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Where to Eat Vancouver

Taste Buds Take Flight at Freebird

By SHERI RADFORD

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.

Sweet Treats at Temper Chocolate & Pastry

By SHERI RADFORD

Mar. 2020

In the spring, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of…chocolate. That’s the case in West Vancouver, anyway, where Temper Chocolate & Pastry tempts with dark chocolate bars, milk chocolate and salted caramel cake, and chocolate-covered lemon peels. Not a chocoholic? Try the lemon tarts, candied ginger, or hazelnut toffee. And give the Easter Bunny a hand by picking up some sweet seasonal creations. No one will judge you if you buy an extra one (or several) for yourself.

Vancouver’s Cocktail Culture

By TIM PAWSEY

Mar. 2020

Bar manager Adam Domet crafts a Gastown Gimlet, at Pourhouse (Photo by KK Law)

The city’s tight-knit bartender community is a hotbed of creativity. At Pourhouse in Gastown, Adam Domet salutes the Prohibition era with his versions of the tipples that lured Americans from their home shores to imbibe legally. The long bar is the perfect place to indulge in a Manifesto or a White Old Fashioned, or to sample flights of whisky, bourbon, mezcal and more. In Chinatown, pull up a stool at The Keefer Bar—ranked number two in Canada’s 50 Best Bars 2019—and soak up the speakeasy feel. The apothecary-inspired list draws on Asian ingredients, wrangled by bar manager and all-around guru Amber Bruce. Her Boss Lady (tequila, Aperol, allspice bitters and mandarin shrub) will likely have you ordering another. Or, at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, cozy up to the bar inside Botanist for head bartender Jeff Savage’s celebrated Smoke on the Water. This heady concoction of rum, mezcal, charred lemon, birch sap and coconut oil is dramatically unveiled in cedar smoke.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com.

North Shore Escape

Lower Lonsdale, once home to the largest shipyard in Western Canada, is now chock-full of shops, restaurants and activities—making it well worth the 12-minute SeaBus journey from downtown

By HANNAH POAROS-MCDERMOTT

Mar. 2020

 

Lonsdale Quay Market (Photo by KK Law)

Shop till you drop

Shopaholics, take note! The world is your oyster at Lonsdale Quay Market, where there are over 80 boutique shops and services just waiting to be discovered. Browse the stunning selection of fashion accessories at Allure, or grab a bottle of your favourite BC wine from Artisan Wine Shop. On your way out, don’t forget to climb the Q tower’s 77 steps for breathtaking bird’s-eye views of Vancouver. Over at the Shipyard Commons, pick up un-bee-lievable beeswax candles and Fraser Valley berry-blossom honey from Main Street Honey Shoppe.

 

The Polygon Gallery (Photo by KK Law)

Soothe your mind & body

To detox from digital distractions and shake off the jetlag, take a trip to The Waterfront Spa, where panoramic vistas and luxury massages leave weary travellers feeling truly tranquil. For a breath of fresh air, stroll along the historic Burrard Dry Dock Pier—a reminder of the area’s shipbuilding past—then explore the streets nearby to find marine-inspired artworks. At The Polygon Gallery, pause to contemplate striking photographs at Chester Fields 2020: Global Warning (Apr. 4 to 12), and contemporary Asian art at Third Realm (Mar. 31 to May 7).

 

Sip experimental beer at House of Funk Brewing (Photo by Barrie Underhill at Upper Left Photography)

Sample the best brews & bites

Hungry explorers delight in Jamjar Canteen’s modern Lebanese dishes, featuring mouthwatering dishes such as deep-fried cauliflower and house-made lamb sausages. Head to the recently opened Joey Shipyards for a surf-and-turf dinner with a view of the West Coast: think wraparound lounge bar and a two-tier patio. Also occupying a prime waterfront location—and serving an endless supply of BC beers—is Vancouver’s own Tap & Barrel. For more local brews, embark on a DIY tasting tour of the area’s five breweries, all within walking distance from one another. (Don’t miss edgy House of Funk Brewing, which doubles as a coffee roaster.) Craving something sweet? At Welcome Parlour, artisanal small-batch ice cream in flavours such as dairy-free lime coconut or cracked salted caramel is the ideal dessert.

 

Enjoy spring skiing at Grouse Mountain (Photo courtesy Grouse Mountain)

Spring skiing at Grouse Mountain (Photo courtesy Grouse Mountain)

Go further

Catch a final dose of snow with spring skiing at gondola-accessed Grouse Mountain, less than 30 minutes away from Lonsdale Quay. Or dare to gaze down at the Capilano River while you inch across the dizzying Capilano Suspension Bridge, 70 m (230 ft) in the air.

LoLo Invites: Farina a Legna

By TIM PAWSEY

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.

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. 

(more…)

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.