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Vancouver and Victoria Recs

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Hello everyone,

I'm visiting Victoria and Vancouver for the first time and am wondering a) what are the cities specialize in/unique foods and b) where to find the best examples of the former.

I am from Toronto and I imagine that seafood is much better than what a landlocked city can get and I hear rumors that the Hong Kong cuisine in BC can give Toronto a run for its money (Which always starts debates).

I'm also on a personal hunt for the best coffee and micro beers the different cities have to offer, especially for beer that the LCBO or the Beer Store does not stock.

Price wise, I'm hoping for a wide range of prices, and no more than $40 without taxes and tip for the main entree. Hole in the wall, fine dining, it's all fair game. The only diet restriction is no pork, but I'm willing to deal with the health consequences if it's really, really good pork.

I don't drive, so anything near public transit is great.

Any recommendations are appreciated!

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  1. If you are coming in from Toronto, then check out our Japanese - especially izakaya, Shanghai, and yes, Cantonese. Also I think Vancouver does great coffee compared to Toronto. For beer - go to the Alibi Room for some great local and PNW craft beers on cask and bottles.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fmed

      As usual, fmed is giving good advice. Specifically, try Guu with Garlic on Robson for a fun izakaya experience, Long's for Shanghai (but only order the Shanghainese dishes, please, and get a reso), and maybe splurge for a higher end Canto experience like Sea Harbour out in Richmond to get some great seafood.

      I am always mentioning the frat bats for beer sampling at Alibi, because they seem like such a great idea.

      As for coffee, I am a firm convert to Elysian (two locations) but there are a bunch of options depending on what kind of coffee/cafe experience you are after.

      I recall my time in TO with great fondness -- y'all have some fantastic dining options/diversity at your disposal. Based on that, I'd say avoid Thai and brunch here, as you'll likely be disappointed. Toronto has/had such a great brunch scene when I lived there, sigh....

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      Guu
      838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

    2. For beers, check out some of the private shops for bottled beers. Brewery Creek and Firefly are my two favorite spots to find new beers, mostly from the west coast of the US. These stores are bringing in more top quality American beers than any other province - sipping on a Stone Arrogant Bastard ale right now and have a Hopworks IPA in the fridge for later! Our provincial microbrewery scene is fairly lively too. Alibi is by far the best place to get an eye for the state of cutting edge brewing in BC. Lots of experimental kegs and casks to try out. I hope you like hops!

      1. Thanks for all the lovely recommendations. Guu moved to Toronto and I will agree it is very, very good. Enough to line up for 20 minutes to grab a table.

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        Guu
        838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

        1. For Victoria I would say there is nothing we specialize in save for seafood, offered anywhere.

          My favourites for seafood would be Red Fish, Blue Fish or Ferris's Oyster Bar (for your price range). Both are fantastic, though Red Fish Blue Fish is more of a picnic style restaurant located on one of Victoria's waterfront marina's. Ferris's is a sit down restaurant on one of the busier streets.

          If you are more inclined to sushi, I recommend Sen Zushi. THE BEST authentic sushi in town.

          Best coffee in town is 2% Jazz, in my opinion. Almost downtown and right on the bus routes, so easily accessible.

          Best micro brewery in town is Phillips Brewery or Driftwood would be a close second. You can go straight to Phillips Brewery (on Governemnt Street) for beers, or local merchants do sell the Driftwood.

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

          Sen Zushi Japanese Restaurant
          940 Fort Street, Victoria, BC V8V 3K2, CA

          Ferris' Oyster Bar & Grill
          536 Yates St, Victoria, BC V8W1K8, CA

          2% Jazz
          2621 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8T 4M1, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: guiltykitchen

            Agree with the recs for Philips and Driftwood. Also, several of the private liquor stores in Victoria sell a good selection of microbrews from the Pacific Northwest and further afield. Spinnaker's liquor store (not the brewpub) in Vic West and the Cook St Village liquor store are two particular standouts.

            In addition to 2% Jazz, I would recommend Discovery Coffee (2 locations) and Habit. I particularly enjoy the magazine selection and ambience at Habit.

            I think what Victoria does best is locavore cuisine. Good restaurants that support local farms include Brasserie L'Ecole, Camille's, Cafe Brio, and Zambri's.

            We also have a lot of fun, inexpensive 'whole in the wall' places like Hernandez (authentic and very tasty central american cuisine), Red Fish Blue Fish, Devour (on Broughton), and Choux Choux Charcuterie for an exceptional deli that also serves lunch. Also Daidoco for Japenese deli using locally grown organic greens and other top-notch veggies.

            Fol Epi across the Blue Bridge in the somewhat hard to find Dockside Green development is destination-worthy bread and pastry.

            I also have to mention a new restaurant getting rave reviews on Fisgard near Wharf called "Ulla."

            And, last but not least, Stage Small Plates and Wine Bar in Fernwood is a great place to spend an evening. Excellent food.

            There is a cocktail renaissance in Victoria right now and Clive's Classic Lounge is a don't miss place when you're in Victoria. The regular bartender, Sean, has a treasure trove of cocktail knowledge and has put together a formidable list using very fine ingredients.

            I here Veneto also has an excellent cocktail program, as does the aforementioned Cafe Brio.

            Hope you have a great time. Make sure to report back!

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

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

            Discovery Coffee
            2000 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8T, CA

            Zambri's
            911 Yates St, Victoria, BC V8V4X3, CA

            Cafe Brio
            944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K2, CA

            2% Jazz
            2621 Douglas St, Victoria, BC V8T 4M1, CA

          2. Thank you for all the suggestions! Everything sounds interesting and I'll report back on what I actually ended up eating.