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Dec 16, 2009 01:42 AM

Vancouver for one night, looking for real food

haven't been to vancouver in a while, from seattle and even though i have only two short days i am looking for a non tourist vancouver experience
i am in the restaurant and farmers market business and love homey food, rustic food, unmessed with food
would love some suggestions for must do neighborhoods and food
staying downtown but would love a idea for a cool 'hood to walk around in for couple hours
also like some suggestions for delicious real food made by passionate cooks, not over hyped, priced or trendy
and suggestions for damn good ethnic hole in the walls that do what they do really fricken well
asian specifically or others
i have heard so much about certain sushi and dim sum restos here but not one that stands out as reliable- where would you go, what is your favorite?


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  1. I think of Refuel (nee Fuel) for homey, rustic, unmessed food. If downtown, Granville Island and surroundings (Kits) are good places for photogenic urban hiking (Refuel is in that area).

    Ethnic holes-in-the-wall are a bit thin downtown - most are in the predominantly working-class East Vancouver area. But close downtown are Peaceful (for Northern Chinese) on Broadway and Cambie St (close to the skytrain station). For dimsum downtown - there is Kirin (Alberni) and Imperial. If you have time, the suburb of Richmond is the place to go for Chinese.

    Sushi - my fave neighbourhood sushi is Lime (stick to the sushi and sashimi - also good is the handcut zarusoba) - also in East Vancouver. There are many middling sushi places right downtown. You may want to check out an izakaya or two - Guu, Kingyo, Hapa, Aki - all downtown.

    Post again if you need more recs - especially more holes-in-the-wall.

    2 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Just a note, not sure when you're coming but Kirin Downtown (Alberni) is closed until the end of January for renos.

      1. re: ck1234

        Damn - I forgot about that. Thanks CK!

    2. For ethnic, hole in the wall: As Fmed said, there isn't a whole lot downtown. Chinatown isn't far away and Phnom Penh (Cambodian) is an excellent restaurant and worth the trek.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Cancuk

        Good call on Phnom Penh - easily one of the best restos in Vancouver. The must-orders are the wings, and the butter beef.

        1. re: fmed

          Phnom Penh wings for sure!

          Fmed pretty much covered it. For sashimi, I still prefer Samurai just off Cambie near Oakridge (not the Davie St location). In downtown, Blue Water Cafe is good. I also second Hapa or Guu.

          I'm a Vancouverite relocated to Calgary and I hate to admit this but when I come to Vancouver the places I have to visit because I miss the food so much are: Samurai, Guu, Phnom Penh, Joe's Grill (for breakfast), various dim sum and Shanghai places in Richmond, Church's fried chicken (we just don't have good fried chicken in Calgary), and Stepho's. I know Stepho's can be overrated with the huge lineups but something about the roast lamb... and childhood memories.

          Only thing to add in terms of a neighbourhood to walk around in - there's so many. From downtown you can walk around Yaletown area or Gastown (there's also a Guu there).

          Just across the bridge is the Kits area with West 4th at the core. Granville Island is not far from there.

          I also like walking around West Broadway and Granville area.

          For really rustic, down to earth kind of neighbourhood - check out Commercial Drive. Lots of cafe's and such.

      2. I don't think you can miss with Vij's at Granville and 11th. Get there by 5:15 if you want to be seated early - they don't take reservations. Otherwise, there are worse ways to wait for a table than standing around the bar in back and munching the free appetizers. Great Indian food (with a decidedly local twist), elegant service, homey atmosphere and not bank-breakingly expensive.