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Restaurants Vancouver

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.

2015 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Pacific octopus with Tuscan beans at Cioppino’s

Pacific octopus with Tuscan beans at Cioppino’s. (Photo: KK Law)

Fueled by a wealth of flavours, Vancouver celebrates a bounty of fresh ingredients, from myriad seafood species to specialty farm-raised meats, along with winning wines. Every year, Where’s globetrotting readers weigh in on those tastes that left their mark well beyond the trip home. These accolades reinforce the city’s rep as an international culinary destination driven by diversity and a merging of influences through multicultural respect and understanding. (more…)

2015 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Pacific octopus with Tuscan beans at Cioppino’s

Pacific octopus with Tuscan beans at Cioppino’s. (Photo: KK Law)

Fueled by a wealth of flavours, Vancouver celebrates a bounty of fresh ingredients, from myriad seafood species to specialty farm-raised meats, along with winning wines. Every year, Where’s globetrotting readers weigh in on those tastes that left their mark well beyond the trip home. These accolades reinforce the city’s rep as an international culinary destination driven by diversity and a merging of influences through multicultural respect and understanding. (more…)

Late-Night Bites at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

By SHERI RADFORD

Beef carpaccio at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

Beef carpaccio at Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

When the munchies strike after the game or play has ended, head to Joe Fortes. Every evening from 9:30 to 11 p.m., the late-night bar menu features dishes that make both wallets and taste buds happy. Folks craving savoury delicacies choose the beef carpaccio (pictured), fried oysters or truffle parmesan fries, while those with a sweet tooth opt for the cheesecake, crème brûlée, tiramisu or Joe’s Chocolate Sin Cake. Wash it all down with $5 drinks. Is there a better way to end an evening out?

EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival

By SHERI RADFORD

EAT! Vancouver is Canada's largest food festival

EAT! Vancouver is Canada’s largest food festival

Forget your diet and remember to wear stretchy pants for the 2015 EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival, taking place Apr. 26 to May 3. This feast for the senses brings together foodies, farmers, winemakers, craft brewers, distillers and artisans for eight days of eating, drinking, sharing and learning. Vancouver’s culinary culture is showcased in dinners with acclaimed local chefs, hands-on workshops, a pastry tasting and more. Good thing calories consumed while on vacation don’t count.

Indian Flavours Shine at Sitar

By TIM PAWSEY

Lamb korma (front), tandoori platter (L) and butter chicken (R), at Sitar. (Photo: KK Law)

Lamb korma (front), tandoori platter (L) and butter chicken (R), at Sitar. (Photo: KK Law)

In the centre of Gastown, across from Maple Tree Square, long-running Sitar serves traditional Indian fare, from goat masala to butter chicken and more. An extensive menu travels through mainstays such as mulligatawny soup, tandoori chicken, lamb tikka, fish korma, and a wealth of vegetarian dishes. Insiders opt for the set dinners of generously portioned three courses for two, including the Punjabi and Mughlai. Don’t miss the homemade kulfi, served with ice cream, pistachios, saffron and nuts.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

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.