By Tim Pawsey
Where’s annual salute to the brightest and best serves as a fitting culinary snapshot of Vancouver, a worthy reminder from well-travelled voting visitors as to just how blessed this city is by such diversity. Our vibrant multicultural culinary scene is fuelled increasingly by local year-round ingredients and flourishing artisan producers. Congratulations to all our winners and finalists! (more…)
By Tim Pawsey
Readers’ Choice: Whistler
Take the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to discover Whistler, a year-round resort that still sports plenty of post–Winter Games vibes, not to mention an abundance of great tastes, from fine dining to funky pubs to cool après-ski hang-outs.
Bronx Burger with beer-battered onion rings, at Earls. Photo courtesy Earls
[RELATED: See last year's Where to Dine Winners]
4222 Village Square, Whistler.
Bearfoot Bistro; Rimrock Cafe.
220-4295 Blackcomb Way, Whistler.
The Keg Steakhouse & Bar; 21 Steps Kitchen & Bar.
The Old Spaghetti Factory
4154 Village Green at Crystal Lodge, Whistler. 604-938-1081.
Earls; Milestones Grill & Bar.
Garibaldi Lift Company
4165 Springs Lane, Whistler.
Longhorn Saloon & Grill; Dusty’s Bar & BBQ.
To see our Vancouver winners, please click here.
To vote for your favourite Vancouver and Whistler restaurants in our 2014 Where to Dine Awards, click here. You could win a fabulous prize package from Rocky Mountaineer and Nita Lake Lodge!
By TIM PAWSEY
Jean-Francis Quaglia of TWB—The Wine Bar (Photo: KK Law)
Order a glass of wine these days and chances are it will come from a keg, not a bottle, as more producers and restaurants opt for the environmentally friendly alternative to glass. (more…)
Ocean Wise fish ‘n’ chips at UpStream Café. Photo by KK Law
Nobody has been more proactive than the Vancouver Aquarium in educating diners (and chefs) about the need to eat only sustainable species. True to its own Ocean Wise program, the Stanley Park marine institution’s UpStream Café serves up tastes such as tuna melt and locally caught cod for fish ’n’ chips. Not only that but all plates, cups and cutlery are 100 percent compostable and packaging is kept to a minimum. Other aquatically responsible advocates include Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Zen Japanese Restaurant and Coast Restaurant.—Tim Pawsey
“Oyster Bob” and a selection of oysters at Joe Fortes. Photo by KK Law
Although BC boasts succulent Dungeness crab, superb sablefish and sweet-meated scallops, oysters are among the freshest and most readily available year-round seafood. And “buck a shuck” is a popular after-work pastime. One of the more popular spots, Joe Fortes has no shortage of the likes of Kusshi, Ship’s Point, Chef Creek, Sinku and Effingham, as does Rodney’s Oyster House and Chinatown’s Oyster Express, to mention just a few.—Tim Pawsey
John Bishop. Photo by KK Law
Even before Alisa Smith and J. B. MacKinnon penned The 100-Mile Diet, BC was a hotbed of locally focused dining. Here’s where to savour sustainably.
John Bishop was sourcing organically when most Vancouverites still regarded Alberta beef as a “local” delicacy. Widely hailed as the grandfather of regional cuisine, he conjures understated plates, brought with intuitive service in his intimate West Side restaurant.
• Bishop’s, 2183 W. 4th Ave., 604-738-2025, bishopsonline.com
• Map and reviews
See the rest of our list of Vancouver restaurants for sustainable dining »
Chef Ilya Ford-Ruckle of Merchant’s Oyster Bar on Commercial Drive. Photo by KK Law
Recently unveiled Merchant’s Oyster Bar (pictured) delivers friendly West Coast fare with an element of flair in a relaxed setting. A varied, extensive menu includes well-thought-out specials on the chalkboard. Go for the numerous varieties of fresh oysters on the half shell, but stay for the butter-poached, sous vide, flat iron steak; rarely found bison tartare; or chorizo-cured scallops. “The Drive” (Commercial Drive) yields myriad other choices as well. Find a huge range of good craft brews at St. Augustine’s Pub; savour a slice of traditional coffee culture at Cafe Calabria; take in a soccer game with the locals at Caffé Roma; grab a burger at funky Timbre Restaurant; or match up inventive tapas with superb Belgian brews at Biercraft Tap and Tapas. No question: Commercial Drive has something for everyone.—Tim Pawsey
Last year’s Where to Dine Awards recognized some of our fair city’s most exceptional eateries. Among the recipients: renowned restaurateur Bud Kanke, upscale Hawksworth Restaurant, budget-friendly Japadog and buzz-worthy Chambar. Find all the finalists and runner-ups from last year’s event here. Pick up our May issue to see the 2013 Where to Dine Awards.
Sean Heather demonstrates a perfect pour at his pub The Irish Heather. Photo by KK Law
A plethora of Irish pubs means Vancouver celebrates St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17) year-round.
- The Irish Heather Gastown hang-out with authentic food and well-poured Guinness (pictured). Don’t miss Shebeen Whisk(e)y House in back.
- Doolin’s Lively downtown Celtic spot, just off Granville, with no shortage of cozy nooks and crannies. CelticFest activities Mar. 13 to 17 yield endless entertainment.
- Ceili’s Renowned party places, on Granville and in Kitsilano, with a wide variety of brews from every corner of the globe.
- The Blarney Stone Another Gastown original sporting a friendly vibe and line-up of excellent live bands.
- Mahony & Sons Expansive pub at Burrard Landing (by the Vancouver Convention Centre West) offering solid pub fare—and CelticFest (Mar. 9 to 17).—Tim Pawsey
Sablefish with Malaysian chilli sauce at Market. Photo by KK Law
Tucked away above the bustle of Alberni Street, Market by Jean-Georges offers a chance to experience Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s cuisine in a sophisticated, deliberately understated setting that plays in harmony with the cuisine that often blends eastern and western influences. Highlights range from roasted sablefish with scallion chilli compote to soy-glazed short ribs with apple-jalapeño purée, and an inspired five-course chef’s tasting menu. For more casual bites and artful cocktails, drop by refined Xi Shi Lounge, just next door.—Tim Pawsey
Meat & Bread photo by KK Law
There’s no need to eat alone in a town in love with communal tables—and, often as not, family-style fare to go along.
- Meat & Bread Go for the acclaimed fresh sandwiches prepared à la minute from the carvery. Two locations, one word: porchetta (pictured).
- Yew This giant table carved from a single slab of maple is a popular hang-out to sample Four Seasons chef Ned Bell’s stylish seafood.
- Two Chefs and a Table This unlikely tucked-away-but-worthy cafe in Railtown often hosts winemaker dinners.
- The Irish Heather Check into their long-table evenings and you’ll be eating like a local in no time, drinking Guinness and possibly telling tall tales.
- The Refinery Find creative cocktails, artisan cheese and charcuterie, tapas, and tasty share platters in a funky, almost-all-recycled, cozy upstairs setting.—Tim Pawsey
Don’t-miss dish: “canned” tuna. Photo by KK Law
It was barely a couple of days before Top Chef Canada finalist Trevor Bird’s revival of a shuttered Kitsilano spot into vibrant farm-focused Fable Kitchen became a Vancouver hotspot. What makes it tick? Short answer: just about everything, from Bird’s concise but varied menu of responsibly sourced ingredients to the well-drilled team in the open kitchen and beyond. Our faves range from “canned” tuna to potato-crusted chicken to a show-stopping cooked-rare tender duck breast to flat-iron steak with black pepper jam—plus sidekick Curtis Luk’s superb desserts. Best place to take in the action? The end seat at the open kitchen bar—right where the chef assembles and checks each plate before it goes to the table, calls for service and generally runs the show. And even finds time to chat.—Tim Pawsey