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Great food in Vancouver - Chow, Fuel, Wild Rice

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I'm from Toronto and went to Vancouver and saught the advice of chowhounders before I went and I wanted to share my experiences with a few great restaurants I went to.

Chow

Really nice decor! We went for the early prix fixe menu ($35 5-6pm). Really friendly, down to earth people work there. The vibe is nice. I honestly didn't expect that from the decor. We had a French waiter and he was really friendly and fun. You could tell

We ordered their cheapest wine and it was still a pretty heavy priced bottle, but it was actually quite good. I've been to other restaurants that put just any random wine for their cheaper ones, but these guys actually thought it out it seems. If it's not good, don't put it on your menu, I think. It was good and I didn't feel ripped off like ordering wine at other restaurants.

The food was nice and light but very filling too. It was good value. They used good ingredients, you could tell, and they had some really nice presentation. Froth included.

The dishes seem to be creative and different than food I've eaten in Toronto. Great food without the stuffy atmosphere.

Usually when I go down some place fancy it's a bit too pretentious, but everyone here was really friendly. They really made the experience. Also, sometimes I feel ripped off when I dine at expensive restaurants, mainly because I'm paying for the decor and fancy napkins, but this place I didn't feel ripped off at all. It was very good value. The food was great, the atmosphere was great, the service was great (lots of smiles and laughing), the whole experience was great!

I would definitely recommend this place. I'm definitely going back next time I'm in Vancouver.

Fuel

Fancy restaurant, but not too fancy.

It was nice of the chef to give us a complimentary amuse-bouche. I didn't really like it that much as mine was a bit too salty (creamy soup of some sort with smoked venison). If it had less salt it would've been pretty great. I'm not one for patés... I made liver bad once and it's a taste you can never forget, so I didn't like the amuse-bouche with the paté. It was good for what it was though.

I thought the presentation for the bread was excellent (marble slab, whipped butter, flaked salt). Very pretty. The amuse-bouche presentation was excellent too, and you could see that the chef went the extra mile with something like including a comic strip with a soup sample. Presentation was excellent and it made me smile. Food is art at Fuel, it seems. They really try for presentation, and the mains are no exception to that either.

The lamb I ordered was absolutely amazing. I really enjoyed it. It came with tenderloin and shoulder. The shoulder was braised in something, and was really good. So many other little things on the plate: sunchoke mash, cabbage, caramelized yoghurt pasta, venison bacon... So good. Honestly, that was one of the best plates I've had in a while. Really great. The crispy salmon dish was great too. I enjoyed the way the fish was cooked. Everything was cooked just right. Some restaurants overcook their meat but these were done to perfection.

Complimentary little dessert bites too. Homemade candies, you could tell that the chef has an interest in that as it was going beyond other restaurants go. I thought the vanilla jelly was an interesting, grown up take on Sour Patch Kids. That was very nice of them to offer it to us. They seem to be very kind there. Service is warm and friendly. Not pretentious feeling at all (unlike next door at Gastropod, which I found a tad pretentious compared to the other fancy restaurants I've dined at in Vancouver).

It was very delicious and I'm definitely going back and would definitely recommend it.

Wild Rice

This place was pretty good for fancy but not too fancy, comfort Chinese food. The pulled bison shoulder was really good. So was the chow mein-like dish with mushrooms and bok choy. Nice atmosphere. Fancy without the snobby. Lighting was nice. It was a great experience actually. Food was in portions meant for sharing, but unlike other restaurants that say that, you could actually share it because there was enough food. Good value. Looked like a good place for drinks and appetizers with friends.

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  1. Thanks for the report pinkskittles. Fuel is one of my favorite spots. The prix fixe at Chow is a great deal (I had it once this past summer).

    1. good to hear about wild rice, ive been meaning to try it whenever im in town but havent got around to it (i always crave my regular spots too much when im away) but read some not so good reviews about it as well so good to hear its ok.

      1. I second Wild Rice. We always mean to go back when we are in Vancouver but there are so many restaurants to try and so few lunches and dinners.