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West End

Hot Entertainment: Catch an Old Movie at Vancouver’s Retro Cinema Fest

Celebrating The Big Lebowski at the Retro Cinema Fest

Movie buffs and cinephiles, take note: this is the festival for you. Until Sep. 30, the Retro Cinema Fest is bringing fan favourites back to the big screen. From the supernatural silliness of Ghostbusters to the laidback antics of The Big Lebowski to the galaxy-crossing adventures of the Star Trek crew, there’s bound to be at least one blast from the cinematic past for everyone’s taste. The festival ends Sep. 30 with a marathon showing of all three Back to the Future movies on a night that will no doubt be bittersweet, as it marks the last screenings ever at Denman Cinemas, a West End mainstay for more than half a century.

  • Sep. 23: The Godfather, The Godfather II
  • Sep. 24: Pulp Fiction, Inglorious Basterds
  • Sep. 25: Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal
  • Sep. 26: Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II
  • Sep. 27: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek VIII: First Contact
  • Sep. 28: Priscilla Queen of the Desert plus a drag show
  • Sep. 29: The Big Lebowski
  • Sep. 30: Back to the Future, Back to the Future II, Back to the Future III

—Sheri Radford

Hot Dining: Worldly Cuisine on Denman Street

Poncho’s photo by KK Law

The road to English Bay is lined with a variety of tempting tastes from every corner of the culinary world. Feast on authentic Mexican fare in friendly surroundings at Poncho’s (pictured); head upstairs to Kadoya Japanese Restaurant for some of the city’s most inventive sushi, or next door to Won More for spicy Szechuan; taste quintessential West Coast fare at legendary, long-running Raincity Grill; savour serious bistro cuisine at Le Parisien; or hang with the locals at funky Central Bistro.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: French Bistro Fare at Le Parisien

Roasted Pacific cod with ratatouille provençale and brandade croquette, at Le Parisien. Photo by KK Law

Le Parisien, John Blakeley’s remake of the much-loved former Café de Paris, pays homage in true bistro style. Locals flock to the West End hideaway for addictive smoked chicken liver and foie gras parfait, cassoulet, côte de boeuf, sweetbreads and just-crispy duck confit. Another tradition reborn: you can drop by for an early-morning cafe au lait and croissant, or for a full-blown weekend brunch, complete with boudin noir and crêpe Bretagne.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Viva Vietnamese

Watching Linh Tran expertly man a sizzling hot wok while simultaneously tending grilled pork, it’s clear she’s in her element inside Viva restaurant. Viva’s Vietnamese food, with its French, Chinese and Indian influences, has earned a loyal following. From bánh mì to deluxe vermicelli to sweet and savoury stewed basa, the 50-seat West End eatery delivers well-executed Vietnamese classics. Authenticity rules inside the family-run business right down to the herbs and spices, many of which are sourced directly from Vietnam. 505 Sargent Ave, 204-772-3167.

Hot Art: Personal Materials Make for Personal Art

Photo credit: "Memory of a Photo of My Parents" by Michelle Casey.

For artist Michelle Casey, art is about a narrative journey. Using materials such as family photographs, magazine clippings, and journal entries in her exhibit  “Pieces of Me III: Fragments from an Artist’s Life,” Casey hopes to intrigue the audience enough so that they linger on the little details and take a journey of their own through her art. Until Nov. 30 at Atrium Gallery, visitors will have the opportunity to survey the intricacies and to create, explore, and discover their own narratives through her artistic expression.

Hot Dining: West (End) Meets East

Dragon roll at Taiko on Denman. Photo by KK Law

Asian flavours abound in the West End. Taiko on Denman is a polished, capacious, slate-and-glass-trimmed upstairs escape close to Coal Harbour. Inventive sushi, robata and donburi are served in a dramatic setting with glimpses of Stanley Park and the North Shore mountains. Prime lures: all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner menus. Close by, sushi-free Gyoza King Japanese Izakaya is a late-night haunt favoured by locals and homesick language students alike, while Kintaro Ramen, a Lilliputian hole-in-the-wall diner, is famed for its pork-packed noodle bowls, minimal seating—and often long line-ups.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dates: Happy Valentine’s Day

A beautiful bouquet will make your loved one smile on Valentine's Day. Photo copyright Kaisphoto/iStockphoto.com

Skip the online e-card and instead head on Feb. 14 to one of these fine florists for a bouquet of fresh-cut flowers: Divine Vines in Yaletown, Get Fresh Flowers in the West End, Hilary Miles Flowers in Kitsilano, Garlands Florist on West Broadway, or Heathers the Flowershop in Gastown. This lovely gesture is sure to earn you a permanent position in your sweetheart’s good book.—Jennifer Patterson

Hot Dining: Sake to Me

Executive chef Masahiro Omori puts the finishing touches on ebi mayo at ShuRaku. Photo by KK Law

No surprise that vibrant Asian flavours are all the rage in this Pacific Rim city. Downtown on Granville Street, ShuRaku (pictured) delights with contemporary and traditional plates, from beef tataki and chicken teriyaki to the “Dynamic” prawn tempura roll, all paired with one of the city’s most extensive sake lists, including many from Artisan SakeMaker. Just opened Guu Garden is a popular izakaya (Japanese tapas) lure for homesick language students, while bustling Kingyo Izakaya in the West End stays open late for those craving ahi tuna, avocado carpaccio, stone-grilled Kobe beef or ebi mayo (spicy butterflied prawns).—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Cafe Classique

Cozy French restaurant Le Bistro de Paris. Photo by KK Law

West End stalwart Le Bistro de Paris (pictured) delivers French fare in a Parisian-cafe-inspired setting. A lively crowd packs in for tastes such as plump and juicy Salt Spring moules Provençale and steak frites with zesty peppercorn sauce. (A side of the celebrated frites comes free for tables ordering entrées.) The wine list roams from France to BC and beyond, while service is brisk but friendly. Other franco-faves? Robson’s Hermitage retreat and Alsatian-inclined Le Crocodile.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: West End Riviera

Bruschetta, chicken liver paté, olivade and tomato-basil parmesan (front) and fleur de cao dark chocolate and profiteroles (back) at Adesso Bistro. Photo by KK Law

On a leafy West End street, intimate Adesso Bistro yields Northern Italian plates prepared with passion and flair, using the best of BC ingredients. Ligurian specialties range from roasted half lobster wrapped in savoury breadcrumbs, to West Coast seafood bourrida that mingles prawns, octopus, calamari, clams and lobster in a gently spicy tomato broth. Desserts seduce with a fragola of macerated strawberries, mousse, mascarpone, Italian meringue and compote; fleur de cao dark chocolate; and affogato with hazelnut praline.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Sushi and More

Hidekazu Tojo in his venerated restaurant, Tojo's. Photo by KK Law

Well over 20 years after Hidekazu Tojo (pictured) opened his original trendsetting sushi room, Tojo’s still wears the undisputed crown of Japanese cuisine. However, the field of roll-up specialists has widened to include the likes of compact Shiro near City Hall, creative Toshi and Ajisai Sushi Bar. Izakaya (casual, small plates) also rules at the likes of West End’s Kingyo Izakaya and at Hapa Izakaya, while home-style fans swear by Gyoza King and Guu with Garlic. Other downtown contenders range from Aburi (lightly grilled sushi) specialist Miku to eclectic Irashai Grill, as well as long-running robata house Aki.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Tapas Time

Roasted pork belly at Mis Trucos. Photo by KK Law

Roasted pork belly at Mis Trucos. Photo by KK Law

Tucked away upstairs in a lovingly restored old house in the heart of the West End’s Davie Village, minimalist newbie Mis Trucos blends West Coast and Mediterranean styles on small plates. The thoughtful, sometimes playful menu roams from traditional tapas, such as white anchovy around a black olive, to olive-oil-poached Qualicum Beach scallops that tango sexily with pancetta-and-green-pea purée, to velvet-smooth bacalhau brandade. Smart Spanish wines, classic cocktails and even Catalan red wine and cola prop up the bar, while desserts are a tour de force. Worth the search.—Tim Pawsey