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Restaurants Vancouver

Elegant Interval

By TIM PAWSEY

Holts Cafe serves dishes such as beetroots with goat cheese cannelloni. (Photo: KK Law)

Holts Café serves dishes such as beetroots with goat cheese cannelloni. (Photo: KK Law)

For the ultimate in-store sustenance, newly landed Holts Café (in Holt Renfrew) obliges with an impressive array of plates, from quick bites to mains and desserts. The smart and elegant room invites lingering over the lobster and Pacific shrimp roll, tuna seared rare on brioche with roasted red pepper relish, or Salt Spring Island mussels, perhaps with a glass of wine. Desserts are equally tempting, as is the extensive selection of teas and organic juices, plus well-chosen wines from BC and around the world.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Glorious Gluttony at Dine Out Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Some of Vancouver's top food trucks are part of the Dine Out Festival.

Some of the city’s top food trucks are part of Dine Out

Jan 20-Feb 5 In this city’s dining scene, the start of the new year means one thing: Dine Out! Over the last 15 years, the 17-day Dine Out Vancouver Festival has turned into Canada’s biggest celebration of food and drink, and for good reason. With a wealth of special events, tours, tastings and, above all, dinner deals, this all-things-comestible festival adds up to one enormous celebration of Vancouver’s blossoming dining culture. Every year the number of restaurants offering set menus grows, with three-course dinners offered at $20, $30 and $40, as well as some lunches. Many include optional wine pairings, yielding a chance to discover BC VQA wines.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Man on a Mission

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Curtis Luk delivers tasty bites at Mission. (Photo by: KK Law)

Chef Curtis Luk delivers tasty bites at Mission. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Curtis Luk doggedly abides by his sustainable mantra. At Mission, in the heart of Kitsilano, Luk’s forte is four- and six-course tasting menus, offered with a vegetarian option, as well as well-matched wine pairings. The à la carte menu shifts weekly but typical highlights are duck croquettes, roasted cauliflower with pumpkin-seed dressing, Humboldt squid risotto, and braised beef cheek.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Of Love and Pasta

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Delicious dining at La Pentola. (Photo: Daniel Burke)

Delicious dining at La Pentola. (Photo: Daniel Burke)

Indulge in rustic Italian dishes just like Nonna used to make—even if it was someone else’s Nonna—at La Pentola. The menu of traditional dishes matches the classic space, making it the ideal place to live la dolce vita over perfectly executed plates of house-made pasta, creamy imported burrata and hearty mains like Fraser Valley lamb. Order à la carte, or for a slice of Italian hospitality, order à la famiglia and share five or seven courses with the ones you love. Perfezione.

Seafood Dynasty

By TIM PAWSEY

The Salmon House is famed for its seafood specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

The Salmon House is famed for its seafood specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

Four decades ago, The Salmon House on the Hill was the first local restaurant to give salmon its rightful due, highlighting the First Nations tradition of cooking on alderwood planks. Today’s wide-ranging menu has evolved into an impressive showcase of regional cuisine matched with the best of BC wine. Perched high above West Vancouver, the glass-wrapped room yields a breathtaking marine and city panorama.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Try a Cocktail Within a Cocktail at Prohibition

By TIM PAWSEY

Bartender Brad Stanton pours the innovative Inception Negroni. (Photo: KK Law)

Bartender Brad Stanton pours the innovative Inception Negroni. (Photo: KK Law)

Ante up for the Inception Negroni at Prohibition, and you’ll be wowed. This truly ingenious drink is actually a classic red Negroni sealed in a cleverly crafted ice sphere, within a white Negroni of Broker’s Gin, Martini Bianco and Suze. The extraordinary two-tone blend evolves as red melts into white. The drink that’s lured cocktail aficionados to fly in from as far away as the UK is complex to prepare, so only a score or so are made each day. Go also for the great bites, from chicken wings to truffle fries, and stay for the live jazz Wednesday through Saturday.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

French Fare at Le Crocodile

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef Michel Jacob prepares high-end French specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

Chef Michel Jacob prepares high-end French specialties. (Photo: KK Law)

For the ultimate in all things French, reserve a table at Michel Jacob’s cozy, burgundy-trimmed Le Crocodile. Flavours of Alsace and beyond define this detail-driven cuisine, delivered with impeccable but also discreetly understated service. Standouts include foie gras terrine with ice wine gelée, tarte à l’oignon, pan-seared veal sweetbreads, and sautéed true Dover sole with classic beurre blanc. Wines, expertly paired, roam from Bordeaux to Burgundy to the best of the Okanagan.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Yummy Shopping Stops

By TIM PAWSEY

Bel Café

Bel Café

For tasty bites between stores, options abound. Pop by Bel Café at Georgia and Howe for the freshest pastries and sandwiches, plus gluten-free options. Well-named Nosh at Telus Garden proffers a choice of wraps and salads, as well as Glowbal’s celebrated meatballs. Head to the top of Pacific Centre for small plates at Nordstrom’s Bistro Verde. Or just cuddle up in a corner at The St. Regis Bar & Grill for stuffed Yorkshire puddings or poutine—and a pint, of course.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

Four Sporting Spots

By TIM PAWSEY

Earls Yaletown dishes up an assortment of casual favourites. (Photo: KK Law)

Earls Yaletown dishes up an assortment of casual favourites. (Photo: KK Law)

Load up on pre-show or post-game sustenance at these lively haunts close to Rogers Arena and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Earls Yaletown A giant bar rules this always lively, red-bricked, multi-screened lounge with excellent eats ranging from Cajun blackened chicken to Lois Lake steelhead, plus nine-ounce wines by the glass.

Frankie’s Italian Kitchen & Bar Italian flavours such as house-made pasta, spaghetti and meatballs, lamb shank, pizza and more are menu mainstays in this laid-back family-friendly setting.

Chambar This dazzling Belgian-influenced heritage room serves polished fare, including lamb shank tagine, moules frites Congolaise and veal tenderloin—always in time for curtain.

Shark Club Newly renovated, this expansive sports bar with a barrage of big screens is a fave with fans, who pack in for burgers, calamari, tacos and a dozen flavours of chicken wings.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit www.hiredbelly.com

 

Vancouver’s Best Happy Hours

By LUCAS AYKROYD

Enjoy happy hour specials around the city, including cool cocktails at Juniper. (Photo: KK Law)

Enjoy happy hour specials around the city, including cool cocktails at Juniper. (Photo: KK Law)

Happy hour is a sexy newcomer to Vancouver. Only since 2014 have local restaurants and bars been licensed to offer it. Today, the trend’s running hot all over the city. Here are five of our faves:

Belgard Kitchen
M-Th 3-6 pm
An inventive and refreshing happy hour menu—including yummy margherita pizzettes and green chickpea and avocado hummus—marks this high-ceilinged room with its laid-back, industrial vibe. A glass of BC wine or pint of Postmark Brewing beer is just $5, and selections rotate daily.

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Tasty Tomes

By SHERI RADFORD

Bring home the delicious tastes of CinCin Ristorante and Araxi

Bring home the delicious tastes of Araxi and CinCin Ristorante

If only you could pack your favourite restaurant into a suitcase and take it home with you. Now you can (sort of), thanks to two newly published cookbooks. CinCin: Wood Fired Cucina shares the secrets of CinCin Ristorante’s wood-oven cooking techniques, revealing how to create traditional Italian dishes using seasonal West Coast ingredients. Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes embraces the local-eating philosophy of Araxi in recipes such as seared wild scallops with cauliflower tempura or roasted beets with chickpea caponata and nasturtium pesto. The two tasty tomes are available at Barbara-Jo’s Books To Cooks and other bookstores, which means the mouth-watering flavours of British Columbia can linger long after your vacation has ended.

 

Taco Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Soft and crunchy carnitas (front), lemon grass chicken burritos (left) and tater tots (right). (Photo: KK Law).

Soft and crunchy carnitas (front), lemon grass chicken burritos (left) and tater tots (right). (Photo: KK Law)

A recent arrival in Yaletown, pint-sized Tacofino is an offshoot of its ever-popular Gastown mothership. Pack in for surf-centric bites such as lingcod fish tacos, beef-brisket-barbacoa burritos, white-bean tacos and more. Traditional tequila cocktails include a margarita and a paloma. Think Tofino meets Baja–with sustainably sourced ingredients and Ocean Wise seafood.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com