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KK Law

2017 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Seafood tower at Ancora. (Photo by KK Law)

Seafood tower at Ancora. (Photo by KK Law)

Welcome to our 21st annual awards issue. Much more than merely a contest, Where to Dine celebrates Vancouver as a global dining destination. This is a city that validates the openness, cultural awareness and exuberant curiosity that define Canada, through acceptance and exploration of all cuisines. We salute the chefs, servers, sommeliers and restaurateurs who make this place such a food-lover’s paradise.

Critics’ Choice 

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Ancora

When it comes to the inside scoop, the concierge is your best friend. Vancouver’s Les Clefs d’Or are tireless in their search for dining excellence—and happily recommend those who consistently over-deliver.

This waterfront gem on the downtown side of False Creek blends Peruvian, Japanese and other influences with fresh West Coast ingredients. Such licence yields Aji-panca-glazed sablefish, seared scallops with pork belly, and grilled steak with yuca fries, autumn vegetables and chimichurri. (more…)

Beyond Sushi

By TIM PAWSEY

Indulge at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. (Photo: KK Law)

Indulge at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. (Photo: KK Law)

Long-running Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House preceded the sushi craze by a few decades. Ingredients are freshly prepared, presented tableside and cooked teppanyaki style with tremendous flair. Go for the impossibly tender Wagyu beef, teriyaki chicken, and seafood combo. For more casual fare, head to pub-style Zakkushi on Denman to find an abundance of charcoal-grilled meat, seafood and vegetable skewers. Hunker down at local faves Gyoza King or Guu, both on Robson, for good Japanese home-style dishes in a cheerful and friendly setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey www.hiredbelly.com

A Sweet Story

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Jackie Kai Ellis creates tasty treats at Beaucoup Bakery. (Photo: KK Law)

Biting into a perfectly crisp, flaky pastry can certainly feel like a life-changing experience, but in the case of Jackie Kai Ellis, that indulgence actually helped the Beaucoup Bakery owner whip up a new life. When Ellis flew to Paris to study pastry making at École Gastronomique Bellouet Conseil, she left behind her life as a graphic designer with her own firm. The catalyst? A cookie. (more…)

Downtown Delight

By TIM PAWSEY

Roasted semi-boneless half chicken. (Photo: KK Law)

Roasted semi-boneless half chicken. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away in the Moda Hotel, Cibo Trattoria is a gem of a bistro in a sensitively restored heritage setting. The classic Italian dishes have a bit of a modern twist and use organic ingredients. House favourites include chitarra con vongole of saffron pasta with Salt Spring Island clams, an excellent charcuterie and salumi platter, short ribs braised with tomatoes and red wine, and pan-seared Mediterranean sea bass. The cellar yields a wealth of serious Italian drops, as well as regional and global offerings.

For more by Tim Pawsey visit www.hiredbelly.com

Elegant Interval

By TIM PAWSEY

Holts Cafe serves dishes such as beetroots with goat cheese cannelloni. (Photo: KK Law)

Holts Café serves dishes such as beetroots with goat cheese cannelloni. (Photo: KK Law)

For the ultimate in-store sustenance, newly landed Holts Café (in Holt Renfrew) obliges with an impressive array of plates, from quick bites to mains and desserts. The smart and elegant room invites lingering over the lobster and Pacific shrimp roll, tuna seared rare on brioche with roasted red pepper relish, or Salt Spring Island mussels, perhaps with a glass of wine. Desserts are equally tempting, as is the extensive selection of teas and organic juices, plus well-chosen wines from BC and around the world.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Bold & Bright

By SHERI RADFORD

A bright mural lights up Ian Tan Gallery even on grey days. (Photo: KK Law)

A bright mural lights up Ian Tan Gallery. (Photo: KK Law)

Is the wet winter weather getting you down? For a reprieve, head to Ian Tan Gallery on South Granville. On the outside wall you’ll find a kaleidoscopic mural sure to brighten even the drabbest of grey Vancouver days—and make a blue-sky day even better. The cheerful mural is based on a piece by Ontario artist Kristofir Dean, whose vibrant paintings are displayed inside the gallery. According to Dean, colour “stirs the mind, heart and spirit.” We couldn’t agree more.

Man on a Mission

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Curtis Luk delivers tasty bites at Mission. (Photo by: KK Law)

Chef Curtis Luk delivers tasty bites at Mission. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Curtis Luk doggedly abides by his sustainable mantra. At Mission, in the heart of Kitsilano, Luk’s forte is four- and six-course tasting menus, offered with a vegetarian option, as well as well-matched wine pairings. The à la carte menu shifts weekly but typical highlights are duck croquettes, roasted cauliflower with pumpkin-seed dressing, Humboldt squid risotto, and braised beef cheek.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Seafood Dynasty

By TIM PAWSEY

The Salmon House is famed for its seafood specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

The Salmon House is famed for its seafood specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

Four decades ago, The Salmon House on the Hill was the first local restaurant to give salmon its rightful due, highlighting the First Nations tradition of cooking on alderwood planks. Today’s wide-ranging menu has evolved into an impressive showcase of regional cuisine matched with the best of BC wine. Perched high above West Vancouver, the glass-wrapped room yields a breathtaking marine and city panorama.

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

Try a Cocktail Within a Cocktail at Prohibition

By TIM PAWSEY

Bartender Brad Stanton pours the innovative Inception Negroni. (Photo: KK Law)

Bartender Brad Stanton pours the innovative Inception Negroni. (Photo: KK Law)

Ante up for the Inception Negroni at Prohibition, and you’ll be wowed. This truly ingenious drink is actually a classic red Negroni sealed in a cleverly crafted ice sphere, within a white Negroni of Broker’s Gin, Martini Bianco and Suze. The extraordinary two-tone blend evolves as red melts into white. The drink that’s lured cocktail aficionados to fly in from as far away as the UK is complex to prepare, so only a score or so are made each day. Go also for the great bites, from chicken wings to truffle fries, and stay for the live jazz Wednesday through Saturday.

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

French Fare at Le Crocodile

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Michel Jacob prepares high-end French specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Michel Jacob prepares high-end French specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

For the ultimate in all things French, reserve a table at Michel Jacob’s cozy, burgundy-trimmed Le Crocodile. Flavours of Alsace and beyond define this detail-driven cuisine, delivered with impeccable but also discreetly understated service. Standouts include foie gras terrine with ice wine gelée, tarte à l’oignon, pan-seared veal sweetbreads, and sautéed true Dover sole with classic beurre blanc. Wines, expertly paired, roam from Bordeaux to Burgundy to the best of the Okanagan.

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

Four Sporting Spots

By TIM PAWSEY

Earls Yaletown dishes up an assortment of casual favourites. (Photo: KK Law)

Earls Yaletown dishes up an assortment of casual favourites. (Photo: KK Law)

Load up on pre-show or post-game sustenance at these lively haunts close to Rogers Arena and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Earls Yaletown A giant bar rules this always lively, red-bricked, multi-screened lounge with excellent eats ranging from Cajun blackened chicken to Lois Lake steelhead, plus nine-ounce wines by the glass.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar Italian flavours such as house-made pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, lamb shank, pizza and more are menu mainstays in this laid-back family-friendly setting.

Chambar This dazzling Belgian-influenced heritage room serves polished fare, including lamb shank tagine, moules frites Congolaise and veal tenderloin—always in time for curtain.

Shark Club Newly renovated, this expansive sports bar with a barrage of big screens is a fave with fans, who pack in for burgers, calamari, tacos and a dozen flavours of chicken wings.

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

 

Vancouver’s Best Happy Hours

By LUCAS AYKROYD

Enjoy happy hour specials around the city, including cool cocktails at Juniper. (Photo: KK Law)

Enjoy happy hour specials around the city, including cool cocktails at Juniper. (Photo: KK Law)

Happy hour is a sexy newcomer to Vancouver. Only since 2014 have local restaurants and bars been licensed to offer it. Today, the trend’s running hot all over the city. Here are five of our faves:

Belgard Kitchen
M-Th 3-6 pm
An inventive and refreshing happy hour menu—including yummy margherita pizzettes and green chickpea and avocado hummus—marks this high-ceilinged room with its laid-back, industrial vibe. A glass of BC wine or pint of Postmark Brewing beer is just $5, and selections rotate daily.

(more…)