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Restaurants Vancouver

4 Hoppy Havens

By TIM PAWSEY

Mussels Orleans-style,  with andouille sausage, corn, peppers and Cajun cream, at Biercraft. (Photo: KK Law)

Mussels Orleans-style, with andouille sausage, corn, peppers and Cajun cream, at Biercraft. (Photo: KK Law)

Thanks to a burgeoning craft beer scene and no shortage of savvy cicerones, Vancouver is a brew-lover’s paradise. Here’s where to get your hop on.

1. Biercraft Bistro Find an impressive array of local and imported taps and bottled beers, paired with the likes of classic French onion soup, exotic mushroom pasta, steak frites and grass-fed lamb shank.

2. Alibi Room This Gastown heritage destination focuses on true craft beers from across the Pacific Northwest, matched with equally local, gastro-pubbish plates.

3. Portland Craft This cozy and popular Main Street haunt offers a spirited salute to Oregon’s pioneering brewing scene, with casual plates and rotating taps of Deschutes, Pyramid, Rogue, Hopworks, Alameda and more.

4. Tap & Barrel These bustling mega-pubs live up to their name with a plethora of good BC pints and wines as well, all on tap, served with creative pizzas, fish ’n’ chips, salads and burgers.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Revolutionary Bistro: Homer St. Cafe

By TIM PAWSEY

Halibut, at Homer Street Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Halibut, at Homer Street Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

An artful resurrection of a once humble diner, Homer St. Cafe and Bar dazzles with polished marble and brass in true brasserie style. On the classically inspired but decidedly contemporary menu: bountiful charcuterie and local cheeses, smoked magret duck, and tender grilled strip loin beef steak. The pièce de résistance? The hallmark chicken, cooked on the cherry red Grande Flame Olympia Rotisserie that rules the lower bar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Bay Watch: Beach Bay Café and Patio

By TIM PAWSEY

Inside charming Beach Bay Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Inside charming Beach Bay Café. (Photo: KK Law)

Newly landed, almost right on the shores of the West End’s English Bay, is bright and airy Beach Bay Café and Patio. The well-designed West Coast dishes roam from delicious house-smoked steelhead trout with apricot and cream, and sweetbreads with rhubarb and roasted baby beets, to strip loin with broccoli and bitter greens, and rare albacore tuna with Swiss chard and leek terrine. Wines are smartly picked and cocktails include the aptly monikered Sailor and Sand: Sailor Jerry spiced rum, sloe gin, Fernet-Branca and more. Sign us up.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Natural Drops at Grapes & Soda

By TIM PAWSEY

Sockeye salmon paired with Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, at Grapes & Soda. (Photo: KK Law)

Sockeye salmon paired with Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, at Grapes & Soda. (Photo: KK Law)

Recently arrived Grapes & Soda is next door to similarly tiny and perfect Farmer’s Apprentice organic eatery. Go for the hard-to-find all-natural wines, such as Puzelat-­Bonhomme Petillant Naturel Rosé, carefully paired with the likes of smoked salmon, or the Roagna Langhe Bianco, paired with chicken balantine. Or try the Stormy Flip cocktail, paired with a wickedly refreshing sorrel sorbet with juniper meringue, yogurt and honey.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Alfresco Eats

Where to find perfect picnic fare, great groceries and to-go food that’s to die for, all to be enjoyed outdoors

By SHERI RADFORD

A picnic feast, courtesy Giovane Cafe

A picnic feast, courtesy Giovane Cafe

Vancouver is at its most spectacular in the summertime, and the long, hot days are best spent relaxing on a beach or in a park. When it comes time to pack provisions for an outing, the possibilities are endless, ranging from simple do-it-yourself to elaborate meals created with care by someone else. (more…)

Bubbles, Beats & Brunch

By SHERI RADFORD

(Front to back)  Quail eggs Benedict, one-bite pancakes  and mini French toast. (Photo: ©Bruce Law Photography)

(Front to back) Quail eggs Benedict, one-bite pancakes and mini French toast. (Photo: ©Bruce Law Photography)

Summer is heating up, which means Bubbles, Beats & Brunch is back. Once again, MARKET by Jean-Georges has created the perfect mix of hot food, cool cocktails and chillin’ tunes. Social plates such as mini French toast, crab fritters and pork belly steam buns were made for sharing, just like the punch bowls and pitchers of ginger margaritas and vodka grape mojitos. It’s all set to a soundtrack of smooth tunes spun by DJ Charles Blair, with a little help from local musician Buddha Sax. Catch the chilled-out vibe on Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., through Labour Day.

Fresh-Air Fare: Araxi’s Longtable Dinner

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Araxi's Longtable Dinner Series at Pemberton's scenic North Arm Farm. (Photo: Toshi Kawano)

Araxi’s Longtable Dinner Series at Pemberton’s scenic North Arm Farm. (Photo: Toshi Kawano)

When it comes to alfresco dining, Whistler’s celebrated Araxi ups the ante. At the Longtable Dinner Series, chef James Walt’s elegant farm-to-fork fare is served in a spectacular outdoor setting. In Vancouver (Aug. 3), 250 guests indulge in the hyper-local, four-course meal set in picturesque Vanier Park with guest chefs from local eateries, including CinCin and Thierry. On Sep. 5, Pemberton’s North Arm Farm will stage a repeat performance, with dramatic Mount Currie as a backdrop.

Grab ‘n’ Glow: The Juicery Co.

By SHERI RADFORD

L-R: Strawberry-watermelon-mint juice soda, smoothie bowl and Botanist juice soda

L-R: Strawberry-watermelon-mint juice soda, smoothie bowl and Botanist juice soda, at The Juicery Co.

Looking for a sweet treat that won’t destroy your diet? Head to The Juicery Co. for an assortment of healthy summertime goodies. The smoothie bowl (pictured above, middle) overflows with mangoes, bananas and house-made almond mylk, layered with gluten-free granola. The strawberry-watermelon-mint juice soda (pictured above, left) is a great replacement for pop, as is the Botanist juice soda (pictured above, right), with its pineapple, pear, fennel, mint, ginger and lemon. The Juicery also makes its own creamsicles (which sneak carrots into the recipe), fudgesicles (made with cocoa-banana almond mylk), and fruit popsicles, using only nutritious, organic ingredients. Who knew healthy eating could taste so good?

5 Top Seafood Spots

By TIM PAWSEY

Fish ’n’ chips, at Go Fish. (Photo: KK Law)

Fish ’n’ chips, at Go Fish. (Photo: KK Law)

Seafood lovers revel in superb, sustainable West Coast seafood, from Dungeness crab to freshly caught sockeye, scallops and more.

1. Go Fish West of Granville Island, this outdoor eatery serves the freshest of fish ’n’ chips, fish tacos and more, often sourced from the boats moored at the dock below.

2. Pajo’s Find fresh fish ’n’ chips on a Steveston wharf, along with other locations at Garry Point Park (Steveston), Rocky Point Park (Port Moody) and Gates Park (Port Coquitlam).

3. The Fish Counter All Ocean Wise–certified seafood—such as oyster po’boys, Pacific cod tacos and, of course, fish ’n’ chips—is the real deal at this part fish market, part diner in the heart of Main Street.

4. Pier 7 Hop on the SeaBus and head to the North Shore to feast on the seafood tower for two, with oysters, scallop salad, marinated mussels, poached prawns and snow crab legs, at this happening spot right on the harbour’s edge.

5. Fisherman’s Terrace Take the SkyTrain to Aberdeen Mall for lunchtime dim sum at this popular Richmond seafood specialist that rivals the best in Hong Kong.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Top Notch Dining

By TIM PAWSEY

Rotisserie chicken (front) and Certified  Angus Beef rib-eye (back), at Notch8. (Photo: KK Law)

Rotisserie chicken (front) and Certified Angus Beef rib-eye (back), at Notch8. (Photo: KK Law)

The newly renovated Fairmont Hotel Vancouver lobby yields a clever nod to the hotel’s storied past as a flagship of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Notch8 Restaurant & Bar harks back to the old train throttles, where “Notch 8” equated to “full steam ahead.” Don’t miss: the beer bread (made with stout, comté cheese and plentiful mustard seeds), seafood hot pot, and rotisserie-prime-rib sandwich of generous proportions. Also of note: discreet booths and the tucked-away private room, complete with shelves of eminently perusable books.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Get the Scoop

When temperatures rise, Vancouverites chill out with the frozen treat that’s synonymous with summer

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Soft Peaks offers an array of toppings for their delicious soft serve

An array of toppings adorn the delicious soft serve at Soft Peaks

SOFT PEAKS
The greatest testament to Soft Peaks’ popularity may be the lengthy line-ups when the shop first opened—in February. Frozen-treat purveyors (and brothers) Dan and Ken Kim introduced soft serve to Gastown, but added an artisanal twist. Organic Avalon milk is churned into creamy, slightly sweet swirls, and finished with an array of toppings: local honeycomb is a favourite, but the more adventurous opt for matcha powder, Himalayan pink salt or yuzu marmalade, for an indulgent grown-up sundae. (more…)

Great Gastown Eats: Bao Down

By TIM PAWSEY

YVR bao (front),  A Lovers’ Quarrel bao (right) and kimchi fries (back), at Bao Down. (Photo: KK Law)

YVR bao (front), A Lovers’ Quarrel bao (right) and kimchi fries (back), at Bao Down. (Photo: KK Law)

Newly landed right across from Gassy Jack’s statue, cheekily named Bao Down revels in a fusion twist on the staple of Asian street food. Served in a high-energy setting, the ever-changing and inventive baos (steam buns) range from Two Worlds Collide, with braised pork belly, crispy pork belly, hoisin, chicharon and pickled veggies, to Jaws: coconut-crusted Vietnamese catfish, kimchi tartar sauce, micro greens and Thai vinaigrette. Sandwiches roam from grilled cheese with kimchi to The Ninja Roll. But the steamed Bao Chicka Bao Bao is hard to resist.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com