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Restaurants Vancouver

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

Healthy Fast Food at Tractor

By SHERI RADFORD

Meghan and Steve Clarke in their new Tractor location,  in the Marine Building

Meghan and Steve Clarke in their new Tractor location, in the Marine Building

Meghan and Steve Clarke had never run a restaurant before—her background is marketing, while his is investment banking—so they surrounded themselves with experts when they opened the first Tractor location two years ago, in Kitsilano. Chefs designed the menu of healthy sandwiches, salads and soups, then a nutritionist reviewed everything. The end result was so popular that the husband-and-wife duo recently opened a second location, in the iconic Marine Building. Right in the heart of downtown, this larger, brighter room serves the same dishes we already know and love: Moroccan chicken stew, roast pork sandwich, kale chicken Caesar salad and more. Who knew healthy eating could be so delicious?

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

Pubby Plates at Steamworks

By TIM PAWSEY

Tropical tuna poke, at Steamworks. (Photo: KK Law)

Tropical tuna poke, at Steamworks. (Photo: KK Law)

Steamworks Brewing Company was so named because it shares the same steam source as the famous Gastown Steam Clock, immortalized on its labels. The beers are fresh and vary seasonally, with faves such as a refreshing pilsner or subtle jasmine IPA. Plentiful pubby plates range from seafood chowder, spinach and crab dip, and mushroom caps to tuna pokes, fish ’n’ chips, and filet mignon. All are offered in the dining room upstairs, the lounge downstairs, or outside on the bustling patio.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Eclectic Bites at Chinatown’s Sai Woo

By TIM PAWSEY

Have a seat at the long bar at Sai Woo. (Photo: KK Law)

Have a seat at the long bar at Sai Woo. (Photo: KK Law)

A nod to a 1930s chop suey house of the same name, Sai Woo sports a long bar, cozy booths, red brick walls and a soaring ceiling. Chef Douglas Chang balances East and West with smart, often dazzling tastes, such as pork jowl with pea agnolotti and Jinhua ham broth, sablefish with lotus root, vegetarian “sausage” with crispy tofu, and irresistible Coca-Cola chicken wings. Tempting drops? The Sai Woo Sour and the Beijing Sling, as well as tall and refreshing kombucha, on tap.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Craft Beer Circuit

Easy drinking, hoppy or just plain experimental—a bevy of brews can be found around Vancouver. Explore the options at these breweries, all just a hop, sip and jump away

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

1. BIG ROCK URBAN This Alberta outpost’s proximity to the SkyTrain makes it an ideal starting point. On tap: the brand’s stalwart brews alongside sips such as Hollow Tree Pacific Northwest Red Ale, inspired by the Lower Mainland and developed to please West Coast palates.

2. 33 ACRES The pristine aesthetic at this brewery and tasting room is a design buff’s dream, and the perfect locale for sipping 33 Acres of Sunshine, an unfiltered white ale, or 33 Acres of Life, a smooth California Common–style beer. Refuel with food truck fare or an espresso-based bevvy.

3. MAIN STREET BREWING Tucked away just east of Main Street, this industrial heritage space serves a rotating menu of cask-conditioned beer alongside a solid selection of regular draft options such as the Westminster Brown and the Saison No. 7, with its subtle splash of pepper and citrus.

4. BRASSNECK Reclaimed wood and zany artwork line the walls, while the frequently rotating taps attempt to keep pace with even the most enthusiastic beer lover’s thirst for new and inventive brews. Nano batches keep the pours fresh and eclectic, reflected in the eight or more offerings on tap.

5. STEEL TOAD This refurbished industrial space boasts an airy mix of glass and wood, and brews that range from the authentic Yorkshire Best Bitter to the more adventurous East Coast “Nineties” IPA with spicy rye undertones. Stay for inventive bites from the menu, then hop the SkyTrain for a quick—and perhaps wobbly—exit.

15 Notable Newcomers

By TIM PAWSEY

Gyonza Bar + Ramen. (Photo: KK Law)

Gyonza Bar + Ramen. (Photo: KK Law)

Vancouver’s dining scene is dynamic and constantly changing, as these pace-setting newcomers from 2014 prove. (New restaurants that are 2015 Where To Dine Award winners are not included on this list)

THE ABBEY Creative West Coast fare, good pints and well-sourced wines are the order of the day at this stylin’ gastropub on Gastown’s edge.

AMICI MIEI This simple but smart family-run room offers fresh-daily house-made pasta plus a host of traditional Abruzzo dishes.

ARC The Fairmont Waterfront’s flagship room curves graciously around the main floor, serving regionally inspired specialties.

AU COMPTOIR Go early to get a seat at this popular Parisian-inspired bistro on West 4th Avenue.

ASK FOR LUIGI This cozy no-nonsense spot in Railtown consistently over-delivers Italian-inspired fare.

THE BELGARD KITCHEN Railtown’s multitasking brewery and winery is also home to a well-run casual restaurant serving regional fare.

BISTRO WAGON ROUGE Locals pack into this reinvented docklands diner for bistro classics and great local brews.

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

BOULEVARD KITCHEN & OYSTER BAR The Sutton Place Hotel’s stylish room lures with contemporary seafood specialties, from caramelized jumbo scallops to roasted sablefish and more.

CINARA Modern European tastes are served in a relaxing but sophisticated early-20th-century room.

GYOZA BAR + RAMEN Find a clever update on traditional ramen and gyoza in a warmly refurbished heritage setting.

LEFT BANK This lean-lined room sports an airy feel to go with modern French-inspired West Coast plates, live music and a laneway heated patio.

MY SHANTI Vikram Vij’s latest (in Surrey) is a bold and tasty salute to the regional cuisines of his native India.

PIZZA FABRIKA This fun pizzeria on Robson’s west end is bare-bones but welcoming.

STEEL TOAD BREWPUB & DINING HALL The impressively restored former Opsal Steel Building is home to a spacious pub and microbrewery with worthy plates and pints.

THAI CUISINE BY MONTRI Find perfect pad thai, chicken satay and wok-cooked crunchy greens, smartly matched with spice-worthy wines.

Eco-Friendly Eatery

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The Fairmont Waterfront's ARC restaurant boasts a beautiful dining room and bar

The Fairmont Waterfront’s ARC restaurant boasts a beautiful dining room and bar

Curvaceous ARC brings local fare full circle: fresh ingredients are only an elevator ride away, cultivated on the Fairmont Waterfront’s rooftop garden. The bounty of fruit, honey, herbs and edible blossoms elevates cocktails, desserts and more, and complements Ocean Wise seafood and offerings from local purveyors. Plus, the seasonal bites are served in a sleek space with harbour views. It’s not easy being green? This swish eatery makes it look simple.

Vancouver’s Craft Beer Circuit

Easy drinking, hoppy or just plain experimental—a bevy of brews can be found around Vancouver. Explore the options at these breweries, all just a hop, sip and jump away

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

The beautiful interior at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall. (Photo: KK Law)

1. BIG ROCK URBAN This Alberta outpost’s proximity to the SkyTrain makes it an ideal starting point. On tap: the brand’s stalwart brews alongside sips such as Hollow Tree Pacific Northwest Red Ale, inspired by the Lower Mainland and developed to please West Coast palates.

2. 33 ACRES The pristine aesthetic at this brewery and tasting room is a design buff’s dream, and the perfect locale for sipping 33 Acres of Sunshine, an unfiltered white ale, or 33 Acres of Life, a smooth California Common–style beer. Refuel with food truck fare or an espresso-based bevvy.

3. MAIN STREET BREWING Tucked away just east of Main Street, this industrial heritage space serves a rotating menu of cask-conditioned beer alongside a solid selection of regular draft options such as the Westminster Brown and the Saison No. 7, with its subtle splash of pepper and citrus.

4. BRASSNECK Reclaimed wood and zany artwork line the walls, while the frequently rotating taps attempt to keep pace with even the most enthusiastic beer lover’s thirst for new and inventive brews. Nano batches keep the pours fresh and eclectic, reflected in the eight or more offerings on tap.

5. STEEL TOAD This refurbished industrial space boasts an airy mix of glass and wood, and brews that range from the authentic Yorkshire Best Bitter to the more adventurous East Coast “Nineties” IPA with spicy rye undertones. Stay for inventive bites from the menu, then hop the SkyTrain for a quick—and perhaps wobbly—exit.

Scream for Ice Cream

By SHERI RADFORD

Soft Peaks offers their delicious soft serve in a variety of flavours

Soft Peaks offers their delicious soft serve in a variety of flavours

What kid doesn’t dream of owning an ice cream shop? For brothers Dan and Ken Kim, that childhood dream became a reality back in February, when they opened Soft Peaks in Gastown. An immediate hit, the shop attracted line-ups around the block for the siblings’ organic soft-serve ice cream made from scratch every day. For customers, the most difficult part is trying to choose just one of the nine flavours. There’s the signature Honeycomb Peak, with its local honeycomb on top, or the Sunrise in California, topped with sweet-and-sour Yuzu marmalade, or the Salty Himalayan, which is sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt and finished with a choice of syrups: liquid honey, organic maple, chocolate or caramel. The only possible solution is to return for a second (or third) visit.

Eat Right: The Green Moustache

By SHERI RADFORD

Nicolette Richer of The Green Moustache

Nicolette Richer of The Green Moustache

It’s difficult to imagine anyone more passionate about healthy eating than Nicolette Richer (pictured). A cancer and chronic disease consultant, she created The Green Moustache as a place for folks to find food and juices that promote health and fight disease. If it isn’t organic (and delicious), Richer won’t serve it. The most popular dish on the menu is the Buddha Bowl, which overflows with rice, quinoa, fresh veggies, nuts, seeds, sprouts and avocado—plus an utterly addictive house dressing. Other faves include collard wraps, no-cheese cheesecake, and raw vegan chilli that will convert even the most staunch carnivore. Healthy eating sure is easy when it tastes this good.