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Returning to Vancouver and Whistler late April/early May

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Last summer I spent a little over a week with a friend in BC. We spent a couple of nights in Whistler, one night in Victoria, and 5 in Vancouver.

My husband and I (we're in our early 30's) are going back (well, I'm going back--he's making his first trip to BC) to cheer on my 25 year old sister in the Vancouver marathon. We will be there 4/27-5/5.

Our first two nights will be spent in Whistler. The day we arrive we'll be flying in from the east cost of the US, after waking up uber-early for our 7am flight + layover, etc. So we'd like suggestions for somewhere casual, reasonably priced, but delicious. Our second night I already made a reservation at Bearfoot Bistro as it was my favorite meal our entire trip (the caribou was to die for!). We'll also do breakfast at Ciao-Thyme one of the days as that was quite tasty last time as well. Would appreciate additional breakfast and lunch suggestions from local chowhounders.

The next 6 nights we're staying at the Westin Grand in Vancouver. We're already planning on hitting the Izakayas on Robson street one night (liked Hapa last time, wasn't impressed with Gyoza King, but didn't get to try Kingyo or Guu with Garlic, and would take other suggestions as well), dinner at Chambar, and would like to get back to Vij's as my husband loves Indian food. Last trip we went to Tojo's and while the fish was very fresh, I'm not sure I need to make a return visit as I still felt hungry after spending some decent money. Also liked Salt for an afternoon snack and would like to go back there. Didn't have any memorable breakfasts, but liked going to Granville Island for a picnic style lunch, and another favorite meal of the trip was One Fish Two Fish in Victoria, so will definitely grab lunch at Go Fish on Granville Island this time around. And hope to get back to Chinatown as well for some tasty dim sum...not sure which restaurant we went to last time but would take rec's in this department as well (don't want to go out to Richmond for this, although would consider stopping for great dim sum en route from YVR to Whistler, if this would make sense and as long as the places serve dim sum all day--our flight gets in at 1pm and we have to get baggage, go through customs, pick up the rental car, etc. So I guess share any of these suggestions as well).

What other suggestions do you have? In particular I'd like to make a reservation for dinner the day after the marathon somewhere that can take my sister, who really loves chicken and beef, but isn't a fan of seafood (she's pretty picky). My husband and I are more adventurous eaters and would gladly entertain other suggestions for meals. Would appreciate some more moderately-priced finds, or any other stand-outs that are must-trys.

As far as activities, we're planning on walking and/or biking through Stanley Park at least a couple of times (including visiting the aquarium), shopping on Robson and Granville Island, and potentially visiting Grouse and/or the Capilano bridge (two things I didn't do on the last trip). Other foodie-worthy destinations would be appreciated.

Sorry for the lengthy request, and thanks in advance for your suggestions!

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Vij's Restaurant
1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

Guu
838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

Kingyo
871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

Gyoza King
1508 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G1C2, CA

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  1. Also, forgot to mention that we'd love to try to spot prawns while we're there (I believe they'll be in season, right?)

    6 Replies
    1. re: KWynn

      It's hard to improve upon your already excellent itinerary. I can offer a couple of new spots:

      Judas Goat (from the team that brought you Salt) - a modern Spanish Tapas place in the same alley as Salt. It has not yet been thouroughly reviewed on this particular board, but you can find blog-reviews all over this town's blogspace..

      The Diamond - a cocktail bar that is top heavy with the four (five?) of the city's best bartenders all behind the wood.

      Here's an idea...hit Judas Goat, then the Diamond...actually, Gastown crawling is a neat idea as the whole area just exploded with new hip(ster) joints over the last couple of years.

      For dim sum...I really don't recommend anything in Chinatown. I would much rather send you over to Kirin or to Imperial (both downtown)....or if you are feeling adventurous...take the Skytrain (Canada Line) to Richmond where you will have the best dim sum this side of the Pacific Ocean.

      Here's a tip on the local mountains (eg Grouse)....time your visit within an hour or so of sunset for Vancouver at its most photogenic.

      1. re: fmed

        Thanks, fmed. The Gastown crawl sounds like a great idea. I also noticed that Judas Goat and Salt's "brother" restaurant (Irish Heather/Shebeen) has an extensive scotch list--and my husband is a big fan of scotch so we may have to check that out as well!

        Looking at a map it seems like we might be best off grabbing some dim sum in Richmond upon landing at YVR, en route to Whistler (even though it's slightly off course), since we'll have the rental car then anyways. Which restaurants in Richmond are reccomended for great dim sum, and how late do they serve lunch? Are any open all day straight through? We'll probably be able to get there around 2 or 2:30. Also, as far as dim sum goes, we're not so into the exotic items like chicken feet, etc. and prefer things like dumplings, gyoza, scallion pancakes, etc.

        1. re: KWynn

          For dimsum try Jade Seafood, Empire Chinese Cuisine, Sea Harbour, Fisherman's Terrace. The dimsum places usually stop service at 3pm.

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          Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant Ltd
          3711 No 3 Rd, Richmond, BC V6X2B8, CA

          Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant
          4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X4J7, CA

          The Jade Seafood Restaurant
          8511 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X1C3, CA

          Empire Chinese Cuisine
          8251 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X, CA

          1. re: KWynn

            Just a head's up, but it only takes 20 minutes to head into Richmond now via the Canada Line skytrain. A lot of restaurants can be accessed from the Aberdeen Station. It's really a painless way to get there. Just make sure you get on the Richmond-bound train and not an airport-bound train, as they alternate.

            1. re: Florentine

              Good advice from Florentine -- I'd hate to see you get bedraggled, late-in-the-day dimsum :-). I used to be phobic about going to Richmond because I found it hard to negotiate in a car so the Canada Line is a real boon and it's only $2.50 each way after/before rush hour. Just a word of warning though: try to reserve as these restos can be chockablock even on weekdays.

              If you really don't want to go to Richmond, then we can trot out the other options in town but there is nowhere worthwhile in Chinatown, sadly. Places just keep closing...

              For your after-marathon dinner, you might consider one of the La Bucas. Moderate prices, muscular Italian food in a cozy setting. A personal favourite.

            2. re: KWynn

              Gastown crawls are always a good idea! The list of Scotch at the Heather is unsurpassed in the city (if not most of western Canada) - I'd highly recommend a dram there.

              Not a food rec, but you mentioned shopping on Robson. Sadly, the street is overrun with the large chains that you'll find at every major city's big shopping street. Though possibly worth a walk down (if only to eat at the izakayas or ramen shops) I would suggest checking out some of the more unique shops in Gastown and the South Main Street areas. Main from 7th south to about 30th contains all kinds of little boutiques, many of whom sell local designer/artisan goods. Would be a much more interesting shopping trip than Robson. Granville Island is always worth it though (check out the sake brewery!).