Yaletown restaurant suggestions please for family visiting from Boston
We'll be visiting lovely Vancouver in July and are looking for restaurant recommendations near our Yaletown rental condo. We are Boston foodies and love all kinds of cuisines, particularly Chinese, Japanese (sushi), Italian, Mediterranean, Thai, dim sum, tapas, etc. We are looking for:
1) family-friendly restaurants where a 9-month old would not be a problem
2) special occasion restaurant for a 12 wedding anniversary--any thoughts on Blue Water Cafe for this occasion?
3) Places we shouldn't miss, including outside of Yaletown? Chinese or Vietnamese in Richmond?
We live in yaletown and our favourites are:
Japanese- Juno Bistro
Breakfast/lunch-Scuie (pizza, bakery, coffee, wine bar) and for fancier breakfast Provence Marinaside (sit outside on a nicer day)
Tapas-Cobre Nuevo (not traditional Spanish tapas but tapas nonetheless-not in yaletown but close, in gastown)
Thai-not much in yaletown/downtown but Thai Basil is very close and would be good for takeout.
We have dined at places like the above since our 5 year old was a baby and have never had any problems. I have found most restaurants in Vancouver to be very baby friendly so I don't think you would have a problem at most places.
I have only dined at Blue Water once and though it was good, I don't think it was spectacular. I have enjoyed better seafood meals at non-seafood restaurants like Lupo and Cioppino's which are both Italian. A lot of posters like Bishops for special occasions but it is not downtown (very close though). I am going to Hawksworth next weekend and this seems to be the type of place to go for a special occasion but I wouldn't want to recommend it to you without trying it so maybe someone else who has already been will pipe in.
I'd definitely hit Blue Water for the anniversary. I've been 4 or 5 times and it has been excellent every time. Easily some of the best meals I've had in Vancouver.
For the special occasion, Cioppino certainly qualifies. Hawksworth is brand new and while still on its maiden voyage, already has lots of buzz (again for for your special occasion). On our first visit, the food was exquisite.
The possibilities in terms of Chinese food are endless, especially if you have a little sense of adventure. Make sure to have dim sum (Kirin (there are two branches downtown), San Sui Wah and Fortune all are good choices in Vancouver proper). For casual Chinese food other than dim sum, try the Peaceful, the Good Choice or Ho Yuen Kee and for somewhat more upscale Cantonese seafood, try one of the Kirins.
Ho Yuen Restaurant
6236 Fraser St, Vancouver, BC V5W, CA
For Japanese options, there's several "modern fusion-y" (is fusion still a bad word ?) izakayas, mostly concentrated along Robson and Denman area. The best known izakayas in that area are:
- Gyoza King (1508 Robson)
- Guu With Garlic (1698 Robson)
- Guu Original (838 Thurlow)
- Hapa Izakaya (1479 Robson)
- Kingyo Izakaya (871 Denman)
You won't go wrong with either five above, all solid. In fact Vancouver has established itself as a bit of an izakaya capital in N. America in the past 7-8 years.
Gastown (east of Waterfront SkyTrain station) has seen revitalization in the past few years. Walk east along Water St. between Seymour St. and Carrall St. you will find some interesting places. And there's another Guu there ("Guu with Otokomae") at 375 Water St.
Tojo's (1133 W. Broadway just west of Oak St) is a renowned institution in Vancouver. While whether it's a "must go" destination may be subjective, they achieved their reputation on merit. But they are pricey.
How about the Nuba on Seymour and Davie-ish? It has a few tables for eat in and would be fine with a wee 'un. Get the Najib's special and a falafel sandwich (avocado inside, unorthodox yes but yummy). Or take it to go and wander down to David Lam Park.
The Nuba Cafe
1206 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B3N9, CA
I'd recommend Hamilton Street Grille, on...wait for it...Hamilton Street, after dining solo there last year and having a delicious meal and exceptionally gracious service. I had the risotto and scallops, which were rich, tender and perfectly cooked, but I hear the hangar steak is the thing there, a bargain at $19. Not sure if I would bring a baby into the dining room there, but the outdoor patio might be perfect and is a great place to hang out.
I know this is heresy on a food forum, but it's not all about the food. Strolling and ambience are just as important. As a frequent visitor to Vancouver and an ardent stroller, I love going into Chinatown and there is good food to be had there. Phnom Penh comes to mind. Perhaps others can flesh Chinatown out. Oh, and Vancouver transit is very baby friendly.
Phnom Penh Restaurant Ltd
244E Georgia St E, Vancouver, BC V6A1Z7, CA