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Oct 12, 2007 03:59 PM

Vancouver nibbles...

We will be making our first trip to Vancouver next weekend for a 4 night visit. I have done exhaustive research on food and restaurants for dinners and have narrowed it down to:
Vij's, Hapa Ya Izakaya, Bin 942, and Blue Water Grill. The one I'm a bit nervous about is Bin 942... there will be 4 of us and I hear it's very cramped.

Is it worth the suffering and the waiting to do Bin 942 or should I try somewhere else where I can make a reservation and be more civilized. Does not need to be fancy but should be delicious. Somewhere the locals go that serves clean, seasonal food would be great. Any suggestions?

I'd also love to be armed with some lunch ideas... I have Pink Pearl for dim sum and Granville Market for grazing one day. Any input would be appreciated.

Cocktail bars we can go to while waiting for the above-mentioned no-reservation-taking places would be helpful too. Must kill time whilst waiting for vittles.

Thanks from a grateful Los Angelino
LA faves... special occasion: Spago, Sona, Water Grill. lovely and consistent: Joe's in Venice, Divino, Blair's, Jinpachi & Azami, Lucques, AOC. anytime: Buddha's Belly, Nook, Hal's, Amalfi. So many to list, so little room. LA Farmers Market at Fairfax & 3rd is a fave.

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  1. Our experience with 942 (not recently- around 2002-3) was that they served "small plates" that they sent out one at a time and claimed they were "tapas" to excuse the fact that they can't get an entire table's order out at once. Except that the menu as it was (and a quick check online reveals it's still the same) is that it's not tapas as I've ever had it- ie. individual dishes of meat or starch or veg- it's little complete mini-meals. And even if it were traditional style tapas, you would expect you wouldn't have to wait 10-20 minutes between each individual plate being delivered. We tried it twice and while the food was great (once it arrived), my experiences with a group of three or four were frustrating. I don't mind taking a taste off my husband's plate, but from what I remembered, they just kind of delivered one plate that looked like a regular meal and kind of expected us to all dig in at once.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DezH

      my bf and i recently visited vancouver from ny...i've been meaning to post my reviews but i wouls strongly encourage you to go to one of the bins. it was my favorite eating meal of the entire trip. we also went to Nu, Sandbar, Hapa, Vij's, and many other places. the food at bin was delicious and the service was impeccable. it is very small, and we got lucky getting the booth at the window within minutes of arriving... i'll be sure to post about my other dining experiences but def check out bin!

    2. oh and as a california native, i just noticed your comment bout la farmers market- make sure to check out granville market!

      1. I've been to both Bins once, many years ago and enjoyed it. However, there were only 2 of us, we were in no rush, and we were there early as they opened. We also had no expectations.

        If the Bin reviews above turn you off, consider Chambar for excellent service, food and atmosphere. It's located at the edge of Gastown in a long, narrow loft. Still a noisy, upbeat kind of place, but the food is divine and they time the food perfectly. We were a group of 10 that arrived on a Sunday evening (pre-arranged reservations) and our appetizers and entrees arrived without having to ever wait.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Florentine

          i second Chambar: great place...

          And i really think Boneta (in Gastown) is not to be missed: when i went there in September it was one of the best meals i've had all year, anywhere...

          Salt (very close to Boneta) is also a must (assuming you like chacuterie and/or cheese and wine) for snacks...

          For lunch, you might try Chill Winston.

          1. re: Florentine

            agree heartily Chambar is terrific and their fall menu looks great

          2. If you're into Izakaya, you should check out Guu with Garlic, it's the one on Robson:
            There's also a great place called Tapastree, which is phenomenal. It's downtown, Robson and Denman, I think.

            1. I loved Bin 942 - the food was delicious and it was just a hoot of a place. However, I'm not sure it would be fun with 4 people unless you like sitting in each other's laps. If you do go, do not by any means sit at the "bar" - a medieval torture instrument facing the wall with no legroom (and I'm 5' tall!)

              2 Replies
              1. re: Freida

                When Freida say's don't eat at the bar, I think she means the "rear bar", not the real front bar which is a great place to sit. The front bar, that has only , maybe 8 seats, is great. Actually Bin 941 & 942 are both great--try the duck.

                1. re: FAT Traveler

                  You may be right, although I don't remember there being a rear bar. The one we sat at was right in the front of the restaurant. It was so uncomfortable that we decided to wait for a real table instead, and ended up with a great one in the very back near the kitchen. I admit, it was dark and freezing and I was starving, so I might misremember :) I remember it was a great meal, though.