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Where to Eat Vancouver

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

The Must List: June

By SHERI RADFORD

An orca breaching in the wild. (Photo: ©Menno67/Dreamstime.com)

An orca breaching in the wild. (Photo: ©Menno67/Dreamstime.com)

1. Visit Grinder and Coola, Grouse Mountain’s resident grizzly bears.

2. Cheer on the Vancouver Whitecaps at a home game.

3. Travel by mini ferry to Granville Island, then browse for fresh produce and artisan crafts in the Granville Island Public Market. (more…)

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

A Taste of the Orient at Panda Market

By SHERI RADFORD

Find Asian flavours at Panda Market. (Photo: KK Law)

At Panda Market, food stalls sell plenty of Asian-inspired fare. (Photo: KK Law)

If you’re craving the flavours of Asia, pull on some stretchy pants and head to the Panda Market (to Sep. 11, 2016) for an evening of sipping, tasting, nibbling and munching. This night market in Richmond is the closest you can get to an Asian street market without boarding a plane. Enjoy the ever-changing roster of live entertainment while browsing for jewellery, cellphone accessories, colourful socks, fleece blankets and more. The best part? No passport required.

Oscar-Worthy Theatre

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

VIPTheatre

Cineplex Theatres have raised the movie-experience bar

Prefer a glass of pinot with your popcorn? Then raise a glass to the newly launched Cineplex VIP Cinemas at Marine Gateway. The second-floor, VIP theatre serves up a menu of classic movie snacks, as well as full-on entrées and appetizers. Indulge in crispy calamari, artisanal cheeses or burgers in the modern lounge and patio, or have your meal delivered right to the plush, recliner-style seats. Wine and cocktails round out the swish adults-only experience. It’s dinner and a movie, in red-carpet style.

Hook, Line & Sinker: ‘ONO Raw Bar

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

'ONO Raw Bar | Kalu Interiors

Settle in at the bar for the chef’s tasting menu

There’s no shortage of sushi here, but Vancouverites are always on the lookout for the next raw-fish fix. ‘ONO Raw Bar, and its mix of East-meets-West flavours, recently dropped anchor in Gastown. Belly up to the bar for the Omakase (chef’s choice) menu, and watch chefs slice and prepare fresh fish that’s flown in daily. Or snag a table to sample share plates such as octopus carpaccio, served alongside classic rolls and delicate sashimi. Sushi cravings? Consider them crushed.

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)

2016 Where to Dine Awards: Vancouver

By TIM PAWSEY

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Beef chow mein, at Torafuku. (Photo: KK Law)

Welcome to Where’s 20th annual celebration of Vancouver’s remarkable dining scene. In just a couple of decades the city has blossomed into a culinary crossroads, a melting pot of myriad flavours, unbridled talents and influences that now shape a global destination. Our chefs, servers, sommeliers, growers, fishers, farmers and vintners share in a culture driven by sustainable, regional and seasonal sourcing—in the firm belief that the best is still to come. (more…)

Leadership Award: Rob Feenie

By TIM PAWSEY

Feenie

Cactus Club Cafe’s Chef Rob Feenie

Ask Rob Feenie where he’s going to be next week, and chances are he’ll mention anywhere but Vancouver. Recently, the team at Cactus Club Cafe has opened numerous locations across the West, as well as a new flagship in Toronto. Since leaving his much-celebrated Lumière and joining Cactus Club as executive chef, Feenie has helped shape Vancouver’s culinary culture in ways that most could never have imagined.

Feenie works with every chef in the group on a regular basis, to develop skills and techniques across the board. “My relationship is directly with the chefs who run the restaurants,” he says. In particular they focus on items for Feenie’s Feature Sheet, which is introducing West Coast Ocean Wise ingredients such as sablefish, albacore tuna, ling cod, Lois Lake steelhead trout and even Northern Divine caviar to Canadians across the country. The chef imprinted much of his personal style to help Cactus Club win West Coast hearts. “But who would have thought sous-vide duck confit would become a Cactus Club staple?” he says with a laugh.

Ask Feenie which of the chefs who’ve passed through his kitchens continue to impress, and he’ll rattle off a list of Vancouver luminaries, as well as numerous up-and-comers.

Where salutes chef Rob Feenie for his vision and leadership, and for the indelible mark he’s made on Vancouver’s—and Canada’s—food culture.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

East Side Italian: Osteria Savio Volpe

By TIM PAWSEY

Osteria Savio Volpe dishes up grilled squid with endives. (Photo: KK Law)

Osteria Savio Volpe dishes up grilled squid with endives. (Photo: KK Law)

A short hop from downtown, newly landed Osteria Savio Volpe is already a hit. Locals pack in below the soaring ceiling for rustic, seasonal flavours. Black kale and pecorino marry with zesty lemon pepper dressing for a deliciously healthy salad, while bagna càuda brings vegetables and bread together for hot anchovy and garlic “fondue.” A wood-fired half chicken is appealingly singed. Wines are smart, and the service informed and genuinely friendly. Best to go very early, as the spot is always bustling.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com