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Aug 20, 2009 10:43 AM

help plan a day in Vancouver complete with Vij's, an izakaya (or two), and raw bar

I've only been to Vancouver once before and I'm looking for a nice place to have oysters on the half shell. It sounds like the places to go are Blue Water Cafe, Joe Fortes, or Rodney's. What would you recommend for the highest quality local oysters? We'd probably prefer somewhere that we can just order from the bar, as we wouldn't be eating a whole meal. As for izakayas, I've enjoyed guu in the past, although a friend took me and I couldn't tell you for the life of myself which location it was. I'm not sure of the timing on all this - We'll be in Vancouver all day but these places seem to be mostly evening places. I have read that it is possible to go to Vij's around 9 and it's not too bad - is this possible on a Sat night or do we need to get there at 5? Could you recommend an izakaya that would be open around lunch time? I'm assuming the atmosphere would be somewhat different but that's ok as long as the food is good!

We'll probably start our day in Stanley park and we'll have a car but I guess we'd like to try to minimize driving all over the place as much as possible. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

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  1. Hi movesalot, this is my suggestion :

    If you just want to have the raw oysters, you probably wanna try the one at Lonsdale Quay Market @ North Vancouver.

    As far as I am concerned, the izakaya that opened for lunch is :
    Guu with garlic ( 1698 Robson Street, Vancouver) they opened from 12pm-2pm

    I am not too sure about Vij as I have never been there.
    But for izakaya, there are now many good ones in downtown.
    If you happened to change your mind and decided to go for izakaya for dinner, you might consider these:
    1. Kingyo ( 871 Denman Street )
    2. Zakkushi ( 823 Denman Street )
    3. Hapa Izakaya ( 1479 Robson St )

    Reservation is strongly recommended.

    8 Replies
    1. re: lapetitevancouver

      Guu is open for lunch, but not as an izakaya. They serve lunch bento etc.

      1. re: fmed

        Thanks for the heads up. Ok, so it sounds like oysters late afternoonish, Vij's, then an izakaya or two. Not exactly cohesive, but will be yummy!
        So let me revise my questions: What time should we get to Vij's on a Sat evening? Reservations are recommended at the izakayas? What if we are only planning on having a couple of things at each place?

        1. re: movesalot

          Sorry for the short posts. Typing on iPhone.

          Reserve at an izakaya for 8 pm. Go to one before then head to your res.

          Vij's on a Saturday. Go very early 5:45.

          1. re: fmed

            fmed's plan though concise is good. I'd consider going to Vij's at 5 (they open at 5:30 and I've been snookered before going any later as of course the whole room can fill up from the first people in the lineup). That way you'll have time to savour the Vij's experience before nipping back downtown to your izakayas. Another idea is to keep it light at Vij's by ordering apps only and/or sharing mains such as the much vaunted lamb popsicles or one of the beefy options so you can eat more at the izakaya later. I'm quite a fan of his veg/paneer offerings over the pork or chicken dishes FWIW, and anything dumplingy has always stood me in very good stead though there doesn't seem to be one on the menu at the minute. I don't recall ever ordering seafood there outside the occasional prawn app there so can't comment on those (I see he is doing sable fish and spots with halibut right now). He has a nicely matched wine list and some local brews from Storm, but if you want to save your alcohol consumption for the izakaya (which is not a bad idea), try the house made ginger lemon drink. No dessert menu posted on the website but if you can find room for the gulab jamum which are very small, I rate them among my favourite sweet things anywhere. Have a great time!

            1. re: grayelf

              I agree with grayelf. I say go no later than 5 to Vij's for a Saturday evening. On a Wed evening in June, I got there at 5:15 and there were already 20 or so people ahead of me in line. As for my favorites, I definitely recommend the portobello mushroom in porcini curry appetizer and the infamous lamb popsicles. I wasn't crazy about mutton kebabs or the duck entree.

              1. re: miss.foodie

                Oops. I meant 4:45 before Vij's opens.

                1. re: fmed

                  Or earlier if you can get the day off. :) The diehards will always be there well ahead of opening to get the first round of seats...

                  1. re: jay_kay

                    LOL -- if we keep going in this direction, the OP will be eating oysters for breakfast! Seriously, though I wonder if you could hit Rodney's for lunch instead of late afternoon. Is it open for lunch?

    2. Thanks much for all your replies. We had a wonderful day in Vancouver. First, we headed to Joe Fortes first since we knew it was definitely open for lunch. We didn't try any of the regular food, but the oysters were fresh & delicious. The only disappointment there was that, although the menu shows dozens of different types of oysters, they only had about 5 or 6 available that day. Even though it's August, I was surpised - I guess I have been spoiled by Elliott's in Seattle. Anyway, we did get to try two types of BC oysters we hadn't eaten before and we enjoyed sitting in the window and watching people go by outside.
      Unfortunately, my other half was functioning on several nights of no sleep so he opted out of the mini izakaya crawl. The good news is he decided this before we went to Vij's so we were able to do it up right! We had the portobello mushroom and the paneer with brussel sprouts appetizers. The sauce on the portobello mushrooms was to die for. Of course, we ordered the lamp popsicles, which were easily the best Indian dish either of us has ever eaten. The meat was perfectly cooked and the sauce was indescribable (must have been the fenugreek?) In addition, we had the beef short ribs and rice pudding, which were good, but not exceptional. Also, we loved the lemon-ginger drink. Would not have thought to order that were it not for the recommendation on here so thanks! Anyway, I cannot say enough how much we enjoyed this restaurant! The service was impeccable and Vij came over to our table more than once to check on us. We took home some refrigerated food from the place next door that was just okay and definitely not worth the money... but overall a very fun and delicious dining experience.
      Thanks again for your help. Next time we'll definitely hit the izakayas...

      4 Replies
      1. re: movesalot

        So glad you had a good time -- and that Vij's was a hit. It is somewhat controversial on this board, as any resto that is trying to do something a bit different is wont to be, I suppose. And you're welcome for the drink rec -- that and the moscato di asti are the only things I ever get at Vij's. I'm not a big beer drinker and I find most wines don't work for me with Asian food, though I quite liked a riesling I had recently with Thai food... but I digress. Did they not have the gulab jamun on the menu -- how sad! I've never been a big fan of their rice pudding, nor of their take home stuff from Rangoli, mainly because I find it overpriced. Fun to hang with Vikram though, no? Post again next time and link to this thread so we remember what you did/had. You will love the izakaya crawl.

        1. re: movesalot

          Glad to hear you had a wonderful time at Vij's and that you were just as impressed with the sauce on portobello mushrooms as I was. It takes a lot to "wow" me.. and this dish did it. It reminds me of the yellowfoot mushrooms I had at Toro Bravo in PDX earlier this year. (If you ever get a chance to go to PDX, do try Toro Bravo... but unfortunately their menu is seasonal so that dish might not always be on there). In any case, I'm most impressed at the consistency at Vij's. I've had the lamb popsicles twice now and they tasted exactly the same and were just as good both times.

          1. re: movesalot

            I have a question about Vij's; is it casual enough to take my 6 month old baby? He generally doesn't cry but he might need to be held while I am eating and at times he might have to be taken outside if he is getting more noisy. I would love to try Vij's when I go up to visit Vancouver in a few weeks but I also don't want to anger any other diners. Thank you very much.

            1. re:

              I take my kids almost everywhere, but I wouldn't take them to Vij's, mostly because of the line-ups which can be epic. The atmosphere isn't that kid friendly either, you could certainly try it, but I wouldn't bother when there's Rangoli right next door.