Here’s part deux of my curated list of places to eat and drink in Vancouver right now — just in time for all those holiday parties. If you missed part 1, you may want to read it first. I’ll wait.
Don’t take my word for it, the long lineups at Café Medina speak for themselves. You can’t go wrong with Chef Jonathan Chovancek’s rustic Mediterranean inspired dishes such as the Harissa Burger, and Fricassee Champignon (vegetarian and gluten-free). They’ve recently moved to a bigger, brighter space but the food is just as delicious. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, Café Medina is famous for their Belgian waffles with countless toppings such as this Bluberry, Sumac and Juniper Preserve, not to mention their lavender lattes. The only downside? The lineups!
** Just got word that this popular brunch spot is available evenings for private functions.
*** If you’re looking do something special this holiday season, how about a waffle brunch. You’ll want to read these tips for making perfect waffles from Chef Jonathan before you do.
These two spots, specializing in modern Japanese cuisine, are the latest additions to Vancouver’s Gastown. Shirakawa, popular chain of brasserie in Japan, has recently opened their first North American spot in Vancouver. They are the only place in town serving high- end kuroge wagyu beef from Japan. If that’s out of your price range, opt for wagyu beef sushi or the fried hamburger on grilled Japanese milk bread – very tasty.
Gyoza and Ramen are two of my favourite dishes so it’s not surprising that I loved this place. Dubbed as Vancouver’s first “Gyoza Bar,” the food is great, the ambiance is casual and convivial. In short: this is my kind of joint. Be sure to order one of their signatures dishes — teppan gyoza or kaisen tomato ramen – I tried both. Deelish!
One part lifestyle boutique, one part restaurant, I can so imagine Lady Gaga eating and shopping at this concept boutique/eatery. Chef Jefferson Alvarez serves up an ambitious five -course discovery menu each night for those who want something extraordinary. Comfort food, this ain’t, but if it’s creativity, imagination and boldness you crave, this place is it. There aren’t many places in Canada serving sturgeon marrow you know? (bottom pix)
This much anticipated new restaurant that recently opened in the iconic Sutton Place Hotel – lives up to the hype. It’s hard to miss with Executive Chef Alex Chen at the helm (previously of the legendary Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel). Boulevard’s seafood-focused menu is grounded in classical technique but Chef Chen isn’t afraid to experiment. Start with an order of the crispy chicken will with fish sauce caramel, sambal chilli pickled vegetables, not to mention the obligatory seafood tower – amazing. You may be inspired to try these recipes at home: Boulevard’s Bouillabaisse and Citrus-Cured Hamachi with Hearts of Palm.
You can’t get more local and sustainable than Forage. Chef Chris Whittaker serves up casual, comfortable and affordable dishes, celebrating all things BC. The menu is locally focused in both food and beverage. He makes a point of using cuts that’s often overlooked — like this recipe for Kasu Salmon Collars — sustainability at its most delicious.
7. Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge
You can’t come to Vancouver and not have sushi and Raw Bar at the Lobby Lounge inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel is a superb choice. Canada’s first 100% Ocean Wise sushi restaurant, Sushi Chef Takayuki Omi’s passion for sushi and sustainability is inspiring. Chef Jonathan from Café Medina said it was his favourite place in the city for sushi. And I think it’s mine too. Not everyone wants to make sushi at home so we got this Manila Clam and Smoked Bacon Sakamushi recipe for you to try.
Kick back and enjoy a delicious cocktail all the while enjoying the live music played on the white Fazioli piano, the Ferrari in the world of pianos.
If you’re in the mood for after-dinner treat, walk over to Bella Gelateria (conveniently connected to the Fairmont Pacific Rim) for award-winning, handcrafted old world gelatos and sorbettos. In 2012, owner James Coleridge won both the public choice award and the judge’s award at the Firenze Gelato Festival with his Pecan and Canadian Maple Syrup.