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Tim Pawsey

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.

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.

Finny Fare on Granville Island

By TIM PAWSEY
Nov. 2018

Photo by KK Law

Nestled right under the Granville Street Bridge, overlooking False Creek, The Sandbar is a seafood lover’s delight, featuring a wood-fired grill and a sushi bar all under one roof. Favourites include cedar-planked salmon, alder-grilled sablefish and a cornucopian West Coast seafood hotpot, with fish, prawns, scallops, mussels, clams and more. Weekend brunch lures with a variety of eggs Benedict—choose from back bacon, smoked salmon or avocado and pesto—while the popular weekday happy hour yields good deals on share plates and wines by the glass.

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

Main Street Eats

By TIM PAWSEY
Nov. 2018

Dishes change seasonally at Campagnolo, but the agnolotti with caramelized zucchini and ricotta filling is a favourite (Photo by KK Law)

Just across from Science World, discover a trio of worthy stalwarts. Campagnolo celebrates the best of Northern Italy. Book in downstairs for arancini, strozzapreti bolognese, or risotto with prosciutto that’s been butchered and cured in-house. But don’t miss the tucked-away bar upstairs. A few steps north, settle in at Bodega on Main, a true Spanish outpost, for tapas such as garlic prawns, grilled chorizo, fried calamari and much more, with a glass of Tempranillo. A few more steps lead to Torafuku, which translates to “lucky tiger” in Japanese. This buzz-worthy haunt epitomizes the city’s vibrant Asian fusion with tongue-in-cheek plates such as The Donald, a char-grilled duck breast with shaved foie gras, and Finding Dory, a sake kasu–marinated halibut. And don’t miss the tasting menu.

Delightful Dining in Gastown

By TIM PAWSEY
Oct. 2018

Soupe à l’oignon (front) and duck confit (back) at Jules Bistro (Photo by KK Law)

Gassy Jack’s statue presides over myriad cuisines, including faithfully French Jules Bistro. Here, tried-and-true Gallic treats range from lobster bisque, escargots Bourguig-nonne and soupe à l’oignon to moules frites, duck confit and pan-seared salmon Provençal. While happy hour bites and wine specials are a big draw, locals favour the prix fixe menus, enjoyed in a cozy, dark-panelled setting. Foodies head to Coquille, deluxe purveyor of marine cuisine; Bauhaus, which wins accolades for elevated contemporary German fare; and long-running Sitar, for Indian specialties such as tandoori chicken, prawn masala, alu gobi and mutter paneer.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com