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Where to Eat Vancouver

Outdoor Eating

When the weather’s warm, there’s plenty to adore about the great outdoors. Savour the sunshine and dine alfresco with these options

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Mexican-themed fare at Tacofino. (Photo: KK Law)

Mexican-themed fare at Tacofino. (Photo: KK Law)

Creative Carts
Food carts are on a roll, with new four-wheeled eateries taking to the streets all the time. It’s a veritable moveable feast, featuring “à la cart” cuisines that hail from all corners of the globe. At the forefront of the street-food trend is Japadog, known for serving hot dogs trimmed with toppings such as bonito flakes, shredded seaweed or miso mayo to celebrities like Ice Cube, Anthony Bourdain and Mark Zuckerberg. Tacofino’s White Lightning makes waves with Baja-inspired tacos and burritos stuffed with crispy lingcod or pork al pastor, and brightened with salsa fresca, chipotle mayo and avocado. Chef Vikram Vij, famed for his trail-blazing bricks-and-mortar restaurants, makes crave-worthy Indian flavours mobile—try the butter chicken schnitzel, sold through the window of Vij’s Railway Express. (more…)

Sunday Seafood Boil at Boulevard

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Sample seafood at Boulevard's Sunday Seafood Boil

Sample seafood at Boulevard’s Sunday Seafood Boil

Tie one on—a bib, we mean—because things are about to get messy. Boulevard’s popular East Coast–inspired Sunday Seafood Boil Series returns for its second year, after proving to be a smashing success. A bounty of clams, crawfish, Dungeness crab and mussels are piled high on butcher’s paper and served family-style alongside corn on the cob, potatoes, bacon cornbread and blueberry pie. A glass of bubbly beforehand kicks off the nautical-themed feast. Grab a few friends and get crackin’, Aug. 14, 21 and 28.

Brunch Bliss at Jam Cafe

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Pulled-pork pancakes at Jam Cafe

Pulled-pork pancakes at Jam Cafe

The name may recall that most basic of breakfast ingredients, but trust us, Jam Cafe is anything but basic. Locals and visitors alike crowd into this all-day breakfast joint for the rustic, laid-back vibe and creative menu of down-home dishes. Hearty options abound, but you can’t go wrong with the blissfully indulgent red velvet pancakes drizzled in cream cheese icing, French toast adorned with crispy fried chicken and pickled cabbage, or pulled pork sandwiched between a pair of fluffy pancakes (pictured). Locally roasted coffee keeps patrons buzzing, but it’s the bacon-garnished Caesars that really have kick. Be sure to save a little room—they also serve lunch.

Shoreside Beach Bay Café

By SHERI RADFORD

Nova Scotia Lobster at Beach Bay Café

Nova Scotia Lobster at Beach Bay Café

In a city blessed with an abundance of great patios, the one at Beach Bay Café manages to stand out. It looks out over English Bay, with its sunbathers, swimmers, kayakers and stand-up paddle boarders. Just as impressive is what’s on the table: seafood such as Nova Scotia lobster (pictured) and prawn ceviche paired with summery cocktails. And if you can’t bear to be even a few metres away from the sand and ocean, the take-out window obliges with fish ’n’ chips and calamari, perfect for a seaside picnic.

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

Breakfast With the Bears

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Grizzlies Grinder and Coola frolic in their wildlife refuge. (Photo: Grouse Mountain)

Grizzlies Grinder and Coola frolic in their wildlife refuge. (Photo: Grouse Mountain)

For most, breakfast with bears brings to mind porridge that’s too hot or too cold. Not so at Grouse Mountain (to Oct. 9), where daily in summer, visitors can share a morning meal with orphaned grizzlies Grinder and Coola. Watch the bears’ morning feeding, learn fun facts from a wildlife ranger, then tuck into your own bear-themed breakfast, which includes smoked salmon and “bearioche” French toast. Now that’s a memorable meal.

Ice Cream Bars at Soft Peaks

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Ice cream bars at Soft Peaks come in fresh flavours like blueberry

Ice cream bars at Soft Peaks come in fresh flavours like blueberry

Let’s face it: everything tastes better on a stick. Soft Peaks, a soft-serve spot in the heart of Gastown, has churned its way into Vancouverites’ hearts with queue-generating organic ice cream topped with local honeycomb or yuzu marmalade. Now, the same soft serve can be found in handmade ice cream bars, which feature flavours like original (with just a hint of honey), blueberry and matcha. Enjoy it naked, or dunk it in syrup and toppings for a custom frozen treat that’s synonymous with summer.

Around the World

Satiate wanderlust with an array of globetrotting dishes and spa journeys—suitcase and passport not required

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Bao Bei's delectable edibles include charred octopus salad, poached braised chicken and  green beans with house-cured bacon. (Photo: KK Law)

Bao Bei’s delectable edibles include charred octopus salad, poached braised chicken and
green beans with house-cured bacon. (Photo: KK Law)

CHINA
Forget airports and security lines. Simply hop the elevator to the fifth floor to arrive at Chi, The Spa, a wood-panelled sanctuary that’s steeped in Eastern philosophy. Here, treatments are governed by chi, the universal life force that has guided traditional Chinese medicine for millennia. Inspired by the stretching methods of Chinese martial arts, the Wushu Massage treatment was created following study with a wushu master at the remote Wudang Mountain. First, guided stretching and breathing exercises open the body’s meridians. The stress release treatment is followed by tension-relieving muscle warming and Tai Chi massage. For the toxin-release treatment, bamboo assists in gentle stretches, then is rolled over muscles before a purifying oil massage. Serenity, found. (more…)

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…)