Vancouver's restaurant scene is one of the best on the west coast. Local food focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients and blends together the European and Asian influences in Vancouver's culture. Almost any type of international food can be found in Vancouver at amazingly high quality.
Here are my favorite restaurants:
1480 W. 11th Ave, Vancouver. (604) 736-6664 (Granville Slope)
This Indian/fusion restaurant ranks high on the list of reasons I head to Vancouver every few months. The food is creative and updated while maintaining a deep respect for traditional Indian ingredients and cooking techniques. Dishes like Garam Masala curried chicken liver pate, Duck breast and brown basmati rice pilaf in garlic and fenugreek seed curry and Wine marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry will make you glad you waited for a table. Ginger lovers should not miss the ginger lemon drink. The environment is hip, and with Vancouver becoming a popular city for movie shoots, you never know who you'll see dining there. Dinner only. Reservations not accepted.
Can't wait for Vij's? Only in town for lunch? Want to take some of that delicious Vij's experience home with you? Open from 11am to 8pm next door to Vij's, this casual spot has frozen entrees and starters to go as well as a selection of casual dishes you can eat on the spot. Don't miss Vij's excellent candies with cardamom.
Sun Sui Wah
3888 Main Street, near 23rd Avenue; (604) 872-8822
Chinese food in general and dim sum in particular are particularly competitive in Vancouver and nearby Richmond. Sun Sui Wah has managed to be among the best restaurants in town for years. I was amazed not only by the sheer variety and number of dishes available, but also the quality. Barbequed pork in pastry was moist and almost buttery, shu-mai were packed with flavor, and after a valiant effort, I feel like I've sampled a mere 5 to 10 percent of the available options. Desserts too are well suited for western tastes. My favorite is the tapioca custard with pastry top. Open every day for lunch and dinner, reservations accepted.
2551 West Broadway, Vancouver. (604) 739-8185
Lumière has become a destination restaurant for food groupies. The food is best described as French inspired northwest food. Food is delicate and highlights the fresh seasonal ingredients. Try the Herb-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Chanterelles or go all out and order the chef's tasting menu. Feenies next door also offers excellent food and a more casual atmosphere. Reservations well in advance.
777 West Broadway, Vancouver. (604) 872 8050
This Japanese restaurant is one of the best on the west coast. Taking advantage of the bounty of fresh seafood in Vancouver, Tojo prepares delicious traditional sushi, creative rolls, and amazing price-fix menus. Everything on the menu is great - but if you're willing to put yourself in the hands of the chef, it's well worth ordering one of the price-fix menus (order ahead). Tojo's Tuna Tataki is a special favorite. Reservations essential.
Blue Water Cafe and
1095 Hamilton Street, Vancouver. (604) 688-8078
This Yaletown restaurant has a lovely outdoor seating area. Creative sushi and Japanese inspired cooked dishes are delicious and will delight even those who do not like traditional Japanese food. Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Umami Tapas & Wine Bar
572 Davie St., (604) 696-9563
Umami in Japanese is the fifth taste - best described in English as "earthyness." It's an apt description for this restaurant which combines ingredients in new ways and pairs them perfectly with wine to make wonderful flavors in your mouth. The fact that Umami is new on the restaurant scene doesn't keep it from being packed - arrive early or make a reservation. Dinner 7 nights.
791 W. Georgia St., Vancouver, (604) 844-6715
Inside the four seasons hotel, Chartwell has a convenient location for a fancy lunch break if you're shopping in downtown Vancouver. The quiet formal environment is matched by delicate pacific northwest inspired cuisine. The menu changes seasonally, but lamb dishes are especially good as is seafood (no lunch Saturday).
2551 W. Broadway (604) 739-7115
Thomas Haas Fine
Chocolates and Patisserie
998 Harbourside Dr. 604/924-1847
Haas is a former pastry chef at Daniel in New York. His pastry shop offers delicious chocolates (try the Indian spiced chocolates made especially for Vij's) or take home some freezer cookies to bake in your own oven.
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