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Tim Pawsey

4 Asian Adventures

By TIM PAWSEY

Ocean Wise kaisen tomato ramen at Gyoza Bar + Ramen (Photo: KK Law)

Ocean Wise kaisen tomato ramen at Gyoza Bar + Ramen. (Photo: KK Law)

In this cosmopolitan town, myriad Pacific Rim flavours tempt at every turn.

1 Gyoza Bar + Ramen Find an edgy but cozy updated take on traditional ramen and gyoza in a warmly refurbished heritage setting. Go for the teppan gyoza served in a sizzling cast-iron pan, but don’t miss the kaisen tomato ramen brimming with fresh Ocean Wise seafood (pictured).

2 Banana Leaf This friendly, brightly decorated, casual chain celebrates all things Malaysian with wide-ranging cuisine from the heart of the Spice Route, such as rendang beef and Singapore chilli crab.

3 Kingyo Always hopping, this West End izakaya caters to a loyal following with polished small plates ranging from tantan noodles to miso-marinated black cod to pork tenderloin tempura.

4 Pink Elephant Thai Boldly fuchsia-toned, this Alberni Street haunt lures a lively crowd for smart cocktails, fusion dishes, and classic Thai tastes such as chicken satay, hot and sour soup, spring rolls, and spicy lettuce wraps with a choice of meats and tofu.

For more from Tim Pawsey, go to hiredbelly.com

Bella Gelateria’s Sweet Treats

By TIM PAWSEY

Award winning James Coleridge

Award winning James Coleridge (Photo: KK Law)

The first full-service room from gelato maestro James Coleridge, Bella Gelateria in Yaletown offers his celebrated gelato with other Italian treats such as Neapolitan pizza. Coleridge’s latest invention is the Gelatini: think affogato but with gelato instead of ice cream and a martini in lieu of coffee. Tiddly temptations abound, from Saffron Persia to Matcha Smasha to Wild Evita (salted caramel with scotch).

For more from Tim Pawsey, go to hiredbelly.com

Mahony & Sons: Irish Escape

By TIM PAWSEY

Guinness with a view at Mahony & Sons (Photo: KK Law)

Guinness with a view at Mahony & Sons. (Photo: KK Law)

Hop aboard the Aquabus (directly from the foot of Davie Street in Yaletown) to reach this newly unveiled, lavish Mahony & Sons, right on the False Creek waterfront at Stamp’s Landing. Drop by for casual bites such as fresh oysters on the half shell, thin-crust pizzas and burgers. Or tuck into classics such as Irish stew, Guinness-battered fish ’n’ chips, (Irish) bangers and mash, and plentiful West Coast chowder. Best-kept secret: the upstairs private room.

For more from Tim Pawsey, go to hiredbelly.com

Spanish Modern

By TIM PAWSEY

Small bites at Salida 7 please all palates (Photo: KK Law)

Small bites at Salida 7 please all palates. (Photo: KK Law)

A block from Gastown’s Maple Tree Square, newly landed Salida 7 heralds a Spanish resurgence. The two-tier room and bar revels in its Catalan roots, with contemporary-styled tapas as well as classically grounded, sophisticated entrées. Early faves include steamed mussels, escalivada with sardines and extra virgin olive oil confit, Catalonian seafood soup with saffron aioli, and traditional fideuà: baked garlic vermicelli and Dungeness crab served paella style. Wines include no shortage of good cava and many unique labels from across Spain.

For more from Tim Pawsey, go to hiredbelly.com

Chambar: Belgian Deluxe

By TIM PAWSEY

Chevreuil et chutney at Chambar (Photo: KK Law)

Chevreuil et chutney at Chambar. (Photo: KK Law)

A few steps from Rogers Arena and the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Belgian-influenced Chambar cossets with its red-brick heritage interior, long bar and bustling lounge. Chef Nico Schuermans and his wife Karri have created a sustainable, ethically raised, all–Ocean Wise menu that’s also highly inventive. Favourites roam from pan-seared scallops (with mint pea purée and tandoori papadum) and moules frites congolaise to lamb shank tajine and venison short loin. Wines are well chosen, often unique and always thoughtfully paired, and cocktails are smartly conceived, at this carbon-neutral, stylish emporium.

For more from Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Serious Steak

By TIM PAWSEY

Gotham serves mouth-watering steaks and cool cocktails. (Photo: KK Law)

Gotham serves mouth-watering steaks and cool cocktails. (Photo: KK Law)

A downtown destination that celebrates with unabashed flair and opulence, Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar lives up to its reputation for superb, 28-day dry-aged, prime Alberta beef, paired with vintages from one of the city’s most extensive cellars, displayed on an interactive iPad list. Start out at the art deco–inspired cocktail bar, perhaps with a classic Manhattan, before settling into the plush, wood-panelled main room. Highlights range from an impeccable porterhouse to bone-in New York strip to two sizes of filet mignon, plus seafood selections and steak-and-marine combos. The well-executed lunches lean towards lighter fare, such as lobster bisque, tuna Niçoise, a hand-peeled shrimp sandwich and Dungeness crab cakes with lemon-dill mayonnaise.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

West End’s Left Bank

By TIM PAWSEY

John Blakeley at Left Bank. (Photo: KK Law)

John Blakeley at Left Bank. (Photo: KK Law)

John Blakeley (of Bistro Pastis) recently opened edgy, modern Left Bank in the space that over four decades saw various incarnations of Café de Paris. The result is a clean-lined room with an airy feel that complements Spencer Watts’s French-inspired menu, highlighted by tempura green beans, spicy albacore tuna cone, crispy ling cod, steak frites with Szechuan peppercorn sauce and dark chocolate tart with green tea anglaise. Also new is the West End’s first laneway patio, seasonal but heated, already a popular hangout.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Italian Haunts

By TIM PAWSEY

Bruschetta (front), braised meatballs (R) and potato doughnut (L), at Nicli’s Next Door. (Photo: KK Law)

Bruschetta (front), braised meatballs (R) and potato doughnut (L), at Nicli’s Next Door. (Photo: KK Law)

These neighbourhood “go-to” haunts offer a slice of la dolce vita, and more.

1. Nicli’s Next Door Adjoining pizza specialist Nicli Antica Pizzeria, this cozy space yields inspired cicchetti (think Italian tapas) plus a worthy wine selection.

2. Bufala This Kerrisdale pizzeria yields a superb array (including an irresistible margherita) but don’t miss the smoked olives or the full-on roasted mortadella.

3. Nook Go early to these laid-back spots—in the West End (just a few steps from Georgia at Denman) and across from Kits Beach—known for fresh pasta and well-chosen vino.

4. BiBo This lively Kits spot offers the classics, from hand-made fresh-daily pasta to traditionally certified Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.

5. Ask for Luigi This friendly, tucked-away neighbourhood find in Railtown (just east of Gastown) offers family-style plates of handmade pasta and good wines to match.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Thai Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Yum nua (beef salad). (Photo: KK Law)

Yum nua (beef salad). (Photo: KK Law)

After a seven-year absence, Montri Rattanaraj has returned to Vancouver to open Thai Cuisine by Montri, in Kitsilano. The celebrated chef shops daily for fresh, local ingredients and flies in Thai specialties as needed. Dishes are deeply heated rather than overtly spiced, prepared according to taste, and very detail driven. Montri’s pad thai remains a standard bearer, as do the chicken satay, stuffed chicken wings and delicious pak boong (wok-cooked crunchy greens). Sommelier Jonathan Lai offers a smartly picked selection of Thai-worthy wines, including Germanic and BC aromatics and plenty more.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Notable Newbie: Boulevard Kitchen

By TIM PAWSEY

Boulevard’s seafood tower is sure to satisfy. (Photo: KK Law)

Boulevard’s seafood tower is sure to satisfy. (Photo: KK Law)

With reams of Italian marble, white oak floors and sparkling chandeliers, the newly unwrapped Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar at the Sutton Place Hotel is as stylish and polished as anticipated. On the seafood-inclined menu: marine specialties with contemporary flair, such as a cornucopian seafood tower, caramelized jumbo scallops and roasted sablefish, as well as grilled rib-eye, a premium burger and more. Expect meticulous but friendly service from one of the city’s most well-honed crews.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Sealed & Delivered: Postmark Brewing

By TIM PAWSEY

Fill a growler or stop in for a pint at Postmark Brewing, located in the Settlement Building

Fill a growler or stop in for a pint at Postmark Brewing, located in the Settlement Building

The craft beer boom continues unabated, with the arrival of Postmark Brewing (pictured) in Railtown’s already well-populated Settlement Building, home to Vancouver Urban Winery, The Belgard Kitchen and others. Chief brewmaster at this notable newcomer is award-winning filmmaker Craig Noble, whose recent successes include CRAFT, a documentary about the craft brewing scene across North America. Noble, a certified cicerone (beer sommelier), is often on hand to pour tastes of Postmark Pilsner, Stout, Red IPA and others, perfect before—or with—a bite at The Belgard.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Pampering Panoramas

By TIM PAWSEY

Alder-grilled salmon trio  with shrimp and spinach risotto. (Photo: KK Law)

Alder-grilled salmon trio with shrimp and spinach risotto. (Photo: KK Law)

The Salmon House Grab a cab across the Lions Gate Bridge for alder-grilled salmon at this original seafood specialist, perched high above West Vancouver.

The Teahouse Stanley Park’s one-time officer’s mess is now a taste-filled destination, where the spectacular sunsets seem almost as close as Third Beach below.

Five Sails Savour sweeping views of Coal Harbour and Stanley Park, along with classically grounded, exquisite continental dishes, from the glass-wrapped third-floor atrium of the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Globe@YVR This well-kept secret in the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel serves detail-driven Pacific Northwest plates, with a front-row view of all the comings and goings planeside and mountain views beyond.

Pier 7 Hop the SeaBus to this two-tier room for its expansive ocean vista of the harbour and downtown, with local marine-inclined cuisine to go along.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com