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2019 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

At Provence Marinaside, the whole Dungeness crab provençale with seasonal vegetables and seven-grain rice is as attractive as it is delicious (Photo by KK Law)

We salute the restaurants and people who make Vancouver such a foodie paradise

By TIM PAWSEY, SHERI RADFORD & CHLOË LAI
MAY 2019

Critics’ Choice

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Provence Marinaside

No one makes more reservations in a year than a hotel concierge. And few have their fingers on the city’s dining pulse as firmly as Vancouver’s Les Clefs d’Or. Always in the loop, they can recommend the ultimate experience—and often secure that hard-to-find last-minute table. This year, their nod goes to Provence Marinaside, a waterside delight on False Creek’s Yaletown shore. Marine-inclined fare marries South of France classics with West Coast flair, such as bouillabaisse, Dungeness crab provençale and olive-dusted seared tuna, using the freshest of local ingredients. Savour smaller bites at the adjacent TWB — The Wine Bar.—TP

BEST NEW RESTAURANT

Coquille Fine Seafood

In a city renowned for fresh seafood, it can be difficult to stand out. Coquille rose to the challenge. Located in the heart of Gastown, this stylish room was dreamed up by the folks at award-winning L’Abattoir, just across the street. The marine-cuisine newcomer dishes up seafood platters and oysters galore, along with all the usual suspects—but done superbly: halibut, sablefish, branzino, trout, prawns, scallops, mussels, lobster and more. And the plush coral-coloured booths, reminiscent of seashells, invite settling in and lingering a while.—SR

FINALISTS

Elisa Wood-Fired Grill

Cosseted in a sumptuously refurbished Yaletown warehouse, Elisa grills to perfection a wide range of superb premium cuts, from Cache Creek grass-fed strip loin and rib-eye to a trio of impossibly tender Wagyu from Alberta, Kagoshima and Idaho. The impressive cellar yields a line-up of well-chosen Napa, Bordeaux and BC premium reds and more to
go along.—TP

Verre

This glass-clad brasserie on Coal Harbour’s seawall sparkles with inventive Mediterranean flavours. Highlights include whole roasted branzino with salsa verde, seared Humboldt squid puttanesca, and 48-hour short rib on the bone with a herb polenta. The setting is smart, the mood fun, and the small black-marble bar a popular happy-hour haunt.—TP

Mouthwatering options abound at Coquille (Photo by KK Law)

EDITOR’S CHOICE

Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar

If change truly is a constant, don’t tell Hy’s, which next year marks 60 years in Vancouver, where longevity in restaurants isn’t a strong suit. But Hy’s continues to defy the odds for any number of reasons. The one truly “clubby” room in town allows you to hunker down in old-style dining chairs under old-school oil portraits. (But it does sport a newly renovated upstairs.) Hy’s has survived everything from the extinction of the three-martini lunch to the onset of rampant veganism. Its secret? To pamper us with those things we hold dear, from cheese toast to jumbo-prawn cocktails. And a filet aged at least 28 days, cooked precisely as requested, drenched in brandy and wild mushroom sauce.—TP

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD

White Spot 

BC’s longest-running group of chain restaurants has wholeheartedly embraced the Ocean Wise program. Yet many White Spot classics, from the shrimp sandwich to cod ’n’ chips, have long been ocean-friendly. Today’s menu spans the sustainable spectrum, from seafood fettuccine to Mexican-style shrimp tacos to wild Pacific salmon with shrimp, scallops and clams. “White Spot reaches an audience considerably different from many of our past winners,” says Ocean Wise coordinator Tania Leon. “Their kids’ Pirate Paks even include Ocean Wise messaging and games to educate the next generation.”—TP

The Sustainable Seafood Award is presented to the restaurant that best exemplifies practices of sourcing, serving and promoting sustainable species, as outlined under the Ocean Wise Program.

Michel Jacob, owner & chef at Le Crocodile (Photo by KK Law)

LEADERSHIP

Michel Jacob
Owner & Chef, Le Crocodile

The Leadership Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the city’s hospitality scene over many years. Where is delighted to salute Michel Jacob. It takes more than culinary skill to run a successful fine dining restaurant for 35 years, not to mention win almost every award in the book. Even after three decades, Le Crocodile remains the destination French room in the city. Unknown to most, however, is the role this highly respected chef has played as mentor to many local chefs who early in their careers apprenticed with him at Le Crocodile.—TP

To read the interview with Michel Jacob, click here.

Les Dames d’Escoffier Trailblazer

Christine Coletta
Co-founder, Okanagan Crush Pad

You don’t have to look long in Vancouver to find somewhere Christine Coletta has left her mark. She was instrumental in building the BC wine industry, the fruits of whose labours you’ll now discover on almost every wine list in the city. As the founding executive director of the BC Wine Institute, Coletta helped forge Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA), Canada’s appellation system. Well ahead of the curve, she shaped programs that encouraged Vancouver restaurants to pour wines by the glass. That helped establish a regional food-and-wine culture that had never existed before. And she continues to be a major industry player: over the last decade Coletta has established (with partner Steve Lornie) her own winery, Okanagan Crush Pad. Find their increasingly organic drops, including Haywire and Free Form, at Marquis Wine Cellars and BC Liquor Stores, among others.—TP

Les Dames d’Escoffier is an organization of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality, whose mission is education, scholarship and philanthropy.

A 32-oz porterhouse at Elisa is cooked to perfection on the wood-fired Grillworks Infierno (Photo by KK Law)

Readers’ Choice

SEAFOOD

Blue Water Cafe

FINALISTS Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House; Coast

WEST COAST

Coast 

FINALISTS Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar; Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

STEAK

Gotham Steakhouse & Bar 

FINALISTS The Keg Steakhouse + Bar; Black + Blue

FRENCH

Le Crocodile

FINALISTS L’Abattoir; Tableau Bar Bistro

ITALIAN

Italian Kitchen

FINALISTS CinCin Ristorante + Bar; Lupo Restaurant & Vinoteca

EUROPEAN

Bauhaus

FINALISTS Chambar Restaurant; The Greek

LATIN

Ancora

FINALISTS Cuchillo; Fayuca

HOTEL DINING
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

FINALISTS Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge; Botanist; Notch8 Restaurant & Bar

FINE DINING
Hawksworth Restaurant

FINALISTS Ancora; Bishop’s

INDIAN

Vij’s Restaurant 

FINALISTS Copper Chimney Indian Grill & Bar; Sitar

CHINESE

Peaceful Restaurant 

FINALISTS Floata Seafood Restaurant; Pink Pearl Chinese Seafood Restaurant

JAPANESE

Miku Restaurant 

FINALISTS Minami; Kingyo Izakaya 

ASIAN

Maenam

FINALISTS Thai House Restaurant; SalaThai; Chi Modern Vietnamese Kitchen

BRUNCH

Café Medina 

FINALISTS Honey Salt; Jam Cafe

PUB FARE

Tap & Barrel 

FINALISTS Timber; Bells and Whistles

BEER EXPERIENCE

Granville Island Brewing

FINALISTS Tap & Barrel; Dockside Restaurant

PATIO

Cactus Club Cafe

FINALISTS Ancora; Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

FOOD CART

Tacofino

FINALISTS Japadog; Chickpea

DESSERT

Thierry

FINALISTS Honey Salt; Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

To see winners from the Whistler Where to Dine Awards, click here.

To vote for your favourite Vancouver and Whistler restaurants in our 2020 Where to Dine Awards, click hereYou could win an overnight trip to Victoria, including a luxury sailing experience with V2V Vacations and one night’s stay at the Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort. 

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