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Can't afford Lumiere: Where do I take my foodie friends in Vancouver?

I have some serious foodie friends in Vancouver and I owe them big: every time I've passed through YVR in the last five years I've stayed with them and have been entertained royally, either at great restaurants or in their own formidable kitchen. This time I have enough money (A) not to have to crash on their couch, and (B) to take *them* out for dinner for a change. Trouble is, I need to keep it down to $300.00 CAD for the three of us, including everything (food, wine, tax and tip). Am I dreaming in technicolour? Can I get an impressive meal for this much money in Vancouver these days that will meet exacting foodie standards? Or should I just suck it up and apply for an Amex gold card?

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  1. hey LaGoulue... an obvious second to Lumiere would be Feenie's next door - easily kept to $300 for food, wine, etc... another, recently-discovered favourite is the Gramercy Grill (Arbutus and 11th Ave). Oustanding food and service with an average entree price of $20-25. Also, an excellent wine list. Gramercy Grill is mostly west-coast food with an italian influence. Lemon tart for dessert is fantastic. I also love Cioppino in Yaletown - Italian for sure, and a bit pricier - most entrees in the $25-30 range. Chambar, close to Chinatown, also has great food at pretty reasonable prices. Everyone goes for the mussels and fries, but my favourite was the ostrich tenderloin. Good luck!

    1. I wouldn't bother with Lumiere. I went last June, when visiting Vancouver from Toronto. Both my friend and I were underwhelmed. It was easily about twice the cost of my most expensive meal (no wine, I don't drink alcohol), and the food was fine, but not spectacular. Having only been in Vancouver a few days, I can't give any recommendations, but I can tell you not to worry about Lumiere. Over-rated for sure!

      1. This would be easy for me. Go to West for their early bird prix fixe. A limited set of full-portioned offerings from their regular menu, at a greatly discounted price. The room, the service and most importantly, the food will wow you and your friends. Request the booth directly across from the kitchen and have your friends seated facing into the room. They'll be talking about it for years to come...

        1. parkside - they have 3 course dinners for btwn $45-55 depending on the entree you choose. fantastic cocktails and an excellent wine list.

          it's one of my favorites in vancouver - less attitude there as well compared to other restaurants of similar quality which makes it a good experience as well.

          1. There are 3, affordable, distinctly Vancouver restaurants to visit that I can recommend.

            I would take your friends to Bin 941.
            Fabulous food, cool atmosphere, lots of wine by the glass, great prices.

            Or Vijs.
            The best Indian food anywhere, great prices too. Always a line up, but they serve Hors d'oeuvres in the bar while you drink and wait for a table.

            Or Guu.
            Kitanoya Guu Original Izakaya on Thurlow, Kitanoya Guu With Garlic on Robson or Kitanoya Guu With Otokomae on Water St. These restaurants are fun, loud, cheap and the food is amazing. Inventive small plates, tons of specials, mostly cooked (as opposed to Sushi Bars). The idea is to get wasted on draught Sake while stuffing your face with tasty Japanese tapas. There's shouting, singing, and mayhem all around. Take a cab, have a blast!

            Finally, I only know this place by reputation, but Gastropod is to be checked out too.
            Da Cook

            5 Replies
            1. re: Da_Cook

              Bumping this interesting thread from 2007 - two years on, what would you still recommend? And can I ask what is good in Yaletown? - does not have to be budget conscious. I have 4 nights soon in Vancouver and need to take people out for dinner.

              1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                Yaletown - Blue Water.

                Other favourite recs around town: Fuel, La Buca (and the new L'altro Buca), db Bistro/Lumiere, Chow.

                Izakaya is another good "Vancouver" option: Guu with Garlic, Kingyo, Hapa, and others.

                Are you interested in Chinese and other Asian options?

                1. re: KitchenVoodoo

                  Yaletown: Cioppino's, especially if budget is no problem. Beware: they will hoop you on wine - give you ones that are extraordinarily priced if you don't know how to order and leave it up to them...but of course, that's ok if your budget allows for it!

                  1. re: ck1234

                    Good call on Cioppino's. (I did notice that the KitchenVoodoo was from TO and they have very good Italian there...so maybe La Buca, Cioppino's may not excite?)

                    1. re: fmed

                      I just read a bit more of this thread...some updates:

                      Parkside is now L'Altro Buca
                      Aurora is now defunct (Chef Jeff is now at Diva...another worthy spot)
                      Montri's is no longer worth the effort after a sharp decline in the food when CHef Montri retired.

              2. Fuel - sit at the open kitchen bar
                CHambar is awesome
                Montri's for Thai food
                Jules Bistro has great french food at totally reasonable prices and a great wine list under $30 a bottle.

                1. Montri's has been sold-haven't heard how things are since.

                  1. Montri is still consulting and the new owner hasn't changed anything. It's still GOOOOOD

                    1. I have two casual fine dining suggestions. They're not as famous but I like the consistent quality of food and service as well as comfortable rooms and great wine lists.

                      Cru has a great three-course menu for $38 - or you can order plenty of yummy small plates to share, including Syrah braised short rib with mac and cheese.
                      1459 W. Broadway, 677-4111 http://www.cru.ca/
                      Good review here: http://mydinnertable.typepad.com/home...

                      Aurora Bistro is great at featuring local ingredients, and has great service and a nice BC-only wine list. Menu is here: http://www.aurorabistro.ca/menu.htm
                      My review from last summer here: http://ugonnaeatthat.wordpress.com/?s...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: alau2

                        I second both of these recommendations. my husband still waxes poetic about the kobe beef burger and duck confit from Aurora and we had a great dinner at Cru. They both have really good food, nice atmospheres and no attitude.

                      2. I agree with both the Parkside and Bin 941, it depends on the style of dining you prefer. The Bin is a really nice way to enjoy tasting a wide variety of food if you like the tapas style and sharing dishes, and they offer an interesting variety for everyone. The atmosphere is funky and the music is great, and service is great. Vij's is also great, both places don't take reservations, though.

                        1. Lots of great ideas here...I'll have a few meals on my own so I think I can put more than one of these recommendations to good use. Thanks!