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Mar 10, 2010 07:59 PM

Downtown Birthday Dinner

Hey, Chowhounds! I just moved to Vancouver and am looking for a stellar place to have my birthday dinner. I have heard that Raincity Grill is quite nice but am not totally convinced that it is THE place.

I live in the Yaletown/False Creek area and would like to stay on the peninsula so that I can walk home or take a short taxi ride.

Any suggestions?

I have loved reading past posts regarding "can't miss" places and in my short time here, I have already fallen for Japadog, JJ Bean, and the artisanal foods available around here. Generally, I cook rather than go out so I haven't had a chance to do the Izakaya crawl yet, but I will... ;)

Thanks in advance for your help!

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      1. Is price an issue?

        In your area, I would recommend: Cibo, Cioppinos, and Blue Water. All three, I would say, qualify as, "The Place". Note that Cioppinos and Blue Water are pricey. But, I would take any of them over Raincity Grill.

        If you want to go a little bit further (but still stay on The Peninsula), La Buca is a board favourite (and for good reason).

        If you want some old school French, Le Crocodile is pretty awesome.. and they are having their annual Choucroute Festival at the moment

        4 Replies
        1. re: Cancuk

          I had issues with posting a little while ago, too. :)

          Price is not a factor. 35! It's a big

          I went to Blue Water when I first visited to see if I could make the move from San Diego to Vancouver a year ago, January. It was delish! I will go back there if the other restaurants don't catch my fancy.

          I will def check out La Buca. I do have a fondness for brasato and super tuscans.

          BTW, I went to Uva last Saturday and loved the ambiance. You can get Cibo's full menu at the bar, but it's not quite as cacophonous. I had a few small plates that went very well with my wine - tapas style dishes and a lovely Chianti. The highlight, however, was the bartender's recommendation to try a Japanese whiskey. I had ordered a glass of Talisker, but I took a chance on the Nikka and was pleasantly surprised to find it smoky, oakey, and deep. They can't call it scotch for obvious reasons, but the Nikka now rivals my favorite Glenmorangie. Just thought I'd throw that out there for my fellow scotch drinkers. Just a word of warning: it is cask strength, so don't ask for a double. ;)

          1. re: liza.calderon

            I'd have to say that Cioppinos is the place to go for a special birthday from what you have described. Not taking anything away from La Buca (it is well priced well made Italian) but Cioppinos is where you go for superbly made and innovative Italian food in a very nice setting and with a stellar wine cellar (you will pay for it though).
            It's right in Yaletown as well.

            1. re: eatrustic

              I agree (and will hopefully only be posting this once) about Cioppinos. For what you describe, I would go there.

              'C' is another possibility that is pretty close, and if you want something more, "Vancouvery" then it's a good choice... but in terms of absolute quality, I think Cioppinos trumps it (and nearly everywhere else, IMO).

              1. re: Cancuk

                Chiming in with a thumbs up for Cioppino's. Pastas are stellar there but you really can't go too far wrong. Even if a dish is not a home run, it will always be at least a solid hit (and that about exhausts my sports metaphors for the decade). Service is discreet but with just a hint of 'tude. And usually there will be some byplay from the open kitchen if you are seated nearby that is entertaining (ask for a table closer to the front of the restaurant if this does not sound attractive). Do bring money and be aware of the wine prices. We've never had this happen but I have heard reports of that being a bit of a black hole...

        2. Thanks for the guidance! We are going to try Cioppinos. Looking forward to it! I will let you know how it goes...

          1 Reply
          1. re: liza.calderon

            Have a great one! Scope out the gorgeous private wine room that you can book for larger parties (next time...).

          2. I am so grateful for your recommendation! We went to Cioppinos on Friday night and had a truly marvelous meal. The whole experience validated the fact that I am a complete sucker for good food.

            We had some wonderful starters...I especially loved my warm goat cheese with micro greens and caramel sauce. The scallops were delicate and briny and everything they should be. I had the sablefish for my main course and found it to be hands-down way better than Nobu's famed black cod dish. When our waiter passed along my compliment to the chef, he came over to chat and boasted that his dish was also a much bigger portion and, therefore, a better deal. I guess that made up for the crazy high wine prices. Nevertheless, the wine that was recommended to us by the sommelier was lovely, and it paired very nicely with our food. (My husband had the osso bucco - to die!) We ended the meal with a delish chocolate and banana dessert - the banana ice cream made my head swirl. Yum!

            The whole experience was perfect. Really. Our cute French waiter was attentive but not overly so. The chef made his rounds, and I appreciated that he made the effort to touch base with all of his customers instead of only the ones who were clearly regulars. The ambiance was comfortable, not stuffy. I can't thank you enough for the tip...


            Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill
            1133 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B5P6, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: liza.calderon

              Yay, another Cioppino's convert :-). Glad you liked it and had such a good experience.

              1. re: grayelf

                Thanks for the great recap of your meal! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and happy belated 35th, as well! I haven't made it to Cioppino's but it's near the top of my list.