Torontonians moving to VanCity and need some help!
Me and my partner are moving to Vancouver this summer and need some help!
We want to live in a neighbourhood that has as many as the following as possible and are hoping some of you might have some suggestions!
Is there an equivalent neighbourhood to something like Queen West West/Parkdale/Trinity Bellwoods? Meaning we are looking for a neighbourhood that has:
Young but talented Chefs that are opening or running great restaurants
late night food
delicious espresso bars?
A farmers market. Either all year round or at least seasonal.
An organic or naturally raised butcher shop. Ideally they would bring in whole animal so second cuts are easy to get a hold of.
Independent grocers/cheese boutiques/fish mongers. Again, whose focus is sustainable/artisinal harvesting/producing.
At least one comfortable bar.
Food is incredible important in our lives. I cook for a living. Neither one of us are very familiar with the city and need your help in finding the right 'hood to start our search.
Thanks so much in advance!
Agreed vandan (totally stealing "punch well above our weight"). I think that Vancouver has another advantage. Really bad places don't survive. You are much more likely to have a decent to good meal randomly selecting a resto here than in Toronto, unless things have changed drastically. I ate more dreck in the two years I lived near Bloor and Dundas than I have in all my years in Vancouver.
No one who lives here calls Vancouver 'VanCity'-that's the name of a Credit Union.
Farmer's Markets are held in different areas of the city on different days May through October more or less.
http://urbandiner.ca/ for all the latest info on the bling eating/watering holes.
Granville Island Market was once 'the' place to shop but has morphed into something more like a high end specialty food market place/tourist trap combo.
Let me expand a little on my 'hood (I was on my way out the door earlier).
>>"Young but talented Chefs that are opening or running great restaurants
late night food
delicious espresso bars?"
Lot of low-mid priced eateries and pubs, etc. A place with a large Belgian Beer selection (Stella's). A place with great sushi (Lime). Three top shelf espresso bars (Bump n Grind, Prado, JJBean). The "young and talented chefs" seem to open up spots elsewhere in the city...but The Pear Tree (Scott Jaeger) in Burnaby is not too far, and so are the restaurants right downtown (which is quite literally a 7 minute drive from where I live.)
>>"A farmers market. Either all year round or at least seasonal."
There is a WInter Farmers' Market by the Wyse Hall and a Summer Market at Trout Lake Community Center parking lot.
>> "An organic or naturally raised butcher shop. Ideally they would bring in whole animal so second cuts are easy to get a hold of."
Not entirely organic, but Bosa Foods, Columbus Meats, and Cioffis's (about a 10-15 min drive) have good butchers that supply organic, sustainable meats.
>> "Independent grocers/cheese boutiques/fish mongers. Again, whose focus is sustainable/artisinal harvesting/producing"
La Grotta (cheese), Soon the new Au Petit Chavignol (Cheese, 5 min drive) run by the same Folks who run Les Amis, Moccia (organic Italian salumi, JN&Z (a charcuterie/smokehouse right on the Drive).
This area is a draw for foodies around the city because of the smaller (and inexpensive), indie shops (Italiana, Latin American, Chinese, etc.)
>>At least one comfortable bar.
I drink at Stella's....nice vibe, friendly staff...food is decent (for bar food). There are a couple of other spots that are more like restuarants...Wazuubee has a great wines-by-the-glass list (the food is nothing to write home about, though...)
Thanks for your detailed response! It sounds like you live in a great area! We'll probably be carless. Do you think that would hinder some of your suggestions?
I have heard that there is some interesting openings in "gastown". i have also heard it's pretty touristy or trendy without substance?
I lived carless for a couple of decades in this area..and that didn't hinder me. I cycled everywhere and nearly all the spots I mentioned are very accessible by bike. Cioffi's and Bosa are a tad far...but not inaccessible. The "original" Bosa is still on Victoria Dr (a major block East of Commercial)....but the selection is much smaller (especially for meat).
There is a Skytrain station at one end of the Drive which will take you to quite a number of good food shopping. This fall, the Skytrain stations in Richmond will be open and you will have access to some of the best Asian food and shopping anywhere.
You should probably look into (South) Main St as well...that area is closer in many respects to the Toronto areas you mentioned in your original post....but IMO...for food shopping...Commercial Dr area has it beat.
Gastown has some excellent restaurants...and is coming out of a bit of a "tourist-trap" hibernation....it's still pretty touristy in the daytime in the summertime.
However, it is still incredible sketchy there - so very close to Main and Hastings. It is an unbelievably surreal and sad part of town. I don't think there is an area in Toronto that can compare.
Gastowners do their food shopping in Chinatown, Commercial Dr, etc because there really isn't much right there.