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KK Law

An Icon Reblooms: Giardino

By TIM PAWSEY

Umberto Menghi welcomes diners to Giardino. (Photo: KK Law)

Umberto Menghi welcomes diners to Giardino. (Photo: KK Law)

The most anticipated opening of the year, Umberto Menghi’s Giardino doesn’t disappoint. The sequel to Il Giardino—a mainstay for almost four decades, demolished to make way for redevelopment—dazzles just as much as the original. Inside, soaring ceilings and Tuscan tones recall a traditional Italian granary. Outside, just as before, diners relax in a discreet, walled garden patio. On the detail-driven menu: slow-oven-braised ossobuco, seared venison loin with bone marrow, classic lasagne al forno, tagliolini with rock prawns and saffron, roasted sablefish with horseradish crust, lamb ragout and more. Reservations a must.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Raise a Glass to Lauren Mote

Vancouver’s cocktail darling spills on her favourite watering holes, boozy beverages and the business of bitters 

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Lauren Mote crafts a cocktail at Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Lauren Mote crafts a cocktail at Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Time flies when you’re having fun.

“It seems like the last 16 years went by so quickly,” says Lauren Mote, bar manager at Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar. That’s how long the master mixologist has been shaking, stirring and serving drinks—beginning as a budding bartender in Toronto before moving to Vancouver to work in some of the city’s most iconic establishments. (more…)

4 Hoppy Havens

By TIM PAWSEY

Mussels Orleans-style,  with andouille sausage, corn, peppers and Cajun cream, at Biercraft. (Photo: KK Law)

Mussels Orleans-style, with andouille sausage, corn, peppers and Cajun cream, at Biercraft. (Photo: KK Law)

Thanks to a burgeoning craft beer scene and no shortage of savvy cicerones, Vancouver is a brew-lover’s paradise. Here’s where to get your hop on.

1. Biercraft Bistro Find an impressive array of local and imported taps and bottled beers, paired with the likes of classic French onion soup, exotic mushroom pasta, steak frites and grass-fed lamb shank.

2. Alibi Room This Gastown heritage destination focuses on true craft beers from across the Pacific Northwest, matched with equally local, gastro-pubbish plates.

3. Portland Craft This cozy and popular Main Street haunt offers a spirited salute to Oregon’s pioneering brewing scene, with casual plates and rotating taps of Deschutes, Pyramid, Rogue, Hopworks, Alameda and more.

4. Tap & Barrel These bustling mega-pubs live up to their name with a plethora of good BC pints and wines as well, all on tap, served with creative pizzas, fish ’n’ chips, salads and burgers.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Revolutionary Bistro: Homer St. Cafe

By TIM PAWSEY

Halibut, at Homer Street Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Halibut, at Homer Street Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

An artful resurrection of a once humble diner, Homer St. Cafe and Bar dazzles with polished marble and brass in true brasserie style. On the classically inspired but decidedly contemporary menu: bountiful charcuterie and local cheeses, smoked magret duck, and tender grilled strip loin beef steak. The pièce de résistance? The hallmark chicken, cooked on the cherry red Grande Flame Olympia Rotisserie that rules the lower bar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Bay Watch: Beach Bay Café and Patio

By TIM PAWSEY

Inside charming Beach Bay Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Inside charming Beach Bay Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Newly landed, almost right on the shores of the West End’s English Bay, is bright and airy Beach Bay Café and Patio. The well-designed West Coast dishes roam from delicious house-smoked steelhead trout with apricot and cream, and sweetbreads with rhubarb and roasted baby beets, to strip loin with broccoli and bitter greens, and rare albacore tuna with Swiss chard and leek terrine. Wines are smartly picked and cocktails include the aptly monikered Sailor and Sand: Sailor Jerry spiced rum, sloe gin, Fernet-Branca and more. Sign us up.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Natural Drops at Grapes & Soda

By TIM PAWSEY

Sockeye salmon paired with Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, at Grapes & Soda. (Photo: KK Law)

Sockeye salmon paired with Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, at Grapes & Soda. (Photo: KK Law)

Recently arrived Grapes & Soda is next door to similarly tiny and perfect Farmer’s Apprentice organic eatery. Go for the hard-to-find all-natural wines, such as Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, carefully paired with the likes of smoked salmon, or the Roagna Langhe Bianco, paired with chicken balantine. Or try the Stormy Flip cocktail, paired with a wickedly refreshing sorrel sorbet with juniper meringue, yogurt and honey.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Top Seafood Spots

By TIM PAWSEY

Fish ’n’ chips, at Go Fish. (Photo: KK Law)

Fish ’n’ chips, at Go Fish. (Photo: KK Law)

Seafood lovers revel in superb, sustainable West Coast seafood, from Dungeness crab to freshly caught sockeye, scallops and more.

1. Go Fish West of Granville Island, this outdoor eatery serves the freshest of fish ’n’ chips, fish tacos and more, often sourced from the boats moored at the dock below.

2. Pajo’s Find fresh fish ’n’ chips on a Steveston wharf, along with other locations at Garry Point Park (Steveston), Rocky Point Park (Port Moody) and Gates Park (Port Coquitlam).

3. The Fish Counter All Ocean Wise–certified seafood—such as oyster po’boys, Pacific cod tacos and, of course, fish ’n’ chips—is the real deal at this part fish market, part diner in the heart of Main Street.

4. Pier 7 Hop on the SeaBus and head to the North Shore to feast on the seafood tower for two, with oysters, scallop salad, marinated mussels, poached prawns and snow crab legs, at this happening spot right on the harbour’s edge.

5. Fisherman’s Terrace Take the SkyTrain to Aberdeen Mall for lunchtime dim sum at this popular Richmond seafood specialist that rivals the best in Hong Kong.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Get the Scoop

When temperatures rise, Vancouverites chill out with the frozen treat that’s synonymous with summer

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Soft Peaks offers an array of toppings for their delicious soft serve

An array of toppings adorn the delicious soft serve at Soft Peaks

SOFT PEAKS
The greatest testament to Soft Peaks’ popularity may be the lengthy line-ups when the shop first opened—in February. Frozen-treat purveyors (and brothers) Dan and Ken Kim introduced soft serve to Gastown, but added an artisanal twist. Organic Avalon milk is churned into creamy, slightly sweet swirls, and finished with an array of toppings: local honeycomb is a favourite, but the more adventurous opt for matcha powder, Himalayan pink salt or yuzu marmalade, for an indulgent grown-up sundae. (more…)

Great Gastown Eats: Bao Down

By TIM PAWSEY

YVR bao (front),  A Lovers’ Quarrel bao (right) and kimchi fries (back), at Bao Down. (Photo: KK Law)

YVR bao (front), A Lovers’ Quarrel bao (right) and kimchi fries (back), at Bao Down. (Photo: KK Law)

Newly landed right across from Gassy Jack’s statue, cheekily named Bao Down revels in a fusion twist on the staple of Asian street food. Served in a high-energy setting, the ever-changing and inventive baos (steam buns) range from Two Worlds Collide, with braised pork belly, crispy pork belly, hoisin, chicharon and pickled veggies, to Jaws: coconut-crusted Vietnamese catfish, kimchi tartar sauce, micro greens and Thai vinaigrette. Sandwiches roam from grilled cheese with kimchi to The Ninja Roll. But the steamed Bao Chicka Bao Bao is hard to resist.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

50 Things We Love About Kitsilano

By SHERI RADFORD

Kids can't resist the allure of Kids Beach. (Photo: KK Law)

Kids can’t resist the allure of Kids Beach. (Photo: KK Law)

1. The elegant, art deco–style Burrard Bridge, which marks the eastern boundary of the Kitsilano area. The region is also bounded by the ocean on the north, Alma Street on the west, and 16th Avenue on the south. (more…)

5 Alfresco Favourites

By TIM PAWSEY

Soft-shell crab and To Kill Ya martini, at Lift. (Photo: KK Law)

Soft-shell crab and To Kill Ya martini, at Lift. (Photo: KK Law)

Patio culture truly blooms in June, albeit with heaters and blankets to ward off early-summer-evening chills.

Lift Bar-Grill-View An expansive rooftop deck and lower waterside patio lure with sweeping harbour views along with progressive West Coast fare.

Gotham Downtown’s best-kept secret is a compact, discreet private garden, populated with oversized parasols to keep the martinis chilled—and a fireplace to keep the clientele warmed.

Wild Rice Hop on the SkyTrain for an easy 30-minute trip to New Westminster, where this riverside room serves contemporary Chinese-fusion fare with casual flair.

Pier 7 The SeaBus spirits you across the harbour close to this dockside North Van room, where upper- and lower-deck patios grant impressive vistas of the working port and downtown.

The Teahouse This impressively transformed, one-time officer’s mess boasts a dramatic deck overlooking English Bay, near Third Beach, on the shores of Stanley Park.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Best Bites on Robson

By TIM PAWSEY

An assortment of  mouth-watering North African dishes at Fez Café. (Photo: KK Law)

An assortment of mouth-watering North African dishes at Fez Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Myriad flavours contribute to the multicultural feel on the west end of Robson Street. At welcoming Fez Café Bistro, nibble on lunchtime omelettes, baba ghanoush or hummus, or linger over a dinner of couscous royale or merguez, brochettes, lentil soup, lemon sole and more. The North African decor is beautiful, with live music Friday through Saturday evenings. (No alcohol served.) Find authentic Korean at Jang Mo Jib, which means “mother-in-law’s house.” Head to Guu for lively home-style Japanese, or to Tavola for fresh-made Italian pasta and small plates.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com