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Jul 23, 2010 09:41 AM

Good reasonably priced dinner in downtown Vancouver?

Let me apologize in advance for starting yet another Vancouver thread. Also I just realized my title doesn't fully address what I ended up posting about :-).

My situation: we will be driving from Seattle to Vancouver in a couple of weeks (on a Saturday). Hope to arrive in Vancouver early afternoon (depending on traffic at the border, I guess), staying at the Hotel Fairmont Vancouver (the older one downtown, not the newer one at the pier). We have a cruise on Sunday. My plan is to dump my rental car by 5:30 so I don't have to pay for overnight parking. I am not sure I want to waste time on a sit-down lunch since we will not have a lot of time for sightseeing but it seems like going to Granville Island might not be a bad idea since it's on the way (although I assume it will be very busy on a Saturday), and then we could eat at one of the places there. Does this sound reasonable? Is there anyplace else en route from Seattle that is worth stopping at for lunch?

For dinner, I would like someplace nice since it happens to be our anniversary, but our kids (19 and 23) will be with us so I don't want it to be that expensive, plus my daughter is a picky eater. Ethnic is kind of iffy (although she did surprise me and liked Malaysian we had outside of DC a couple of years ago). None of us eat pork or shellfish so dim sum isn' t going to work(I know there have been suggestions of that here). Since I will not have the car anymore it would be nice if it were walking distance from the hotel (but I am ok with a several block walk so long as we do not get lost or mugged).

Also is there someplace near the hotel to get some good pastries for breakfast? I actually have 2 free breakfast buffets included with my hotel stay but at $24pp I am not going to pay for it for the other 2 so I need to find someplace for them to get food. I wouldn't eat there if it weren't free since we'll have plenty of food once we get on the ship

Thanks for your help.

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  1. Bill -

    So if I understand you... you are looking for 3 things:

    1. A place near Granville Island for lunch (yes it will be busy on a Saturday - but if you aren't taking your car there it will be fine)
    2. A place for an anniversary dinner within walking distance from your hotel
    3. A place for breakfast with pastries near your hotel

    Here are some thoughts:

    1. There are a lot of great places in Granville Island - you can't go wrong. My favorite thing to do is buy a few items in the market and then have a picnic outside (bread, cheese etc). If you would prefer a sit down meal and if it is nice weather Bridges has a great patio (personally I haven't eaten there in years - but it seems to do quite well. Also 'Sandbar' is a nice place to have lunch. Check out their websites for their menus and prices.

    2. Since you are in a very central location with the Hotel Vancouver you should have no trouble finding a place to eat dinner. I am not sure what you mean by 'reasonably priced' as everyone has their price points...but The Italian Kitchen comes to mind. Should be a good place for picky eaters and it is very close to your hotel.

    Another Italian one on Robson Street which is very popular is Cin Cin but it is a bit more expensive

    (On a side note 'Banana Leaf' is a wonderful Malaysian restaurant in Vancouver but the two locations are too far from your hotel.


    3. If all you want for breakfast is a coffee and a muffin - I love Cafe Artigiano which has fantastic coffee - there is one close to your hotel. It also has breakfast pastries and a yougurt parfait that is wonderfully thick and creamy. 763 Hornby Street.

    Hope that helps and have a great trip!

    Hotel Vancouver
    , Vancouver, BC V5Y, CA

    Italian Kitchen
    , Vernon, BC V1T, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: Quinne Davey

      Actually, we would have our car on Granville Island since I''d do it en route to the hotel. And I am not sure how smart it would be to park it with all of our luggage, anyway, so maybe that is not such a good idea. But the market would be a great idea for sightseeing and eating.

      By "reasonable" I was figuring $20 entrees. I see the Italian Kitchen has pastas under that price and I could easily see us sharing some pastas and a pizza and maybe one or two appetizers). And my daughter does eat that stuff. Is that a place that you'd recommend whether I had my picky eater or not? Or is it a "well, it's not bad and it does meet your requirements"? :-).

      Given my choice (and without my kids), I'd like something that does fresh fish in an interesting way (although I guess I will have more than my share of salmon on my cruise). I actually ate recently at the db bistro moderne in NYC and I had thought of eating at the one in Vancouver (since they seem to have a reasonable price fixed menu) but it does not appear to be anywhere near my hotel.

      1. re: MisterBill2

        BTW I checked Italian Kitchen on Opentable, it appears they do not take reservations after 5:45pm on Saturday. I happened to look at the other restaurants they own and was much more excited by the menus at Coast and Sanafir (although the prices at Coast were a little higher and especially if my daugher wants a steak, but she might be ok with the gnocchi there). And I see that Coast is even closer to my hotel.

        I made a reservation at Coast since they only had to 6:30 available and I figured I may as well take it to be safe. Sanafir looks a bit too ethnic for my picky eater. I am a bit concerned because recent reviews of Coast at are not that good, and one reviewer at Opentable complained about higher prices and no more lobster potatoes (which I actually would not eat anyway, but I checked their website and discovered that their dinner menu is from last November, because I noticed that they were still listed there).

        COAST Restaurant
        1054 Alberni Street, Vancouver, BC V6E1A3, CA

        1026 Granville St., Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L5, CA

    2. I can't vouch if the pastries are good but about 2 blocks from the hotel on Alberni Street, there is an Urban Fare grocery store where you could pick up some breakfast items that would be relatively inexpensive (if not looking for sitdown) and probably a few snacks and refreshments for passing the time while you check in.

      Could you define what you mean by expensive? And do you have any favourite types of food? That'll probably help the other hounds provide better recommendations.

      1. Hi, we think you may be arriving in Vancouver this weekend.
        We've just posted our 2010 Vancouver Restaurant Reviews by ALEDM on Chow (at: and on our blog, with pictures at: http://travelingloveaffair.blogspot.c...

        In the West End (walking distance from the Fairmont, if you are walkers) are two excellent choices that we would recommend: Le Gavroche and Raincity Grill.

        On Granville Island our best lunches were when we were "grazing" in the market.

        Hope you have great fun!

        Raincity Grill
        1193 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 2N1, CA

        Le Gavroche Restaurant
        1616 Alberni St, Vancouver, BC V6G1A6, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: aledm

          Actually, it's next weekend. Thanks for the West End suggestions but both of those places seem kind of expensive. Raincity Gril looks interesting, I do like farm to table restaurants, but I think my picky eater might have a problem with it.

          I liked the menu at Coast and have a reservation there but I am still looking. Are there any really good Japanese restaurants in the area that are reasonably priced, or is that an oxymoron? I'm guessing that they would have fresh local fish as well.

          1. re: MisterBill2

            I'll throw in a few wild ideas:

            Cassis Bistro (Pender @ Richards)

            Italian Kitchen (Alberni just west of Burrard)

            Rex Rotisserie & Grill (Dunsmuir @ Hornby)

            None "emphasize" shellfish per se, fairly "safe" for foodie grown-ups and their picky teenagers ;-)

        2. So, I still have my reservation at Coast but I have been spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find something better. I had almost decided on Aki when I found write-ups of Market by Jean-Georges (both of which are very close to my hotel). The food at Market looks good, most reviews are good and it would be a good place for our anniversary. I understand that Aki and Market are quite different.. if I could see the menu from Aki I might be more inclined to try it (I am a bit concerned about not being able to figure out some stuff on the menu combined with servers whose English is not very good). Although I think my wife will prefer Market. And it seems to be a little cheaper than Coast, and has better reviews.

          Aki Restaurants Ltd
          745 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E3V5, CA

          11 Replies
          1. re: MisterBill2

            Gut reaction: Market will be more expensive than Aki but would be more appropriate for your event, esp with picky daughter in tow (I can say that as I was the picky daughter in our family). And you'll get to eat in a celeb chef resto, if that is something you value. And your wife would prefer it. Why I didn't lead off with that point is beyond me. Case closed :-).

            1. re: grayelf

              My daughter would probably eat at Aki -- she does eat tuna rolls and sweet potato rolls (so maybe she is not as picky as it seems). And I saw a picture of a grilled ground chicken skewer with teriyaki sauce from Aki on a site that reviewed it and I am fairly sure she would like that. I think that either is a better choice than Coast.

              I think I will make the reservation at Market, and cancel Coast. If we have time after we get there, we can walk over to Aki and check out the menu and decide if we want to try it instead.

              1. re: MisterBill2

                I don't think Aki is an "anniversary dinner" kind of place (assuming my preconceptions are correct about what that means). Market is a better choice for that IMO. Aki is good...head over there for another meal some other time.

                1. re: fmed

                  Well, the annivesary dinner thing was kind of a coincidence.. we are there because we have a cruise the next day and we could have celebrated on board. But Market does seem to be a good choice on many points (other than price, of course). Meanwhile I noticed that their website had a very old dinner rmenu so I emailed them asking for a current one. They responded already and the new menu looks pretty nice, in fact I might even be able to order the tasting menu, which is unusual for me since there is typically stuff I do not eat on it. Oh, and they have a plain tomato basil and mozarella pizza on the menu, which my daughter will actually enjoy (they also have a burger).

                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    The burger is very good. So is the pizza - the ingredients taste very fresh.

                    Have fun! (Make sure to try their housemade sodas if they still have them).

              2. re: grayelf

                So I made the reservation at Market and the confirmation on Opentable says "If you did not specify which area you would like to dine in, we will try our best to accommodate your preference, but requests will take priority.". Is there one particular area I should be requesting?

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  There are three main zones in Market. A small more intimate room with a fireplace with a few larger tables on the west side, a larger room with smaller tables on the east side, and the patio. I guess where you sit will depend on the mood and weather. (I personally like the west side room.)

                  1. re: MisterBill2

                    I would request to sit in the main dining room or outside not in the lounge/cafe area which is not as special.

                    1. re: selena03

                      Thanks. I had been emailing them to ask about the current menu and asked which room they suggested. They put me in the main dining room.

                      1. re: MisterBill2

                        A different idea here.

                        It is your anniversary and as you say your dd is a picky eater. Why not just you and the misses go out for dinner and spend a bit more? The kids are old enough and Vancouver is a safe city, to go find a more reasonable meal on their own.

                        We leave our younger kids at the hotel all the time and go out just the two of us.

                        1. re: mlgagnon

                          One problem with that is that my son enjoys good food so he would not have been happy going to a lesser place with my daughter. Anyway, my daughter did fine tonight. She had the pea soup to start (she actually wanted the coconut chicken soup but the server warned her that it was very spicy, which she had actually planned to ask about) so she skipped it. Then she had the Parmesan crusted chicken with white asparagus which she also enjoyed. I think she was surprised that she liked the pea soup as much as she did, but it has a Parmesan (I think) foam on top that she enjoyed.