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Restaurants Vancouver

5 Garden Delights

By TIM PAWSEY

Shaughnessy Restaurant is nestled in VanDusen Botanical Garden. (Photo: KK Law)

Shaughnessy Restaurant is nestled in VanDusen Botanical Garden. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome, springtime! Grab a garden-side table at these destinations both leafy and tasty.

1. Shaughnessy Restaurant (pictured) Enjoy locally inspired lunch, brunch, dinner or afternoon snacks, right in the heart of VanDusen Botanical Garden.

2. Horizons Restaurant Marvel at the panorama of Burrard Inlet and glimpses of downtown over albacore tuna tataki or hazelnut-crusted rack of lamb at this window-wrapped room atop Burnaby Mountain.

3. Seasons in the Park Combine Fraser Valley chicken or bone-in rib-eye from the wood-fired grill amidst the tranquil surroundings of Queen Elizabeth Park, with downtown and mountain views.

4. The Teahouse Walk the seawall after a lunch of smoked salmon flatbread or Brome Lake duck confit at this landmark in Stanley Park, overlooking Ferguson Point.

5. Hart House Restaurant Savour West Coast specialties such as pan-seared scallops, sous-vide steelhead or beef tenderloin with smoked-marrow pomme purée at this mock-Tudor mansion in the midst of verdant Deer Lake Park.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Baja North: Tacofino’s Taco Bar

By TIM PAWSEY

Tacofino's new Taco Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Tacofino’s new Taco Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Latino meets Tofino at Tacofino, an immensely popular spot that had its genesis in a food truck on the surfers’ paradise of Vancouver Island. Head to Gastown for their newest endeavour, Taco Bar. The delicious Mexican-inspired treats include kabocha squash and cauliflower tostada, lamb birria with preserved lemon zest, glazed beef rib with chilaquiles, super salsas, marvellous margaritas and more. Enter this capacious, century-old space, which sports plenty of booths and images of old Tofino scenes, off Blood Alley, near Gaoler’s Mews.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Food for Thought

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

A selection of Thai dishes, at Maenam

A selection of Thai dishes, at Maenam

There are plenty of reasons to dine out: first-class cuisine, stimulating company and, best of all, no clean-up required. Dining Out For Life gives us another reason to make a reservation. On Mar. 26, restaurants across North America raise money to support people living with HIV/AIDS by donating 25 percent of their sales to not-for-profits Friends For Life and A Loving Spoonful. Eateries range from mainstays such as Maenam (pictured) to newcomers like Nicli’s Next Door. Eating well and doing good—we’ll order that for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Weekend Brunch at L’Abattoir

By SHERI RADFORD

An array of brunch items at L'Abattoir

An array of brunch items at L’Abattoir

If you’re more of a late riser than an early bird, then this is for you. Every Saturday and Sunday, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., L’Abattoir dishes up mouth-watering meals such as buttermilk pancakes, poached eggs with smoked pork belly, and Dungeness crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. Can’t-miss selections from the bar include the Bloody Alley (a variation on the classic Bloody Mary) and the Bourbon Cinnamon Toast Milk Punch (with cereal-infused cream, bourbon and cocoa bitters). The early bird may get the worm, but it’s the sleepyheads and late risers who get the tasty brunch.

Entertaining Appetites

By TIM PAWSEY

Fresh Italian mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, teardrop peppers and local beets, at Lupo. (Photo: KK Law)

Fresh Italian mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes, teardrop peppers and local beets, at Lupo. (Photo: KK Law)

Pre- and post-theatre or hockey haunts abound—all with an eye on curtain- or puck-dropping time. Lupo caters to more formal tastes with polished Italian fare such as lamb shank ossobucco or rib-eye Fiorentina, served with flair in a charming, late-Victorian-era home. For more casual bites and good craft beers and spirits, head to the Yaletown Brewing Co. For post-game late-night bites, try expansive and upbeat Earls in Yaletown for myriad flavours, from kung pao noodles to Santa Fe Cajun chicken salad, with key lime pie for dessert.

5 Seawall Rewards

By TIM PAWSEY

TWB dishes up seafood salad with mussels, clams, squid, scallops and shrimp (front), along with gnocchi du jour (L) and crispy calamari (R). (Photo: KK Law)

TWB dishes up seafood salad with mussels, clams, squid, scallops and shrimp (front), along with gnocchi du jour (L) and crispy calamari (R). (Photo: KK Law)

These shoreside haunts are perfect for pampering after a brisk walk.

TWB — The Wine Bar (pictured) This compact, well-equipped bistro dispenses well-chosen wines by the glass and small plates with a Gallic twist. At the foot of Davie Street.

Cactus Club Cafe Smart tastes include “Iron Chef” Rob Feenie’s tuna tataki, and the ravioli and prawn trio. At Vancouver Convention Centre West and English Bay.

Go Fish Savour fish ’n’ chips and other fresh seafood at this bare-bones outdoor eatery close to Fishermen’s Wharf.

Ten Ten Tapas Find locally inspired creative small plates matched with local wines, craft beer and cocktails—plus live music Thursday through Saturday. Under the Burrard Street Bridge.

Tap & Barrel These spacious emporia offer solid pub fare with a plentiful selection of FreshTap BC wines by the glass along with an extensive offering of BC pints and cocktails. At Vancouver Convention Centre West and Olympic Village.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

French Flair at Au Comptoir

By TIM PAWSEY

Bustling Au Comptoir, located in trendy Kitsilano. (Photo: KK Law)

Bustling Au Comptoir, located in trendy Kitsilano. (Photo: KK Law)

With eye-catching details such as a floor painted to look like tile, the West Side’s Au Comptoir faithfully recreates an authentic French bistro. Locals pack in for grilled skirt steak with Roquefort sauce, duck confit and oeufs en meurette. No reservations, so it’s best to go early as regardless of the time of day—breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner—this popular petit coin in the heart of Kitsilano is always busy.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Main Event: Charlie’s Little Italian

By TIM PAWSEY

Bolognese pizza at Charlie's Little Italian. (Photo: KK Law)

Bolognese pizza at Charlie’s Little Italian. (Photo: KK Law)

A down-home, no-nonsense neighbourhood favourite, Charlie’s Little Italian draws a loyal Main Street crowd to a friendly room that doubles as an unabashed salute to Michael Caine’s Italian Job movie. Rustic plates and well-matched glasses of wine are smartly priced, along with pizzas, salads, pastas, creative side dishes and classics such as linguine vongole, or spaghetti with Pemberton beef meatballs.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Mouth-Watering Movies at MARKET

By SHERI RADFORD

The Shangri-La Hotel's Blue Moon Theatre

The Shangri-La Hotel’s Blue Moon Theatre

Looking for the perfect date night? MARKET by Jean-Georges can help, with its popular Movies at MARKET evenings. Each one starts in the Shangri-La Hotel’s private Blue Moon Theatre (pictured) with the viewing of a food-focussed film, which inspires the four-course dinner that follows. Upcoming selections include The Hundred-Foot Journey (Mar. 6 and 7), about an upstart Indian restaurant that opens 100 feet from a classical—and very snooty—French restaurant; and Entre les Bras (Apr. 3 and 4), a French documentary about a star chef handing over his award-winning restaurant to his son. Film fans and foodies couldn’t ask for a more perfect evening.

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