Japanese food at Vancouver’s ShuRaku; Photo by KK Law
Artfully presented sushi, inventive izakaya and other edgy small plates rule at ShuRaku, a wide-ranging downtown room that also yields the city’s most extensive sake list, including Granville Island’s Artisan Sake. Go for the barbecue back ribs, wild sockeye salmon teriyaki or hamachi yellowtail tuna sashimi—superbly matched with Junmai Ginjo Sake.—Tim Pawsey
Sean Heather takes a break at Shebeen Whisk(e)y House. Photo by KK Law
By Tim Pawsey
Ask Sean Heather what he’s up to these days, and he’ll likely tell you, “Anything—except opening another restaurant. Maybe.” In recent years, the Limerick-born Heather has unveiled a string of cutting-edge haunts, though rarely in the traditional mould. Based on a philosophy that focuses firmly on affordability, they’ve become a vital part of Gastown’s fabric and helped transform it from “also ran” to the eclectic dining and drinking destination it is today. (more…)
Some of Vancouver’s best Asian food: stir-fried beef at Tin Tin Seafood Harbour Restaurant
It’s a culinary marathon for the Chinese Restaurant Awards judges. Seven local food critics sampled the city’s best dishes—for a full year. What plates crossed the finish line? Pan-fried spot prawns with soy sauce from Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant, deep-fried boneless chicken with minced prawn from Vancouver standby Kirin Restaurant and steamed brown sugar rice cake from Jade Seafood Restaurant were among the 20 celebrated dishes. Give your own wok a workout and visit www.chineserestaurantawards.com for recipes by Chinese master chefs. Try stir-fried beef tenderloin with teriyaki sauce (pictured) by Tony Wu of Tin Tin Seafood Harbour Restaurant. Chi fan le!—Jill Von Sprecken
Mango Coconut Cheesecake from Sweet Hereafter
For a slice of rich and delicious city-style cheesecake, stop into Sweet Hereafter on Quinpool Road. Sit back, relax and take in the funky décor. Scrumptious cheesecake flavours include apple pecan, white chocolate raspberry, ginger pear, triple chocolate. Gluten-free and vegan flavours available, too.
A delicious pasta dish from Cafe Chianti
Café Chianti on Barrington Street serves up a hearty menu of Northern Italian fare with fresh seafood, lamb and duck dishes. Their extensive wine cellar includes varietals from Chile, Spain, Argentina, South Australia and, of course, Italy.
Da Maurizio on Lower Water Street, three-time winner of the CAA Four Diamond Award, is known for its impeccable service, wine list and northern Italian menu. Indulge in antipasti such as Scampi Alla Marchese or Muscoli Alla San Remo. And don’t forget the desserts like tiramisu, sorbetti, and trio di brulee.
By Tim Pawsey
Where’s annual salute to the brightest and best serves as a fitting culinary snapshot of Vancouver, a worthy reminder from well-travelled voting visitors as to just how blessed this city is by such diversity. Our vibrant multicultural culinary scene is fuelled increasingly by local year-round ingredients and flourishing artisan producers. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists! (more…)
By Tim Pawsey
Readers’ Choice: Whistler
Take the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to discover Whistler, a year-round resort that still sports plenty of post–Winter Games vibes, not to mention an abundance of great tastes, from fine dining to funky pubs to cool après-ski hang-outs.
Bronx Burger with beer-battered onion rings, at Earls. Photo courtesy Earls
[RELATED: See last year's Where to Dine Winners]
4222 Village Square, Whistler.
Bearfoot Bistro; Rimrock Cafe.
220-4295 Blackcomb Way, Whistler.
The Keg Steakhouse & Bar; 21 Steps Kitchen & Bar.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
4154 Village Green at Crystal Lodge, Whistler. 604-938-1081.
Earls; Milestones Grill & Bar.
Garibaldi Lift Company
4165 Springs Lane, Whistler.
Longhorn Saloon & Grill; Dusty’s Bar & BBQ.
To see our Vancouver winners, please click here.
To vote for your favourite Vancouver and Whistler restaurants in our 2014 Where to Dine Awards, click here. You could win a fabulous prize package from Rocky Mountaineer and Nita Lake Lodge!
The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Bar
Halifax’s first desserterie and bar, Middle Spoon on Barrington Street, is the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. Indulge in fresh desserts like Chocolate Lava Cake, Peanut Butter Pie, New York cheesecake or a create-your-own sundae. The cocktail menu is just as decadent with choices including the Ruthless Ruby, Obsession and Pretty in Pink.
Fans of cheesecake will love Broadway Cheesecake Co. on South Park Street. But these aren’t your traditional flavours. Try tastes like apple caramel, Baklava, cherry crumble, chocolate banana rum and Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Or you can sample the pies or cupcakes. The menu also serves a selection of savoury sandwiches.
Pizza at Piatto. Photo: Paula Bugden
The taste of Napoli makes its way to Halifax at Piatto Pizzeria + Enoteca on Morris Street, the only VPN-certified pizza in the Maritimes. Try a slice of Neopolitan-style pizza, all made with fresh ingredients including San Marzano tomatoes grown in the volcanic soils of Mount Vesuvius, and baked in a wood-burning oven. Pair it with an Italian wine.
Tomavino’s on South Street offers a relaxed, romantic atmosphere and great pizza, too. Pick up a six-inch pizza or a half nine-inch pizza with Caesar salad for lunch. For dinner indulge in the pizza vongole with baby clams, artichoke hearts, fresh roasted garlic, Parmesan and Alfredo sauce. Vegetable lovers can savour the pizza primavera with tomato sauce and three veggies.
For night owls, visit Freeman’s Little New York on Quinpool Road. Open seven days a week until 5 a.m., Freeman’s menu offers New York-style pizza with choices including Manhattan, BBQ chicken, Philly Cheesesteak and Greek.
Jennie Dobbs, owner of Morris East on Morris Street, takes some of the best local artisanal products and transforms them into creative dishes for every palate. Lunch and dinner menus include organic salads, unique appetizers and sandwiches and thin-crust pizzas baked in the wood-burning oven. The menu for Saturday and Sunday brunch offers wood-fired eggs, house-made bagels, and vanilla pear soufflé pancakes.
Chef Ilya Ford-Ruckle of Merchant’s Oyster Bar on Commercial Drive. Photo by KK Law
Recently unveiled Merchant’s Oyster Bar (pictured) delivers friendly West Coast fare with an element of flair in a relaxed setting. A varied, extensive menu includes well-thought-out specials on the chalkboard. Go for the numerous varieties of fresh oysters on the half shell, but stay for the butter-poached, sous vide, flat iron steak; rarely found bison tartare; or chorizo-cured scallops. “The Drive” (Commercial Drive) yields myriad other choices as well. Find a huge range of good craft brews at St. Augustine’s Pub; savour a slice of traditional coffee culture at Cafe Calabria; take in a soccer game with the locals at Caffé Roma; grab a burger at funky Timbre Restaurant; or match up inventive tapas with superb Belgian brews at Biercraft Tap and Tapas. No question: Commercial Drive has something for everyone.—Tim Pawsey
Last year’s Where to Dine Awards recognized some of our fair city’s most exceptional eateries. Among the recipients: renowned restaurateur Bud Kanke, upscale Hawksworth Restaurant, budget-friendly Japadog and buzz-worthy Chambar. Find all the finalists and runner-ups from last year’s event here. Pick up our May issue to see the 2013 Where to Dine Awards.
Ahi tuna tartar at Cafe Pacifica
At Cafe Pacifica, it’s impossible to decide which is more stunning, the ocean view or the artfully presented food. Fortunately, there’s time to admire both as you sample appetizers such as porcini-dusted scallops with truffle-scented celeriac puree, or ahi tuna tartar with sweet soya, yuzu pearls and a blend of sauces (pictured), and entrees such as braised oxtail ragout with egg noodle fettuccini, or seared Lois Lake steelhead served on top of crushed potatoes blended with West Coast Dungeness crab. Consider it a feast for all the senses.—Sheri Radford