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Restaurants Vancouver

New and Improved: Brix & Mortar


Bring friends to indulge in Brix & Mortar's revamped menu. (Photo: Joann Pa)

Bring friends and indulge in Brix & Mortar’s revamped menu. (Photo: Joann Pa)

Savvy celebrities always know when it’s time for a facelift, and the newly expanded and renamed Brix & Mortar is no exception. It kept the features that made Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar a Yaletown favourite for over 15 years—award-winning wine list, glass-covered courtyard—and introduced a new menu and revamped cocktail list. Tip: try the pickled pineapple pork belly, and wash it down with a Shooting Tsar.

Hy’s Steakhouse is Raising the Bar


Wash down a jumbo prawn cocktail and smoked bacon sliders with (from L-R) an Old Fashioned, a Gin Fizz and a (still being mixed) Manhattan. (Photo: KK Law)

Wash down a jumbo prawn cocktail and smoked bacon sliders with (from L-R) an Old Fashioned, a Gin Fizz and a (still being mixed) Manhattan. (Photo: KK Law)

The city’s longest-running steakhouse never sported a true bar—until now. Once reserved for private events only, the second-floor space above the venerable main room of Hy’s has been tastefully refurbished to include a full bar as well as a panelled lounge beyond sliding doors, which can be closed for privacy as needed. On the menu: cocktail classics with modern flair and highlights from the group’s 60-year history, such as prawn cocktails, Dungeness crab cakes and cheese toast.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

A Toast to Juniper


The Catalan gin and tonic with thyme, grapefruit and Mediterranean tonic

Head to Juniper for the Catalan gin and tonic with thyme, grapefruit and Mediterranean tonic

Newly launched Juniper is shaking up Chinatown with a potent mix of charisma, cocktail creativity and Cascadia-inspired, down-home dishes. The spirited space features Pacific Northwest flavours that range from Fraser Valley pork to juniper-cured salmon, and lively libations such as no-nonsense negronis—on tap, no less—regional wines, and over 30 gins for matching with an array of aromatic tonics. We’ll raise a glass to that (mostly so we can order another).

Coastal Canadiana: Timber


Chef Chris Whittaker serves up a bison burger with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and pickles, at Timber. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Chris Whittaker serves up a bison burger with cheddar, bacon, caramelized onions and pickles, at Timber. (Photo: KK Law)

With its logging-themed decor—complete with Swedish saws and welcoming stuffed beaver at the door—Timber offers a tongue-in-cheek salute to BC’s lumber industry, with a slice of retro on the plate. Casual choices include mushroom poutine, a substantial bison burger, chilli-and-maple-glazed chicken wings, fish ’n’ chips, and elk tourtière, all perfect for pairing with an array of good local brews and wines.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2016


Farmer's Harvest, at Edible Canada at the Market. (Photo: KK Law)

Farmer’s Harvest, at Edible Canada at the Market. (Photo: KK Law)

Running Jan. 15 to 31, the Dine Out Vancouver Festival 2016—the city’s region-wide, annual dining extravaganza, now the largest in Canada—has grown to include some 240 bistros, hotels, cafes and fine dining rooms, which offer a wide variety of special dinner menus at three price points. Several restaurants also do lunch, and many extend their discount deals well beyond Dine Out. Other highlights include a wealth of special events: cocktail, brewery and distillery tours; neighbourhood brunch packages; film and dinner pairings; VQA wine tastings; debates; and much more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Tapas Redux: Bodega on Main



Sit at the venerable bar or order a selection of tapas at Bodega on Main (Photo: KK Law)

A salute to the city’s original, long-running Spanish room, Bodega on Main yields a veritable romp through an array of classic tapas. Faves range from zesty patatas bravas to gambas al ajillo (seriously garlicky prawns) to spicy grilled chorizo, as well as pork sausage finished in Basque cider. Much of the former interior, including the substantial oak bar, was salvaged, adding a familiar feel to the welcoming heritage surroundings. Wines and sherries complete the authentic picture.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Savoir Faire: The French Table



Cheese fondue at The French Table (Photo: KK Law)

A little slice of Burgundy awaits at Main Street’s The French Table, owned by chef Hervé Martin. The one-time personal chef to the King of Belgium celebrates the cuisine of his homeland with classic dishes such as coq au vin, escargot with garlic butter, and duck confit cassoulet, as well as cheese and Burgundy fondues. The smart bistro setting is laid-back and friendly, with a good selection of wines, including labels from the chef’s family-owned chateau.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Great Shakes from Soft Peaks



Not just the place for ice cream, Soft Peaks has milkshakes too

Soft Peaks is no stranger to shaking up dessert. When the Gastown shop first opened in February, lengthy line-ups for the swirls of handmade ice cream persisted despite the winter weather. Now the menu has expanded to include milkshakes made from the same queue-generating organic soft serve. Put a straw in flavours such as original (with its hint of honey), chocolate, and vanilla, or the rotating monthly flavour. Definitely worth the wait—whatever the weather.

Pacific Rim: Seafood at Ancora



An array of fresh seafood from Ancora (Photo: KK Law)

Peruvian, Japanese and other influences play with a plethora of West Coast ingredients at newly launched Ancora. This smart, contemporary haunt on the north shore of False Creek, just across from Granville Island, overlooks yachts at anchor. Global culinary licence roams from Pacific lingcod with paella, and Dungeness crab causa with Huancaína sauce, to saffron and parsnip agnolotti with roasted root vegetables, and panca chilli–glazed sablefish.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Culinary Core: Downtown Dining



Dining room at the new Glowbal at Telus Garden (Photo: KK Law)

Glowbal pulls out all the stops at its dynamic new downtown location. Familiar tastes include the signature meatballs on truffled spaghetti, chilli- and garlic-fried sea bass, miso-marinated sablefish, and satays from the custom-built robata grill. Extra touches include a battery of personal heaters that cosset guests on a year-round patio under the giant wooden whalebone sculpture. In a hurry? Grab a bite at neighbouring, much more casual Nosh. Other handy options for shoppers on the go include Bel Café in nearby Rosewood Hotel Georgia; sandwich specialist Meat & Bread, near W. Pender and Burrard; and the Gallery Cafe on the Vancouver Art Gallery mezzanine.

For more from Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

4 Seasonal Splurges



Seafood tower at Boulevard. (Photo: KK Law)

The city sports no end of worthy destinations for celebrating the holidays in style.

1 Fresh-shucked oysters, a cornucopian seafood tower and prime cuts are served in Boulevard (pictured), an impressive, always bustling room.

2 Relax by a blazing fireplace in charmingly decorated Bacchus, which also offers special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus.

3 Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is aglow with a festive air. Dec. 24 yields a Christmas Eve dinner, while Kris Kringle appears on the 25th. Christmas trees adorn the Pacific Ballroom, the setting for the evening buffet offerings. To book, call 604-647-0517.

4 Four Seasons Vancouver gets guests in the mood with more than 50 individually decorated trees, along with a wealth of festive dinners in Yew Seafood + Bar.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

4 Draught Picks


A cold pint and a snack at Central City on Beatty

Brisket plate with pit beans, coleslaw and ricotta-stuffed jalapeño cornbread, at Central City on Beatty

The city’s brew scene is booming. No more proof is needed than these perfect pubby haunts.

CENTRAL CITY ON BEATTY Pulled pork and the formidable Zeus burger complement a truly impressive range of taps, including a dozen Red Racer beers as well as other leading local brews, all served in an artfully restored Yaletown warehouse. (more…)