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Tim Pawsey

Link Love: Oyama Sausage Company

By TIM PAWSEY

Find a wide selection of meat at Oyama Sausage Company. (Photo: KK Law)

Find a wide selection of meat at Oyama Sausage Company. (Photo: KK Law)

Look for the busiest store in the Granville Island Market, and chances are you’ll find yourself at Oyama Sausage Company, lured by the seductive aromas of this fifth-generation smokehouse and modern charcuterie. Pick up some cheese smokies, paper-thin speck (German prosciutto), Toulouse pork sausage, elk pepperoni, or silky smooth, rich, “creamy” porcini pâté, all made in house. A plentiful local and imported cheese selection adds up to the perfect picnic or barbecue shopping stop.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Fishy Finds

By TIM PAWSEY

Fish 'n' Chips with a view at Go Fish. (Photo: KK Law)

Fish ‘n’ Chips with a view, at Go Fish. (Photo: KK Law)

The city boasts no shortage of pescetarian options, often in sparkling shoreside settings.

1. Go Fish Line up for fish tacos, seared tuna burgers and more, served dock-side with a dash of creativity, just a few steps west of Granville Island.

2. Pajo’s These bare-bones waterside fish ’n’ chipperies in Steveston, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam serve some of the best halibut, cod and salmon you’ll taste anywhere.

3. Troll’s Restaurant This family-friendly spot opened in 1946, predating the nearby Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal. Find more seafood than you can shake a prawn at, plus buckets of nostalgia.

4. Mr. Pickwick’s Fish & Chips Landlocked but still worthy, this Marpole fave wins rave reviews for its British-style F&C, plus deep-fried Mars bars—and gluten-free batter on request.

5. Raincity Grill This quintessential West Coast room dispenses excellent fish ’n’ chips from its handy Denman Street take-out window right across from English Bay.

Himalayan Tastes at Yak & Yeti

By TIM PAWSEY

Chef displays dishes served up at Yak & Yeti. (Photo: KK Law)

Himalayan and Nepalese flavours rule at Yak & Yeti. (Photo: KK Law)

Popular Kitsilano haunt Yak & Yeti serves delicious Nepalese and Himalayan tastes in a laid-back bistro setting. Spicing is cautiously understated, with a wide range of meat and vegetarian options. House faves roam from Himalayan-style yak momo dumplings to tender char-grilled lamb kebabs to sizzled chicken with crunchy vegetables on a piping-hot cast-iron skillet. For dessert, don’t miss the poached spiced pears with ice cream and caramel. To complete the picture: good local brews, such as Driftwood Fat Tug and Russell Blood Alley Bitter, and smartly chosen BC wines.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

ARC: Fairmont Waterfront’s Curvy New Addition

By TIM PAWSEY

Fairmont Waterfront's newest arrival boasts gorgeous views and an two-tier, open-plan design. (Photo: KK Law)

Fairmont Waterfront’s newest arrival boasts gorgeous views and an two-tier, open-plan design. (Photo: KK Law)

The Fairmont Waterfront’s newly unveiled ARC mirrors its curvaceous surroundings with acres of soaring glass in a spherical, expansive space that takes full advantage of its two-tier, open-plan design. Just across from Canada Place, a perch overlooking the bar grants harbour and mountain glimpses, along with a good buzz in the room and smart cocktails. Drop by for seasonal bites on executive chef Dana Hauser’s fresh sheet, such as Dungeness crab gazpacho or poached salmon with fava bean and citrus salad. Or grab a spot at the convivial chef’s bench for some communal dining from one of the city’s most eco-friendly kitchens.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

The Liberty Distillery: From Grain to Glass

By TIM PAWSEY

Handmade cocktails from The Liberty Distillery. (Photo: KK Law)

Handmade cocktails from The Liberty Distillery. (Photo: KK Law)

Vancouver is in the midst of its biggest spirits resurgence since BC’s prohibition ended in 1921, with craft distilleries popping up all over. Granville Island’s The Liberty Distillery makes premium spirits only from BC-grown and organic grains. Drop by for regular tours and tastes, with an educational theme, of gin, vodka and a white (unaged) whisky, all sampled at their suitably well-worn 110-year-old Saloon Bar, which was salvaged from an old hotel.

5 Waterside Bites

By TIM PAWSEY

Watch floatplanes take off and land at the Flying Beaver Bar & Grill (Photo: KK Law)

Watch floatplanes take off and land at the Flying Beaver Bar & Grill. (Photo: KK Law)

Myriad haunts around town offer a chance for spectacular waterfront dining, each with a twist.

1. Flying Beaver Bar & Grill Close to Airport South, locals, travellers and off-duty pilots rub shoulders at this tasty, pubby spot that doubles as a floatplane terminus.

2. Bridges The grand dame of Granville Island patios delivers a close-up of busy False Creek, with West Coast tastes such as grilled wild sockeye salmon and steamed local mussels.

3. Wild Rice  Overlooking heritage vessels moored on the working Fraser River at New Westminster’s River Market, this contemporary bistro serves updated takes on classic Chinese dishes.

4. The Beach House Cross the Lions Gate Bridge and head west along Marine Drive to take in a dazzling sunset dinner at this West Van landmark.

5. Lift Bar-Grill-View A stylish rooftop deck, complete with fire pit, yields breathtaking harbour and mountain views and creative, locally inspired plates to match.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Tapping In at Craft Beer Market

By TIM PAWSEY

No doubt about it: there's a brew to suit every palate at Craft Beer Market. (Photo: KK Law)

No doubt about it: there’s a brew to suit every palate at Craft Beer Market. (Photo: KK Law)

An expansive, restored 1930s warehouse in the heart of Olympic Village now plays host to Craft Beer Market, a true brew emporium. Walk in and be amazed by the parade of 138 taps, served by over 4 km (2.5 mi) of beer lines, featuring the best of local, craft and imported ales. On the menu: casual American pub fare with a West Coast personality, from flatbreads to sliders to pasta—plus plenty of happening sports on an array of flat-screen TVs.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Downtown’s Dining Delights

By TIM PAWSEY

Clams with corned veal tongue, fregola and saffron, at Cinara. (Photo: KK Law)

Clams with corned veal tongue, fregola and saffron, at Cinara. (Photo: KK Law)

Superlative tastes in a beautifully restored heritage setting are what you’ll find at Cinara, the just-opened, detail-driven room at the corner of Pender and Homer. Already garnering rave reviews, the modern European tastes have ranged from Mediterranean-style grilled squid to chicken liver parfait to braised rabbit to duck breast with quince and turnip. Portions come as small plates as well as mains, with smart wine pairings and cocktails, all served in a relaxing but sophisticated setting. For classic French with a West Coast nod, drop by gently retro Burgundy Restaurant on edgy Hastings near Abbott. Or, for well-made casual Italian, with handmade pasta and gluten-free options, head to popular Ask for Luigi in Railtown, just east of Gastown.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

The Roof Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Enjoy stunning views and delectable dishes at The Roof Restaurant + Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Enjoy stunning views and delectable dishes at The Roof Restaurant + Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

In its heyday, The Roof Restaurant + Bar—which recently reopened at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver—was the place to see and be seen, and the sunken martini bar still boasts one of the best sunset-watching seats in town. Go for the grilled lamb chops, prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, wild salmon and vegetarian options. The bar list sports timeless classics, from The Roof Negroni and Hanky Panky to Sazerac and Moscow Mule, plus BC wines by the glass, mocktails and more. Don’t miss afternoon tea with all the trimmings, including cucumber sandwiches, of course.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Just Grazin’

By TIM PAWSEY

Antipasti board at Graze Food & Drink. (Photo: KK Law)

Antipasti board at Graze Food & Drink. (Photo: KK Law)

Uber-sustainable and cozy, Graze Food & Drink (pictured) delivers outside-the-box, detail-driven vegetarian plates. For more leafy (and other) bites, head to The Acorn, which placed 9th in enRoute’s 2013 list of the best new restaurants across Canada, or to the venerable The Naam, which dates from Kitsilano’s hippy heyday.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

A Toast to PICA’s Julian Bond

By TIM PAWSEY

Julian Bond loves teaching at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. (Photo: KK Law)

Julian Bond loves teaching at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts. (Photo: KK Law)

Julian Bond started teaching almost by accident. The executive chef of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) says he was invited to do a guest lecture, which was supposed to last 30 minutes. “But I wound up talking for 90,” he says with a laugh. “It was all about braising lamb neck. I still think it’s the best cut!” (more…)

2014 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Hawksworth Restaurant serves up delectable dishes such as roasted halibut with potatp gnocchi, eggplant and English peas. (Photo: KK Law)

Hawksworth Restaurant serves up delectable dishes such as roasted halibut with potatp gnocchi, eggplant and English peas. (Photo: KK Law)

They came. They dined. And they voted. Where’s well-travelled readership weighs in on Vancouver’s vibrant and ever-expanding dining scene. We join them in congratulating all of our winners and finalists, who celebrate daily the freshness, local flavours and genuine hospitality that define our truly welcoming community.

Critics’ Choice

WHERE SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD AWARD
Forage
The very day after Forage opened in 2012, chef Chris Whittaker’s seafood chowder swept the field at the Vancouver Aquarium’s hotly contested Ocean Wise Chowder Chowdown. The dish won again in 2013. And the creamy spot prawn chowder with crunchy, smoky pork rinds is still a firm favourite. The aquarium’s Ann-Marie Copping hails Whittaker as “truly, an active ambassador and great supporter of the Ocean Wise program, who was also instrumental in the organization of the immensely successful annual Spot Prawn Festival.” In sourcing, Whittaker leaves no stone unturned, buying line-caught wild salmon direct from fishers such as Pacific Provider, and using every part, from cheeks to fillets, bellies to bones. Whether octopus, oysters, scallops or halibut, all that enters the Forage chef’s kitchen is indisputably sustainable.

LES CLEFS D’OR CANADA SILVER SERVICE AWARD
Coast Restaurant
Few have their fingers as firmly on the pulse of city dining as do hotel concierges, who have bestowed the coveted Silver Service Award on this stylish, just-off-Robson, two-tiered seafood emporium. Go for the fish ’n’ chips, pan-roasted albacore tuna or surf ’n’ turf platter—and discover a room with true buzz upstairs and down. Hide away in a private corner or hang out at the downstairs circular bar or happenin’ O Lounge.

The stylish interior of Homer St. Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

The stylish interior of Homer St. Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

BEST NEW RESTAURANT
Homer St. Cafe and Bar
In heritage surroundings, below pressed-metal ceilings, wrapped in brass and polished marble, this smart brasserie wears a blend of traditional and nouveau. A classically inspired menu focuses on responsible sourcing and quality local ingredients. Top tastes include spice-rubbed rotisserie chicken, cornmeal-crusted pork loin with sunchokes and carrots, crostini with chick peas, and terrines, plus a smart wine list and tempting cocktails.

OTHER NOTABLE NEWCOMERS
Bestie
Burdock & Co.
The Cannibal Café
Chicha
Farmer’s Apprentice
The Fish Counter
GoodWolfe kitchen & bar
Grain Tasting Bar
Longtail Kitchen
Miku Restaurant (new location)
PiDGiN
Seventeen89
Tap & Barrel (second location)

Students practise their skills in Bistro 101, the school's restaurant, creating dishes such as halibut. (Photo: KK Law)

Students practise their skills in Bistro 101, the school’s restaurant, creating dishes such as halibut. (Photo: KK Law)

EDITOR’S CHOICE
Bistro 101
Granville Island’s best-kept “off-island” secret is a bastion of affordable West Coast good taste for a worthy cause. Student chefs and servers from the mothership Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts (PICA) surprise and delight in a relaxing waterside setting, with False Creek on one side and the training kitchen in plain view through a glass wall.

GREEN TABLE AWARD
Tap & Barrel
This newly landed casual haunt beside the Vancouver Convention Centre joins its sibling in Olympic Village. Both are Platinum-certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the benchmark for sustainably designed buildings. Each is equipped with state-of-the-art energy-efficient lighting and kitchen appliances, rainwater-flushed toilets and more. A cutting-edge wine-on-tap keg system not only offers diners plentiful by-the-glass choices of many better BC labels but also eliminates the delivery and disposal of tens of thousands of glass bottles every year.

The Green Table Award is conferred on a restaurant that promotes sustainability in food service at all levels of its operation, as determined by the organization’s executive.

Readers’ Choice

SEAFOOD
Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
This onetime-Yaletown-warehouse now dazzles with the freshest of marine cuisine—including, every February, less common “unsung” local tastes—in a bustling but cozy setting with polished service.
FINALISTS Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House; C Restaurant.

WEST COAST
Hawksworth Restaurant
Chef David Hawksworth’s namesake room is widely hailed as the downtown beacon of BC regional cuisine, yielding artfully executed plates and top-notch service with a sophisticated wine program to match.
FINALISTS LIFT Bar-Grill-View; Coast Restaurant.

STEAK
The Keg Steakhouse & Bar
This long-running West Coast restaurant group enjoys a reputation for consistency and value, with options ranging from New York to rib steak to filet mignon, as well as prime rib, plus a lively bar scene.
FINALISTS Gotham Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar; Black + Blue.

The Cactus Club Cafe in Coal Harbour boasts the most spectacular view in the city. (Photo: KK Law)

The Cactus Club Cafe in Coal Harbour boasts the most spectacular view in the city. (Photo: KK Law)

PATIO
Cactus Club Cafe
Right across from the Vancouver Convention Centre, this smartly modernist, always-happening emporium sports an all-glass ceiling-high wall that slides aside to bring the dramatic outside panorama indoors.
FINALISTS LIFT Bar-Grill-View; Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House.

ITALIAN
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca
“Nothing compares,” insist fans of Pino Posteraro’s destination Yaletown room, where the chef visits every table to oversee classics such as veal osso buco, brasato al barolo and scaloppine ai funghi.
FINALISTS CinCin Ristorante + Bar; Italian Kitchen.

FRENCH
Le Crocodile
Michel Jacob’s extraordinary, detail-driven Alsatian plates, from tarte à l’oignon to grilled veal medallions served with morel mushrooms and veal demi-glaze—not to mention flawless service—confirm Le Crocodile as the city’s French standard bearer.
FINALISTS Les Faux Bourgeois; Tableau Bar Bistro.

OTHER EUROPEAN
Chambar Restaurant
Steps from Queen Elizabeth Theatre and BC Place Stadium, this cozy red-brick room celebrates the best of Belgium, France and Morocco with tagine, moules frites, pan-seared sturgeon and spice-rubbed duck breast.
FINALISTS Takis’ Taverna; Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna.

The white Fazioli piano makes a striking centrepiece in Lobby Lounge and RawBar, in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. (Photo: KK Law)

The white Fazioli piano makes a striking centrepiece in Lobby Lounge and RawBar, in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. (Photo: KK Law)

HOTEL LOUNGE
Lobby Lounge and RawBar
The cocktails are superb and the stunning white Fazioli piano is rarely silent. But more than just a pretty place, this stylish lounge cossets with afternoon tea and the city’s first all-sustainable sushi bar.
FINALISTS Yew Seafood + Bar; Xi Shi Lounge.

HOTEL DINING
Yew Seafood + Bar
A communal table with a fireplace, sustainable seafood, dazzling raw bar, extensive cellar, cool cocktails and the city’s most public (i.e. glass-enclosed) private dining room combine to make this polished haunt a downtown destination.
FINALISTS Tableau Bar Bistro; Market by Jean-Georges.

CHINESE
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
Tannis Ling’s high-ceilinged room recalls the Chinatown of a century ago but her thoroughly modern small-plates menu revels in Humboldt squid, beef tartare, wok-charred octopus salad—and “kick-ass” house fried rice.
FINALISTS Kirin Restaurant; Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant.

JAPANESE
Tojo’s
Nobody has nurtured Vancouver’s love affair with sushi—and Japanese cuisine at large—more than master chef Hidekazu Tojo, whose Omakase belongs on every aficionado’s bucket list.
FINALISTS Guu; Sushi Station.

Vikram Vij serves his famous (and enduringly popular) lamb "popsicles" at Vij's Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

Vikram Vij serves his famous (and enduringly popular) lamb “popsicles” at Vij’s Restaurant. (Photo: KK Law)

INDIAN
Vij’s Restaurant
Always inventive, fanatical about technique and ingredients, Vikram Vij is hailed at home and abroad for reinventing Indian cuisine, with tastes like fenugreek lamb “popsicles” and grilled sablefish in tomato yogurt broth.
FINALISTS Maurya Indian Cuisine; Handi Cuisine of India.

OTHER ASIAN
Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine
Straits-cuisine specialists combine the best of Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Thailand, from laksa to chilli crab to Hainanese chicken, and serve it in a cheerful setting at five central locations.
FINALISTS Thai House Restaurant; Sura.

TAPAS
Bin 941
The city’s West Coast small-plates originator rules with inventive dishes, such as seared duck breast with goat cheese and pancetta, or “East West” crab cakes with burnt-orange chipotle sauce, sesame, bok choy and tobiko, served in sardine-esque surroundings.
FINALISTS La Bodega Restaurante & Tapa Bar; Espana.

BUDGET BITES
Eatery Sushi
Everyone from hungry UBC students to wallet-watching locals flocks to this lively Japanese-fusion haunt on the West Side for sushi creations of every kind, hot tunes from cool DJs and a generally fun time all round.
FINALISTS Meat & Bread; White Spot.

Pirate Pak with thin-crust pizza, veggies and fruit at White Spot. (Photo: KK Law)

Pirate Pak with thin-crust pizza, veggies and fruit at White Spot. (Photo: KK Law)

FAMILY FARE
White Spot
Founded in 1928, this former drive-in has evolved well beyond its famous burgers and Triple O sauce to all-day health-conscious plates for the entire family. Even BC Ferries serves the celebrated Pirate Pak—just for kids!
FINALISTS Milestones Grill + Bar; Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.

FOOD CART
Japadog
Novel food trucks draw daily line-ups for their Japanese-inspired hot dogs—from turkey with kimchee and black sesame to the signature Terimayo—with often-colourful service.
FINALISTS The Tacofino Commissary; Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck.

PUB FARE
Mahony & Sons
Wander down to the “point” below the Vancouver Convention Centre to discover multiple snugs and well-poured pints at this cheerful Irish salute, with Guinness and Harp on tap and a good pub menu to match.
FINALISTS Steamworks Brewing Company; The Irish Heather.

RICHMOND & AIRPORT DINING
Globe@YVR
From plane geeks to globetrotters between flights, everyone flocks to this smartly appointed lounge and restaurant right in the airport (near the US terminal) for stylish West Coast plates and a tableside view of taxiing jets.
FINALISTS Flying Beaver Bar & Grill; Milestones Grill + Bar.

Sweet Treats at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Sweet Treats at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

LAST COURSE
Thierry
Thierry Busset’s elegant nod to a traditional French cafe-patisserie is a veritable pastry-and-chocolate-lover’s dream, with macarons, handcrafted chocolates, pastries, cakes and even savouries, along with superb coffee, teas and spirits.
FINALISTS True Confections; Notte’s Bon Ton Pastry & Confectionery.

To see our Whistler winners, click here.

To vote for your favourite Vancouver and Whistler restaurants in our 2015 Where to Dine Awards, click here. You could win a fabulous prize package from Rocky Mountaineer and Nita Lake Lodge!