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Where to Eat Vancouver

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…)

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.