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Where to Eat Vancouver

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

Top Spots for Xiao Long Bao

By TIM PAWSEY

Shanghai-style soup dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao, at Lin Chinese. (Photo: KK Law)

Shanghai-style soup dumplings, or Xiao Long Bao, at Lin Chinese. (Photo: KK Law)

The culinary cognoscenti flock to Lin Chinese Cuisine to savour superb Shanghai-style dumplings: Xiao Long Bao, little packets of pork, are handmade daily. Served in a bamboo steamer, they yield a flood of warm broth in a juicy explosion of flavours. Other mainstays include tea-smoked duck, lemon chicken, and spicy wontons with peanut and garlic sauce. Find more XLB at Dinesty, Long’s Noodle House and Peaceful Restaurant.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

10 Places to Indulge in the West End

By TIM PAWSEY

Burrata with prosciutto,  at Nook. (Photo: KK Law)

Burrata with prosciutto, at Nook. (Photo: KK Law)

Home to a wealth of small restaurants, the West End revels in myriad flavours. Along Davie Street, upstairs Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen offers subtly spiced Tibetan and Nepalese plates, from soups to curries to momos (steamed or pan-fried dumplings packed with chicken, vegetables or yak). Nearby Kadoya rolls out some of the most inventive sushi in the city, while just off Burrard, tiny and perfect wine bar Latab matches small plates with a unique list of natural wines. (more…)

Sweet & Savoury: Thierry

By TIM PAWSEY

Quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon and mushrooms, at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Quiche Lorraine with thick-cut bacon and mushrooms, at Thierry. (Photo: KK Law)

Polished and sophisticated, Thierry enjoys a well-earned rep for its seductive smorgasbord of sweet treats. Regulars at Thierry Busset’s Parisian-styled cafe and patisserie also indulge in tempting sandwiches, created by chef Quang Dang of West Restaurant. Made with bread baked fresh daily in-house, faves range from tuna Niçoise with sherry dijon dressing to avocado and mozzarella with lemon aioli, plus a selection of quiches—including, of course, quiche Lorraine.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Vij’s Redux

By TIM PAWSEY

Vikram Vij relaxes in the  new, expanded restaurant  on Cambie Street. (Photo: KK Law)

Vikram Vij relaxes in the new, expanded restaurant on Cambie Street. (Photo: KK Law)

The man who transformed the face of Indian cuisine, Vikram Vij has upped stakes for Cambie Village, several blocks east of his South Granville room. The dazzling larger space sports a jewellery box–inspired decor, sparklingly elegant but far from fussy. Most of the classics for which Vij’s is famous have made the trip. They range from beef short ribs in cinnamon and red wine curry to rainbow trout in coconut and fenugreek masala, not to mention the legendary lamb “popsicles” in fenugreek cream curry, on turmeric and spinach potatoes. Another constant: Vikram himself, most often with welcoming chai in hand.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com

Macaron Day at Faubourg

By JILL VON SPRECKEN

Delicious macarons from Faubourg

Delicious macarons at Faubourg

If any dessert deserves to be celebrated, it’s the confetti-coloured macaron. On Mar. 20, bakeries do just that, at Vancouver’s fifth-annual Macaron Day. Need another reason to indulge? Faubourg will match the $1 price of each mini-confection sold and donate all proceeds to the BC Cancer Foundation. With flavours ranging from raspberry rose to salted butter caramel, it’s truly a sweet deal.

The Must List

Your must-do activities and must-see attractions for March and April 2016

By SHERI RADFORD

Cherry blossoms turning the city pink. (Photo: Coast Mountain Photography/Tourism Vancouver)

Cherry blossoms turning the city pink. (Photo: Coast Mountain Photography/Tourism Vancouver)

Visit the belugas, dolphins, penguins and turtles at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Lace up your shoes and join 50,000 other walkers, joggers, runners and wheelchair racers for the Vancouver Sun Run (Apr. 17), Canada’s largest 10K road race—or just cheer from the sidelines.

Eat sushi.

Dress in green for St. Patrick’s Day (Mar. 17), and join in all the CelticFest activities (Mar. 10 to 17).

Take a yoga class.

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

Buy an umbrella, because you’re bound to need one at this rainy time of year.

Fill your camera with images of local landmarks such as the Gastown Steam Clock, Canada Place, Olympic Cauldron, Digital Orca, Inukshuk and A-maze-ing Laughter.

Explore a whole menagerie of plastinated creatures at Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out, running to Mar. 28 at Science World.

Clip-clop around Vancouver’s favourite green space with Stanley Park Horse-Drawn Tours, and make sure to snap a photo of the totem poles.

Go skiing on one of the local mountains or at nearby Whistler.

Enjoy a coffee while visiting all the friendly felines at Catfé, Vancouver’s first cat cafe.

Cross the swaying Capilano Suspension Bridge.

Attend a performance of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Go for a stroll—or, if you’re feeling energetic, a run or a bike ride—along the seawall.

Spend some quality time in an off-leash dog park, watching all the joyful canine antics.

Take the kids for a ride on the Easter Train in Stanley Park.

Bounce on the famous sprung dance floor of the Commodore Ballroom.

Snap a selfie with cherry blossoms in the background.

Cheer on the Vancouver Canucks or the Vancouver Whitecaps at a home game.

Romantic Retreat

By TIM PAWSEY

Tagliatelle with truffles, at La Terrazza. (Photo: KK Law)

Tagliatelle with truffles, at La Terrazza. (Photo: KK Law)

The mood at Yaletown’s La Terrazza is unapologetically romantic, with an elegant lounge and dining room wrapped in frescoes and swag curtains under soaring ceilings. Lovebirds book in for classic and contemporary Italian fare ranging from grilled beef tenderloin to veal cheek with ravioli alla parmigiana to slow-braised ossobuco with pancetta tomato ragù and creamy mascarpone polenta.

For more by Tim Pawsey, visit hiredbelly.com