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Tim Pawsey

Savour First Nations Fare at Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro

By TIM PAWSEY

Jeremy Belcourt serves smoked oolichans and herring roe (front) and the namesake burger (back). (Photo: KK Law)

At Salmon n’ Bannock, Jeremy Belcourt serves smoked oolichans and herring roe (front) and the namesake burger (back). (Photo: KK Law)

While European and Asian immigrants may have shaped the city’s modern tastes, truly authentic local cuisine has evolved over thousands of years through Canada’s indigenous peoples. For true First Nations fare, head to Salmon n’ Bannock Bistro, a cozy West Broadway haunt that more than lives up to its name. Here you can taste West Coast salmon in every incarnation, from house-cured wild sockeye to traditional salmon candy, as a birch-glazed filet and in the namesake Salmon n’ Bannock burger. Wild boar, free-range bison, elk and other game also make appearances on a wide-roaming menu of robust flavours.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Tasty Take-out at English Bay

By TIM PAWSEY

Crispy cod tacos, Manhattan-style chowder and halibut 'n' chips at The Daily Catch

Crispy cod tacos, Manhattan-style chowder and halibut ‘n’ chips at The Daily Catch (Photo: KK Law)

The city’s oceanside epicentre offers beach bites in every shape and size. For fish ’n’ chips featuring all-sustainable seafood, such as wild halibut, salmon and cod, drop by the take-out counter at The Daily Catch on Denman. Almost right on the sand, the Cactus Club concession obliges with Angus beef burgers, beer-battered Ocean Wise ling cod tacos, veggie burgers, and a panko-crusted chicken sandwich. Nearby Beach Bay Café and Patio sports a convenient location for take-out fish ’n’ chips and other handy bites. For sweet treats and the ultimate in pure fruit flavours, wander by award-winning D’oro Gelato, for handmade gelato and sorbetto based on traditional Sicilian recipes.

For more from Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Take a Bite Out of Lower Lonsdale

By TIM PAWSEY

At Fishworks, chef Shallaw Kadir creates dishes such as scallops with ponzu-marinated eggplant (R) and lingcod with ginger, lemongrass and mussels (L). (Photo: KK Law)

At Fishworks, chef Shallaw Kadir creates dishes such as scallops with ponzu-marinated eggplant (R) and lingcod with ginger, lemongrass and mussels (L). (Photo: KK Law)

From downtown, a short trip on the SeaBus lands you in Lower Lonsdale, with myriad tastes a few steps away. At Fishworks, chef Shallaw Kadir creates West Coast seafood with flair. Crab cakes come with wasabi-lime-cilantro mayo, while Egmont white sturgeon is served with butternut squash purée. West Coast bouillabaisse and paella are popular mainstays, and smart wines complete the picture. Almost next door, The District serves Belgian flavours in a casual setting. Timeless Gusto di Quattro lures with plentiful pastas and classics such as veal marsala. Bustling waterside Tap & Barrel revels in BC wines and brews, plus bites to match. Just east, enjoy wide-ranging seafood at Pier 7, against a breathtaking backdrop of the harbour and downtown. Also not to be missed: the wealth of flavours at Lonsdale Quay Market, whose food court encompasses everything from sushi and souvlaki to burgers and pizza—for British-inspired pub fare, grab a spot waterside at The Cheshire Cheese, or work through a flight of tasters at Green Leaf Brewing.

Andina Brewing Joins the Local Beer Scene

By TIM PAWSEY

Sample a few of the unique beers at Andina Brewing. (Photo: KK Law)

Sample a few of the unique beers at Andina Brewing. (Photo: KK Law)

The latest addition to the city’s burgeoning beer scene, Andina Brewing makes beer with a difference. The Amaya family, who hail from Columbia, take great pride in blending their native culture with that of their adopted home. The brewery is the first in Canada to use Patagonia Malt—and the results are impressive: Totuma, a well-balanced, refreshing Kölsch; the heartily hopped but also gently honeyed Monita Blonde IPA; Melcocha Andean Mild Ale, with a hint of molasses; and easy-drinking, copper-toned and malty Ay Ay Ay. Sample them all and more, including wines and cocktails in the tasting lounge, which also serves excellent Columbian bites. Don’t overlook the revolving selection of ceviches, with plantain chips. Vivid yellow, with its 18-m- (60-ft-) tall mural of “La Pola” girl, Andina’s building is hard to miss—and already a popular East Van landmark.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

North of Robson: Downtown Dining

By TIM PAWSEY

French fare at Tableau Bar Bistro tastes as good as it looks. (Photo: KK Law)

French fare at Tableau Bar Bistro tastes as good as it looks. (Photo: KK Law)

Some of the city’s best tastes are found just a block or two off Robson Street. For elevated French bistro fare, wander north to Melville, to Tableau Bar Bistro (pictured) for onion soup, moules frites, chicken supreme and addictive mushrooms on toast in an authentic setting. A block north on Denman, Nook is a popular haunt for Italian fare with fresh pasta made daily, plus pizza, good charcuterie and smart wines. Or, for excellent ramen, head to Marutama, a bustling spot a few steps along Bidwell, where fans return for the flavourful house chicken broth and especially the tamago original bowl. Order it mild or, for purists, robustly spiced.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

2017 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Seafood tower at Ancora. (Photo by KK Law)

Seafood tower at Ancora. (Photo by KK Law)

Welcome to our 21st annual awards issue. Much more than merely a contest, Where to Dine celebrates Vancouver as a global dining destination. This is a city that validates the openness, cultural awareness and exuberant curiosity that define Canada, through acceptance and exploration of all cuisines. We salute the chefs, servers, sommeliers and restaurateurs who make this place such a food-lover’s paradise.

Critics’ Choice 

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE 
Ancora

When it comes to the inside scoop, the concierge is your best friend. Vancouver’s Les Clefs d’Or are tireless in their search for dining excellence—and happily recommend those who consistently over-deliver.

This waterfront gem on the downtown side of False Creek blends Peruvian, Japanese and other influences with fresh West Coast ingredients. Such licence yields Aji-panca-glazed sablefish, seared scallops with pork belly, and grilled steak with yuca fries, autumn vegetables and chimichurri. (more…)

Leadership Award: David Hawksworth

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef David Hawksworth.

Chef David Hawksworth.

Few individuals have had as much impact on Vancouver’s dining scene as David Hawksworth. Arguably the city’s most high-profile chef, Hawksworth is pre-eminent as the driving force behind Hawksworth Restaurant and the recently opened, more casual Nightingale.

With the first restaurant’s launch and enduring success (Vancouver Magazine named it best upscale restaurant five years in a row), he helped cement the return of fine dining in the post-recession era. Not content to rest on his laurels, in 2013 he launched the Hawksworth Young Chef Scholarship Competition, which annually awards $10,000 to the winner and provides considerable exposure. The chef says his motivation for establishing the competition and scholarship stemmed from his time in the UK, where “there are lots of great cooks.” (more…)

Beyond Sushi

By TIM PAWSEY

Indulge at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. (Photo: KK Law)

Indulge at Kobe Japanese Steakhouse. (Photo: KK Law)

Long-running Kobe Japanese Steak and Seafood House preceded the sushi craze by a few decades. Ingredients are freshly prepared, presented tableside and cooked teppanyaki style with tremendous flair. Go for the impossibly tender Wagyu beef, teriyaki chicken, and seafood combo. For more casual fare, head to pub-style Zakkushi on Denman to find an abundance of charcoal-grilled meat, seafood and vegetable skewers. Hunker down at local faves Gyoza King or Guu, both on Robson, for good Japanese home-style dishes in a cheerful and friendly setting.

For more by Tim Pawsey www.hiredbelly.com

Downtown Delight

By TIM PAWSEY

Roasted semi-boneless half chicken. (Photo: KK Law)

Roasted semi-boneless half chicken. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away in the Moda Hotel, Cibo Trattoria is a gem of a bistro in a sensitively restored heritage setting. The classic Italian dishes have a bit of a modern twist and use organic ingredients. House favourites include chitarra con vongole of saffron pasta with Salt Spring Island clams, an excellent charcuterie and salumi platter, short ribs braised with tomatoes and red wine, and pan-seared Mediterranean sea bass. The cellar yields a wealth of serious Italian drops, as well as regional and global offerings.

For more by Tim Pawsey visit www.hiredbelly.com

Edgy Asian

By TIM PAWSEY

Delicious dishes are served up at the Heritage Asian Eatery. (Photo: Amy Ho)

Delicious dishes are served up at Heritage Asian Eatery. (Photo: Amy Ho)

A new generation of chefs is pushing the boundaries of traditional cuisines. At downtown’s Heritage Asian Eatery, regulars revel in Felix Zhou’s breakfast crepes such as shiitake mushroom or pork jowl, as well as a plethora of bao, rice bowls and salads. On Main Street, Clement Chan’s minimalist but cozy Torafuku uses local ingredients in cheekily names plates such as Rye So messy (chicken wings) and Quack Addict (barbecue-duck spring rolls). In Chinatown, Tannis Ling’s Bao Bei rocks modern small plates with Taiwanese, Sichuan and Shanghainese influences, plus savvy wines and cocktails. Meanwhile, Kissa Tanto, Ling’s Japanese-Italian collab with business partner and chef Joel Watanabe, looks to be the most popular table in town.

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

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