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Where to Eat Vancouver

Fun & Fascinating Indoor Adventures

The weather outside is frightful, but these indoor activities are so delightful

By SHERI RADFORD

Jan. 2020

Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by KK Law)

Vancouver Aquarium (Photo by KK Law)

1. Get a panoramic view of the city from inside the cozy chalet on Grouse Mountain—with a sinfully indulgent pastry from BeaverTails in hand, of course.

2. Wander through the new COS on Robson Street—the brand’s largest store in Canada—and find an outfit that’s the perfect mix of modern but timeless. While on Robson, check out all the other trendy stores and restaurants.

3. Experience a moment of zen while watching the mesmerizing jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium. 

4. Learn the cool chemistry behind crafting the perfect drink at Science of Cocktails, an adults-only event at Science World (Feb. 6). You may never look at science the same way again.

5. Examine paintings by Emily Carr alongside pieces by Indigenous artists from the same time period in Rapture, Rhythm and the Tree of Life: Emily Carr and Her Female Contemporaries at the Vancouver Art Gallery (to Jun. 28).

6. Sip a latte, nibble on a pastry and cuddle a friendly feline at Catfé. Vancouver’s first cat cafe received international attention a few years ago when pop singer Adele stopped by for some kitty snuggles.

Delicious food at The Teahouse (Photo courtesy The Teahouse)

7. Explore Stanley Park in the most delicious way possible: with a special package from The Teahouse that includes a one-hour private tour in a town car, followed by a three-course meal at the restaurant. 

8. Laugh until you cry at all the frenetic fun on the Vancouver TheatreSports stage. Famous folks who honed their improv talents with VTS include Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie.

9. Buy a doggone delightful outfit for your posh pup at Barking Babies, and maybe even treat your precious pooch to a bath and a blow-dry.

10. Sample stellar fare at discounted prices during the Dine Out Vancouver Festival (Jan. 17 to Feb. 2). Pro tip: wear your stretchiest pants. 

Science of Cocktails at Science World

11. Marvel at the 360-degree view of the city from high in the sky at the Vancouver Lookout.

12. Find out if the pen truly is mightier than the sword with a new ballpoint, rollerball or fountain pen from The Vancouver Pen Shop.

13. Meander through the Granville Island Public Market, the Net Loft and more on Granville Island, stopping often to refuel at a cornucopia of charming little eateries.

14. Browse for a quirky memento from Main and Local, a Canadian company that proudly makes “souvenirs that don’t suck.” Look for the CBC coffee mug, yoga-bear candle or “Not Sorry” rainbow socks at stores such as Make on Granville Island or Kimprints downtown.

15. Discover your new favourite author at the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival (Feb. 8 to 13). This year’s highlights include Anna Mehler Paperny, Gary Shteyngart and Jamie Bernstein.

16. Feast on all the seafood delicacies that Vancouver is known for at Lift and Joe Fortes.

“Deep Forest” by Emily Carr (Courtesy Vancouver Art Gallery)

17. Treat your feet to a pair of Blundstone boots or cozy Glerups slippers from the Australian Boot Company. 

18. Linger over breakfast at De Dutch. You can’t beat a pannekoeken (Dutch pancake) with the oh-so-very-Canadian toppings of bacon and maple syrup.

19. Test out an indoor bike at the Peloton showroom, and check out all the cute athletic tops and bottoms that seem almost too nice to sweat in.

20. Dance the night away with The Strumbellas (Jan. 10 and 11), Tebey (Jan. 16), Michael Kiwanuka (Jan. 28), Theory of a Deadman (Jan. 31 and Feb. 1), Stone Temple Pilots (Feb. 5), The Beaches (Feb. 7), The Marcus King Band (Feb. 9), Wolf Parade (Feb. 12), Atmosphere (Feb. 23), Andy Shauf (Feb. 26), and Doug and the Slugs (Feb. 29), all at fabulous Commodore Ballroom (page 49), which has been Vancouver’s favourite live venue since 1929.

A Fine Feast on the North Shore

By HANNAH POAROS-MCDERMOTT

Dec. 2019

Indulge your taste buds at Feast the Neighbourhood Table this season. This Dundarave Village eatery serves hearty, locally sourced comfort food with a dash of French flair. Fill up on lobster bouillabaisse and Atlantic cod en papillote—that means “steamed in paper,” for those of us who aren’t gastro-nerds—as well as crispy fried chicken and Buddha bowls with house-made kimchi. Hungry for more? Share one of the mouth-watering Feast Platters (Earth, Sea or Surf and Turf). Don’t forget to order the fluffy mini-donuts—there’s always room for dessert.

Savoir Flair at Au Comptoir

By TIM PAWSEY

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

By TIM PAWSEY

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

By TIM PAWSEY

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

By TIM PAWSEY

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.

West Coast Cuisine at West Restaurant

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At West, Bobby Milheron serves seasonal delights such as (clockwise from L) roasted ling cod, smoked carrots and braised kale; and beetroot salad (Photo by Leila Kwok)

For the ultimate in West Coast cuisine, head to South Granville’s West Restaurant. Executive chef Bobby Milheron presents farm-to-table ingredients with precisely honed flair and creativity, all in an elegant and modern wood-trimmed setting. Dishes evolve with the seasons, but hallmarks include Yarrow Meadows duck breast with kohlrabi, apricots and almonds; soy-sake-glazed Haida Gwaii sablefish; and Maple Hill chicken with grilled leeks, porcini puree and roasted maitake mushrooms. Service is seamless and wine pairings impeccable. The irresistible desserts include a Guanaja chocolate soufflé with poured vanilla crème anglaise. Not to be missed: the current prix fixe menu and the all-encompassing chef’s tasting menu.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Pampered Pubbing at Ballyhoo Public House

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

Enjoy local craft beers, cocktails, high tea sandwiches and more at Ballyhoo Public House (Photo by KK Law)

Handy to cinemas and nightlife, downtown’s newly launched Ballyhoo Public House is a welcoming spot to enjoy local craft beers and smartly conceived cocktails. Drop by for high tea of devilled egg or avocado cream cheese sandwiches. Then hang at the bar with a refreshing Aperol Spritz or Bally gin and tonic. Traditional pub grub takes a back seat on this more contemporary menu, with the likes of crispy cauliflower, shishito peppers, an arugula and roasted chicken salad bowl, and a quartet of creative pizzas.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Talking Trees: Cultural Tour and Dining Experience

By SHERI RADFORD

Oct. 2019

ALL YEAR Vancouver is known as the modern and sparkling City of Glass, but it also has an ancient forest right in its heart. Stanley Park is a must-see, and to experience it in an unusual way, Talaysay Tours has teamed up with Arc Restaurant in the Fairmont Waterfront to offer Talking Trees. This unique cultural experience takes visitors into the heart of the park with an Indigenous guide, in order to learn about traditional uses for local trees and plants. Afterwards, dinner at Arc features an Indigenous-inspired menu that brings the day’s lessons to life—in the most delicious way possible. Who knew local history could be so fascinating, and taste so good? 

East Meets West at Blossom Dim Sum & Grill

By TIM PAWSEY

Oct. 2019

At Blossom, every dim sum dish is made fresh daily, with zero MSG (Photo by KK Law)

An airy upstairs destination at Bute and Robson, Blossom Dim Sum & Grill takes fusion to the next level. Truly a merging of culinary cultures, the menu blends Asian inspiration with the freshest of West Coast ingredients. Tantalizing tastes include albacore tuna tataki with local black garlic and ponzu dressing; sweet ’n’ sour Sakura pork; bison rib eye; and seared sablefish with rice cake, baby bok choy and mushroom ponzu. A must for visitors, dim sum yields pork belly buns, tofu prawn tarts, mushroom dumplings with black truffle aioli, and more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Granville Island Bites: Popina Canteen

By TIM PAWSEY

Sep. 2019

Chow down on the East Coast lobster roll (top) or dig into fish ‘n’ chips (bottom) at Popina (Photo by KK Law)

Four top chefs are behind view-kissed Popina Canteen, an outdoor eatery on the wharf beside the Granville Island Public Market. Stalwarts Angus An, Hamid Salimian, Joël Watanabe and Robert Belcham blend their distinctive styles in a collaboration that features everything from East Coast lobster rolls and grass-fed-beef cheeseburgers to steamed Dungeness crab and a cornucopian seafood tray. Go early to try their popular puffcreams: soft-serve ice cream in a freshly baked creampuff. (We recommend Turkish Delight.) Or drop by for an “adult” pink lemonade or a Bourbon Smash. Most scenic way to get there? Hop aboard False Creek Ferries from the Aquatic Centre, Science World or the east foot of Davie Street.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

Vancouver’s Hottest Brunch Spots

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Aug. 2019

Delicious waffles at Café Medina (Photo: Amy Ho)

Forget most important meal of the day—in Vancouver, brunch is the most important meal of the weekend. For proof, just look to the queues (rain or shine) outside the city’s hottest brunch spots. It’s worth the wait at Café Medina, famed for heavenly Liège waffles topped with milk-chocolate lavender sauce and Mediterannean-inspired brunch dishes like tagine. Perfectly poached eggs are on the menu at Yolks . Build your own eggs Benny or add them to French toast—and don’t miss the truffle-lemon hash browns. At Forage, rise and shine to capital-L local and capital-D delicious fare like corned-bison hash or duck-and-kale-topped frittata. There are no sleepy brunch staples at Jam Cafe , where red velvet pancakes are drizzled with cream cheese, and French toast is topped with fried chicken and pickled cabbage. Dishes like croque monsieur and ratatouille with eggs add French finesse to friendly Twisted Fork Bistro . Homestyle-themed Honey Salt brings a farm-to-table approach to everything from potato latkes to chicken and waffles. Try the Monkey Bread with honey bourbon sauce (and thank us later).