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Recs for NYC hound in Vancouver, BC?

Hi there - my husband and I will be in Vancouver, BC (staying at the Fairmont Waterfront) for about five days as business/pleasure trip. I'm a regular NYC foodie and am looking for great fresh food while I'm in Vancouver. I need a place to have a casual, yummy, inexpensive (entrees under $20) place for dinner our first night, and then a place for breakfast and lunch the following day. Here's the kicker: Hubby is allergic to lobster and shrimp and I cannot eat raw seafood for personal reasons.

Your help greatly appreciated and I will return the favor to anyone who is visiting NYC!

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  1. See, the problem is that Vancouver will have very little that New York does not have. The strength in Vancouver is a) the Asian food b) fresh west coast seafood.

    Vancouver restaurants tend to be expensive. Plates under $20 (entrees, anyway) are hard to come by in the better restaurants.

    General tips for Vancouver are: a) stay away from Mexican restaurants. The Mexican food is terrible b) while Vancouver has some excellent Chinese restaurants, many serve mediocre North American-style Chinese food (do your research!). c) Same goes for the plentiful Indian and Thai restaurants d) the good restaurants do not stand out to the passer-by on foot. Vancouver has this strange quality of the best restaurants being quite discreet, not obvious to the tourist. Do your research!

    Having said all of that, for dinner I like Chambar (modern Belgian food; entrees in mid-20s). I also like Vij's on Granville and 12th? (or is it Granville and 14th?) but they do not accept reservations and are enormously popular. This is some of the freshest, most inventive Indian food in the city (and quite possibly some of the best in North America).

    The Bins (Bin 941 and Bin 942) are noisy little tapas places that are known for quality modern food at reasonable prices. A Vancouver friend recommended "Hapa" Izakaya, also in the west end. I'm sure you have good izakaya places in NYC, but this place offers good value.

    An interesting little place in Gastown is "Salt" tasting room. It is a wine bar and charcuterie house that serves no cooked food; just the highest quality cured meats, cheeses, and a variety of condiments. Not to everyone's taste, but a cool place, nonetheless.

    For lunch, a lot of Chowhounders have recommended "Go Fish" on Granvile Island. (a sort of touristy food market not far from downtown). This place serves everything from exceptional fish'n'chips to salmon tacos. (all the fish is cooked, I believe).

    For breakfast, I'm not so sure. We usually eat at Slickety Jim's on Main St.; it is not brilliant but it is close to where we stay when we go to Vancouver (not at all downtown). I have also eaten at Provence Marinaside, but I was only moderately impressed.

    Good luck. Hopefully some other Chowhounders will chime in to fill in the blanks (especially re: breakfast).

    2 Replies
    1. re: anewton

      We tried to go to Salt tonight but couldn't find it....help?

      1. re: anewton

        also, we went to Chambar last night...we liked it a lot, but the "Belgian" in all the reviews is highly misleading...they offer three moules frites selection (one of which w/ a decidedly non-Belgian coconut cream), but nothing else on the menu is Belgian (maybe the asparagus?)...more a grab bag of world influences heavily slanted towards Moroccan...that said, all three things we ate were excellent and the hostess and servers were great....

      2. I'd second anewton's recommendations. A good place for breakfast, along with Slickety Jim's, is Sophie's Cosmic Cafe on W. 4th Avenue and Arbutus in Kitsilano. Paul's Place on Granville street near 5th Avenue serves up mainly omelettes for breakfast. I don't know how allergic your husband is, but Hon's Wonton House on Robson is great for cheap Chinese food, full of noise and Asians, and the place my family goes for Chinese comfort food. For fresh food, you could just head over to the Granville Island Public Market, pick up some fruit, bread, meats, and have a picnic on the quai or on any of the nearby beaches.

        1. Chambar, Bin 941, lunch phnom phen (butter beef, chicken wings)

          1. Caffe Artigiano for the best latte/coffe you will ever have..they are all over Vancouver..won global awards.
            Vij's for Indian.
            Loved going into Chinatown for outstanding dim sum..

            1. For a NYC foodie to be impressed you're going to have to expand your budget. My recommendation would be to avail yourself of the early bird menu at West. Arguably the finest restaurant in Western Canada (it's my favorite in North America, but I haven't eaten in NYC in ages).

              5 Replies
              1. re: GroovinGourmet

                We're planning on trying West in the next couple days, but after looking at the menu on line, the early bird options didn't sound as tasty as the regular menu. Do you think it's as good?

                1. re: Simon

                  http://maps.google.com/maps?q=45+Bloo...

                  This should get you to Salt, if you're still in town (phone first to make sure they'll be open on the Labour Day Monday).

                  1. re: anewton

                    Thanks. We went there yesterday and loved it. It wasn't so hard to find this time: the problem before was that someone had marked it incorrectly on our map and we ended up going down a very different alley from hell off of Hastings.

                    At Salt we had the cured pork tenderloin, finocchiona salami, and a delicious ashy goat cheese. Great place. Will give a more detailed review when i sum up our five days of dining here in a couple days.

                    1. re: Simon

                      I tried West this past weekend and i have to say it was just good, not great and for 100pp, i was expecting great. It could have been very good, but the service was poor. I think it was just our server, i overheard other servers at other tables and they seemed better, but the poor service we received -- rushed at first, then forgotten, later empty water and wine glasses, and no guidance really on the menu beyond listing a dish's ingredients -- really dropped my rating. Overall, not worth the price.

                      1. re: jmazzdc

                        Hi. Will post a full review of West soon (we went last night) but i agree w/ the general "good-not-great" overall part of your review...our service was actually excellent and a couple of the dishes (esp. the squab) were delicious and noteworthy but i was very disappointed in the fish main courses...will post more in detail later...

                        In contrast, our meal at Boneta rocked from start to finish in every way....