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1 weekend in Vancouver

1 couple, first vacation away from the baby.

We'll be staying at the Westin Grand on Robson. Looking for a dinner and possibly lunch suggestion. No car, so walking distance (or easy cab ride) preferred.

Dinner, we like food. A lot. My husband's not too into Indian (Vij's) but just about anything else goes. We are from Seattle, so while we enjoy seafood, this meal doesn't have to showcase the bounty of the Pacific. I'm not anticipating a $400 dinner (a la Tojo...although we previously enjoyed every minute of it), but something with entrees in the $30-40 range. A more casual atmosphere is also appreciated. It's not a special occasion, it's just a date.

Bonus if you can suggest some things to do around the area (for day or nite) that don't include shopping. Bars (more loungy than club) recommendations are appreciated.

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  1. Fuel!! I know I recommend this spot to nearly anyone looking for a good meal in town, but it is my favorite restaurant in town. Excellent focus on local ingredients, quiet intimate room and a good wine list. Not walking distance, but it's a short cab ride across the Burrard Bridge to Kits from your hotel.

    In terms of bars, I throw these recommendations out a fair bit too. All are in Gastown, which is walkable from the Westin (~1 mile downhill or so, but I considered the walk from Belltown to Capitol Hill walkable too...) but a cab ride would be cheap too.

    Alibi Room - go here for the beer. 25 taps, nearly all locally brewed. Great ambiance.
    The Diamond - excellent bar skills behind their big cocktail list. Really hard to beat for value.
    Irish Heather - a whisk(e)y list that is unsurpassed. Best place for a Guinness too.
    Salt - wine/charcuterie bar in an admittedly sketchy alley. Nothing sketchy once you're inside though.
    The Pourhouse - the newest of these five, but you wouldn't know it from the level of service and quality of the food and drink. Very classy cocktail joint staffed by some of the best in town.

    Closer to your hotel, I'd look at the izakayas on Robson for a fun evening of Japanese small plates and shochu or other choice of poison.

    Other board regulars will probably steer you to spots closer by (I know I'm missing the spots on Davie for sure...)

    Alibi Room
    157 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A1B8, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: peter.v

      I second Fuel - unfussy, great locally sourced food from a talented kitchen.

      I also second doing a Gastown bar crawl...just don't go too far east.

      How about a quick Skytrain ride into Richmond - perhaps to Aberdeen Center (not for shopping but maybe for the foodcourt). You can also stop at the other stations to check out some great Chinese food.

      Not about food - I love the Museum of Anthropology at UBC. A drive up to the local mountains will provide some great views of the city on a nice day.

    2. Cibo and the adjoining wine bar Uva is really close. Really great restaurant in the Moda hotel. Make reservations.

      Also just named best new restaurant in Canada by Enroute, if that matters to anybody.

      ps: I also love Fuel.

      Cibo Ristorante
      900 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 3L9, CA

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cancuk

        One of the nicer casual meals we've had recently was at La Brasserie on Davie which is walkable. Not going to redefine French or German food for you but definitely a good choice for a date night.

        La Brasserie
        1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

      2. I like Fuel too...
        Chambar is tempting... haven't had any chance to try it but I love Medina Cafe brunch; the best in town by farrr...
        Salt Tasting Room is interesting, but for more budget friendly late night try Au Petit Chavignol; owned by the same folks who own Le Amis du Fromage ( or the best cheese shop in town)

        3 Replies
        1. re: urbanchowlover

          Ah, well said. I actually like APC better than Salt (and still managed to forget them). More variety than Salt.

          1. re: peter.v

            Another vote for Au Petit Chavignol here. Great selection of cheese and salumi (better than Salt's IMO) - and super service.

            au petit chavignol
            845 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

          2. re: urbanchowlover

            I'm not sure I'd pick Chambar for a casual date night -- price point is a bit high and the volume level is too, but the food is great and it's a nifty, vibey spot.

          3. Great information all. Thanks so much.

            1. We just had a casual date night at Hapa Izakaya and it was very good. The service was prompt and the servers were really nice and I loved sharing the assorted dishes with my husband. I would rec this place in particular to you as I haven't seen izakaya in Seattle so it would be something different and in the area you are looking for. We followed our dinner with drinks at The Diamond with an order of peanuts and then had one last nightcap at UVA on seymour and smithe in the Moda Hotel.

              Moda Hotel
              900 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B, CA

              Hapa Izakaya
              1516 Yew St, Vancouver, BC V6K3E4, CA

              2 Replies
              1. re: selena03

                I like the sound of your date night, selena!

                1. re: grayelf

                  Thanks-I got some recs to go to La Brasserie from ch's so that will be the next date night. I am going to try pourhouse (attempt to get in for dinner no reservations taken) this Saturday for a girls night (followed by Society in yaletown for drinks) so will report back on my experience....

                  La Brasserie
                  1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

              2. So my current eating itinerary includes:
                -1 Dinner at Hapa Izakaya
                -1 Lunch at Fuel (do I need reservations for lunch?)
                -Dim Sum for brunch one day (any recommendations in that same area? I seem to remember a place in/near the Marriott that was better than what we have down here in Seattle)
                -Drinks in the Gaslamp area as suggested

                Thoughts? Opinions?

                3 Replies
                1. re: ethereal

                  i was visiting vancouver recently and did a bit of hopping between hapa, kingyo and zakkushi. it was my first time at each and i think it depends on what you're looking for. i found that hapa tended to lean towards trendy and a bit less traditional (most of their drink list is cocktails with a meagre showing of sakes) and that would also apply to the service (which i felt was only ok). their food didn't work for me on some levels at times. kingyo was much more traditional and the service quite sweet in the same way and i enjoyed it the most. i'm still thinking about their uni stone bowl dish that had me licking the insides of my cheeks for the rest of the night searching for the flavour. i didn't have an issue with a single dish, quite excellent. good sake list as well. zakkushi is a skewer type place which i find significantly more casual but the smell of the charcoal is just mesmerizing. very good as well, properly cooked chicken innards-y things and lovely char flavour. this was a quick stop so i didn't get to try as much of the menu as i would have liked.

                  1833 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J, CA

                  1. re: pinstripeprincess

                    Nods to psp's post re differences btwn the three...

                  2. re: ethereal

                    Note that Fuel is changing format from a fine-dining (well...Vancouver's version of "fine dining") to a more casual place. It closes Nov 29 and re-opens Dec 2 to do the re-branding.

                    Dim sum downtown: Kirin and Imperial - I prefer Kirin, though I haven't been in a jillion years now. (I've been reserving dim sum feasts for Richmond restuarants lately).

                    Drinks in Gastown - definitely. Alibi for craft beer, then The Diamond for craft cokctails.

                  3. Just wanted to report back. We didn't cover as much ground as I had hoped, but sometimes it's about convenience.

                    We hit up Fuel for lunch. The schnitzel sandwich I had was delish. I was expecting something a little more rough around the edges--didn't know schnitzel could be so elegant. My husband was very disappointed that they ran out of the fried chicken special. He settled for foie gras, which was good, but his stomach really wanted the fried chicken. A little of my sandwich helped smooth things over.

                    Dinner, we ended up at Kingyo. I couldn't get the Hapa reservation, so we decided we'd go up to Denman and decide between Kingyo and Zuk. Honestly, with the information that Kingyo was more traditional...I was expecting quiet, dull, forgettable, as far as environment went. Kingyo was NOT that. It's what I imagine a hip Tokyo cafe being like. Music. Young (but accommodating) staff complete with spikey hair. Food was excellent. We had a soft shell crab salad, some sashimi, some sort of braised rib eye. Everything was excellent and memorable.

                    For dim sum, we ended up at Imperial. While the selection was better than what we have in Seattle, everything was just "okay." Even with food coming straight from the kitchen (rather than on the carts) many items were luke warm. Also, everything was a little underseasoned. I felt like it needed soy sauce. The fried banana and pork (?) roll was the highlight.

                    Drinks, we ended up meeting up with friends. I think Coast and Shangri La were the places we were at. Both near Robson.

                    Thanks for the help, CH's. We had a great trip and are planning a quarterly? Semi annual? pilgrimage.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ethereal

                      Thanks for reporting back, and glad to hear you are planning more trips -- be sure to post again when you are coming and link to this thread to refresh the local 'Hounds' memories!