NYC Hounds coming to Vancouver for a Bittersweet Weekend
So my wife and I will be coming to Vancouver for a memorial service for my wife's uncle. We are avid foodies and want to experience the best ingredients that Vancouver has to offer without eating too many cuisines that are well represented in NYC. For example, I know you all have spectacular Chinese and we have lately become more interested in regional Chinese but I'm not sure how Vancouver and NYC compare. I leave it to you to make your recommendations.
We are very interested in local and seasonal ingredients and we especially love fish and shellfish. If you have a place to recommend with a great raw bar and little more, we'd be more than happy. Price is not an issue for at least one of our 2-3 dinners but we'd also be interested in hearing about smaller and more affordable ethnic places that you think are worth it.
Thanks in advance for your help. We can't wait to eat in Vancouver!
Our Chinese food scene is predominantly Cantonese and Shanghainese (both of which are very well represented).
We do, however, have a growing Regional Chinese scene that is spread throughout the other 'burbs - namely Burnaby where we have great Hunan (Alvin Garden), Sichuan (S&W Pepperhouse - also has some Yunan). Our version of Flushing's great Asian food courts is in Burnaby (Crystal Mall). We have a few foodcourts in Richmond that have Regional Chinese stalls - the biggest being Richmond Public Market.
Vancouver and NY similar scenes in that both cities have localized Chinese food and Chinese food from the relatively recent influx of new Chinese immigrants.
Some of my faves that are fairly easy to access by Skytrain
-Alvin Garden (Hunan, Burnaby)
-Chuan Xiang Ge ("Mascot Enterprises", SIchuan, Burnaby)
-Sea Harbour (Cantonese Seafood)
-Crystal Mall Foodcourt (Burnaby)
-Suhang, Shanghai River (Shanghai, Richmond); Shanghai Village (Vancouver)
A good raw bar = Blue Water cafe (pricey, be good). Other board favourites = Chambar (Belgian-Middle Eastern), Medina (Chambar's sister restaurant - Middle-Eastern inspired breakfasts), Guu with Garlic (and the other Guu locations) Izakaya. (Note that this city has a similar type of izakaya scene as the one around St Marks square).
One place that specializes in localvore that does not (yet) have a lot of coverage on this board is Kitsilano Daily Kitchen with inventive Chef Brian Fowke at the helm.
Hi, and I hope your stay in Vancouver is as you wrote bitter but sweet. I live west of Denman Street, about 1/2 block from Stanley Park and 1/2 block from English Bay Beach. Don't know how well you know our city, but if you google-map Denman and Davie, you'll have a pretty good idea of location.
As for food, my wife and I like to walk to dinner, so we're fortunate to be blesssed with a lot of good choices close by. For seafood, The Fishhouse in Stanely Park is truly outstanding - great service, comfortable room, wide choice of local (and always wild-caught) fish and an excellent oyster bar. For locally-sourced, the Rain City Grill has emphasized BC produce and protein for many years, and changes its menu to reflect seasonality. Not quite "100-mile" thing, but BC is a big place. Rain City usually offers tasting menus (haven't been for a while) pairing their food suggestions with BC/Washingston State wines by the glass, that are nicely thought out. If you don't know yet where you're staying in Vancouver, let me be totally partisan and recommend the Sylvia Hotel, situated right on English Bay. Vancouver doesn't have a lot of history; we're a new city, but the Sylvia has a bit...Errol Flynn spent his last days at the Sylvia. The lobby floor (bar etc) has been recently renovated - believe me, it was way overdue, but I don' think the rooms have changed much - think functional 30's-style, complete with kitchenette. Not an overpriced hotel either, which in this city is no small thing.
Anyway, even if you're staying with relatives out in the Fraser Valley, a drive down to my neighbourhood is well worth the time, and it's not too touristy - there's a lot of highrises here, and so therefore lots of local patronage.
One more thing food-wise about Vancouver - we have got the best sushi outside of Tokyo here, and our prices are very competitive. One of the world's great sushi chefs, Tojo, has a self-named restaurant on West Broadway - not at all cheap, but very creative. On the other hand, our access to first-class fish and a large Asian population has give Vancouver a great value for simple places, like decent sushi and ramen joints, that offer great quality at prices that will astound anyone who's ever had good (or even bad!) sushi in NYC.
Best Wishes, and Condolences,
Quick note on very disappointing brunch at Medina this am -- the fricasse was vinegary, beef overdone, eggs (as always) overcooked on the bottom and raw on top. I haven't loved my last couple of breakies here but today it was just sad. The daily omelette (really a fritatta) was also lacklustre.
For mid-range local dining I'd put in a vote for Boneta in Gastown. Each meal I have had there has been spot on with a nice variety of local ingredients highlighted.