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Visiting Vancouver on a budget w/ specific requests

f
foxymoron Aug 8, 2008 03:07 PM

Dear West Coast Chowhounders,

We're visiting at the end of the month and I know I can trust you to help us find good value places to eat. I realize you're asked "where should we eat?" by many visitors so I'll try to be specific about what I want. We're a young 20-something couple from Toronto. We're on a budget but we plan to have one, maybe two "nice" meals out. Please help out your fellow foodie by answering the following:

1. Where would you take an out-of-town visitor for a nice (but not too fancy) dinner out (about $60-80/person)?
2. Which neighbourhood is best for a bar hop of casual watering holes where the music isn't too loud, patrons wear sneakers/jeans and they serve a good variety of microbrews/well-made cocktails?
3. We're staying in the Riley Park/South Cambie area. Where can we get the following within walking distance:
a) izakaya
b) cheap but respectable sushi
c) Vietnamese
d) tapas/small plates
e) coffee shop with wi-fi
f) casual bar with good selection
4. We'll be cooking a few meals. Are there nearby markets worth going to?
5. We're also spending a couple nights in Ucluelet, so if you have suggestions for that are, please fire away.
6. Anything else...?

Based on my research of this board, we're already excited to try: Salt Tasting Room, Go Fish, Aurora Bistro and Au Petit.

Thanks in advance,
Andrea

  1. j
    jmil Aug 8, 2008 05:29 PM

    Sorry, I can't answer all of your questions, however..

    I would recommend ..
    -Peid-a-terre a great little french restaurant - 3369 Cambie st.
    Great steak frites $20 - $50

    - Hiroshis on Oak St. not sure the exact address but I believe its 21st or 22nd and Oak on the corner. Great family owned little sushi joint. Also walking distance.
    - Au petit cafe -- 33rd and main for good Vietnamese. A bit longer of a walk !
    - Capers, Choices, Mount Pleasant cheese shop on Cambie for groceries.
    If you going to Go Fish on Granville Island, the Sand Bar patio at the top is a great place for a drink.

    A few of my own suggestions. Hope it helps !

    1. waylman Aug 8, 2008 05:34 PM

      1. Vij's and Parkside are 2 of my faves
      2. Since you're staying near South Cambie Main st. works. You have the Five Point and Public at Main and 16th. Cascade is a cool restaurant/bar around Main and 10th. SOMA is a cool little spot at Main and 8th. A little lower around Main and 6th is The Whip and the Narrow Lounge is around Main and 3rd.
      3. a) Don't know any Izakaya near that area. Ping's around Main & 10th is Japanese homestyle cooking and very good.
      b) Shiro - Cambie & 15th
      Toshi - Main & 16th
      Zipang - Main & 23rd(ish)
      c) so many vietnamese places...around main and 23rd is Au Petit Cafe...great meatball sandwiches!
      d) Habit - Main and 10th
      Bin 942/941
      e) JJ Bean - Main and 14th
      f) see #2
      4. capers at cambie & 16th is OK. Meinhardts on South Granville is very nice. A visit to Granville Island is a must
      5. sorry
      6. go to Chambar for a fun (loud) dinner. Best breakfast in town is Cafe Medina (right beside Chambar.

      1. a
        alwaysroom4dessert Aug 8, 2008 07:32 PM

        1. I'm with waylman on Chambar and Cafe Medina, can definitely get away with having a great meal for $60-80 at Chambar, just make sure to make reso's-Also do great innovative cocktails! Really shouldn't miss Cafe Medina either for breakfast or lunch..check out the posting on Medina, I posted some pics there too.

        2. Granville Island is nice to grab a drink...nice view on Sandbar's patio but I wouldn't personally go down to Granville Island for the food, with some exceptions: Go to Go Fish for lunch/dinner (closed mondays!) then sit on a patio for a drink. Stop by the market (but be careful some stands can be very expensive!) Grab a baguette, some cheese and sausage, pate and meats from Oyama Sausage co (who also supply salt tasting room with some of their meats) or grab some of the fresh stuffed pastas and sauce from one of the pasta stalls for one of your meals back at where you are staying.

        3. Since you're staying close to Au Petit, you could always grab some of their sandwiches and walk the short distance to eat it at Queen Elizabeth Park if its nice out. Au petit is tiny and go earlier, or call ahead to place your order because they tend to run out after lunch! Oh but first grab milkshakes at East is East's (main and 28th) take out bar! They are not your typical shakes but the flavor combos are soo good, my fave is the Himalayan High: Mango puree, vanilla ice cream, milk, cardamon and pistachio.
        4. You're close to main too, which has loads of coffee shops so you should have no prob finding wifi
        5. Also every wednesday is the Riley Park Farmers Market (I have yet to go, but they have alot of the same vendors that frequent the other weekend farmers markets in town) its on from 12:30-5:00 @ 30th and Ontario in the Riley Park community centre. (Can check out Vancouver Farmers markets at www.eatlocal.org
        )6.For Izakaya my fave is still Guu, so if you are out shopping down on Robson you could always hit up Guu for dinner (have other locations as well)
        7.Vietnemese/Cambodian-Really should check out Phenom Phen although it is out of your way (in Chinatown)
        8. Definitely don't miss Salt Tasting Room! Maybe go for an early dinner and then to Salt for a late night snack.
        Below are some pics (L-R: First 2 are Chambar,Guu, Salt)
        These are just my personal opinons...
        Good luck! Have fun!

         
         
         
         
        1 Reply
        1. re: alwaysroom4dessert
          f
          foxymoron Aug 26, 2008 08:55 PM

          That Himalayan milkshake sounds amazing. Which corner of Main and 28th is it on?

        2. fmed Aug 8, 2008 09:05 PM

          jmil, waylam, and alwayroom4dessert have given you great recs for that neighbourhood. I'll just add my 2 cents.

          2.) The Cascade has great and reasonably priced cocktails. If you want to stray outside that hood...Commercial Drive has a great pub scene - Stella's for a large selection of Belgian beer (alembics, etc), WaazuBee for a great winelist (and the cocktails aren't bad either), Fets for a large whiskey selection. All these places are very casual.

          5. Ucluelet - it is worth the drive to Tofino where they have a couple of very good restaurants. The Pointe, Raincoast and Shelter would be my top recs for dinner. SoBo for lunch.

          6. I don't see Chinese on your list. TO has an excellent Chinese scene, but you may want to try some of Vancouver's restaurants for comparison. Peaceful Restaurant on Broadway at Cambie is a board favourite. Landmark for Hotpot. Kirin for dim sum. Thai - Salah Thai and Arroy-D.

          5 Replies
          1. re: fmed
            t
            twinkienic Aug 8, 2008 10:02 PM

            To add to fmed's suggestion of Thai... you'll be close to Sawasdee on Main (and 26th/27th).

            Must definitely add another vote to everyones' suggestions of Au Petit Cafe. It's right by where you're staying, and they have fantastic bahn mi sandwiches.

            1. re: twinkienic
              fmed Aug 8, 2008 10:23 PM

              Long's Noodle House is right next to Au Petit Cafe for very good XLB and Pan-regional Chinese food with a slight Northern/Shanghai Chinese bent.

              If Au Petit Cafe is out of banh mi - Bon Cafe just past 33rd has good bahn mi as well.

              Since we are focusing on Main St:

              My favorite place on Main is Hawker's Delight at 25th for very inexpensive and good Singapore/Malaysian hawker food.

              Legendary Noodles is at 26th for very good Northern hand-pulled noodles (get the Peashoots there).

              Rekado's for Filipino with a modern twist. Goldilock's for Filipino sweets and buns.

              Ping's for yoshoku style Japanese...though they are calling themselves an izakaya these days.

              Lots of cheap but good eats on Main.

              1. re: fmed
                grayelf Aug 8, 2008 10:56 PM

                You are getting some great recs here but just in case you get "ethnic-ed" out I'll add one option: grab a burger from Splitz, and don't forget the onion rings.

                -----
                Splitz Grill Main Street Ltd
                4242 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V3P9, CA

                1. re: grayelf
                  fmed Aug 8, 2008 11:06 PM

                  More non-ethnic - Crave for brunch.

                2. re: fmed
                  f
                  foxymoron Aug 10, 2008 05:22 PM

                  Thanks fmed. I didn't include Chinese only because it's not a top priority since I've had lots of delicious Chinese food while growing up in the northern suburbs of Toronto and also while I lived in Hong Kong. That said, I'm really glad you listed some of your favourite Chinese places. I could eat noodles three times a day!

            2. h
              homebaker Aug 9, 2008 01:48 AM

              Welcome to the city, from one Toronto resident to another.

              Just wanted to add a small thought to consider with regards to banh mi sandwiches (i.e. Au Petit Cafe). Since you're from Toronto (and with all due respect to APC), you might just want to wait to go back since you can get the same quality sandwich there for almost two dollars less per sandwich ($1.75!).

              However, if you're wanting to try it for other types of Vietnamese food, OR if you're simply wanting to try Vancouver's consensus "best" banh mi, then by all means make the trip.

              Oh, and with regards to Go Fish, we checked it out last week and happened to meet some friends (also visiting from Toronto!) who had arrived ten minutes before they opened at noon, only to find a huge lineup already! They didn't get their food until after 12:30... so consider yourself warned... :)

              In any case, enjoy the great weather and great eats already recommended!

              6 Replies
              1. re: homebaker
                fmed Aug 9, 2008 05:18 AM

                >>Just wanted to add a small thought to consider with regards to banh mi sandwiches (i.e. Au Petit Cafe). Since you're from Toronto (and with all due respect to APC), you might just want to wait to go back since you can get the same quality sandwich there for almost two dollars less per sandwich ($1.75!).

                Yes indeed. Toronto must have the cheapest bahn mi on this continent. Au Petit Cafe is good, but my personal go-to bahn mi joints are Tung Hing and Ba Le on Kingsway.

                1. re: fmed
                  h
                  homebaker Aug 9, 2008 09:23 AM

                  "Bahn mi"s are great little inventions, aren't they? They've become our go-to quick Sunday lunch when the boys get (hungry-)cranky.

                  1. re: fmed
                    t
                    twinkienic Aug 10, 2008 11:43 PM

                    Personally, I find Au Petit Cafe's take on bahn mi to be unique. Ba Le is more typical of traditional bahn mi (and similar to Toronto's offerings). I still think Au Petit Cafe is worth trying.

                  2. re: homebaker
                    grayelf Aug 9, 2008 08:26 AM

                    A good deak is to phone ahead to Go Fish and order takeout. They'll give you a time for pickup, then you can grab your stuff and head to a primo spot along the seawall nearby and eat your lunch sans lineup. They even wrap in newspaper...

                    1. re: grayelf
                      h
                      homebaker Aug 9, 2008 09:21 AM

                      That's a great option! I didn't know you could do that. The number is in the phone book, I presume, even though it's not a sit-down restaurant?

                      (...So maybe I WILL get a chance to check it out before we head home!...)

                      1. re: homebaker
                        grayelf Aug 10, 2008 12:04 AM

                        I'm sure it is but phone books are getting harder to come by these days (as are pay phones but that's another story...) so here's the places link for ya... coulda sworn I've found the menu online previously but no luck in a quickish search.

                        -----
                        Go Fish Ocean Emporium
                        1505 W 1st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J, CA

                  3. fmed Aug 9, 2008 09:25 PM

                    On Ucluelet...you might be interested in reading this: http://www.vanmag.com/travel/08jul/To...

                    1. f
                      foxymoron Aug 10, 2008 05:23 PM

                      Thanks for all of your suggestions so far! I promise to write a good review of the places we go upon return.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: foxymoron
                        g
                        gourmet wife Aug 11, 2008 08:39 AM

                        For Tofino, I really like Schooners. It's usually pretty busy so I do recommend booking ahead. There's also a place called Star Fish Cafe in Ucluete that's like a diner but a bit more refine and not too pricey.

                        Tropika is close to your stay as well. Their food isn't too bad and if you can get a hold of the entertainment coupon, you can use it there. Gloucester is in the same area across from Pied a Terre (I highly recommned PaT as well). Gloucester is expensive for HK style cafe, however, if you go after 9pm, they have specials that are between $7-10 and it comes with a drink as well. Curry King is another HK style cafe just down the street. They too have combo specials that's most of the day.

                        If you're grocery shopping, get your veggies and fruit at Kin's Market in City Square (Cambie & 12th), it's less expensive and it's quite fresh.

                        1. re: gourmet wife
                          f
                          foxymoron Aug 26, 2008 09:12 PM

                          Thanks gourmet_wife. What is this entertainment coupon you speak of and where can I find one?

                          1. re: foxymoron
                            g
                            gourmet wife Aug 27, 2008 08:16 AM

                            foxy, the entertainment coupon is a book filled with coupons from various restaurants and services. It's usually sold by local schools. I've used mine already so I don't have an extra to give you. Perhaps if you ask around?

                      2. b
                        Beach Chick Aug 26, 2008 09:21 PM

                        foxy..
                        Everyone has given you outstanding advice..just my two cents...coffee, I would do Caffe Artigiano for the lattes..
                        Gerard's at Sutton Place Hotel downtown on Robson..one of our fav's for high end food and drink for super cheap and the mahagony decor with lots of fireplaces and celebrities.
                        Vij's was out of this world good for Indian..no reservations and a wait.
                        Floata in Chinatown for great Dim Sum..lots of seafood items
                        Gastown has lots of restaurants and maybe you can find some great happy hours.
                        It's such a vibrant town!

                        1. Cancuk Aug 26, 2008 09:36 PM

                          1. Vij's, Boneta, Pied-a-Terre, Chambar
                          2. Gastown/Crosstown: Chambar, Boneta, Salt Tasting Room, Social, Chill Winston, Cobre, La Marrakesh, Irish Heather all within a 5 block radius, or so. Best "drinking strip" in town.
                          3.
                          a: not sure
                          b: not sure
                          c: Everywhere east of you
                          d: Bin 942 at Grandville and Broadway
                          e: not sure, but there must be something on Cambie
                          f: Cascade Room on 10th and Main

                          6) HAVE FUN!

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