-at most-in their version. The one time I had it I just wanted more and, after sharing a bite with my wife, there was nothing left after I'd my two. Serious. Three bites, total. But this is Keller's philosophy, that anything after the initial few bites is downhill. At North 44 I felt every bite was outstanding.

By the way, I had an incredible piece of fish at Lumiere a couple of years ago. I think it was a sea bass but I'm not sure. But it was one of the best pure fish dishes I've ever had. Plain, simple, just extraordinary flavor and texture.

#11 Joe H

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Posted 14 November 2005 - 12:07 AM

Speaking of tuna: Saturday night, sitting at the bar in Kinkead's, I had the absolute best tuna carpaccio I have ever had! Anywhere! Shaved rare tuna with raisins, capers, pine nuts, shaved fennel, arugula and olive oil. A GREAT dish!

#12 jasonc

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 02:16 AM

Thanks for the compliments Joe!

If you are interested in writing any original pieces for the website, I am always open to it. I'm sure your knowledge of Vancouver cuisine far exceeds mine.

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#13 sunshine

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 08:03 PM

We just returned from a trip to Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino, and we loved it. Highly recommend it. In Victoria, we ate at a local mini-chain called Noodlebox: http://www.thenoodlebox.net/index.html - a cute Southeast Asian noodle and curry shop, where the noodles are stir-fried and spiced to order for around $10 for a chinese takeout quart size box of food. Husband had teriyaki udon noodles with tofu (soy and chili flavored) and I had the combination spicy peanut noodles (shrimp, pork and chicken with rice noodles, chinese broccoli, carrots, and a peanutty, coconut milk based sauce). Very authentic flavors and levels of heat. They have 2 locations in Victoria and just opened a spot in Vancouver. We also ate at much-lauded Spinnaker's Gastro-Pub and brewery (http://www.spinnakers.com/). While the beer was good and the focus on local products admirable, the food was "eh" (we had fish and chips and the cioppino). We did purchase some locally made truffles from the takeout counter on the way out (where you can also purchase coffee, baked goods, and cheeses), and the Scotch flavored ones were amazing - flavored with Chivas Regal with a toffee-walnut topping.

In Tofino, we recommend SoBo, small gem of an operation in the Tofino Botanical Gardens. We read about this place in Saveur magazine. Excellent, simple fresh fare with a gourmet flare. I had the shrimp cake served with aioli and the polenta fries (polenta mixed with asiago, deep-fried and served with a caesar mayo). Husband had the seafood chowder with a large wedge of cornbread. The chowder had a faint chipotle flavor with strips of smoked salmon jerky and fresh dill on top. The salmon jerky tasted like bacon. Friendly staff with a regular local clientele as well as foodie tourists. When the weather's warm, they serve their food from a bright purple truck; otherwise, a no frills dining room. We tried fresh Vancouver Island Kushi oysters for the first time here. Delicious.

Vancouver is an incredible food city, especially for Asian food of all kinds: Chinese, Thai, Indian, Japanese, Korean, etc. Cheap and high end (though the exchange rate currently sucks). A highlight is the izakaya meal we had at Guu with Garlic. Izakaya is basically asian tapas, generally enjoyed with alcohol. At Guu, most of the items are under $6. We enjoyed tuna tataki with onion and deep-fried garlic, kimchee nabe, agedashi tofu, deep-fried chicken pieces with mayo, and a pitcher of ice-cold beer for $35. We also had authentic ramen at Kintaro Ramen on Denman/cross street Robson, a cash-only, bare bones ramen shop. The basic formula is a big bowl of handmade noodles, choice of 3 kinds of broth (shoyu, shio, and miso) that you can order mild, medium or rich, and choice of fatty pork, lean pork or bbq pork for under $10. The miso ramen comes with corn. There's also a version of ramen with corn and cheese (!) that's apparently very popular with the ladies. You can order other/extra toppings for your ramen like nori, egg, green onion for an extra charge. We enjoyed some tasty gyoza dumplings with our ramen (not that we needed it). Eating here made we wish we had a real ramen shop in D.C.

Last but not least, our fine dining choice is West for french-west coast cuisine: http://www.westresta...westrestaurant/
Great service, excellent cooking in a contemporary setting. The seasonal menu is $98, chef's tasting menu is $129, with optional wine pairings available for both. We ordered ala carte and had excellent fresh oysters: Pacific Rim and Kushi; a delectable appetizer of biodynamic yellowfoot mushroom and arugula risotto; a pork belly, suckling pig and house-made sausage dish, and a tuna steak with dungeness crab salad (cucumber, crabmeat, fennel, baby arugula) and green-olive tapenade oil. For dessert, an apple-stuffed brioche with maple custard. We also had an amuse of sweet corn soup with pumpkin that epitomized autumn in an espresso cup.

All in all, I was enchanted by Vancouver, and would go back not only for the beautiful forests, mountains, and mighty Pacific Ocean, but for the excellent, diverse, and interesting cuisine that's evolving there. Next time I'd like to check out the Okonagan wine country.

#14 liam

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Posted 29 October 2006 - 11:47 PM

We just returned from a trip to Vancouver, Victoria and Tofino, and we loved it.

In Tofino, we recommend SoBo, small gem of an operation in the Tofino Botanical Gardens.

Last but not least, our fine dining choice is West for french-west coast cuisine: http://www.westresta...westrestaurant/
Great service, excellent cooking in a contemporary setting. The seasonal menu is $98, chef's tasting menu is $129, with optional wine pairings available for both. We ordered ala carte and had excellent fresh oysters: Pacific Rim and Kushi; a delectable appetizer of biodynamic yellowfoot mushroom and arugula risotto; a pork belly, suckling pig and house-made sausage dish, and a tuna steak with dungeness crab salad (cucumber, crabmeat, fennel, baby arugula) and green-olive tapenade oil. For dessert, an apple-stuffed brioche with maple custard. We also had an amuse of sweet corn soup with pumpkin that epitomized autumn in an espresso cup.

Vancouver & Vancouver Island is a special corner of the world on a number of fronts, including its cuisine.Tofino_Coastline.jpg View_from_Long_Beach_Lodge.jpg

My wife and I had one of the meals of our life at West while on our honeymoon in June 2005. West can prepare both surf & turf brillantly. I also recall its stellar cheese course.

We visited SoBo in Tofino as well. A definite stop for foodies. Tofino is off the beaten path, surely, but it's well worth the drive over the mountains. Drive_to_Tofino.jpg If you're starting your drive north from Victoria, Zanatta Winery in Duncan, B.C., is a very pleasant stop for lunch. I was quite amazed at the quality of the food here.

Apart from the much heralded Wickaninnish Inn and the Long Beach Lodge, Shelter along the "main drag" in Tofino is another good option for dinner. Shelter_Mussels.jpg

I've posted a few Tofino pictures for your enjoyment. Cheers.

#15 AlliK

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 08:52 AM

Vancouver & Vancouver Island is a special corner of the world on a number of fronts, including its cuisine

We too honeymooned in BC and Tofino (summer of 04). It is a great foodie spot for all of the fresh seafood pulled right out of the sound there. Salmon, halibut, dungeness crabs...lots of fond memories.

#16 cheezepowder

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Posted 21 July 2007 - 12:58 PM

Has anyone been to Diva at the Metropolitan Hotel? What did you think?

#17 lperry

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Posted 13 March 2008 - 10:16 PM

I'll be at a conference in Vancouver for five days at the end of this month, and I was wondering if the recommendations in this thread still stand. I'll be at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on the waterfront during the days. It's my first trip to Vancouver, so if anyone has a must do recommendation, please let me know.

Thanks.

-Linda

#18 Pool Boy

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:54 AM

I'll be at a conference in Vancouver for five days at the end of this month, and I was wondering if the recommendations in this thread still stand. I'll be at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on the waterfront during the days. It's my first trip to Vancouver, so if anyone has a must do recommendation, please let me know.

Thanks.

-Linda

I just got back from Vancouver this past Sunday....Here are my short recommendations based on my eats of the trip --

Tojo's -- awesome sushi and Japanese cuisine...if you go omakase, expect to cough up a lot of $$ but incredible -- you'll need to cab it here from downtown -- awesome stuff, but pricey

Vij's -- inventive Indian....very good food but go early or go late, you'll miss the freely passed nibble food at the micro bar in the back, but they don't take reservations and it gets packed and quick -- you'll need to cab it here as well -- recommended but only if you go early or late

Japadog is a hotdog cart maybe a 5 to 6 block walk from the heart of downtown, they have regular dogs, but their Japanesed-up versions are inventive, fun and tasty -- a nice quick and cheap lunch that is tasty

Okada (Sushi) is a restaurant up a flight of stairs in a good location but practically invisible from the street. But the food there is amazing. Their specials are out of this world, too. Monkfish liver, Japanaese snapper and the piece de resistance a whole mackerel cut up just for you. Recommended, most definitely. It's walakable from the main waterfront area, too.

Peaceful (Chinese) Restaurant -- another short cab ride away, this place absolutely rocks and is freaking dirt cheap. Their hot beef roll alone, at a mere $5.95, is practically otherworldly. Go here, go here, go here, go here.

Mondo Gelato on Robson serves up maybe 30 flavors of daily-changing gelatos and afagatos. Worth a stop for something sweet and good. Easily walkable from main downtown...

There is so much good food in Vancouver, at every price point, you almost can't go wrong. Just follow your nose.

For more detailed write-ups about the food -- go here and enjoy!

Food.Wine.Cats.Hawaiian Shirts.Travel.Art.Music.


#19 lperry

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:05 PM

Thanks! Peaceful is on the short list.

#20 dcdavidm

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Posted 14 March 2008 - 08:30 PM

I'll be at a conference in Vancouver for five days at the end of this month, and I was wondering if the recommendations in this thread still stand. I'll be at the Convention and Exhibition Centre on the waterfront during the days. It's my first trip to Vancouver, so if anyone has a must do recommendation, please let me know.

Thanks.

-Linda

Some of our favorites:
Vij's for contemporary Indian
Chambar for mussels and Belgian beer
West for terrific seasonal tastes
Parkside for neighborhood fine eating

#21 lperry

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Posted 15 March 2008 - 02:44 PM

Vij's seems to be on everyone's list. I'll try to make that one.

I always have great plans for eating at meetings, and then most nights, I inevitably end up walking with people to the closest restaurant that isn't too crowded. So in the spirit of reality, it is also good to hear that we probably won't get in terrible trouble just rolling the dice.

#22 jasonc

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Posted 21 March 2008 - 05:16 PM

I'll throw Octopus' garden out there, just because sushi is so much more affordable here than in DC and this is a great place to get it.

Sean Heather's Salt in gastown is a rare gem. A simple concept done to the nines.

Vancouver's greatest strength, however, is its Chinese cuisine - likely the best outside of China. Once again, I'll pimp my website (see signature). Get Dim sum at some point - you won't believe the difference between DC area places until you try it. Then maybe try a shangainese spot - shanghai river for upscale, the place or chen's shanghai for family run. Peaceful is good, but i feel it trys to please too many tastes, instead of perfecting a specific cuisine.

have fun!

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#23 lperry

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 10:43 AM

The best laid plans... We were staying at the downtown waterfront which is a bit far from the other areas in Vancouver, so much of what we had was influenced by how much time we had and how close it was to the convention center. For a quick downtown lunch or dinner, we liked Cactus Club Cafe which is a chain, but had good food and the best yam fries I had while there. Perfectly crispy on the outside, creamy and smooth on the inside. They also had a nice kiwi caipirinha that was a really well-balanced drink. Good beer was had at the Steamworks microbrewery, although there was general agreement that one is the limit on the espresso stout.

We also went to the Aurora Bistro with a party of eight. They are small with limited seating, and the food was just spot on. Between all of us, I think we had everything on the menu. I particularly liked the shallot tart with camembert, and the duck salad, sablefish, and pork dishes got very good reviews as well. This restaurant is known for supporting sustainable farming and local producers, and the food is excellent.

#24 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 02 June 2008 - 05:50 PM

We're going to be in Vancouver and Victoria for a week or so (staying on Robson street in Vancouver), and trying to plan for some fantastic meals. If anyone has any suggestions for cheap or moderately-priced meals, I'd really appreciate it! We're probably going to try and hit West and Tojo's for our pricier meals. Is Feenie's still a good place to go if we're thinking of skipping Lumiere? We're also planning on late night izakaya and ramen eats - any favorite spots? Thanks!

#25 Sundae in the Park

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Posted 25 August 2008 - 06:11 PM

I LOVED EATING IN VANCOUVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After poking around in the thread, on egullet and on http://www.eatvancouver.net/, I devised a list of must/want/might eat-at places. Walking around, there were hardly any neighborhoods where I didn'y spot a place I'd read something about. There were so many great food experiences. We were in the West End on Robson, so our block already had a wonderful array of choices. Some highlights:

izikaya at Guu, Goyza King, and Hapa Izikaya
authentic ramen at Kintaro Ramen
many, many cones at Mondo Gelato
dim sum at Kirin
fish and chips and amazing fish tacos at Go Fish on Granville Island
lots of street crepes from various vendors
sushi pretty much everywhere

Oddly enough, our least favorite meal was at West. Probably a case of inflated expectations, and the service and setting were rather magnificent. The food, however (summer tasting menu)...each course was slightly not to our taste. Maybe the pickles overwhelmed, the fish paired with flavors that that didn't quite match (for us, anyway), and creme brulee was NOT improved by freezing. (I did enjoy the risotto, but couldn't detect much seafood flavor, which pleased me but not my shellfish-loving dining partner). All the ingredients were fresh and the presentation was lovely, but overall, I was underwhelmed, which made me sad because I'd looked forward to the meal all week!

Our favorite meal was at a cute little Malaysian cafe (Banana Leaf) on Denman - we stoped in for lunch during the Pride Parade (I could still watch out the window) and we ordered the tasting menu. Small tastes of pretty much everything on the menu we wanted to try- puffy, chewy roti, chicken satay, excellent seafood curry, bright, tart fruit/vegetable salad, succulent beef rendang, fiery vegetables, and something like tempura-fried bananas served with ice cream (I thought I wouldn't like this but it was scrape-the-bowl FANTASTIC). We had to roll out of there and barely had room for a late dinner that night (but managed somehow, of course!).

#26 Escoffier

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 07:29 AM

If you should find yourself anywhere near the Strathcona neighborhood in Vancouver, try Au Petit Chavignol. It's a wine bar, boite, cahrcuterie and the owner is a maitre fromager. Lots of excellent wines and lots of small plates. Au Petit Chavignol is on Hastings Street. It's a bit out of the way but worth looking for.

In memory of David Weber of Malvern Racing, Desmo4USA, and StephenB. Good friends gone forever.


#27 Lydia R

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 01:44 PM

I'll be in Vancouver later this month with side trips to Whistler, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain and Seattle.

My Vancuver list includes Vij, Kirin (Dim Sum), Fuel, Bishop, Goyza King and Joe Fortes. I saw the Sushi article in the WaPo travel section and have a few places in mind. I've never been on their SkyTrain public tranist and a new line opens August 17th. The possiblity of easy transit opens up Richmond and several other dining options.

Any favorites or additions to this list or suggestions for the CA side trips?

"I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to life for." Lou Gehrig 1939

 


#28 dcdavidm

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 09:28 PM

I'll be in Vancouver later this month with side trips to Whistler, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain and Seattle.

My Vancuver list includes Vij, Kirin (Dim Sum), Fuel, Bishop, Goyza King and Joe Fortes. I saw the Sushi article in the WaPo travel section and have a few places in mind. I've never been on their SkyTrain public tranist and a new line opens August 17th. The possiblity of easy transit opens up Richmond and several other dining options.

Any favorites or additions to this list or suggestions for the CA side trips?

We thought Joe Fortes was overrated last time we were there; no better than a McCormick and Schmick or a Clydes rather than something uniquely Vancouveran. Bishop is reliable but may be showing its age. Loved Chambar (if you like mussels and Belgian beer). Vij is terrific. Always have enjoyed Raincity Grill. We're jealous of your trip; please report back!

#29 ToothbrushFambly

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 08:47 AM

I'll be in Vancouver later this month with side trips to Whistler, Capilano Suspension Bridge, Grouse Mountain and Seattle.

My Vancuver list includes Vij, Kirin (Dim Sum), Fuel, Bishop, Goyza King and Joe Fortes. I saw the Sushi article in the WaPo travel section and have a few places in mind. I've never been on their SkyTrain public tranist and a new line opens August 17th. The possiblity of easy transit opens up Richmond and several other dining options.

Any favorites or additions to this list or suggestions for the CA side trips?


I highly recommend Granville Island Public Market. Lots of great opportunities for tastings, and a soup kiosk with great breakfast called Stock Market. It's also a great place to shop for foodie gifts at Edible British Columbia.

http://www.granville...axonomy/term/46

It's worth an hour or so to take a tour of the Granville Island Brewery. Sadly they don't sell outside the province.

This should whet your appetite: http://www.vanmag.co...ping/101_Things

Have fun!

#30 jiveturk21

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 03:05 PM

Any updates on the food scene in Vancouver? I will be there or two full days in July, between our cruise in Alaska and our ten days in Hawaii, and I am looking for some ideas about where to eat and where to stay. Since we will be there two nights, I would say that I am looking for one GREAT dining experience and one more local/fun dining experience. I am also on th lookout for great lunch places, but since we will be so busy doing things there, I can't say that we will plan our lunches, more along the lines of we-are-here-and-I-have-heard-good-things-about-this-place type of dining.

#31 MMM

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 01:05 PM

Just returned from a short visit to Vancouver. Our standout meal there was dinner at La Quercia, an Italian restaurant in the Kitsilano area - http://laquercia.ca/. Searching the internet, I found it was named "Best Restaurant of the Year" in 2010 by a Vancouver magazine, so decided to give it a try. Apparently the 2 young chefs spend a few weeks in italy every summer and their cooking shows it. Theirs is the best Italian food I've had outside of Italy.

My husband started with a sort of very fresh mixed seafood salad that he's still dreaming about, followed by an excellent pasta amatriciana and a lovely veal chop. I was just thrilled to see that morels were in season and they were featuring them on their menu, so had a tajarin with morels - actually LOADED with morels - incredibly delicious! I followed that with house-smoked salmon and an interesting vegetable combo - very nice. Then the chefs sent us out a little treat of risotto with more morels - Wow! We ended the meal with a serving of camomile & honey yogurt panna cotta with citrus fruits that was perfect.

If you're going to Vancouver and want to try La Quercia out, you should probably book in advance. I went on Open Table and found a reservation only at 5:15 pm, but as it was our first day there and they are 3 hours behind us, it made it a reasonable time for us to go to dinner.

#32 Adam23

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Posted 25 October 2011 - 10:01 AM

Did a quick long weekend in Vancouver this past weekend and had some good to superb food.

Quick overview:

GUU Izakaya - Traditional Japanese izakaya. Hole in the wall, sort of crummy decor but really good small plates. Had some excellent food including some great grilled squid, tuna tataki and scallops. Several locations throughout Vancouver (each with a different type of menu).

Yamato Sushi - Sushi is everywhere in Vancouver and the quality is exceptional and prices are cheap. Oddly, their rolls are rather large everywhere - probably twice the size as they are in the US - making it difficult to eat. This was a cheap place in Yaletown with an $8 special - soup, two rolls and sashimi for $8. Quality was as good, if not better than Susho Ko.

Jade Seafood Restaurant - This was about 30 minutes outside Vancouver in Richmond. It is a massive chinese restaurant that is packed for dim sum on weekends. No carts - you order off a menu - but the offerings were excellent. Lots of unique dishes with a heavy emphasis on mushrooms.

La Quercia - Mentioned above - Won a ton of awards this past year including another best restaurant award in Vancouver. Our experience was eh. The food was good but nothing particularly outstanding. The restaurant uses Barilla pasta instead of fresh (so does Buca di Beppo). Italian offerings in DC are much better - though 7 courses for $45, the current menu price, is a steal. The location is outside of the main Vanocuver downtown so rather difficult to get to.

Blue Water + Cafe - Superb sushi and seafood. We pigged out on oysters, sushi and other seafood. This was by far the best restaurant on our trip and the seafood quality blew away anything in DC. Truly superb, excellent service and the place was entirely packed and jumping on a Sunday night.

#33 discojing

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:08 AM

I found the Vancouver thread (last time I try to read all traveler threads late on an iPhone)!
We plan on going to Vancouver this July for a few days and ending our journey in Seattle.

It's very overwhelming to look at guide books and yelp, and I don't necessarily trust their taste. We will not have a car, but will probably be staying in Downtown Vancouver or maybe Gastown. The last post I see is from Oct 2011 so I just want to get some ideas on what is good, especially in the summer. I'd love places that are in good areas so that we can explore the area as well as enjoying drinks or dinner.

I've heard a lot about Diva, Union Bar, and Guu and I plan on visiting David's Tea as well. We love all types of food except oysters (not so much), and we love good beers and well crafted cocktails. We can afford to to eat at a few nice places, but since we're eating out all day every day for Tuesday Dinner, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday Breakfast (maybe), we can't afford to eat at 5 star places every meal. I'd value unique-ness over quality if it comes down to it too.

I look forward to hearing your suggestions, especially for Chinese food (super-especially for Dim Sum) & will post my Seattle questions to that thread.

TIA - Nicole
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#34 jiveturk21

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Posted 03 May 2012 - 01:10 PM

We were there in July 2010, but I still imagine that Vij's and West are still as good as ever. Vij's, hands down, is the best Indian food that I have had. Can it be expensive? Yes, but it is a laid back atmosphere and loads of fun to eat there. West is awesome as well, maybe a bit more formal, but not so formal that it is stuffy (maybe similar to Proof?). It can be expensive as well, but with both of these places, I think that you can comfortably go to both without breaking the bank.

#35 discojing

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Posted 15 May 2012 - 02:17 PM

I've heard Jade was great, bummer to hear it's 30 minutes outside the city :(
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#36 discojing

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 09:33 PM

Thanks for all the recommendations guys!

We didn't have a car, so we were limited in where we could go, but all in all Vancouver was great and I loved the city. We were staying in Gastown, which was a cool area, but in-between Gastown and Chinatown is the infamous main/hastings intersection. Think: The Wire, sanctioned drug use in abandoned row houses.

I've included some pictures and a breakdown of our meals/snacks below:
  • Japadog (improptu after arriving at the airport) - super nice people and interesting toppings, though a bit rich and salty for my taste. too much japamayo? They took US & CAD
  • Apres Midi Tea Shop - tucked away into a small alley in Gastown, they had a great selection of loose leaf teas and made a great house chai with almond milk and agave
  • Cartem Donuterie - was in a sketchy neighborhood, but the donuts were the perfect combination of firmess and softness. The earl grey donut turned merc340 into an earl grey fan (Seriously, he was on an earl grey kick the rest of the trip) and it wasn't too sweet
  • Alibi Room - good drinks and interesting menu with a scale of "hoppiness" for each item. Scene was a bit too hipster, but we just went for drinks. Drinks were very strong, but well balanced.
  • L'abbatoir - great bar and food. We accidentally made the rez for the week later, but we just sat and ate at the bar. We had the mushroom & egg and sweetbreads along with the banana daiquiri and clover club. Drinks were also very strong. The bartender was also nice enough to right down some Seattle recommendations for us since we were going to Seattle after our stay in Vancouver.
  • Revolver - indie-type coffee shop with nice staff, tasty baked goods, and great coffee. They also play good music on vinyl records and we discovered a new band
  • Beard Papa - I go to them whenever I'm in a city that has one. We got the mango cream puff, which was messy and tasty as expected. Other locations I've been to have more variety, but they took US & CAD (bonus!)
  • Guu with Garlic - this had the best reviews and lots of recommendations, but I was a bit disappointed. We were basically the only table in the restaurant for lunch (I think they just recently opened for lunch) and the food wasn't anything revelation-worthy. It was good and made a nice snack later when we were in Stanley Park for a mini-picnic. I liked the ebi mayo better than the karaage; the karaage seemed to be a bit gristly or have some skin at odd places in the "nuggets".
  • Hawksworth - I think this was *the* best meal we had in Vancouver. The drinks were great and inventive (hotel georgia, yuzu/shiso mojito, corpse reviver #2, and beer they'd put in an ice bucket for you!) and the service was very friendly, though maybe a smidgen artificial at times. The food, unlike guu, was revelation-worthy. KFC = korean fried cauliflower. merc340 hates cauliflower, but is now a convert. Sweetbreads were a bit tangy and salty, but still crispy and delicious. By far the best part was the sablefish with chinese sausage broth and crispy yam chips. It was a great blend of vegetables, protein, and broth. The fish was rich enough to stand up to the sausage but didn't make the dish heavy. We got a chocolate pudding and black sesame/yuzu macaron for dessert and both were gobbled up before some marshmallows/pate de fruit and a house digestif.
  • Granville Island - was a bit smaller than I had envisioned, but I planned our visit the same day as the Farmer's market. There interesting spice and grain shops, chocolate kiosks, bakeries, a place specializing in pies (savory and sweet), meats, fruit stands, a paper shop, and even olive oils/vinegars.
  • Coconama - A company specializing in ganaches; the yuzu ganache has chunks of yuzu in it and is firm yet creamy
  • Lee's Donuts - Pretty cheap and tasty. These were mostly baked donuts and we got cinnamon sugar, dutch chocolate, and a donut hole of "dipped" (glazed). The dutch chocolate was the best because it was a chocolate cake donut rolled in all the crumbs left over from other donuts. What could be better?
  • JJ Bean - The coffee here was nothing special, though it is one of only two coffee shops (I think) in the whole market.
  • Granville Island Tea Co. - Everyone raves about their house masala chai and with good reason. They make their own mix, let you choose your milk (almond please!), and then add in fresh ground ginger and cayenne. This is the best chai latte I've ever had.
  • Granville Island Brewing Co. - This location only has a tasting license, so you can only get 12oz of alcohol. We chose 3 4oz tastes of the Hefeweizen, Maple Ale, and False Creek Raspberry Ale. It was good that they gave you a very detailed description of the flavors, tastes, etc, but there's not that much you can do here.
  • DavidsTea - We spent a long time here tasting teas and picking out teas to buy while resting after walking from Granville Island through Kitsilano. They have any tea you want available iced or hot and were very patient while I decided between the fifty-million teas I wanted to buy. They can weigh the tea to any weight you want (aka, no minimum purchase).
  • Purdy's Chocolates - We stopped by here to get some chocolates; their pink himalayan sea salt caramel was listed as "the best". It's very good, but a bit too runny for my tastes. This was a great spot to stock up on souvenirs, though chocolates in summertime didn't work too well in transport...
  • Vij's - The was the second best meal in Vancouver. We arrived about 20 minutes before they opened and waited in line. Unfortunately, the people right in front of us were the end of the first shift so we put our names down and walked through South Granville while we waited for our table to be ready. The food was amazing and the owner came over to talk to us. We told him we were comparing it to Rasika and he actually knew Bajaj because his wife is from DC! We got the jackfruit (very meaty and tender), beef (complex spices and tender meat), and lamb popsicles (creamy curry sauce with lamb chops). The food was definitely indian, but reminded me of comfort foods - potroast, easter dinner with scalloped potatoes - but in a good way.
  • Milano Coffee - They have special "house" drinks, such as the hedgehog (what's with Vancouver and hedgehogs?) with hazelnut and chocolate. The decor is very interesting inside and they stay open pretty late.
  • Motomachi Shokudo - we had originally planned to eat here for lunch earlier in the week, but had eaten Japadog instead. We had also originally planned to go to Kirin and actually went there, but after looking at the space inside and those lining up trying to get in without a reservation, we gave our reservation to someone else and headed to Motomachi. We were thinking very hard between this place and Santouka since they are located very close to each other and had comparable reviews and scores. In the end, we went with this one and I'm glad we did. Santouka is a chain and (CA/NJ, etc) so we can always try it later. I would call Robson street "Ramen Row" since we passed a lot of ramen shops on the way to Motomachi and I had to keep telling myself "hold out for Motomachi!" Motomachi is very authentic and intimate. They have a weird "$8 per person" policy, but since the space is small, I can see why they don't want people chilling out taking seats that could be making money. We got the spicy miso and the cold noodles. Both were great in their own way and had nice fresh toppings and balanced rich but bright flavors. The spicy miso was multi-note and wasn't just heat.
  • Roaming Dragon - we spotted this food truck while walking to the SkyTraing and got their Lychee Basil drink. It was like bubble tea, but instead of bubbles, there were lychee chunks. It was nice, but a little sweet after a while.
  • Falconetti's - I had to say this, but we heard about this place on Food Network's DDD. Located in Commercial Drive (which, oddly, isn't really that commercial), they make all their meats in-house at the meat shop next door and serve them up in the bar. The thai chicken sausage was very flavorful and the bun was nice and crispy. Definitely a very different dog than JapaDog. The Bar was chill and everyone seemed nice and talked to us about Vancouver and their lives.
  • Cassia Cupcakery - Cupcakes don't seem to be too popular in Vancouver, but we found this one on Commercial Drive. They had a lot of different flavors and the option for minis. We got a chocolate with peanut butter frosting and it tasted good, but this isn't a destination-type place.
  • Pourhouse - Friendly atmosphere and good, strong drinks. The bartenders let us try some samples of spirits we had never seen, and though there was a group there for a food tour, I didn't even notice until they left.
  • Diamond - Very interesting set-up. The Diamond is upstairs above some retail shops with large, airy windows. We sat at the bar and enjoyed watching the mixologists make everyone's drinks. The drinks were very interesting and complex. I wish we could have had more than one drink here, but we were just waiting for our reservation at Nicli. They have so many different cocktails, they have a mini-binder with options, organized into sections.
  • Nicli Pizza - They don't take reservations so we had to put our names down and come back. We got a pizza with lamb sausage and basil - the sausage was actually *very* sweet and over-powering due to the cinnamon in it. I liked it, but it can be polarizing. The crust was alright -- I wouldn't recommend going here because it's not that special.
  • Bella Gelateria - I heard so much about this gelato place that I made it a requirement to go. Thankfully they're open late and we took a taxi just so we could eat this gelato. The flavors aren't the most interesting I've seen, but they have a good variety. This place was very busy, so I understand their 2-sample per person rule. We opted for the belgian chocolate brownie and milano espresso and weren't disappointed. It was creamy yet firm, rich and decadent yet not heavy. The staff could be a little nicer though.
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#37 porcupine

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 07:12 AM

After 5 days in Victoria we'll be spending 5 days in Vancouver in June.  discojing, that is a fantastic report!  If anyone has updates please share.  Thanks!


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#38 DonRocks

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 08:13 AM

I've heard the sushi in Vancouver is excellent, and I'm probably going to be there on my birthday this summer. Thus, I'll be in search of the best of the best, regardless of price, for one splurge meal. Any ideas? Omakase is fine - it doesn't have to be pure sushi or sashimi. 

 

An omakase at Tojo's is 2 bills a person - I don't mind dropping $500+ iff (that's if, and only if) it's genuinely world class, but there can't be any room for error at this price.

 

Also, if there are any new recommendations for more affordable sushi and sashimi, I'm all ears (I'll be reading upstream, so need to repeat what has already been written).

 

Thanks!

Rocks


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#39 Joe H

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:26 AM

http://www.huffingto..._n_3139752.html

 

http://www.vanmag.co...ant_Awards_2013

 

I proposed marriage on the middle of the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  Grouse Mountain nearby is one of the most spectacular views on earth (at the top of the sky lift, similar to Tibidabo overlooking Barcelona) .  The walk around the perimeter of Stanley Park is one of the most beauitiful on earth.  For 23 years I've stayed at the Westin Bayshore with a room facing the harbor and mountains on the edge of Stanley Park.  Hyperbole in Vancouver is the norm-for myself this is the most beautiful city in North America.  By far. 

 

...AND Kelowna-with 200+ wineries-may be the most beauitful wine country on earth, too.  Unknown by Americans.  Three and a half hours north east of Vancouver. http://www.vanmag.co...ard_Dining_2013

 

Don't discount the original White Spot in North Vancouver which, as of two years ago, still had curb service and a very good hamburger to rival In-n-Out.

 

I retired after 23 years representing a Vancouver company in November.  We return the end of September for a last visit.  Kelowna will be part of it.


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#40 Joe H

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 10:32 AM

I've heard the sushi in Vancouver is excellent, and I'm probably going to be there on my birthday this summer. Thus, I'll be in search of the best of the best, regardless of price, for one splurge meal. Any ideas? Omakase is fine - it doesn't have to be pure sushi or sashimi. 

 

An omakase at Tojo's is 2 bills a person - I don't mind dropping $500+ iff (that's if, and only if) it's genuinely world class, but there can't be any room for error at this price.

 

Also, if there are any new recommendations for more affordable sushi and sashimi, I'm all ears (I'll be reading upstream, so need to repeat what has already been written).

 

Thanks!

Rocks

 

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Phyllis Richman once said that Vancouver Chinese was he equal of any on earth.  More hyperbole.  Again true.



#41 anzia

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 08:41 PM

I second the call for updates! We're headed to Vancouver next month for a quick 2-day visit.

#42 Joe H

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 07:27 PM

http://www.straight....ldenplates/2013 along with Vancuver magazine are good overviews to Vancouver and B. C. restaurants.



#43 Joe H

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Posted 21 May 2013 - 08:14 PM

I second the call for updates! We're headed to Vancouver next month for a quick 2-day visit.

 

Hawksworth, Vij's, BlueWater Cafe ("West Coast" seafood) and the original White Spot Drive In (i.e. teletrays and as good as In-n-Out Burger) in West Vancouver.  For Chinese head to Richmond and anywhere that you find live seafood tanks (i.e. Sun Sui Weh).



#44 porcupine

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 07:08 AM

Don, anzia (and anyone else), you're welcome to look at my custom map, which includes a handful of top restaurants plus a few other attractions.


Elizabeth Miller
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#45 porcupine

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 08:18 AM

After checking in to our hotel Sunday afternoon, we tried to take a taxi to Richmond for dim sum.  Traffic in downtown Vancouver can be terrible at any time of day or day of week is what we learned, and there was no way we'd get there before the shops closed.  So the driver dropped us off at Granville Island instead, where we had a grand time nibbling our way through the food stalls in the Public Market.  It's the kind of place that anyone reading this website should love.  Plenty of produce, meat, fish, some dry goods, and plenty of prepared foods.  One baker had as many savory offerings as sweet (curry puff, sausage roll).  The greater GI area has lots of small shops with everything from tourist trinkets to crafts to art.

 

Sunday night was a good night to go for ramen, since Mr P wasn't very hungry (he claims not to like ramen), so we waited in line about 15 minutes at Santouka.  Every time we passed the place in the next few days, there was a line.  And it's easy to understand why: the ramen is fantastic.  Broth was flavorful without being too rich (I had the miso), but the noodles themselves were just perfect in flavor and texture.

 

By 11 am the next day we were actually in Richmond, in time for the opening of Shanghai River (no website that I could find), which was full within 20 minutes.  On a Monday.  Now I understand what everyone means when they say that dim sum is so much better out there than it is here.  I've never had such delicious dumplings.  There were service issues, though.  We were warned that one dish would take 20 minutes to come out; it was more like 50, and then it was the wrong dish.  But I've never had such perfectly cooked eggplant.  Another dish took a long time, too (and without warning), so we were there long enough to see other tables turn over twice.  Bad luck for us, I guess, and not typical of the place, since we saw no one else sitting at table for as long.

 

Another dim sum lunch, at Dynasty Seafood Restaurant, was disappointing, but I think that's because I'm not as fond of Cantonese, which I didn't realize 'til that day.  Everything we ordered seemed just right: thin, translucent wrappers on the dumplings, fillings with great textures and pure flavors.  But a little boring.  Don't let that dissuade you from trying Dynasty, though, if you like that type of cuisine, since it's been dubbed Vancouver's best dim sum.  It just wasn't up my alley.

 

Monday night we called España to see if we'd be likely to get a table at 6:30 (they don't take reservations).  Without making promises, they hinted they'd try to keep a table open in the unlikely event the restaurant filled up.  We arrived at about 6:25 and got the last table.  The highlight of this tapas meal was the crispy chickpeas, just because I've never had anything quite like that.  They must have been deep fried, but were almost greaseless; piping hot and tossed with paprika and mint, they were a great snack.  At the moment I don't recall what else we ordered, but everything was great. 

 

By the next morning I was beginning to suspect that although Vancouver is awash in coffee shops, none of it was any good.  (This was later confirmed by a shop clerk: "all my friends drink coffee, and they all think Vancouver coffee sucks".)  Almost every restaurant we went to served Americano instead of drip.  I just don't get Americano.  Tastes like watered-down espresso.  But anyway, there are chain coffee shops everywhere.  Not just Starbucks, but Waves, Blenz, JJ Bean, Caffe Artigiano.  I tried coffee at Thierry, which has wonderful chocolates and pastries, but the espresso was over-roasted and over-extracted.  It's worth going to for the pastries, though.  The only good coffee I had in all of Vancouver was from Revolver, but it wasn't up to the level of any of the best DC houses.

 

Other highlights, at random.  Bella Gelateria was proclaimed Best Gelato in the World at the Firenze festival in 2012.  How can you resist that?  I'm not crazy about gelato (it's the frozen dessert equivalent of a cafe americano), but the akbar mashti (saffron, rosewater, pistachios, cream) was so good I went back the next day for another scoop.

 

Another rainy day, another wait in line (40 minutes at lunchtime) for ramen, this time at Motomachi Shokudo.  The broth here is chicken based, and the noodles perfect.  Again.  This time Mr P kept trying to sneak his chopsticks into my bowl for more noodles.  I think he's beginning to understand.

 

Breakfast at Forage was delicious but frustrating, as the waiter and hostess seemed to keep forgetting that we were there. Other parties were seated, had ordered, and were partway through their meals before I stood up and walked to the hostess stand to ask if she could check on our food, which was great when it came out (blueberry pancakes, mushroom omelet), but oy.  Also, when I asked for "a cup of coffee" I got an americano.  Wish they'd just tell me that instead of serving it without saying anything.  Wish they'd state it on the menu.

 

Dinner at Raincity Grill was a little disappointing, maybe because it was an island of Very Good in a sea of Outstanding.  Nothing wrong with anything we ate, just... not as good as other places.  But RG was in the vanguard of the locavore movement, and worth going to if you're a devotee of that concept.

 

We celebrated our anniversary at Hawksworth, considered by many to be the finest restaurant in Vancouver.  The food was certainly excellent, the service very friendly... almost too friendly.  I rarely complain about service issues (my idea of good service is "take my order, deliver my food, then leave me the hell alone to enjoy my meal"), but we never got the bread basket we ordered, I had to chase someone down for the glass of wine that was supposed to come with my main course, and when we were halfway through that course I heard our waiter describing the specials to the next table.  Wait... there are specials?  How come he didn't tell us about the specials?!  I would totally have ordered that beef tartare!  Gah!  I think the problem was that he got wrapped up in worrying about my allergies.  (I really wish waiters wouldn't go crazy about that.  I'm allergic to X, Y, Z.  Note that and be done.  Don't interrupt yourself to run back to the kitchen and check, don't apologize, don't make guesses or false assurances, don't make a big deal out of it.  Note it and be done.)  It was a lovely meal nonetheless, and Mr P was nuts for the signature "kfc" (fried cauliflower) that came with the scallops.  He was nuts about the scallops, too.

Dessert was precious, though.  I feel a rant coming on again about precious desserts. 

 

At the end of the trip I asked Mr P what his favorite dining experience was, and he replied Blue Water Cafe without hesitation.  "And yours?"  I replied the same.  A little more laid back than Hawksworth, a little hipper but not quite informal.  The seafood was impeccably fresh and beautifully prepared.  Creative combinations of flavors that never overshadowed the main ingredient.  Just outstanding.  Ericandblueboy, if you're ever in Vancouver you must go here for the seafood tower.

 

Getting around Vancouver is a snap.  Don't bother with a car.  If you're staying downtown, West End, Gastown, and Yaletown are easy to walk to.  The public transportation is reliable, frequent, easy to figure out, and clean (buses and subways both).  I overheard someone remarking to his friend that Vancouver is the cleanest city he's ever been in, and I have to agree.  Maybe it's because the rain washes the sidewalks every day, but still.  What a nifty place.  If I'm lucky enough to go back I'll interrupt my ramen binge long enough to go to Blue Water again and maybe get in another dim sum.  And more gelato.  A foodie paradise.


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Elizabeth Miller
fast cars, slow food

http://elizaberryblog.wordpress.com/


#46 Banco

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Posted 01 July 2013 - 01:28 PM

Vancouver is a snap...

I'm quaking with envy. I love that city; glad you had such a great time.



#47 porcupine

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 07:22 AM

Granville Island has a lot to offer; Shanghai River menu; XLB perfection; more at Shanghai River; crispy chickpeas at España; ramen at Motomachi Shakudo; halibut at Hawksworth; fun way to get to downtown from Granville Island

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Elizabeth Miller
fast cars, slow food

http://elizaberryblog.wordpress.com/


#48 porcupine

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Posted 02 July 2013 - 09:43 PM

ugh, can't get to sleep tonight, can't stop posting. I have a $50 gift cert for Beaconsfield Inn in Victoria that I can't use before it expires. There are some restrictions. Happy to hand it over to anyone who can use it. pm me.

Elizabeth Miller
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http://elizaberryblog.wordpress.com/


#49 PollyG

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 10:04 AM

Granville Island has a lot to offer; Shanghai River menu; XLB perfection; more at Shanghai River; crispy chickpeas at España; ramen at Motomachi Shakudo; halibut at Hawksworth; fun way to get to downtown from Granville Island

Can you clarify as to where you got the XLB?  Was it at Shanghai River?  We'll be in Vancouver for the better part of a week next month and are planning on taking advantage of the plethora of excellent Asian restaurants and the fresh seafood.  One of my Asian-American colleagues from SF assured me years ago that it is the best city for Asian cuisine in North America.



#50 porcupine

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 07:06 AM

Yes, the XLB were from Shanghai River.  Don't forget to post here once you're back!


Elizabeth Miller
fast cars, slow food

http://elizaberryblog.wordpress.com/






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