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How's my plan re: restaurants in Vancouver and Victoria

A group of us will visit these fair cities next week from SF. Staying near Canada Place. We have about 2 days pre-cruise and 1.5 day post-cruise. Staying near Canada Place. While I'd love to hit the "must eat" places, our older family members are not as crazy as us and traveling longer time for good eats are probably out of the question. We'll have a car but since we want to hit certain sights, it'll be much better if the good restaurants are somewhat on the way. I've planned this trip as if certain family members will never be back here again so would like to see the most and eat the best - under certain budget. Some of us aren't too dressy so nothing too upscale too. Mostly we like seafood, Chinese and Japanese, unless there's some really good food of other types.

Please see if I'm heading the right direction? Big thanks! :)

Day 1 - in YVR/Richmond briefly: brunch @ Shanghai River for XLB, ferry to Victoria, if we have time may be sneak some snacks from Red Fish Blue Fish, Beacon Hill park, dinner rez @ Brasserie L'ecole

Day 2 - Breakfast @ Mo:le, drive to Butchart Gardens, lunch @ tea place within, ferry to Vancouver, dinner @ Kingyo

Day 3 - we could eat on the ship if checked in early, OR, brunch @ Kirin

Day 4 - visit Granville island, lunch @ Sun Sui Wah on Main St.<--- is this supposed to be THE best dim sum...better than Koi Palace in SF area? Stanley Park, Capilano Suspension Bridge, grab some Thomas Haas chocolates, dinner rez @ Tojo's, maybe Harbor Centre Lookout.

Day 5 - flight at 5p - get to YVR by 3p? Lunch - grab some Japadog? Mui's Garden? More dim sum?

Anyway I can squeeze in some spot prawns somewhere? What else should I buy or eat? ;)

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  1. It looks like you have done your research and your recs are soild.

    The "best" dim sum restaurant is open for debate, but SSW is certainly in the upper echelon. There are other options - some of them are a bit of a distance from the downtown core. The best places are in Richmond. If you are interested in more recs - we can post some for you.

    Mui Garden - are you seeking Sngapore/Malaysian? If so, I think there are better choices (Banana Leaf, etc.).

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Thanks fmed. Since we'll be driving from downtown to the airport, would love to hear about great restaurants in these areas.

      Re: Mui - I was thinking of something cafe style, any good Hong Kong style cafes? Or, are there many places that serve spot prawns at lunch?

      1. re: sjeats

        Ah then Mui Garden is a perfectly good HK Cafe (it has a SIngapore bent - that's why I asked).

        If driving down Granville St to the airport (you probably will) then check out Red Star for dim sum.

        Red Star Seafood Restaurant
        8298 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6P4Z4, CA

    2. Sun Sui Wah is good but not better than the best the Bay Area has to offer. Koi Palace, Joy Luck, Asian Pearl and the Kitchen are on par with the best that Vancouver has to offer.

      But I will wait for your report on Japadog. I have missed this spot my last two trips up to the Northwest. Maybe I can get fmed to take me next trip.

      1. Your Victoria list looks top-notch to me. Enjoy!

        1. Thanks everyone! I hope to eat as planned. ;) Still searching for places with BC spot prawns...

          2 Replies
          1. re: sjeats

            If you have somewhere to cook them, you can buy the spot prawns raw on Granville island (lots of retailers - I like 'finest at sea' .) I've heard some eat them raw straight from the boats, so you might not even need cooking facilities! If you're looking for a restaurant that serves them, Vij's is a sure bet, and until the end of June, "C" has a spot prawn tasting menu - see http://www.cityfood.com/EN/greater_de.... For something a bit less expensive, I would bet that "fish" on Yew st. between York and First has some, but I can't find a menu online. Have fun!

            1. re: food_alice

              Also try the Chinese seafood restuarants...they should have spots.

          2. Brasserie L'ecole is amazing, excellent choice! Enjoy

            1. And the Beacon Drive-In for soft ice-cream (the plain is the best), if you have time and stomach room - but don't throw off your appetite for the Brasserie.

              6 Replies
              1. re: cassie

                I second the Beacon Drive In for a plain vanilla soft serve -- the medium max though; the large'll kill ya :-).

                1. re: grayelf

                  Oh and here are two very recent threads on the wee spotted beasties in case you haven't seen them:



                  1. re: grayelf

                    Thanks! I'll squeeze the soft serve in before the tacones. ;)

                    May just have to try spot prawns next trip...timing is an issue and while I'd love to try Vij's, don't think our family will stand to wait an hour plus on a Friday night.

                    How's the weather? It's looking a bit wet from the report! :-\

                    1. re: sjeats

                      They'll probably have spot prawns at RedFishBlueFish - so you can tacone and spot prawn in one fail swoop. Weather, Victoria: little bit of rain today and some called for tomorrow - Sat/Sun looks to be dry, but cloudy. They have tons of loan umbrellas at Butchart, if it rains while you're out there.

                      1. re: sjeats

                        The line at Vij's isn't bad if you're willing to show up right when they open (5:30). You can go right in in the first seating.

                        1. re: sjeats

                          You're probably here by now but the weather is spectacular (Saturday the 27th). Don't forget to always bring a sweater with you in Victoria - it can get wicked cold at night in summer.

                    2. Thanks again for all the suggestions. We didn't get to every place planned...so I'll just summarize where we went.

                      Got to Richmond too early on a weekday and Shanghai River wasn't open yet, so we went to Kirin just across the street. Good dim sum, and the decor wasn't bad either. I think it's comparable to Koi Palace in the SF Bay Area, perhaps a little cheaper.

                      Loved the tuna tacones at Red Fish Blue Fish! The fish and chips were good too. Brasserie L'ecole was a cozy little restaurant, and we enjoyed the food. Very fresh oysters. Mo:le had fresh ingredients, but it was just so so for me. The portions were pretty big, and 5 of us shared 3 orders. Didn't get to have the afternoon tea.

                      Went to Vij's on a Friday night and was told the wait was 1.5 hours. Too bad, so we left and had a great dinner at Kingyo. We only had a 10 minute wait and parked right outside the restaurant on a Friday night! The tuna carpaccio was very tasty. We had some raw amaebi and fried prawns, but not sure if those were the bc spotted prawns.

                      After coming back from the cruise, we headed over to Kirin and had dim sum. Not all the items we had at the Richmond location were available, and the decor seems a bit older. The food was pretty good too. Went to Tojo's for dinner, and, while the food was good, I wasn't wowed. IMHO there are many more sushi places in L.A. that cost less and had better food. The service was pretty good and I liked the "mature" waitress dressed in kimono.

                      Our last day was a Sunday and I should've known better than to try to go to Shanghai River or Kirin at lunch time without a reservation. Went to both and was told the wait was at least 1 hour. My group didn't want to drive again so we walked across Kirin to Empire Seafood for dim sum. The wait was only 10 minutes, and I soon knew why - the food was below average and the service non-existent. At one point the waitress tossed a fork and a knife onto the table. I don't recall the waitstaff speaking a word except for asking us what tea we'd like initially. The dim sum paled in comparison, obviously, to our lunch at Kirin just a week before. All the "dumplings" seemed to have the same fillings and tasted the same. (What can I say, it was hard to travel in a group with so many opinions and tired bodies so I wasn't surprised how our trip would end...haha)

                      Overall we've tasted some good eats in our neighbor country. There's so much more to explore and next time I shall visit some other great restaurants and even wait for Vij's. ;)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: sjeats

                        Sounds like you had a good time despite a few challenges :-). You totally lucked out on the parking at Kingyo -- we all complain about parking in the West End. Be sure to point us to this thread when you come back so we can remember what you tried/liked!