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Nov 3, 2009 12:10 PM

Better Butcher in Vancouver

I'm not a meat expert in anyway but do eat and cook meat. Which is the better butcher in Vancouver? The newly opened Jackson's meat or Market Meat at 4th? or Armando meat at Granville Island Market?
I noticed that Jackson's meat price is considerably lower. Do you think their products are comparable to Market Meat?

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  1. No expert here either but my favourite butcher on the west side is Tenderland Meats on Granville Island. I find the prices too high at Market Meats though the odd thing I've purchased on sale there has been very nice. I've had some items at Jackson's that I liked very much (their ham slabs are tasty) and others less so (fennel sausage) -- more research needed.

    1. You know, I've been wondering for a while now who the best butcher in town is - I'm glad this thread got started. Though not Italian myself, I hang with a quite a few Italians who are always yammering on about Columbus Meats on the east side. Not sure if that's better than the west side butchers or not. Ultimately, I guess it's what you're looking for - some places seem good for, say, organic chicken and others for red meats. I've been trying to source organic pork somewhere in civilization (I'm not driving to Langley or Cloverdale for pork - it may as well be on the moon). I find most of the markets on Granville Island a little pricey for red meat so I only buy when I see things on sale. I'll be watching this thread to see what everyone comes up with.

      3 Replies
      1. re: hrhsheba

        Try Moccia on Hastings for organic pork. They also make their in-house salumi and fresh sausages with organic pork.

        Columbus Meats is a great butcher. Italians love it because they can get Italian-style cuts (eg older "red" veal) and fresh sausage. You can get almost anything at Columbus - eg cavallo, piglets, prepped cutlets, etc.

        Cioffi's and Bosa (the big one) are also favourites of Italians. The butcher counter at the new Bosa is run by their former neighbors at their older Victoria Dr location - European Meats. Cioffi's has some nice aged beef.

        Hard for me to decide which I think is "best". Like you said - it depends on what I'm buying. Columbus is the most versatile of the bunch, however.

        1. re: fmed

          The Bertoias owned the butcher on Victoria Dr. You can still get some of their sausages at the old Bosa's but I know that the full range is only at Kootenay Street. I think I'll make a foray out to Columbus.... in the meantime, thanks for the tip about Moccia - I'm definitely going to try that - tomorrow actually :)

          1. re: hrhsheba

            That's right - the Bertoias. I miss having a butcher so close (I live very close to the old Bosa and I would walk over a couple of times a week to get supplies at both places.)

            It's also cool to see two family businesses which started from scratch thriving (actually beyond thriving - Bosa is an empire now.)

            I quite like the salumi and sausages at Moccia....and since you are so close - have you been to the Freybe Outlet? They have a butcher counter there....and of course they have a lot of good cured sausages and German provisions.

      2. I find that I rely on, don't gasp, Costco for good quality basic cuts of red meat (not organic) but go to Armando's on Granville Island for specialty meats or cuts. Armando is fantastic and usually quite responsive at ordering anything you they may not normally carry. Unfortunately you do pay a premium for the quality and the one-stop shopping convenience on the island.

        10 Replies
        1. re: lunchslut

          I get much of my meat from Costco as well - usually only beef, chicken, and rarely pork. They have good beef actually. They only sell the usual cuts of pork though (eg pork chops, loin, etc.). I like cubed shoulder for things like carnitas. For that stuff - I just get it from my local SuperValu.

          1. re: fmed

            WIndsor Meats on Main has pork from Slopping Hills Farms on the Island. Quite good but not cheap.

            1. re: Philx

              I don't even live in Vancouver, but a few of the butcher shops I have visited there have been pretty lacklustre (i.e. my Vancouver friends always take me to this place on the trendy strip of Main, near King Edward, that has terrible quality--not sure why they go there). Out of curiosity, is there a butcher shop that does an exceptional job with steaks--I prefer dry-aged, bone-in ribeyes and bone-in striploins with a good thickness (i.e. 1 1/2 to 2 inches). I like 'em with more than 21 days of age on them...Village Butcher in Victoria where I live often has cuts that they have aged for 6 weeks and have turned quite a burnished brown colour.

              Organic pork is pretty easy to come across here on the Island...Choux Choux carries Sloping Hills, there is a booth at the Moss St Market that sells local organic Cowichan Valley pork, Pepper's Grocer in Oak Bay has organic pork. Just to name a few places. I'm surprised that there are not more places selling organic pork in Vancouver (there must be a number of vendors that do...)

              1. re: anewton

                That butcher shop is Windsor Meats. It's did used to have better meat.

                Cioffi's, Sebastian & Co., Urban Fare, (I think) Jackson's, The British Butcher, Armando's, and a few others have dry aged meat...some for 21 days or more.

                Another interesting place to shop for meat is Nikuya in Richmond. They have real Kobe Wagyu and other Japanese Wagyu there. Not cheap (eg the picture I have attached is a wagyu steak that was selling for $113 for one steak.). You can get Wagyu from elsewhere for much cheaper of course.

                1. re: fmed

                  We seem to be casting a wider net than just Vancouver proper, so I'm going to toss Heringer's in Steveston into the mix. I haven't made it there yet but it seems to meet the criteria sought

                  # 190 12251 No. 1 Road
                  Richmond, BC V7E 1T6
                  (604) 274-6328

                  1. re: fmed

                    I would not recommend the butcher shop at Urban Fare. The service is inconsistent and seems to switch between experienced butchers to 14 year olds working on minimum wage depending on the time you visit the store. It is the only butcher shop in which I will make a point of asking to smell the meat before it is packaged due to numerous bad experiences.

                    1. re: lunchslut

                      Good note lunchslut. I rarely shop at Urban Fare since I can get the same items for much lower prices in East Side.

                  2. re: anewton

                    There are a number of vendors in Vancouver that sell Sloping Hill. I didn't bother to list them. I think even Bosa sells Sloping Hill Pork.

                    1. re: fmed

                      I have mentioned Hill's Foods in other threads but I it is in Coquitlam - which is too far even for me - but if you are looking for organic pork, ostrich, camel, kangaroo, python, wild boar, what have you, this is the place to go.

                    2. re: anewton

                      i've bought dry aged rib-eye, i think 30 day (boneless) from the butcher shop at so.cial, but that was a while back, haven't been in there in ages so not sure if they still do or not

              2. Its just over the 2nd Narrows, but give Jolly Meats a try. Eric the owner is Scandinavian and has lots of pork in the case. The red meat is *very* good. The chicken is frozen, but for some reason, is always above par.

                I also agree Vancouver butchers are lacklustre. Unless you're italian... :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: juddc

                  Oh - ironically, Jolly Meats supplies La Grotta with some if its meats! Funny.

                2. Since the post has ventured outside of Vancouver, here's a one in Burnaby. I believe it's called The Heights Meat Store on Hastings, same block as Tom Yum. I've been there a couple of times but one of my friends go there all the time. Their tenderloin and ribeye is extremely fresh. One time I purchased the ribeye and was worried because it was so lean but the flavours were nice and surprisingly tender. Pricing is also good.