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Restaurants Vancouver

Izakaya Redux at ShuRaku

By TIM PAWSEY

Sample sashimi and sushi at ShuRaku. (Photo: KK Law)

Sample sashimi and sushi at ShuRaku. (Photo: KK Law)

In a city with more than its share of good Japanese dining, ShuRaku stands apart for its vibrant Asian flavours complemented by a superb sake selection. An impressive 40-foot grainy maple bar rules, perfect for sampling a wide range of styles, from Ginjo to Junmai. On the menu: traditional and contemporary fare, from sushi, sashimi and signature rolls, such as real crab California, to beef tataki, short ribs, tuna three ways and assorted tempura.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Coastal Cornucopia at The Sandbar

By TIM PAWSEY

The Sandbar boasts spectacular views of False Creek. (Photo: KK Law)

The Sandbar boasts spectacular views of False Creek. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked beneath the girders of the Granville Street Bridge, The Sandbar celebrates West Coast seafood in a modern salute to Granville Island’s industrial past. A spacious two-tier waterside dining room and expansive upstairs patio (with fireplaces) offer sweeping views of False Creek and the city. Ocean Wise choices abound on the menu, in addition to a wide choice of sushi. Tastes roam from Dungeness crab cakes, fried oysters and wok-charred tuna to alder-grilled salmon and seafood towers, plus burgers (both salmon and beef) and sirloin steaks, for committed carnivores. The mood is always upbeat, with live entertainment nightly.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Hook, Line & Sinker: ‘ONO Raw Bar

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

'ONO Raw Bar | Kalu Interiors

Settle in at the bar for the chef’s tasting menu

There’s no shortage of sushi here, but Vancouverites are always on the lookout for the next raw-fish fix. ‘ONO Raw Bar, and its mix of East-meets-West flavours, recently dropped anchor in Gastown. Belly up to the bar for the Omakase (chef’s choice) menu, and watch chefs slice and prepare fresh fish that’s flown in daily. Or snag a table to sample share plates such as octopus carpaccio, served alongside classic rolls and delicate sashimi. Sushi cravings? Consider them crushed.

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)

Leadership Award: Rob Feenie

By TIM PAWSEY

Feenie

Cactus Club Cafe’s Chef Rob Feenie

Ask Rob Feenie where he’s going to be next week, and chances are he’ll mention anywhere but Vancouver. Recently, the team at Cactus Club Cafe has opened numerous locations across the West, as well as a new flagship in Toronto. Since leaving his much-celebrated Lumière and joining Cactus Club as executive chef, Feenie has helped shape Vancouver’s culinary culture in ways that most could never have imagined.

Feenie works with every chef in the group on a regular basis, to develop skills and techniques across the board. “My relationship is directly with the chefs who run the restaurants,” he says. In particular they focus on items for Feenie’s Feature Sheet, which is introducing West Coast Ocean Wise ingredients such as sablefish, albacore tuna, ling cod, Lois Lake steelhead trout and even Northern Divine caviar to Canadians across the country. The chef imprinted much of his personal style to help Cactus Club win West Coast hearts. “But who would have thought sous-vide duck confit would become a Cactus Club staple?” he says with a laugh.

Ask Feenie which of the chefs who’ve passed through his kitchens continue to impress, and he’ll rattle off a list of Vancouver luminaries, as well as numerous up-and-comers.

Where salutes chef Rob Feenie for his vision and leadership, and for the indelible mark he’s made on Vancouver’s—and Canada’s—food culture.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

East Side Italian: Osteria Savio Volpe

By TIM PAWSEY

Osteria Savio Volpe dishes up grilled squid with endives. (Photo: KK Law)

Osteria Savio Volpe dishes up grilled squid with endives. (Photo: KK Law)

A short hop from downtown, newly landed Osteria Savio Volpe is already a hit. Locals pack in below the soaring ceiling for rustic, seasonal flavours. Black kale and pecorino marry with zesty lemon pepper dressing for a deliciously healthy salad, while bagna càuda brings vegetables and bread together for hot anchovy and garlic “fondue.” A wood-fired half chicken is appealingly singed. Wines are smart, and the service informed and genuinely friendly. Best to go very early, as the spot is always bustling.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

10 Things We Love About Eco-Friendly Vancouver

It’s easy to see how we’re on track to be the world’s greenest city by 2020

By SHERI RADFORD

(Photo: KK Law)

(Photo: KK Law)

1. Bicycles
Mild West Coast weather forms the backdrop for cycling on the seawall or coasting along in dedicated bike lanes, resulting in Vancouverites’ year-round love affair with two-wheeled transportation. (more…)

Top Spots for Xiao Long Bao

By TIM PAWSEY

Shanghai-style soup dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao, at Lin Chinese. (Photo: KK Law)

Shanghai-style soup dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao, at Lin Chinese. (Photo: KK Law)

The culinary cognoscenti flock to Lin Chinese Cuisine to savour superb Shanghai-style dumplings: Xiao Long Bao, little packets of pork, are handmade daily. Served in a bamboo steamer, they yield a flood of warm broth in a juicy explosion of flavours. Other mainstays include tea-smoked duck, lemon chicken, and spicy wontons with peanut and garlic sauce. Find more XLB at Dinesty, Long’s Noodle House and Peaceful Restaurant.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

10 Places to Indulge in the West End

By TIM PAWSEY

Burrata with prosciutto,  at Nook. (Photo: KK Law)

Burrata with prosciutto, at Nook. (Photo: KK Law)

Home to a wealth of small restaurants, the West End revels in myriad flavours. Along Davie Street, upstairs Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen offers subtly spiced Tibetan and Nepalese plates, from soups to curries to momos (steamed or pan-fried dumplings packed with chicken, vegetables or yak). Nearby Kadoya rolls out some of the most inventive sushi in the city, while just off Burrard, tiny and perfect wine bar Latab matches small plates with a unique list of natural wines. (more…)

Sweet & Savoury: Thierry

By TIM PAWSEY

Quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon and mushrooms, at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon and mushrooms, at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Polished and sophisticated, Thierry enjoys a well-earned rep for its seductive smorgasbord of sweet treats. Regulars at Thierry Busset’s Parisian-styled cafe and patisserie also indulge in tempting sandwiches, created by chef Quang Dang of West Restaurant. Made with bread baked fresh daily in-house, faves range from tuna Niçoise with sherry dijon dressing to avocado and mozzarella with lemon aioli, plus a selection of quiches—including, of course, quiche Lorraine.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Vij’s Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Vikram Vij relaxes in the  new, expanded restaurant  on Cambie Street. (Photo: KK Law)

Vikram Vij relaxes in the new, expanded restaurant on Cambie Street. (Photo: KK Law)

The man who transformed the face of Indian cuisine, Vikram Vij has upped stakes for Cambie Village, several blocks east of his South Granville room. The dazzling larger space sports a jewellery box–inspired decor, sparklingly elegant but far from fussy. Most of the classics for which Vij’s is famous have made the trip. They range from beef short ribs in cinnamon and red wine curry to rainbow trout in coconut and fenugreek masala, not to mention the legendary lamb “popsicles” in fenugreek cream curry, on turmeric and spinach potatoes. Another constant: Vikram himself, most often with welcoming chai in hand.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com