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Restaurants Vancouver

Taste Buds Take Flight at Freebird


Mar. 2020

Freebird’s Taiwanese roast chicken is delicious

To say that Freebird specializes in Taiwanese roast chicken is an understatement. Their chicken is rubbed with salt, hung to dry, then slow-roasted to perfection. Ordering it is a no-brainer—the only challenging part is deciding whether to have it on rice, salad, roti flatbread or a croissant sandwich. You can even order a whole chicken to take with you. The man behind the magic is chef Angus An, also the mastermind who created Maenam and several other popular local eateries. Wherever he leads, our taste buds are happy to follow—even all the way to Taiwan.

LoLo Invites: Farina a Legna


Jan. 2019

Calabrese pizza made with tomato sauce, soppressata, for di latte, niçoise olives and oregano, at Farina a Legna (Photo by KK Law)

Just across the harbour from downtown by SeaBus, Lower Lonsdale lures with myriad tastes. A short walk up from the terminal, Farina a Legna is a neighbourhood hotspot. The simply furnished room, with its open kitchen and wood-fired oven, is relaxing and friendly. Hand-tossed pizza rules (try the calabrese or boscaiola), but don’t miss authentic tastes such as radicchio salad with pine nuts and anchovy dressing; burrata caprese with roasted squash, basil and pistachio pesto; or handmade ravioli with a ricotta-and-mortadella filling. Save room for the ethereal tiramisu or irresistible flourless chocolate cake with olive oil and hazelnut cream. Also close by are Tap & Barrel, a local BC-beer-and-wine emporium, and long-running Greek favourite Anatoli Souvlaki, among many.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Savoir Flair at Au Comptoir


Dec. 2019

Taste fresh French flavours such as the Vercingetorix salad, featuring a soft poached egg and white anchovies (Photo by KK Law)

For serious French bites, head to Au Comptoir, an unabashed salute to the classic Parisian bistro in the heart of Kitsilano. Go early for breakfast, lunch or dinner, because the popular spot doesn’t take reservations. Regulars pack into the cozy banquettes for de rigueur tastes such as croque madame, duck confit, grilled bavette steak and poisson du jour. Flavours are pure, ingredients locally sourced and service prompt but friendly. For a taste of the sunny south, drop by Yaletown’s Provence Marinaside, also open all day, for West Coast–style bouillabaisse, crab-and-shrimp cakes or half chicken provençale. Or, nibble on small plates and sip a glass of rosé at adjacent TWB—The Wine Bar. On the East Side, Les Faux Bourgeois yields a wealth of Gallic favourites, from escargots and onion soup to tarte flambée and hanger steak frites, all in a cozy but busy bistro setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Afternoon Delight at Neverland Tea Salon


Dec. 2019

Enjoy seasonal high tea towers filled with sweet and savoury bites at Neverland Tea Salon (Photo by KK Law)

Tea-lovers revel in a wealth of choice as the city enjoys an afternoon-tea revival. True to its name, whimsical Neverland on the West Side takes tea to the next level. The china settings are gorgeous and the plates deliciously decadent, offering an array of sandwiches, sweets and savouries. Favourites roam from riffs on the traditional, such as a citrus scone with Devonshire cream and house-made jam, to a lemon-herb mascarpone sandwich with cucumber and arugula. All high-tea menus can be made with gluten and dairy omitted, and vegetarian and vegan versions are available. Find more indulgences at Notch8 in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, at long-running tucked-away Secret Garden in Kerrisdale, and at Robson Street’s Ladurée, an elegant nod to the French salon de thé highlighted by in-house pastries and extraordinary macarons.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Terrific Tapas at Como Taperia


Nov. 2019

(Clockwise from L): Tinned razor clams, Spanish tomato toast and fried, spicy eggplant at Como Taperia (Photo by KK Law)

A few minutes’ cab ride from downtown leads to some of the city’s top Spanish tastes. The buzz right now is for Como Taperia, an upbeat Main Street nod to Barcelona and Madrid, which is leading the charge in authenticity. Go for the abundance of specialty charcuterie and cheeses, charred octopus with white beans, morcilla (blood sausage) and squid ink hamburguesa, Iberico chorizo, or clams with tomato and saffron. The list of sherries is equally impressive, as are the cocktails, cavas (sparkling wines) and Spanish vermouths on tap. Other worthy Iberian haunts include heritage-housed Bodega on Main, Gastown’s well-named The Sardine Can, English Bay stalwart España, and contemporary Cabrito on Commercial Drive.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Beyond Pub Fare at Mahony


Nov. 2019

The revamped menu at Mahony blends traditional Irish vibes with international flavours (Photo by KK Law)

Waterside Mahony teamed up with Vikram Vij, of Top Chef Canada and Dragons’ Den fame, to refresh their menus. The local celebrity chef’s newly introduced dishes were inspired by South Asian street food, lending a more cosmopolitan air to the classic pubs. Try the bunny chow–style lentil soup served in a bread bowl, four types of pizza on handmade naan bread, or the gluten-free paneer pakora made from chickpea flour and served with mint-and-onion chutney. Also on offer: potato leek soup, an Ocean Wise steelhead salmon burger, fish ’n’ chips and plenty more from a wide-ranging selection. The welcome is warm and the mood always lively. And Mahony still very much celebrates its Irish roots, with well-poured pints of Guinness.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Get the Scoop: Local Artisanal Ice Cream

May 2019

Photo ©Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock.com

Vancouver has a sweet side—and it’s stocked with artisanal ice cream. Handmade small-batch scoops crafted from local ingredients are common to this trend, as are fun flavour combos and vegan options. Rain or Shine serves up handcrafted flavours like Blueberry Balsamic. On Taco Tuesday, get it in a delightfully messy taco-shaped waffle cone. Expect round-the-block queues at Earnest Ice Cream, where hyper-local, seasonal scoops like Spruce Bud are complemented by classic from-scratch flavours like Salted Caramel. When the folks at Mister say “small batch,” they mean it—everything is made to order using liquid nitrogen. Plant-based and dairy-free gelato in an astonishing number of flavours are Umaluma’s claim to fame. On the other side of the spectrum, La Glace’s pretty parlour churns up French-style scoops, meaning more eggs and more cream. Founded by award-winning gelato maestro James Coleridge, Uno Gelato is always adding new flavours to perennial favourites like Akbar Mashti (saffron) and Amarena Cherry. Sweet stuff.

A Sampling of Vancouver’s Tapas Scene

Feb. 2019

Spanish-style dishes at Bodega include (L-R) marinated and grilled lamb chops, spicy chorizo sausage and saffron-infused paella (Photo by KK Law)

A coterie of Spanish rooms yields a wealth of small plates. Drop by Bodega on Main for mainstays like grilled octopus, spicy chorizo, patatas bravas (zesty potatoes) and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), all served in heritage surroundings. On Commercial Drive, Cabrito melds classics with gluten- and dairy-free options, plus smartly picked wines and sherries. In Gastown, The Sardine Can is a compact spot that lives up to its name, and it tempts with smoked-ham-wrapped prunes, meatballs in tomato-and-red-wine sauce, and lots of tostas (toasts)—including, of course, sardines on toast.

Truly Elevated Dining: Dinner in the Sky


Award-winning chef Ned Bell (right) at Dinner in the Sky

Aug. 4 to Sep. 3, 2018 Suspend your disbelief: Dinner in the Sky really does whisk diners 30 m (100 ft) above picturesque Ambleside Park. Hoisted to heart-stopping heights by crane, the “dining room” has 360-degree ocean, mountain and city views. For additional thrills, the adventurous can lean their seats back for a fresh perspective. Award-winning chef Ned Bell (pictured at right) is along for the ride, so the gourmet and gravity-defying menu highlights local and sustainable fare. One thing’s certain: it’ll be a meal to remember.

The Scoop: Five Spots for Scream-Worthy Ice Cream

Jul. 2018

Photo ©Zivica Kerkez/Shutterstock.com

Ice cream fans, here’s the scoop: sink your sweet tooth into local, seasonal ingredients at Earnest Ice Cream and Rain or Shine, or take a walk on the wild side with Perverted Ice Cream to sample soft-serve with cheeky names like “Beg For S’more.” Artisanal offerings are flash-frozen with liquid nitrogen at Mister, while Umaluma brings impossibly creamy dairy-free gelato to the mindful masses, and packs it into crunchy gluten-free waffle cones. No wonder summer’s our favourite season.

BC Bites at West Restaurant + Bar

Jul. 2018

Perfect plates at West include roasted Haida Gwaii halibut with local corn (Photo by KK Law)

One of the original flagship regional rooms, South Granville’s West Restaurant + Bar revels in seasonal, local ingredients, detail-driven presentation and impeccable service. Popular plates roam from soy-and-sake-glazed Haida Gwaii sablefish, to a lamb duo with roasted sunchokes and madeira jus, to ricotta tortellini with braised artichokes, roasted fennel, kalamata olives and tomato fondue. Wines both local and global are expertly paired and served from an impressive “wall of wine,” while original cocktails keep pace with the creativity on the menu.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Adventures by SkyTrain: Vancouver’s Trains Take You to Exciting Places

July 2018

Photo by Edgar Bullon/Dreamstime.com

Exploring Metro Vancouver by SkyTrain this summer is a fast, fun, and family-friendly way to go beyond the downtown core. (more…)