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Jul 26, 2010 09:46 PM

Favorite places to eat

My guy and I watch all sorts of food TV, love to cook and of course eat. We are not chefs but we are cooks who geek out, sometimes to extremes. We make most things from scratch, don't mind the work and tend to spend a great deal of time in the kitchen. It isn't unusual for us to make yogurt, cook BBQ Southern style for 10+ hours, bake bread, crackers, make fresh cheeses, pastas, pizzas, we roast & grind our own spices, and can all sorts of seasonal preserves.

When left to his own devices he will play and get quite absorbed. I often bug him about taking it too far and joke about a much earlier time in our relationship when I was impressed when he made own mayo to prove a point, to which he usually counters by ribbing me about the first time I made butter. :)

Sourcing local/semi local ingredients are a passion for us. We enjoy building relationships and know where much of our food comes from and how it is minimally processed. Farmer's markets are a regular staple in our lives. We found a guy who grows and will grind and sift various grains to order and the flavour is intense! The cultivated mushrooms guy's name is Christoff, our butcher friends are Ryan and Kyle, I am starting to learn how to find wild edibles from Cheryl, favorite pork place is being debated between Pork of Yore's as Berkshire and Upper Canada Heritage Farms' Large Black Pigs but hey are both are very tasty...

Ye-gads after seeing that typed out in front of me I realize we're such dorks. Why am I telling you this? Because often times people look for recommendations and you have no idea where they are coming from or what they're about. I find this makes it hard to know what they are looking for.

All that being said we love to eat but are definitely not food snobs. The great hole in the wall joints, cheap eats and places on the fringes are passions of ours and finding them is better than gold. Our favorite finds always include situations where the chefs / owners / workers make their food with pride and love. Eating where this is not present is disappointing and leaves us wishing we had not spent the $ and just cooked for ourselves. (Foodies' curse?)

Legislation out here is as such that there isn't much in the way of street food out here but it does intrigue us and we do want to experience more of it. Please point us in the right direction!

I am especially interested in hearing about where chefs would spend their hard earned dollars to go and eat. Places and dishes you have food dreams about and simply must return to. Frugal indulgences? Musts in culinary experiences? Underground food scene? Please share.

We'll be in BC August 28th through September 6th, splitting our time between Vancouver and Victoria. Will have access to a car and are also hoping for a side trip to the Okanagan.

Thank you for reading this longer than intended post and I thank you in advance for sharing your gems with us.

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  1. I'll speak to the Victoria part....

    For places that source produce almost exclusively from local farmers (meaning Victoria area farmers):

    Camille's (fine dining)

    Brasserie L'Ecole (casual but very busy and no resos)


    For really yummy French food with great service:


    For casual Japanese 'deli-style' whole in the wall that serves food with locally grown Asian produce:


    For Neapolitan style pizza (authentic) that sources quite a few local ingredients (i.e. Fairburn Farms buffalo mozzarellla):

    Pizzeria Primastrada

    For really casual but comforting dining:

    Ferris' Oyster Bar (great baked oysters as well as raw)

    For 'on-the-fly' take out Middle Eastern:

    Beirut Express (tasty lamb shwarma)

    For a burger joint that sources many local ingredients (i.e. local lamb for their lamb-burgers): Pink Bicycle

    For great French charcuterie and cheese (more of a take-out deli sort of place): Choux Choux Charcuterie

    For amazing baking using wild yeast and organic flour milled on-site: Fol Epi in the dockside green development.

    For a cornucopia of organic local produce: Moss St Market on Saturdays 10 AM (got to get there by 10 to get the good stuff)

    Oh, and I almost forgot:

    For very tasty small plates (and my overall fav place in town right now): Stage, in Fernwood.

    I'm sure the Vancouver and Okanagan hounds will be able to help you out too.

    Choux Choux Charcuterie
    830 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8R, CA

    911 Yates St, Victoria, BC V8V4X3, CA

    5 Replies
    1. re: anewton

      Great list as usual anewton. Given the OP's preferences (local sourcing, "greeness" and HITW), I'd add Red Fish Blue Fish.

      Red Fish Blue Fish
      1006 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W, CA

      1. re: grayelf

        Grayelf, do you think 12b might be a good rec for anewton? I have never been but I know you guys have?

        1. re: selena03

          That is an interesting thought, selena. I didn't love my meal there but there were extenuating circs ie. it was hotter than the hubs of Hades and all I wanted to do was collapse in front of a fan :-). The issue would likely be getting 10 or 12 people together, unless the OP has a bunch of friends here. I think 12b books up pretty quickly as well. What do the other Hounds who have been to 12b think?

          There is another underground resto in Vancouver that I haven't been to, but the reports on it are spottier and not as positive -- I know Ben of Chowtimes left hungry, for example, which isn't going to happen at 12b.

          1. re: grayelf

            How does one hook up with undergound places in Van?

            1. re: live4food

              I didn't organize that Chowdown so I'll have to leave it to others to answer. And BTW there are at least three underground restos now: 12b, Swallowtail and _____ (can't remember the third one).

    2. These are a short list of dishes/items from restaurants/cafes I have "food dreams" about:
      -Cod Tacones with French Fries from Go Fish (Salmon if they don't have cod)-fish and chips shack on Granville Island
      -Focaccia bun with tomatoes and olives from Terra Breads paired with a JJ Bean (my vote for best coffee) traditional cappuccino at Granville Island
      -Fish tacos from La Taqueria-small hole in the wallish restaurant with limited seating-excellent tacos and value for money
      -Warm chocolate cake from Market in the Shangri-La Hotel-the best warm choc cake ever and its the original!
      -Chocolate cake and cheesecake from Lupo (both are specials so not always on the menu-I think they have the best desserts in Van)-quaint romantic restaurant in a little house
      -Spaghetti Pomodoro, Focaccia, any halibut special from Lupo (my current favourite restaurant)
      -Paneer Naan from Himalaya (hole in the wall in Little India that has been around for ages-don't get the buffet) or Salaam Bombay
      -Diplomat cake and various pastries from Notte's Bon Ton Bakery
      -Roman style pizza from Scuie (2 downtown locations-lunch cafe/bakery type place for lunch or breakfast)
      -porcini mushroom soup and risottos from Cioppino's-high end Italian in Yaletown
      -Baguette sandwiches from Provence Marinaside (another good lunch option and you can take it to go)
      -Fish and Chip rolls from Coast-I like this restaurant but it's not as popular with others on the board.

      These are just my favourite things to eat when I dine out. You will probably get a more well rounded list from others who are experts on Asian cuisine, which Vancouver does particularly well.

      7 Replies
      1. re: selena03

        Is Coast good? We will be in Vancouver next week and have one night for dinner. I had been looking for something reasonably priced (I posted another thread) but then found Coast and the menu looks rather interesting and it's near our hotel. However, recent reviews do not seem that great and some have called it a tourist place. Is there anyplace else with an interesting menu in the downtown area? We are staying at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. In the other thread, someone suggested the Italian Kitchen, and their menu looks good, but nothing different than I can get at home.

        Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
        900 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6C2W6, CA

        1. re: MisterBill2

          What kind of food/setting/price range are you looking for and how close does it need to be to the hotel?
          With regards to Coast, I have always liked it. Some will say it's more of a place to be seen than to have good tasting food. It does have a "scene" quality to it but I do think the food is really good in terms of quality, value, and variety (something for everyone). There is nothing really innovative or outstanding here though so it may not be a good choice for your one dinner in Vancouver. I don't recommend Italian Kitchen-it's just an ok Italian restaurant.

          1. re: selena03

            I don't really want to spend a lot since I am heading out on a cruise and already spending plenty. Coast is really at the high end of what I wanted to spend but the menu looks interesting with the flatbreads and assortment of fish and seafood. Someplace with interesting preparations of fish and a reasonable price would be great. And walking distance from our hotel is fairly important, I will not have a car (actually, I will, but my plan was to return it to Avis that afternoon to avoid having to pay $31/night for parking at the hotel, although I guess if I did keep it I could drive it to the pier in the AM and drop off our luggage and then drop it off, and then we'd have more options for dinner).

            Oh, and I have a picky eater (we are going with my 19 and 23 year olds), but Coast seemed to have stuff she would eat.

            1. re: MisterBill2

              The flatbreads and the fish and chips rolls are my favourites. I hope you and your family enjoy your night in Vancouver. Please be sure to report back on what you thought about your experience at Coast:).

                1. re: MisterBill2

                  Market is a great choice. Make sure you have the warm chocolate cake:),

                  1. re: selena03

                    Went to Market tonight. My son had the warm chocolate cake and it was excellent -- soft is runny inside, which many places cannot manage to do. I wanted to order the tasting menu but because I was the only one at the table who wanted it they would not allow me to do it because it would mess up the timings for the rest of the table (even though they would have been ok with it). Everyone enjoyed their meals.. Oh well...

      2. For casual asian bites check out the"food court" area of the Richmond Night Market.

        Of course Japadog (Robson St.) is a must.

        If you're going to be shopping for the eclectic on Main Street have a quick lunch at Quejos (Main and 26th.) Hole in the wall. But their Chicken Quejos are so tender and juicy and ridiculously inexpensive.

        Splurge at Blue Water Cafe and order their Arctic Char if it's available. Bypass their sushi, its great quality but not worth the splurge compared to other Sushi places in the city.

        If you are heading into Kelowna have lunch at the Mission Hill winery, they always have a great tasting menu that is paired with their wines. And the view from the outdoor loggia style patio is incredible.

        Main Street Cafe
        317 MacKenzie, Revelstoke, BC V0E2S1, CA

        5 Replies
        1. re: Manisha

          Can you tell me more about the food court at Richmond Night Market? My in-laws live in Richmond, and we'll be visiting in a couple of months. It would be fun to try something new.

          We really enjoyed japadog last time we were in town.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I know it's annoying when people say "do a search" but there are deffo some posts on the Night Market here from fmed. I also just came across this blog which has two nice posts on it from this year:

            I wasn't blown away by the food but it was decent. The okonomiyaki were the high point I guess, but then again I haven't been this year. It is kind of fun to go for the novelty of being outside with hoardes of people eating and ogling tchotchkes late at night.

            1. re: grayelf

              Hopefully, these pics will give you an impression of the RNM. Most of the food is mediocre with a couple of standouts. (I always pick up a dragon's beard sweet - a fairly rare treat.) It is also fairly chaotic and often hard to tell the lineups from the throng.


              I get the sense that we will see much of the food served here all year long once the City of Vancouver's street food initiative ramps up.

          2. re: Manisha

            I am so excited and actually at time giddy about experiencing/eating my way through the night market! Then I got a bit confused as I found two.

            - Vancouver Chinatown Night Market (Keefer St. / Main St. b/t Main & Columbia) Fri-Sat-Sun 6:30PM-11PM
            - Summer Night Market in Richmond - 10-acre site located at 12631 Vulcan Way (behind Home Depot on Sweden Way) Fri & Sat 7PM-1AM Sun 7PM-12AM (Holiday Sun: 7PM-1AM / Holiday Mon 7PM-12AM)

            Is it a case of it moving to another location or is there actually two of them? (I know this probably sounds ignorant of the area but I am.) I would like to ask everyone if they have a preference between them? Also any recommendations for things to look for?

            1. re: live4food

              There are two different ones at the locations you state. I haven't been mad for any of the food I've had at either to be honest. I like the Chinatown one because it is closer and actually in a habited part of town. The Richmond one is in an industrial area in the middle of nowhere and hard to access by transit. Both have their own parking issues.

          3. I am using your posts to create a list that will reside on my laptop's Outlook and sync with my phone for easy access while out and about. I also may be making a goodgle map to help plot locations.

            We leave for BC on August 21st and return September 6th. Still not sure when we'll be in which city but I am thinking Victoria might be the latter part of the trip. So, if you think of any places or know of events that will be happening please share as I will be checking in.

            Thanks again for your input.

            1 Reply
            1. re: live4food

              I haven't been but there is a Filipino festival at the Richmond Oval on Aug 28 and 29, 10-6 both days, that sounds worthy. Will be checking it out on the Sunday for lunchish I think :-).


            2. My recent favorites are Lupo in Yaletown and Luda on Hastings by Slocan. I've been to Lupo a few times now and the food and service is always wonderful. Luda is a wonton/hk/cantonese style restaurant. Their take on a modern version of wonton noodles is very tasty. They also offer house made beef balls and squid balls. Very bouncy and the broth that it comes with is nicely done.