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Tim Pawsey

French Fare at Tableau Bar Bistro

By TIM PAWSEY

Niçoise salad (front left) and steak frites at Tableau Bar Bistro. (Photo: KK Law)

Niçoise salad (front left) and steak frites at Tableau Bar Bistro. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked away beside the Loden Hotel, Tableau Bar Bistro delivers French cuisine in a relaxed but polished setting. The menu shifts seasonally, but some stalwarts always prevail, such as grilled flat iron steak frites, free-range chicken supreme, moules frites and albacore tuna niçoise, as well as irresistible mushrooms on toast. For dessert: coconut crème brûlée, chocolate mousse and other surprises. Wines are smartly chosen, cocktails are classic, and brews range from local on tap to specialty French and Belgian.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Terrific Thai

By TIM PAWSEY

Chu-chee salmon at U & I Thai. (Photo: KK Law)

Chu-chee salmon at U & I Thai. (Photo: KK Law)

Cleverly monikered U & I Thai stands for Ui Ratsomjit, who calls on her upbringing and experience running a food cart in Bangkok to offer authentic dishes using fresh local ingredients. Friendly servers in traditional costumes bring mainstays ranging from green papaya salad to stuffed chicken wings to pad thai with prawns and satays, plus coconut with crème brûlée for dessert.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

4 Oyster Emporiums

By TIM PAWSEY

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar. (Photo: KK Law)

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar has something for every bivalve enthusiast. (Photo: KK Law)

The city celebrates the first of the “R” months in style.

1. Fanny Bay Oyster Bar This just-launched tide-to-table room brings in several kinds of fresh oysters and more from pristine local waters. Go for the salmon burger, hangtown fry or battered lingcod, but don’t miss the daily buck-a-shuck: 12 for $12, from 3 to 6 p.m. (more…)

Contemporary Cuisine in Chinatown

By TIM PAWSEY

The charcuterie board at Juniper is brimming with bison peppercorn salami, chicken liver parfait, pickles and more. (Photo: KK Law)

The charcuterie board at Juniper brims with bison peppercorn salami, chicken liver parfait, pickles and more. (Photo: KK Law)

One of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods, Chinatown is home to a clutch of edgy restos. Juniper celebrates all things Cascadian, such as Salish Sea mussels, seared black cod with sungolds, Fraser Valley pork chops with cheesy polenta and bean succotash, and a BC cheese board with local honey. Cocktails, too, are inventive, from variations on classics made with BC gins to the lemon-and-ginger-toned Wing Sang whisky sour. Wander by Sai Woo for casual contemporary Asian bites matched with smart sips in a dramatically refurbished 1930s chop suey house. Or, head to bustling Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie for crossover Sichuan and Shanghai small plates, and more good cocktails.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Hawksworth Redux: Nightingale

By TIM PAWSEY

Heirloom tomato salad with cucumber and eggplant (front) and Pacific octopus (back), at Nightingale

Heirloom tomato salad with cucumber and eggplant (front) and Pacific octopus (back), at Nightingale. (Photo: KK Law)

Nightingale, the much-anticipated room from culinary virtuoso David Hawksworth, has opened in the artfully renovated former premises of the historic University Club. The reincarnated heritage space features a lively lower-level lounge below soaring ceilings, with the expansive dining area upstairs. The mood is casually elegant, and the seasonal menu salutes all things Canadian. Perfect share dishes roam from wild spring salmon ceviche with radish and quinoa to grilled pork belly with nectarine and pistachio. Another highlight is the savoury maitake mushroom, which arrives with pecorino, brown butter and hazelnut, while desserts include a seriously addictive pot de crème. Best foodie seats in the house: a clutch of high-tops right across from the open kitchen—unless you already have an invitation to the chef’s table.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

West End Find: La Brasserie

By TIM PAWSEY

The Brasserie Burger. (Photo: KK Law)

The Brasserie Burger. (Photo: KK Law)

In the heart of colourful Davie Village, cozy and compact La Brasserie salutes Franco-German tastes with a weekend brunch of chicken Mornay crêpes, suckling pig with poached eggs, and lamb-cheek sliders. Daily fare yields moules-frites, pan-seared halibut and beer-brined rotisserie chicken. Not for the faint of heart, the Brasserie burger (pictured) teeters, with ground hanger steak, cheddar, bacon and crispy onion, plus truffle aioli. Drinks range from French wines to cava to good beers on tap, plus serious Caesars spiced up with horseradish and a pickled bean. Perfect before or after a trip to nearby English Bay.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Terrific Teutonic: Bauhaus

By TIM PAWSEY

Bauhaus. (Photo: KK Law)

The beautiful space at Bauhaus. (Photo: KK Law)

Housed in an impressively restored 1890s Gastown heritage building, Bauhaus is definitely stylin’ and elegant. But it’s chef Stefan Hartmann’s contemporary German cuisine that’s turning heads. The affable chef, former owner of Berlin’s Michelin-one-star Hartmanns, delights with unbridled creativity and impeccably sourced seasonal ingredients. Choices range from classic wiener schnitzel, rib-eye steak or spaëtzle to more modern house-smoked mackerel with apple horseradish. For the full experience, opt for the chef’s tasting menu, smartly paired with wines from a discriminating list, including an excellent selection of German Riesling.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

5 Finny Faves

By TIM PAWSEY

Fish Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Fish Cafe. (Photo: KK Law)

Truly a seafood-lover’s paradise, Vancouver boasts an abundance of marine cuisine. But for purists it’s ultimately about the fish ’n’ chips.

1. Fish Café Combine a visit to leafy Kerrisdale with super-fresh halibut and chips, blackened salmon salad or daily blackboard specials.

2. Go Fish On the seawall just west of Granville Island, this all-outdoors eatery serves fish ’n’ chips, tacos and plenty more, right by the dock, against a city backdrop.

3. The Fish Counter Main Street’s Ocean Wise–certified fishmonger, which doubles as a tiny diner, serves wicked fish ’n’ chips, plus oyster po’boys, lingcod and more.

4. Tony’s Fish and Oyster Cafe On Granville Island, drop by this compact spot for your pick of cod, salmon or halibut, served with Kennebec fries and homemade tartar sauce.

5. Pajo’s Wild-caught salmon, halibut and cod are served on a floating dock beside the fishing boats at Steveston Wharf. Also find a kids’ menu, burgers and more. Additional locations in Richmond, Port Moody and Port Coquitlam.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Cabrito: Tapas With a Twist

By TIM PAWSEY

Alexandre Carriere dishes up an array of tapas dishes at Cabrito. (Photo: KK Law)

Alexandre Carriere dishes up an array of tapas dishes at Cabrito. (Photo: KK Law)

Hailed for myriad cuisines, Commercial Drive is home to Cabrito, which combines cutting-edge contemporary tapas with traditional tastes. Designed by owner-chef Alexandre Carriere, whose French heritage detoured for a stint in Spain, the menu can be playfully inventive, with fresh beet tartare and quail’s egg, or more classical inclined, with the likes of roasted Basque chorizo, enthusiastically garlicked prawns and smoky patatas bravas. The repurposed coffee shop sports a gently industrial feel, with an exposed ceiling and wide-opening “garage door” in front, complemented by warm wood tables. Wines are dutifully Spanish, including a smart collection of sherries—perfect for pairing and a summertime “Salud!”

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Top-Notch Eateries in Trendy Kitsilano

By TIM PAWSEY

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro has plenty of tempting choices

The Oakwood Canadian Bistro has plenty of tempting choices. (Photo: KK Law)

Just across the Burrard Bridge from downtown, Kitsilano offers a wealth of dining choices that reflect the neighbourhood’s trendy personality and scenic setting. West off Burrard on 4th Avenue, savour wood-fired Neapolitan pizza and other Italian classics at Bibo Pizzeria con Cucina. Cutting-edge MaenamVancouver Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year 2016—delights with contemporary Thai flavours. Next door, Fable takes farm-to-table to new heights, with “canned tuna” and smoked duck. Very polished Bistro Pastis yields classic French fare in an elegant setting, while Au Comptoir sports a more casual style. (more…)

Izakaya Redux at ShuRaku

By TIM PAWSEY

Sample sashimi and sushi at ShuRaku. (Photo: KK Law)

Sample sashimi and sushi at ShuRaku. (Photo: KK Law)

In a city with more than its share of good Japanese dining, ShuRaku stands apart for its vibrant Asian flavours complemented by a superb sake selection. An impressive 40-foot grainy maple bar rules, perfect for sampling a wide range of styles, from Ginjo to Junmai. On the menu: traditional and contemporary fare, from sushi, sashimi and signature rolls, such as real crab California, to beef tataki, short ribs, tuna three ways and assorted tempura.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Coastal Cornucopia at The Sandbar

By TIM PAWSEY

The Sandbar boasts spectacular views of False Creek. (Photo: KK Law)

The Sandbar boasts spectacular views of False Creek. (Photo: KK Law)

Tucked beneath the girders of the Granville Street Bridge, The Sandbar celebrates West Coast seafood in a modern salute to Granville Island’s industrial past. A spacious two-tier waterside dining room and expansive upstairs patio (with fireplaces) offer sweeping views of False Creek and the city. Ocean Wise choices abound on the menu, in addition to a wide choice of sushi. Tastes roam from Dungeness crab cakes, fried oysters and wok-charred tuna to alder-grilled salmon and seafood towers, plus burgers (both salmon and beef) and sirloin steaks, for committed carnivores. The mood is always upbeat, with live entertainment nightly.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com