Plan my long weekend with my mother!
My mother and I are having a very rare long weekend together in Vancouver (no husbands or children) to celebrate my birthday and would love advice on where to eat. We'll be staying near Robson Street and would like a variety of suggestions -- good coffee/pastry shops for breakfast, pleasant lunch and dinner spots. We would probably do one good splurge for dinner but think more moderately for the other nights. We love good food and fun spots but would want to avoid spots that are too trendy, loud, or packed. We'll look forward to exploring the city but will be relying on cabs and public transport so won't be able to hit any real out of the way spots on this trip. I'm coming from Alaska and would love to have one classic French meal (none here in Anchorage) and would also love to have a great Chinese meal (lunch or dinner).
Appreciate any and all advice!
You have access to dozens of decent spots to eat. I'm assuming you want places that are at walking distance from you hotel (no real need to cab it unless you want to try a few favourites).
You are in the thick of the Japanese and Korean scene there - Kingyo, Hapa are good places though they may be a tad 'trendy'. Tons cheap sushi in the area.
Decent Chinese food near there: Kirin (Alberni) and Shanghai Chinese Bistro. There is an overwhelmingly long list in this category....I thought I'd keep the list shortened to the places right downtown. If you want more authentic regional Chinese fare, I can post more recs. And don't let you concierge into convincing you to go to Hon's.
Coffee and pastries: Artigiano, Medina (near the Stadium skytrain).
For French downtown - Le Crocodile and Saveur. I don't really classify Five Sails as "French" - but it combines Food with View.
I would recommend a few other places that are in the Fine Dining or Casual Fine Dining category: Fuel and Gastropod (right next to each other on 4th Ave - a $10 cab ride away), Market (downtown - Jean-Georges Vongerichten's new spot), db Bistro (Daniel Boulud's new spot on 4th - $20 cab ride), Boneta (Gastown - by Skytrain).
For food-related trips - Granville Island is a must for a tourist...your hotel's concierge will tell you that for sure.
A few comments to add to fmed's solid list. The Robson/Denman izakayas are most definitely within walking distance, especially if you are "lower" on Robson (towards Denman). I prefer Guu with Garlic but search on izakaya in Vancouver or check out fmed's google map http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=106644694114812676880.0004507073f697c1144f1 that includes other stuff too, and a Chow izakaya story link http://www.chow.com/stories/10980 that is still relevant.
For a fun and casual but elegant dinner/drink and snack, you might check out Cobre in Gastown -- pan Latin, interesting tacos. It is tapas-ish so you could modulate your ordering to keep things reasonable. Short cab ride recommended (this nabe might give two women pause at night but a cab will take care of that).
For mid-priced Italian, Campagnolo (new and a real contendah, also not the best hood but a short cab ride).
If you're feeling crepe-y for breakfast or lunch, check out La Bretagne in the West End.
Salt for a late afternoon ploughman's moderne snack (cab if after dark, be prepared for alleyway entrance).
Fmed is right about the plethora of sushi places and I'm really not that familiar with them but I remember reading a solid review of this place in Vancouver Magazine by a reporter I trust: Shuraku Sake Bar & Bistro 833 Granville St. near Smithe, 604-687-6622 -- she mentioned great bbq ribs, super fresh sashimi and inventive izakaya style small plates, and a good sake selection as well. As I write this I am wondering why I haven't been yet :-). Perhaps you will go and add some data points here.
One of the other denizens of this board Sam Salmon is quite a fan of this place as well: http://www.acaciafillobar.com/
Depending when you're coming, the reincarnation of Parkside as a La Buca would be worth checking out if it is open (the original is still my favourite Italian – but a longish cab ride from downtown -- though Campagnolo is coming on strong).
As fmed noted, you are going to be near the epicentre of Japanese dining in Vancouver including the ramen zone near Denman and Robson, so if you like noodle soup you are in luck.
Have a great time and be sure to let us know where you eat.
Doh, forgot to add links:
La Buca Restaurant
4025 MacDonald St, Vancouver, BC V6L2N8, CA
L'Altro Buca Restaurant
1906 Haro Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 1H7, CA
Salt Tasting Room Ltd
45 Blood Alley, Vancouver, BC V6B 0C4, CA
La Bretagne The Original Creperie Ltd
795 Jervis St, Vancouver, BC V6E2B1, CA
740 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G, CA
Kitanoya Guu with Garlic
1698 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G1C7, CA
Zakkushi Japanese Restaurant
823 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L7, CA
833 Granville Steet, Vancouver, BC V6Z1K7, CA
1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA
Acacia Bistro & Import Ltd
1103 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G, CA