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Restaurants Vancouver

Ancora Brings Nikkei Cuisine to West Van

By TIM PAWSEY
Mar. 2019

Ancora photo by KK Law

Hop a cab across the Lions Gate Bridge to Ancora at Ambleside, in the heart of West Van, with sweeping views of Stanley Park and Burrard Inlet. Nikkei cuisine is a flavourful hybrid of Peruvian and Japanese cultures. Specialties roam from artfully assembled Dungeness crab causa with Huancaína sauce and olive “soil” to classic arroz con pato (rice and duck) with pickled shallots. Sablefish glazed with ají panca (mild Peruvian red pepper) and served with smoked potato and dashi-braised daikon is even more delicious when paired with junmai sake. Wines are well chosen and cocktails include a tasty—and sinus-clearing—wasabi margarita.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

High Steaks Heritage at Elisa

By TIM PAWSEY
Mar. 2019

A 32-oz portherhouse, at Elisa (Photo by KK Law)

Premium beef is the focus of recently unveiled Elisa, housed in a former warehouse space in the heart of Yaletown. Open and welcoming, this top-drawer destination features cuts cooked to perfection on the wood-fired Grillworks Infierno. Try the grass-fed strip loin and rib-eye from Cache Creek; the Angus Reserve tenderloin, strip loin and rib-eye from Alberta; and the trio of exceptional Wagyu offerings from Alberta, Kagoshima and Idaho. There’s also no problem finding a hearty Napa, Bordeaux or premium BC blend to go along, from a cellar of over 5,000 bottles.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

A Sampling of Vancouver’s Tapas Scene

By TIM PAWSEY
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.

Fresh Greek Flavours in Yaletown

By TIM PAWSEY
Jan. 2019

At The Greek by Anatoli, delicious dishes include grilled halloumi cheese, moussaka, rabbit popsicles and more

In the heart of Yaletown, The Greek by Anatoli celebrates all things Hellenic with a wide array of traditional tastes. This lively room with a long local pedigree lures with myriad mezzes (appetizers), from taramosalata (caviar spread) and saganaki (fried cheese) to hummus (chickpea dip) and kolokithakia (crispy zucchini chips). Locally sourced seafood and various souvlaki (meat skewers) are plentiful, served with rice, potatoes and vegetables, while roasted half chicken with lemon, oregano and mustard marinade is a firm favourite. Fun cocktails—all doubles—with daily drink deals and Happy Hour (with $4 ouzo shots and share plates) add to the always lively vibe.

French Fare Fit for a King

By TIM PAWSEY
Jan. 2019

Chef Herve Martin at The French Table

Chef Herve Martin, once personal chef to the late King of Belgium, holds court at The French Table, a charming Main Street salute to all things Burgundian. Martin is passionate about French cuisine, offering authentic stalwarts such as coq au vin, duck confit cassoulet, bouillabaisse, and escargots, as well as hard-to-find sweetbreads à la Grenobloise, and cheese or beef fondues. The intimate bistro setting, with its cozy bar and dark-wood trim, is welcoming and relaxed, with detail-driven but personable service. Not to be missed: crêpes suzette with orange and Grand Marnier sauce—and the best selection of Burgundy in the city, including bottles from the chef’s family estate.

Dine Out Vancouver Festival is a Foodie’s Dream Come True

By CHLOË LAI

Fine fare at Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge (Photo by KK Law)

Jan. 18 to Feb. 3, 2019 Oyster-shucking workshops. Behind-the-scenes sips at craft breweries, wineries and distilleries. Dim sum tours of Chinatown. Welcome to the Dine Out Vancouver Festival, Canada’s largest celebration of food and drink. Sample sustainable seafood at the Ocean Wise Pop-Up Restaurant inside the Vancouver Aquarium, or head to Bauhaus for a five-course meal by a Michelin-starred guest chef. The most appetizing offer of all? Superb prix-fixe menus at some 300 restaurants give guests a rare chance to sample top-notch local cuisine at bargain prices. Bon appétit!

A Beginner’s Guide to French Pastry

By SHERI RADFORD
Jan. 2019

French Pastry 101 by Betty Hung

If your New Year’s resolution is to avoid sweets and pastries, then we offer you our condolences. But if, instead, you’ve resolved to live in the moment and wrest joy from every experience, then follow your sweet tooth to Beaucoup Bakery, where some of the city’s best croissants, brownies, tarts and cookies await. While lingering over coffee and a treat, pick up a copy of French Pastry 101, the new cookbook from Beaucoup co-owner Betty Hung. Filled with dozens of recipes that even a beginner can follow, the tasty tome is sure to inspire cravings galore. Happy New Year!

The Sweetest Resolution: Chocolates in Vancouver

This year, we resolve to eat better…chocolate

By CHLOË LAI
Jan. 2018

Photo by KK Law

The science is in: eating chocolate lowers cholesterol and reduces age-related memory loss—hey, we’re not getting any younger. Plus, it releases endorphins that make us feel like we’re falling in love. West Coasters are big on wellness (and love!), so we take these sweets seriously. Vancouver’s cacao connoisseurs craft the finest melt-in-your-mouth magic this side of Willy Wonka’s factory. Ask your chocolatier if these chocolates are right for you. Clockwise from top left: Crave-worthy cocktail chocolates from Beta5. Gourmet ganache-filled chocolate bars from Mink. Mini milk chocolate hedgehogs with creamy hazelnut filling from Purdys. Chic chocolates and truffles from Thomas Haas. Solid dark chocolate medallions with Haida designs, from Chocolate Arts. Beautifully bite-sized chocolate bonbons from Thierry.

Casual Chic: Lot185 Café + Wine Bar

By TIM PAWSEY
Dec. 2018

Lot185 Café + Wine Bar (Photo by KK Law)

Across from the Olympic Cauldron, inside the Vancouver Convention Centre’s west building, Lot185 is a West Coast riff on a modern Euro-cafe. Drop by in the morning for excellent coffee and perfect pastries. Or go later for lunch or early dinner. Detail-driven dishes range from tuna poke and smart salads to a plethora of pizzas (we love the funghi bianchi) and decadent desserts. The laid-back setting tempts with cosseting booths or seats at the bar, plus local brews and wines by the glass. And the name? It refers to the land title, purchased in 1862 by three Englishman who were derided for paying too much—for what is now the West End.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com.

True BC Flavours at Bishop’s

By TIM PAWSEY
Dec. 2018

Locavore pioneer John Bishop serves specialties such as fresh Kusshi oysters from nearby Cortes Island

At Bishop’s, a West Side destination for over 30 years, John Bishop’s namesake room remains the pinnacle of gracious dining. The celebrated chef and author who helped forge BC’s unique regional style serves superbly crafted dishes, such as turnip-and-salmon cake with lobster bisque and caviar; miso-marinated cod with smoked-eggplant-and-mushroom broth; and roast lamb loin with fingerling potatoes, leeks, caper berries and jus. Wines are thoughtfully chosen and well paired. Tranquil and understated, the room is highlighted by local art that suits the mood, while the host’s legendary hospitality is personal, discreet and timeless.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com.

Seasonal Sips in Downtown

By TIM PAWSEY
Dec. 2018

At Bacchus, warm up with a Candycane Cosmo, spiked with crème de menthe and raspberry liqueur (Photo by KK Law)

Celebrate the holidays in style in the lounge at Bacchus, tucked away in the gorgeously decorated Wedgewood Hotel, where a blazing hearth (one of the city’s few remaining) lures with comfy wing chairs and festive drinks. Relax over a Moscow Mule or Manhattan before dinner in the romantic adjoining restaurant. Shopping at Pacific Centre? Take a much-needed break at nearby Yew Seafood + Bar, which obliges with a warming fireplace and rain-beating drinks. Or while away the day in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, where clubby Notch8 serves a suitably festive tea—that can easily merge into cocktails.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit HiredBelly.com.

Eastside Italian Cuisine

By TIM PAWSEY
Nov. 2018

Mouthwatering dishes at Savio Volpe include (clockwise from left): broccolini, borlotti beans, chicoria with galiano plum, fettucini integrale, corzetti with tomato pomodoro, and rosemary chicken (Photo by KK Law)

Two popular rooms are testament to Vancouver’s formidable Italian community. A few minutes from downtown, bustling Savio Volpe is a contemporary osteria. Served under its soaring ceiling are vegetable crudo with a hot anchovy-garlic “fondue;” chopped baby kale and romano salad with lemon-pepper dressing; house-made chicken-and-pork agnolotti; and a half chicken from the wood-fired grill. Further east, adjacent to the Italian Cultural Centre, La Piazza Dario is a classic fine dining room with a welcoming Florentine feel. Myriad mainstays roam from linguine di mare to veal scaloppine al marsala to free-range chicken with gorgonzola sauce. The wine list spans the globe but has solid Italian depth.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit HiredBelly.com.