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August Long Birthday weekend in Vancouver

Hi ChowHounders,

I'm a Montreal Chowhounder who has recently moved to the West Coast. I'll be spending the weekend in Vancouver and I'd like to go to a nice restaurant (or two) for my birthday weekend. Here are my tastes.

If any of you are familiar with Montreal, then I must say I'm a huge fan of the small BYOW's in the plateau and other areas of the city as they offer gourmet food (or prix fixe menus) for a good price and you can bring your own wine or beer or whatever (i've brought gin before). I also like places like DNA, Garde Manger, Au Pied de Cochon, and the funky cool style of cooking.

I wanted to go to Tojo's, but I don't want a group of people spending over $100 dinner for my birthday. I was thinking maybe doing this with my girlfriend on the other night. Are there any ideas for a really good dinner other than Tojo's for a nice meal for two?

For the dinner with friends, what are good places we could all go? Does Vancouver do BYOW's because then I could bring drinks for everyone without costing me an arm and a leg.

If not, what is something everyone could do that has good food, good value, Vancouver staple, and maybe somewhere close (but not a requirement) to where we could go party afterwards?

I don't mind spending money, I just like to get value out of my meal.

Anyway if there is anything else I can do to help you guys help me find the right places to go while I'm in Vancouver I will do it!

Thank you very much in advance

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West Coast Cafe
5142 Cordova Bay Rd, Victoria, BC V8Y2K5, CA

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  1. no byow, if they do they will charge you a fee ,our liquor laws are antiquated at best

    5 Replies
    1. re: vandan

      I'm only familiar with Au Pied de Cochon by reputation, more's the pity, and don't know the other places you mentioned (haven't spent any good chow time in Montreal, sadly) but when you say funky cool I wonder if any of the izakayas would fit the bill? They are fairly "Vancouver" right now despite being Japanese, and they are structured around imbibing, so you could start your party there.

      1. re: grayelf

        Hi Greyelf, thanks for your help.

        I think I am trying to avoid those places like Guu and stuff because all of my friends go there often and I know for sure I will be back to try it eventually.

        I've been doing some research on this board, and it seems like there aren't too many Vancouver staples save Vij's, db bistro moderne, SSW, tojo's, among others...

        any other recco's you guys could help me with? I would return the favour greatly with any montreal ideas

        I was also looking maybe shore club? but I looked at the menu and a lot of those items seem overpriced, so maybe the value is not there?

        I have seen enough bad reviews of stone grill to definitely not want to go there for dinner. I hate overpriced and underwhelming food!

        Yeah what I meant by funky is using weird ingredients or cool methods of cooking like let's say veal heart tartare, or baby seal tatake, or a whole pig's head or a fish head for dinner. That's what I feel like I will miss the most from Montreal.

        Is izakaya becoming really gimicky? that's not my genre.

        and I must say i'm really disappointed about the non BYOW's, thanks Vandan for that comment, because those restaurants in montreal you feel so good about having had such a nice dinner and you feel even better because you got a great bottle of wine a lot at a fraction of the cost (although damn wine/beer/liquor is sooo price in BC)

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

        Guu
        838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

        1. re: CharlesMartin

          It's probably too late to get one arranged, but Refuel can do whole hog's head, confit'd and everything. I'd say those guys have some of the most Au Pied de Cochon inspired cuisine in town, though it is much more Pacific NW style (and not really APC food).

          Izakaya was what first came to mind for your group dinner. A trip to the boisterous Guu with Garlic... inexpensive great food with some funky stuff on the menu (and lots to drink). Definitely a lot more of a Vancouver staple than db Bistro.

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          Guu
          838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

          1. re: peter.v

            Like vandan said (politely) the liquor laws are stone age here, and you already know everything is madly overtaxed and marked up. It's kind of embarassing explaining that when 'Hounds travel here :-(.

            I don't think izakaya are gimmicky here but then I've never been to a real one in Japan to compare. It doesn't sound like this is the right fit for you though -- you seem to want something more upscale. That is not a "level" I dine at often, mainly because I think we do other things 'way better here, so I'm not going to be much help I fear. Peter's idea is a good one even at this late date -- doesn't hurt to call, right?

            I haven't heard anything good about Shore Club and it looks stuffier than what you want, I think. Someone else recently was asking about innovative cooking here, specifically seafood, and we came up pretty dry. The one place that was mentioned was C -- maybe that would work for you, though not if you are on a meat mission.

            I wouldn't bother with db Bistro for your celebratory meal for a couple of reasons: you can eat Boulud's stuff elsewhere, the room is a bit stuffy and it is away from downtown.

            I'm just shooting places down so I'll stop. Good luck in your search and happy birthday!

            1. re: grayelf

              I agree with Grayelf about Shore Club....

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              The Shore Club
              688 Dunsmuir St., Vancouver, BC V6B 1N3, CA

    2. How about Market at the Shangri La followed by drinks at Coast and then The Diamond in Gastown....OR
      If it was me, I would eat at Lupo or Cioppino's (but Italian is my favourite cusine and may not be yours )and then walk over to Goldfish and Glowbal for post drinks and possibly Bar None if you are looking for a dance club.

      2 Replies
      1. re: selena03

        I want to thank all Vancouver C-hounders fory our help! it is much appreciated.

        I think I have to settle with the fact that there is no BYOW's here, nor will I get blown away by uniquely Vancouver innovative cooking..

        But with that in mind, I can now choose somewhere that has a great birthday atmosphere, a great view, good location, and good friends.

        Saturday i hear there are Fireworks in Vancouver so that would be special after dinner.

        But anyway here are some other restos i was recommended. I agre3e with selena about italian food, it's a great pick. Who doesn't like italian food.

        Trattoria?
        Italian Kitchen
        Provence
        Boathouse at Kits Beach
        teahouse or fishhouse
        sand bar
        joe fortes

        am i on the right path here? i had a friend who helped recommend these?

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        Italian Kitchen
        , Vernon, BC V1T, CA

        1. re: CharlesMartin

          Not sure about these places-most of them are "ok" restaurants but nothing outstanding. Provence and Joe Fortes would be the best of the bunch suggested (I like going to Joe Fortes sometimes because it's classic and I love the setting) and are good but not great. One more suggestion to add: Bao Bei (really good and reasonably priced) followed by Keefer Bar (might be the coolest bar in Vancouver)...maybe different from what you get in Montreal but I wouldn't know as I haven't been there....

      2. How about Cassis? The atmosphere is incredibly intimate but eclectic. The food is sold by weight and the menu is designed to be served family style. Late on Saturday's they get a DJ. You could cab it towards the fireworks after or walk to the granville clubs after. I reccomend the tandoori beef, yummy.

        Or you could do Nuba and ask to reserve the private den area at the back. (might be too late for that but worth a try.) I love how their menu has both modern and traditional lebanese, and most importantly the crowd is hip, and the restaurant has great energy.

        Goldfish also has a private room you can have for free (if it isn't already booked.) for large parties. They design a set menu with you at a price you pick, and they have a package where the host pays for champagne (or other alcohol) and appies prior to dinner. So you can still treat your firends, if you want!! Extra bonus: the room is great with a private sound system and is designed for mingling, plus you ar right in the heart of downtown.

        Good Luck!

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        Nuba Cafe
        322 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B1K6, CA

        5 Replies
          1. re: Sam Salmon

            So is this post Sam, its 2 years old

            1. re: vandan

              Indeed it is-the website reboot last night must have resurrected it from the dungeon-it showed up on my browser as new.

              1. re: Sam Salmon

                It is interestng how many of the restaurants are closed now:
                - Cassis
                - Goldfish
                -Shoreclub
                - db Bistro
                - Refuel

                And we have BYOW now.

                1. re: Sam Salmon

                  I saw a post by an industry person promoting a restaurant that was subsequently deleted. Thus the zombie bump.