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Restaurants Vancouver

4 Cozy Corners

By TIM PAWSEY

Franco Felice, at Cafe Il Nido

Franco Felice, at Cafe Il Nido. (Photo: KK Law)

1. Cafe Il Nido Franco Felice’s long-running Italian resto is tucked into a courtyard within the heritage Manhattan building at Thurlow and Robson. Savour inventive Northern Italian plates such as balsamic-glazed wild sockeye salmon or penne with sautéed wild mushrooms and thyme cream sauce. Most pastas are also offered gluten-free. (more…)

East Meets West

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Beautiful Bambudda

Bambudda’s contemporary space. (Photo: KK Law)

A trendy Gastown gem, Bambudda boasts artfully conceived Cantonese cuisine in a smart space. Modern banana-leaf wallpaper and a hopping street-side bar perfectly match the contemporary Asian tapas. Former Top Chef Canada contender Curtis Luk serves up dishes such as pork belly with taro and salt-and-pepper Humboldt squid. Or, from Feb. 19 to 22, ring in the Year of the Sheep with a special dumplings menu. This traditional dish symbolizes togetherness and prosperity, making it a perfectly delicious way to celebrate Chinese New Year. Gung hay fat choy!

Vancouver’s Marine Cuisine

By TIM PAWSEY

Herring, an unsung hero found at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (Photo: KK Law)

Herring, an unsung hero found at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

No surprise that seafood abounds in this ocean-bound town. Drop by bustling Sun Sui Wah for mid-day dim sum, or go later for the Alaskan king crab, squab, Peking duck or chilled seafood platter. For those wanting to try less familiar tastes, Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe obliges with its annual Unsung Heroes menu, featuring the likes of barnacles, mackerel and herring, in addition to seasonal staples such as arctic char, ling cod and sablefish. Right downtown? Drop by Yew in the Four Seasons for a bowl of chef Ned Bell’s corn “chowda,” overflowing with smoked black cod and Okanagan apples. It was the big winner in the recent Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown.

For more from Tim Pawsey visit hiredbelly.com

Romantic Vancouver

With its backdrop of misty mountains and stunning shorelines, this city was made for sweethearts

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Enjoying the sunset at English Bay (Photo: KK Law)

Enjoying the sunset at English Bay. (Photo: KK Law)

9 Things to do for Sweethearts

1 Show off your triple Lutz while gliding around the outdoor rinks at Robson Square and Grouse Mountain.

2 Whip up a delectable meal in a couples cooking class at The Dirty Apron Cooking School.

3 Soak up a spectacular sunset at English Bay.

4 Tour Stanley Park and the seawall on a tandem bike from Spokes Bicycle Rentals.

5 Snuggle up on a sleigh ride through Grouse Mountain’s winter wonderland. Afterwards, warm up next to the fireplace with a steaming mug of hot cocoa.

6 Escape to Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden, an enchanting oasis in the heart of Chinatown.

7 Snowshoe through Cypress Mountain’s snow-covered terrain, then warm up with cheese and chocolate fondue in historic Hollyburn Lodge.

8 Admire art, preferably hand in hand, at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

9 Share a canvas and hand-crafted cocktail at Raw Canvas while creating a masterpiece in the “painting pit.”

(more…)

Beautiful Brewpub

By TIM PAWSEY

Stunning industrial architecture at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall

Stunning industrial architecture at Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall

The hottest new destination in the ongoing craft brew revolution is Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall, housed in the impressively restored former Opsal Steel Building. The ceiling is high and the surroundings airy and bright in this one-time industrial space. The brewery itself is on full view behind a glass wall, where British-style bitter, saison, stout and other beers are made in small-batch tanks. On the menu: inventive pizza, sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, rillettes, steak frites and more.

For more from Tim Pawsey visit hiredbelly.com

Crustacean Sensation

By SHERI RADFORD

Rob Feenie getting up close and personal with his ingredients

Rob Feenie, getting up close and personal with his ingredients

Ten years ago, Rob Feenie (pictured) faced off against Masaharu Morimoto on Iron Chef America. Feenie’s ultimate triumph—the first such win by a Canadian—might have stunned some Americans, but it came as no surprise to Vancouverites, who have long loved his creative cuisine. The award-winning crab meal, cooked by the man himself, takes place at Cactus Club in February. For a chance to win two tickets to the event, visit www.cactusclubcafe.com.

Fancy Fast Food at MARKET

By SHERI RADFORD

Grilled pork loin from MARKET

Grilled pork loin at MARKET by Jean-Georges

Think fast food is all the same? Think again. In the kitchen of MARKET by Jean-Georges, fast food becomes something exquisite. The restaurant—Canada’s first for three-star Michelin chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten—recently launched a menu of two- and three-course express lunches that can satisfy time-pressed diners in as little as 30 minutes. The menu changes weekly, and past highlights include grilled pork loin (pictured), steelhead sashimi and poached sole. What are you waiting for?

7 Perfect Pizzas in Vancouver

By LAURA DENNIS

Cooking up a delicious pie at Novo

Cooking up a delicious pie at Novo

The days of greasy buck-a-slice being the only option are numbered. Recent years have seen an explosion of pizza joints popping up all over town. From stringently traditional to playful twists on the predictable, this is one delicious trend we can sink our teeth into. (more…)

Neighbourhood Finds

By TIM PAWSEY

(clockwise from front) "Big boy" chop with lentils and salsa verde, aged beef carpaccio, delicata pizza, "celebration" salad, and salumi board, at Campagnolo

(clockwise from front) “Big boy” chop with lentils and salsa verde, aged beef carpaccio, delicata pizza, “celebration” salad, and salumi board, at Campagnolo

A short walk from Science World and BC Place Stadium, Main Street’s Campagnolo is a lively, taste-filled haunt filled with hearty, rustic tastes. An abundance of choice roams from chicken liver with foie gras pâté, a cornucopian salumi board, and tagliatelle with pork ragù to lobster risotto, chestnut gnocchi, and spaghetti al pomodoro—not to mention plentiful pizza. In Davie Village, climb a few stairs to discover Gurkha Kitchen’s Himalayan plates. Or find great steaks and well-chosen wines to match at Yaletown’s warm and welcoming Hamilton Street Grill.

For more from Tim Pawsey visit hiredbelly.com

7 Perfect Pizzas in Vancouver

By LAURA DENNIS

Cooking up a delicious pie at Novo

Cooking up a delicious pie at Novo

The days of greasy buck-a-slice being the only option are numbered. Recent years have seen an explosion of pizza joints popping up all over town. From stringently traditional to playful twists on the predictable, this is one delicious trend we can sink our teeth into. (more…)

Global Tastes at Earls

By LAURA DENNIS

Santa Fe chicken salad from Earls

Santa Fe chicken salad from Earls

What started as a beer-and-burger joint over 30 years ago has grown to 65 locations—including three in downtown Vancouver—and chefs with diverse culinary and cultural backgrounds have created an internationally inspired menu. It roams the globe from Santa Fe (for fresh salads, pictured) to India (for creamy curry). But don’t worry: Earls still has burgers and beer on the menu.

Top Tapas

By SHERI RADFORD

Enjoy tapas at cozy El Matador

Enjoy tapas at cozy El Matador

What’s the easiest way to get to Spain? Hop on the SeaBus and head to North Vancouver. A very short walk brings you to El Matador, a cozy, low-lit spot with a menu of mouth-watering Spanish tapas. The cheese and chorizo puffs are sure to please all palates, as are the garbanzo salad, spicy shrimp in sherry, grilled goat cheese with salsa fresca, and cabrales with honey and walnuts. Mediterranean flavours, with no passport required.