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Mar 23, 2008 09:24 AM

Looking for Vancouver/Victoria recommendations

Foodies from the upper midwest finally getting to the NW meccas we have heard so much about. We know we want to gorge on wonderful asian fare, also looking for hidden treasures. Extremely adventurous and don't need fancy except for one night in Vancouver --- my fiftieth. We have only 2 nights in Vancouver, 3 in Victoria in June. What are the "musts?"

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  1. Any of the Izakayas will do ya!
    There are plenty, but one of my favorites is the chefs tasting menu at SHIRU BAY, it is about $40 for ten little plates...don't worry you will be full.

    Also, KINGYO on Denman (no website, but Google it)

    1. I'm not hep to the higher end places but here are a couple of suggestions for the non-birthday meals. If you're feeling bistro-y, try Jules in Gastown. Great value, tasty food, nice atmo in a somewhat dodgy but up-and-coming nabe. Or if you'd rather go Italian, how about La Buca on MacDonald? You can try some of Chef Durbach's food trattoria-style at bargain prices (cf Parkside). It's a bit out of the way but worth the trip. Both require resos so be sure to call ahead if you go. And for Asian, get thee to Peaceful Restaurant on Broadway for the beef roll and other interesting and not-so-usual offerings (hot and sour potato, anyone?). Also super budget so good for lunch or dinner, and they take resos if you are so inclined.

      I'm going to try to link these places (technospazz so no guarantees!)

      Edited to add: woohoo, I linked! but drat I deleted Jules and can't figure out how to add it after the fact so here's the URL

      La Buca Restaurant
      4025 MacDonald St, Vancouver, BC V6L2N8, CA

      Peaceful Restaurant
      532 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Z1E9, CA

      1. All recommendations below are for Victoria:

        Breakfast: The Blue Fox on Fort Street (near corner of Quadra St). Locals love this place so there may be a 15 minute wait. Worth it. Very good (cheap, bottomless) coffee. Great food. Eggs Benny, French Toast, Huevos Rancheros Mmm Mmm Mmm.

        Lunch: Pagliacci's on Broad Street (near corner of Fort) has fabulous pasta and is another haunt of locals. My fave there is full order of Bicycle Thief II with tomato sauce. They have a non-alcoholic drink that is not on the menu but I love it - tastes like Creamsicle. It is called Capezzio (sp?). Desserts there are also yummy if you go in the evening. If waiting in the evening and they offer you a mug, take it. It is not coffee.

        Dim Sum? Don Mee's in Chinatown. Cart service. Deelish.

        Afternoon tea? Fairmont Empress is extremely pricey. Go there only for bragging rights, not yummy tea service. Locals go to the Blethering Place in Oak Bay area.

        For a fabulous ($150ish for 2) dinner I would recommend Rosemeade. It is a bit out of the way in a gorgeous old renovated mansion. I don't love dessert there, though... I also quite enjoy Il Terrazzo, Wild Saffron (although recent reports say chef I liked is gone), Oak Bay Marina Restaurant, Blue Crab, Pescatore's, Chandler's, Fireside Grill - or for THE funky, Victoria vegetarian mecca: Rebar in Bastian Square. I could go on and on. Victoria has an exceptional restaurant scene.

        Live Jazz, drinks and appies? Bengal Lounge at the Empress. Thursday evening. Their lunchtime curry buffet is also lovely and the room is gorgeous.

        1. If I were going out for my special birthday in Vancouver I would drive out to White Rock and have the tasting menu with wine pairings at Pearl on the Rock. Oh wait...That is what I did! It was fabulous. Reserve and tell them you want a romantic, comfortable spot away from the door if it is cool or rainy. The only small drawback with Pearl is that the small restaurant is subject to drafts as there is no vestibule or double door. It is only a stone's throw to the ocean, with a beautiful promenade where you can stroll before or after dinner.

          If that is too far out of the way, I would have previously considered going to Lumiere but with the recent shenanigans leading to (Iron Chef) Rob Feenie's departure I don't know how it is any more. Maybe a recent diner can shed some light on that???

          Cioppinos had been very lovely in the past. Speaking of Rob Feenie, I saw him eating there a while back.

          If I was with a large group (10 people) I might try the special dinner for 10 at Kirin Seafood Restaurant ($500). I watched in envy the other night as a large group beside me feasted on some spectacular looking dishes that were brought tableside on large platters but then expertly served to each person so no one had to "dig in" to the large platters.

          Finally, a place I have to try before I die (or so my very good, foodie friends tell me repeatedly) is called Villa del Lupo. Something has repeatedly interfered every time I was going to go but I am advised that the dinners there are exquisite.

          2 Replies
          1. re: anilyn

            As anilyn suggested Rosemeade is a nice option. Good food and service. Not too far away depending upon where one is staying. I know the front door staff at the Delta Ocean Pointe were happy to drive us out that way and even pick us up but that was off season in February.

            For us no visit to Victoria is complete without one or two visits to Brasserie L'Ecole and/or Cafe Brio. In our case it usually is several. Would be "worse" if they were open for lunch.

            Zambri's is a good option for very well prepared rustic Italian. I am not a fan of Il Terrazzo but the last lunch we had there was excellent.

            1. re: anilyn

              Thumbs up for Cioppino's, never had a bad bite there, and if you happen to get a table near the kitchen, the floor show is included :-). Although it is relatively expensive, I don't really consider it high end (whatever that actually means!) because the atmosphere is so relaxed and the food so non-fussy in a terra-cotta-y but quite modern open room. Villa del Lupo is also great but totally different in feel as it is in an old house. Both are Italian in case that is not obvious from the handles.

              Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill
              1133 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B5P6, CA

              Villa Del Lupo Restaurant Ltd
              869 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2R7, CA

            2. for the "fancy" birthday dinner I would recommend Parkside or the Raincity Grill - both in the West End and reservations needed. The tasting menu at Raincity with the wine pairings is always a treat and Parkside is, well, Parkside. Neither will disappoint

              as for other, more casual fare: Salt in Gastown, Lolitas on Davie for fun and authentic Mexican, Crave on Main Street for brunch ... there are so many

              sorry, can't get links to work but all are easilly found

              enjoy Vancouver!

              1 Reply
              1. re: KathrynC

                Nice recs, KathrynC. I will add the links and a couple of bits of hopefully helpful info, as well as one question: the last two times I went to Raincity (both within the past 6 months) we had some fairly serious problems with the food quality. Did we just have bad luck?

                Salt is mostly one big shared table with a couple of smaller "private" tables down one side, if that is an issue. Lolita's is tons of fun but is very petite and fills up quickly most nights, so you might want to go early as they don't take resos. It can also be a might boisterous if you care about noise levels. I don't know what passes for authentic anything these days but I daresay Lolita's food, although delicious, has its own spin on Mexican. Crave is great but once again no resos so depending on the time and day of the week you go, prepare for line ups, especially if you are dining with more than one other person.

                Crave Restaurant
                3941 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3P3, CA

                Lolita's Restaurant Ltd
                1326 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1N6, CA

                L'Altro Buca Restaurant
                1906 Haro Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 1H7, CA

                Raincity Grill
                1193 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 2N1, CA

                Salt Tasting Room Ltd
                45 Blood Alley, Vancouver, BC V6B 0C4, CA