SF chowhound visiting Vancouver - critique requested
- osho Jan 5, 2009 04:26 PM
We'll be visiting for 5 days with our 10 month old baby in tow - for the first time.
We'll be staying at the Four Seasons - so any nearby recommendations are more than welcome ! We have no dietary restrictions.
I am coming up a little short on European food and brunch/breakfast places.
Here is what I've gleaned so far:
Singapore/Malaysian - Hawker's Delight
Japanese - Guu with Garlic
Japanese - Izakaya on Robson and Denman
The Lion's Den for Jamaican Roti
Gujarati - Prayag Raj
Indian-Chinese Green Lettuce
Kashmir (hopefully they have some real Kashmiri food)
Jules Bistro in Gastown
Go Fish Emporium for F&C
Lebanese - Nuba
Waffles - Patisserie Lebeau
I would add Medina for Brunch/Breakfast.
I've been to Green Lettuce and was pretty unimpressed. I know it's pretty standard for Vancouver, but go to Vij's (or Rangoli).
For French, I would replace Pied a Terre for Jules.
Compagnolo is the new, "hot" spot. Superb Italian at very (very) reasonable prices.
Yew Restaurant in the Four Seasons is very good as well.
There are a few places there on your list that I would skip...not because they are not worthy...I'm just concerned about the logistics plus the baby. (I would skip Green Lettuce, Lion's Den, and probably Kashmir...replace those with Vij's or Rangoli)
Your Japanese is solid. I notice you don't have Chinese options....perhaps because you have a good number of options back at home.
I'll just add the following to the mix:
For more European:
La Buca, Campagnolo, Chambar, Cioppino's
For Vancouver/West Coast/Euro - Fuel, Gastropod, Salt, Boneta
Seafood: Blue Water, Octopus' Garden
Hamilton Street Grill
Have a look at these recommendations...we can pare it down further for you.
There was a recent thread about Kashmiri food in Calgary, and there's a place called Kashmir there, but none in Vancouver as far as I know.
To stay more on topic, I third Medina and support the Vij's rec too. A warning about Salt, it is in a somewhat unsavoury alley in Gastown. I've never felt threatened and it hasn't turned me off of going down there ever, but I'm a (semi-confident) 23 year old male. Depending on your comfort levels in sketchy areas, it may not be the most family friendly (especially at night). I would say however it's not as bad as stumbling unsuspectingly into the Tenderloin in SF!
Thanks fmed and everyone else who chimed in with helpful recommendations.
The lack of Chinese food is attributable to the fact that my wife does not like authentic Chinese - she loves American Chinese food - which I thoroughly detest !
I would love more Japanese recommendations. I understand Vancouver has a great Izakaya culture - something which we lack in SF proper.
You might want to have a look at some other SF hound's posts from the not too distant past:
Not all the recs are baby-friendly, but that should give you some more ideas.
Hey Osho, nice to see your handle on this board, and congrats on the upcoming trip (and baby!). Looks like you've been doing your homework and are getting some great feedback. I wonder if you might enjoy Le Faux Bourgeois for another French option? I haven't been because it's hard to get a reso on short notice but it's getting good reports. I would not take a baby to Jules, and I'm wondering about that at Pied a Terre too... having peeked into LFB it just seems more baby-friendly but I may be out to lunch... it is also not near your hotel but then neither is PAT :-).
I concur heartily with the suggestions upthread to do Salt for lunch or even for a late afternoon snack if that fits in with baby's nap sked.
A new place called Wallflower just opened on Main and looks like it has some brunch options. It is in the recently defunct Aurora location and judging by pix on Scout is just as charming. I think Medina is a great rec too (and another chance for waffles besides Lebeau which is in my hood -- try the savoury versions if you go). Irish Heather in Gastown might be good if you're in the mood for full Irish. Going the other way to the West End nets you La Bretagne Creperie. Finch's on Pender might be worth a look though it can be busy. The Templeton on Granville does a decent mangled eggs (with Brie in a croissant) and has a fun atmosphere. If Nu is still doing brunch that might be an option though I'm not sure re baby friendliness...
Izakaya-wise, I think Guu with Garlic is a good choice for you with baby in tow. The food is tasty, the scene is loud and crazy -- maybe call for a reso and ask where best to sit? My second favourite izakaya (not that I've been to them all -- I wish) is Zakkushi on 4th and they've just opened a new bigger one on Main, along with the original on Denman -- good for all the little grilled sticks.
I know there's a lot of love out there for Hamilton Street Grill but we've been three times and had bad meals, as in leaving most of the food on the plate bad -- with the hangar steak being a particular offender.
Hawker's Delight -- definitely but it is very small and crowded so be forewarned.
Gujarati - Prayag Raj: fmed gave me credit for putting this place on the radar and I'm sorry to say we haven't made it yet -- holiday plans got scuppered by all the damn snow here. Hope you go and give us the Bay area perspective.
Indian-Chinese Green Lettuce: I went three years ago and enjoyed it but it is quite far out on Kingsway.
Go Fish Emporium for F&C: absolutely, with the usual lineup caveats (lesser at this time of year) and the reminder there is no indoor seating -- maybe call ahead and do takeout?
Lebanese - Nuba -- the resto on Seymour (there are two) is almost a takeout though spotless -- just a few seats but would be baby friendly. Get the cauliflower!
Here's a June "unique eats" in Van that might be helpful (if nothing else I posted links to virtually all the restos in the current thread) http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/530513
re: c oliver
If you do go to GIsle (and this would be a good place for you and baby, methinks!) be sure to check out Edible BC. It's in the northeastish corner of the market and carries BC specialties from jam to Vij's curry in a vacuum pack, all suitable for carting away. I'm particularly fond of the Honeyview Farm honey and cranberries but there are tons of great food items to choose from. Not quite the Ferry Plaza but GIsle has its own charms, and it's a market all week :-).
re: Sam Salmon
>> Zakkushi on 4th is in no way an Izakaya but is is a great little place for a drink/nosh.
Beg to differ Sam...it's certainly one of the most authentic izakaya here in Vancouver (compared to the ones in Japan, I mean). Small places that serve sake, beer, and delicious meats on sticks is an izakaya to me ;)
Too bad there isn't an emoticon on here for embarrassment-the truth is I hardy remember making that post, analgesics and Italian Brandy are to blame (!)
I know what it was-I had just seen one of my favourite car drives in BC exposed for all to see on the net-shocked and appalled I tried a *desperate* rear guard action to preserve a great eating/drinking spot for myself.
But it was not to be.....the net is so large and I'm so small, and slow....sigh.
We've had to cut short our plans of a long Vancouver visit - however we're driving back today from Whistler and we have a few hours to visit a couple of places.
Here are some places I am considering:
The Greedy Pig
The Lion's Den
Everything on the list seems to be located about 20 minutes away from the airport according to Google Maps - is this realistic ? The traffic was pretty bad whilst driving within the city on early Friday afternoon ...
Any other suggestions within the vicinity of the airport ?
Thanks for all the quick replies - we ended up going to the Lion's Den. Heard the long story about the lion. Food was so-so - I am sorry to say.
Roti, chicken curry and jerk chicken and were all microwaved - we could hear the beeps because we were seated at one of the two occupied tables.
The chicken tasted mildly of some kind of teriyaki marinade as well. Maybe we went there on a bad day ?
Lion's Den has chow-cred only because it is a bit unique in that it serves Jamaican food and Japanese (okonomiyaki) food in a somewhat unusual setting and served by quirky characters. Not one of my favorites for either cuisine....though they have (had?) a decent but inconsistent okonomiyaki. I should have explicitly steered you away - Vancouver isn't known for Jamaican (the Pizza Jerk place mentioned here recently is much better than Lion's Den.)