Vancouver Magazine's Restaurant Awards 2009
It's now posted online: http://www.vanmag.com/Restaurants/Res...
Some relevant info for some recent discussions on this board:
Best Dim Sum - Kirin
Japanese Formal - The Raw Bar at Blue Water gets a Silver
Best Seafood - Blue Water
Japanese Casual - Lime gets a Bronze
Best Formal Chinese - Kirin
Casual Chinese - Chen's gets Gold
Casual Chinese - Alvin Garden gets Bronze
Best Victoria - Brasserie L'Ecole gets Gold
Best Indian - Vij's gets Gold
No shockers. Predictable results...some new finalists.
I'm happy with Gold/Silver/Bronze for the Casual Japanese awards (Kingyo/Zest/Lime respectively)... but honourable mention went to "Hapa for introducing the city to the izakaya experience."
Hasn't the original Guu been around for years before Hapa? That's where I first learned about the izakaya scene.
Raku Kushiyaki on 10th was the first izakaya-like (more like Japanese Fusion) restaurant.
A different Raku (on Thurlow, IIRC was one of the Uno family chain) was the first true izakaya...it was then sold to Yoshi Kitahara and rebranded as Guu. Now often called "Guu Original".
Raku on Thurlow was the first izakaya I experienced in Vancouver (I worked in the same building for a while). It was regularly packed with Japanese homestay students.
I would say Hapa's Justin Ault was the first to popularize and market it outside the Japanese market.
An interesting side-note...Trevor Hooper former chef-owner of Raku Kushiyaki is a bit of renaissance man...he now runs Raku Object software doing 3D Visualization.
A couple of the categories need some expansion IMO. The restaurant categories are just about right for this city....but the Bar/Lounge category has been dominated by Bacchus which is a great bar if you have a fat expense account. How will deserving spots like the Alibi win an award? I also think that now is the time for a Coffeeshop category (which will undoubtedly be a battle between 49th, Elysian, and Artigiano.)
I also found it amusing that Wild Rice ended up in "Other Asian".
A couple of things do not make sense,
In the category for Best Vancouver Island, Sooke Harbour House gets gold and The Pointe at the Wickaninnish Inn gets an honorable mention. Then in the next category, Best Resort Dining, The Pointe gets gold and Sooke gets silver !!!!!!??????
Secondly, the judges obviously consider the Okanagan to be Kelowna.
Some of the best food in the valley is coming from Amante Bistro in Penticton, they have a copy on their website of a Globe & Mail article written last spring by Alexandra Gill (probably the only honest food critic in Canada), it really does them justice.
Finally, the room at Cabana is nice but the food is hit and miss, i have had much more enjoyable meals at Bonfire in Westbank the desserts there are to die for !