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Where would a "gotta try place in Vancouver" be?

Hello all. One of the cast I work with who's from Texas asked me this question last night. He wanted to know where in Vancouver is there a "gotta try place" for food. He's completely open to anything and just wants to experience the culinary delights of our city. The crew I work with as an example would refer Stepho's as a great Greek restaurant. I told him about this board and also told him that the best knowledgeable foodies in Vancouver know of all the great food in our city and are regulars on here. Help is needed so I can pass this information along. Thank-you in advance.

PS when he said anything and everything that includes seafood, all types Asian etc...

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  1. I would say a Guu (Guu with Garlic or Guu Thurlow)....and Chinese in Richmond.

    (Not too sure about Stepho's though).

    13 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Thx fmed. If there were one Chinese place that is your favorite in Richmond which would it be and what particular dish should I suggest he try out? He had also asked me that question. What food/dish should he try that is particular to Vancouver. I didn't even know how to answer that.

      1. re: Craft Service

        I don't think you will find anything (i.e. dish/food) that is particular to Vancouver....
        I would try up-scale Indian (i.e. Vij's) since it's done at a much better level than anything in North America or any of the Chinese places in Richmond...

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

        1. re: Pollo

          I think there may be the one dish - Alaskan King Crab done in a Cantonese style (3 ways, 4 ways) during crab season which starts very soon (end of Fed and lasts for about 6 weeks). You really can't get it better, fresher, or cheaper anywhere else in the world.

          On the question of my "favourite" Chinese restaurant - that's a hard one as I tend to think of favourites in terms of particular dishes or specialties (ie you go to a restaurant for that one dish, etc). Since he is from Texas where the options are limited compared to here, those nuances may be moot. So I would just steer him to one of the large dim sum palaces like Red Star, The Jade, etc. He can also try some specialties at various little joints and foodcourt stalls. I can expand if interested.

          1. re: fmed

            I agree with the dim sum suggestion. I'm not sure what part of Texas your friends are from, but I've spent quite a bit of time in Houston, and I don't recall a single dim sum place that was remotely comparable to even the most average place here. (I do recall, however, that Houston has great Vietnamese restaurants.)

            1. re: fmed

              Come on "fmed".....King Crab Cantonese style....you can get it in China/HK....same ball park $/cost and freshnes...

              1. re: Pollo

                Sure - perhaps (though maybe not when it is in season). But definitely not in Texas.

                1. re: fmed

                  These days you can get as good (live) seafood in China as you can in Vancouver....Russian Far East (Kamtchatka) is right next door...

              2. re: fmed

                Red Star or Sun Sui Wah would be good for dim sum lunch as well as dinner options.

                1. re: fmed

                  I'm sure he'd be open to even these little joints. I've already told him about the response so far and he's very happy. I actually told him the exciting part about me asking this question is I'm quite green as to where all these places are too and look forward to trying them myself.

                2. re: Pollo

                  I second Vij's! It was our favorite restaurant experience in Vancouver, and really felt like some out of the usual.

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

                3. re: Craft Service

                  If money is not too much an issue, for superlative Japanese there's Tojo's (1133 W. Broadway just west of Oak Street)

                  www.tojos.com

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    And if money is an object then omakase at Kimura's would be a good bet, especially if he is dining alone. $30 will get him a feast and the entertainment of sitting at the bar with Kimura-san in front of him.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      These are all great suggestions and when both him and I get a chance to talk on set I'll mention the various places. This is great as it would be so easy to mention touristy traps. Thanks again to everyone who has replied. If any other ideas do come up please share as we're shooting until mid-March and most likely will renew to another season.

              3. French:
                Pastis Bistro on 4th, or
                Le Regalade - West Van (my favourite)
                Steak: Hy's
                Sushi:
                Kokoro North Vancouver -Lonsdale
                Italian:
                Bravo Cucina - North Vancouver
                Casual- Sandwiches:
                Meat and Bread - Cambie Street
                Big Lou's Butcher Shop - Powell Street
                Beer and Tapas:
                Biercraft Bistro - Commercial Drive
                Breakfast:
                Havana - Commercial Drive - Cuban Style
                Icecream:
                La Cas Gelato- Venebles

                3 Replies
                1. re: aselnes

                  Kokoro in North Van is not the place it used to be. It was sold several years ago and seems to be on its last legs. I don't get over there too often any more, but the last time I went it was dead empty and the food was not very good. Too bad, anyone know where the original sushi chef went? He was really good.

                  1. re: Tinfoilhat

                    Also :

                    Coffee: Calabria Cafe - Commercial Drive
                    Pizza: Lobardis - Commercial Drive or Martinis on Broadway

                  2. re: aselnes

                    Ice cream/gelato: Bella Gelateria downtown on Cordova. Best gelato I've had in Vancouver with really intense flavours, blows everything else out of the water.

                    -----
                    Bella Gelateria
                    1001 W Cordova St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2G6, CA

                  3. Guu can be REALLY fun if you're up for it - the plum wine mojitos are yummy! It's a pretty standard reccommendation but I've always had a great time at Rodney's - friendly, hip, knowledgable staff - good selection, fresh seafood, good beer. I've always found it to be good quality and unpretentious.

                    -----
                    Guu
                    838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

                    1. I can think of two places apart from those already mentioned: Jang Mo Jib on Robson for Korean and Kintaro Ramen on Denman.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Frids

                        Based on the Name alone - I vote for Jang Mo Jib.

                        Other suggestions that have come my way since:

                        Irish Heather,

                        Chambar,

                        Brix,

                        Glowball,

                        Capones

                        B.T.W. the pizza joint on Commercial Drive is Lombardos with an 'o' not Lombardis with an 'i' - I made a typo in an earlier thread

                      2. Without a doubt, I'd recommend Vij's. A truly unique experience.

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

                        14 Replies
                        1. re: burnintoast

                          Just in case the OP is not aware, Vij's does not take reservations. They open at 5:30 nightly. If you get there shortly before 5:30 (eg. 5:15), you usually can get a table for the first seating. Otherwise, it's anybody's guess as to how long the wait is for a table depending on how busy they are. I'd definitely recommend the lamb popsicles if he does go.

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

                          1. re: miss.foodie

                            Middle of the week it's usually an hour or so. Weekends can be two to three hours.

                            If you go late (9-10pm, mid-week) you used to be able to get a table without much of a wait. I haven't tried it recently, but I have no reason to expect things have changed. I second the lamb popsicles recommendations. If you can't make it there, their more casual sister restaurant next door, Rangoli, is pretty decent as well and also open for lunch. I personally really like the Portobello Mushroom and Red Bell Pepper curry dish.

                            I'd personally skip pizza in Vancouver. Nicli's just opened and was pretty good in my opinion, but Vancouver is no pizza mecca.

                            I'd throw in recommendations for the following, but none of them are quite got-to-try like Vij's in my opinion:
                            - Yuji's - Japanese tapas, halfway between an izakaya (like Guu) and a sushi place (like Tojo's)
                            - Shun Feng - dim sum for lunch, get the leather jacket fish
                            - 9 Dishes - Sichuan-influence from a Beijinger, try the Sichuan sausage
                            - Santouka - ramen, order one of the toroniku ramens

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

                            Guu
                            838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

                            Portobello
                            4599 Chateau Blvd, Whistler, BC V0N1B4, CA

                            1. re: farman

                              Vij's would fall under "gotta try place" in Vancouver. All the "other" types of restaurants can be had in other cities....

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

                              1. re: Pollo

                                Well I guess alot of discussion has resulted in only one restaurant in all of Vancouver that qualifies as a 'gotta try' - that is - according to a few reviewers in this string of blog postings. What a load of BS - Vancouver is a restaurant MECCA.

                                On the Pizza front: Lomabardo's is one of the best Pizza's you'll get anywhere. And the Calzone - momma mia now datsa italiano

                                Alot of the suggestions above are fantastic - keep them coming- Vij's included - but it is NOT the only place worth eating at in Vancouver.

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

                                1. re: aselnes

                                  I guess that is because many of the restaurants listed here are really not that unique. Some of them are "good" but I wouldn't put them in the "gotta try" category (of which Vij's only sneaks in by acclamation.)

                                  The answer isn't generic either - it really depends on where the OP is coming from (in this case Texas).

                                  1. re: fmed

                                    The recommendation of dim sum is a good one, as it is better than what is available in Texas.

                                    I'd also recommend the Chinese foodcourts for something that is not found in many places in North America:

                                    Crystal Mall (Wang's for XLB, Want Want for lamb rou jiamo, Huaxi Noodle Specialist, etc.)

                                    Richmond Public Market (Xi'an Cuisine for roujiamo, and XinJiang Delicious food for lamb nang)

                                    -----
                                    Crystal Mall
                                    4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                    1. re: fmed

                                      Unique and good are two differnt things. the original request made no mention of Unique - Just wanted suggested places to try.

                                      If you want unique deep fried intestine or something - watch Far Factor.

                                      Try Regalade - its unbelievably good. So are the others mentioned.

                                      1. re: aselnes

                                        >"Unique and good are two differnt things. "

                                        OK - I grant you that. Then my choices would still be Chinese in Richmond and Izakaya (eg Guu, Kingyo, Zakkushi). I might also add L'abattoir, Boneta, Judas Goat, Chambar.

                                        1. re: fmed

                                          And I stand by my recommendations of the Chinese foodcourts as being both unique AND good. I want the lamb rou jiamo from Want Want right now!

                                          1. re: YVRChow

                                            Oh - yeah. That was one of my original recommendations too! I too stand by it.

                                              1. re: aselnes

                                                You really "gotta try" some of this food before you dismiss it.

                                            1. re: fmed

                                              Original post ask for "gotta try place" for food in Vancouer which by simple logic means not only good but also unique (I am sure they are not looking for crappy pizza or "dive" bars).
                                              Two other places that I would add to the list are: (1) jn&z delicatessen (especially for someone from Texas) and (2) Kitsilano Daily Kitchen (http://cheffowke.com/).

                                              1. re: Pollo

                                                The Kitsilano Daily Kitchen looks great. Thanks for the tip. Will definately check it out.

                              2. Whenever I have guests in town who are foodies especially from the US, I usually try to highlight Vancouver's strength: our strong diversity of ethnic restaurants, seafood and the use of local ingredients.

                                I do tend to avoid Italian, Greek and Thai as I think other North American cities do it better than Vancouver.

                                So, here are some of the places I've taken guests to in the last year:
                                -Aki's for Robata
                                -Miku for Aburi Sushi
                                -Bo Laksa King's Bubbles & Bits for Laksa
                                -Bishops
                                -Sea Harbour for Dim Sum & Cantonese dinner
                                -Sun sui wai for Alaska King Crab
                                -Izakaya Crawl: Guu with Garlic, Kingyo & Zakkushi
                                -Vij's
                                -Ramen Crawl: Motomachi, Kintaro and Santouka (Over a course of a day: Lunch, Early dinner & Late Dinner)
                                - Blue Water
                                - GO Fish
                                - Crystal Mall Food Court to illustrate regional Chinese cuisine and for the XLB
                                - Pear Tree
                                - Octopus Garden for Omakase
                                - Kimura for Omakase

                                It's great when visitors can spend a few days in Vancouver to really experience what it means to eat well in Vancouver.

                                -----
                                Crystal Mall
                                4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                Guu
                                838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

                                Kingyo
                                871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

                                11 Replies
                                1. re: moyenchow

                                  That is a GREAT list moyenchow.

                                  1. re: fmed

                                    Totally stealing that list, moyenchow. The only caveat for me would be that Blue Water needs to be on someone else's dime :-).

                                  2. re: moyenchow

                                    Wow, a ramen crawl :) How awesome.
                                    I would worry about not having any room for Santouka after slurping down a bowl at Kintaro... and that would be a shame. Then again, Santouka's shio is so good I could probably overlook that and engage my 2nd stomach. Must test this theory one day.

                                    1. re: twinkienic

                                      The "ramen crawl" happened by accident as I was not planning to do that but my guests insisted. They couldn't believe all the ramen shops were so close together.

                                      To be honest, I was struggling to finish my bowl of ramen at Santouka, even though we had finished walking the Stanley Park portion of the seawall.

                                    2. re: moyenchow

                                      Now I want to visit you in Vancouver. Oh wait.......

                                      1. re: moyenchow

                                        Thanks all. I'm actually looking to build on my arsenal of "gotta to try" places to bring visitors. Specifically, in the following areas:
                                        -Shanghainese
                                        -Oysters (use to take people to Rodneys but it's not a good fit for all and Blue Water is too expensive)
                                        -A spot in Gastown that meets my at least 2/3 of my criteria

                                        Any suggestions would be appreciated

                                        I also miss Tapastree .... that was a favourite of mine to take people as well.

                                        -----
                                        Tapastree Restaurant
                                        1829 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1E4, CA

                                        1. re: moyenchow

                                          For oysters................Joe Fortes cant be beat

                                          1. re: oystersandbeer

                                            I agree. The oysters are consistently great here and the atmosphere can't be beat. This has always been and still is my #1 place for oysters in Vancouver. The food is another story...

                                            1. re: ck1234

                                              may i suggest glowbal's Coast. as well there is a new oyster bar downtown that i have yet to try.

                                            2. re: oystersandbeer

                                              Happen to know whether or not "Oyster Bob" is still shucking? He was a wealth of knowledge in all things oyster.

                                              1. re: PolarBear

                                                I coudnt tell you if he is still there but if he isnt you can bet he passed on some knowledge

                                        2. Rodney's Oyster Bar, Tojo's