Essential Vancouver restaurants?
Visiting Vancouver for the first time (from Boston) on holiday in a couple of weeks, and wondered if local 'hounds could suggest their favorite-ever restaurants at two levels:
* High-end, for a wedding anniversary dinner, something elegant (extravagant is okay), ideally a bit dressy/formal, and certainly creative/innovative (no steakhouses or super-traditional French places, for example).
* Several mid-priced places that are 'houndish finds, the kind that hotel concierges are too dim or graft-driven to ever recommend. Given the SO's seafood allergy, we probably will avoid places that specialize in seafood, like sushi restaurants.
I agree with JWH. I was there just once about a year ago, and now whenever I visit Vancouver(2-3 X / year) I skip the place. Had some of their mussels. WAY too much watery broth. The tagine was sub par. The venison tartare with quail egg was good though. I'm sure they have changed the menu since, but I understand they keep the standard fare - mussels, tagine etc. I want them to be great too, but my experience wasn't so. Nice room though.
Chambar for mid priced ambience is bar none the best place in Vancouver and was recently voted as such by Air Canada Enroute magazine. Food is a mixture of Belgian with some morocaan influences(Moules Frites/Lamb tangine) and a great selection of belgian beers. Very warm room and always busy
For me West is the only high-end choice when we're in Vancouver.
Or at least until I've sampled each of Chef Hawksworth's seasonal
menu a few times.
The room may not be ideal for a wedding party, but the food and
service are extraordinary.
If it's about the food first and foremost, go West.
The best place in town for an intimate, special occasion meal is Bishop's on 4th ave in Kits. It's understated - in a very good way. Elegant, perfect service, creative NW dishes, perfect flavors, pure pleasure.
For the polar opposite in atmosphere, try the far out small plates at Bin 941 or the brand new Flying Tiger.
For high end, Im afraid the terms "Dressy and formal" are not normally associated with Vancouver. We have many outstanding restaurants but you could (if you were so inclined) turn up to them for dinner in jeans and a sweater, such is the West Coast laidback lifestyle......dude:)
Your best bet will be a private dining room somewhere so you can make your own elegant atomsphere. Cioppinos has a couple of wonderful private rooms. Villa Del Lupo is a really quaint converted house with outstanding food in a really romantic and intimate setting. "C" restaurant is by the yact club and has in my opinion the best seafood in Vancouver. West is also everyones favourite and consistently voted the best restaurant in Vancouver.
Now for your second question on mid level Hound'ish places....that is where it gets exciting. Vancouver is an outstanding food destination and there is no end of fabulous food at reasonable prices.I agree with JWh's post, GUU and Vij's are outstanding places. I also like Hapa Izakaya for japanese tapas and am a big fan of Go Fish outside Granville Island for excellent tempura battered cod just off the fishing boat (if you can handle the wait and eating outside in December!).
GUU - is a muct when visiting Vancouver. It is Japanese but NOT sushi. IT is an Izakaya that servers amazing dishes. A few to note: Pan Fried Noodles, Chicken Karage, Tataki, any of the salads or the daily specials. This place lines up, so go early (unless you don;t mid the wait - well worth the wait) They have 3 locations in Vancouver all in Downtown. Guu w/ Garlic on Robson and Bidwell is the best out of the 3.
Other options are: Gyoza King, Zakkushi, Vij's.
All of these places have great atmosphere, good service and wonderful food.