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Seattle Chowhounds in Vancouver--where should we go next? (Also, recommendations for Victoria)

A few years ago I posted a question asking for recommendations for Vancouver, and got a lot of terrific responses that have steered me and my husband to some great food on multiple visits. Now we're looking for suggestions for places that we've missed for some reason or another. We're especially interested in places that serve different and/or better food than we can get in Seattle.

Here are some of the places we've been, and how we've liked them:

Vij/Rangoli: I know they're not universally loved on this board, but there's nothing remotely close to this (assertive spicing, high quality ingredients) where I live.

Xiao Long Bao at the Crystal Mall: Tasty, but not mind-blowing. The soup within the dumpling is kind of interesting, but the overall taste experience didn't wow us.

Huaxi Noodle specialist at the Crystal Mall: fantastic chewy noodles with pork belly.

Peaceful Restaurant: Really liked the Xi'an white lamb stew.

Guu with Garlic: Had a few small plates there, but it was too noisy for us (lots of people yelling, too loud for us to carry on a conversation at a normal volume) to really enjoy it. We'd be open to trying other izakayas, if there are any that are quieter.

Octopus Garden: we had a lovely meal there, and particularly liked the gindara.

Mondo Gelato: loved the black sesame gelato.

Cocoanymph, Schokolade, and Thomas Haas: I really love good chocolates.

Also, we are going to be in Victoria for a day or two. We'll have dinner at Sooke Harbour House. Any suggestions for good but not gut-busting meals in Victoria would be appreciated as well.

Edited to add: We have a car and are willing to drive fairly far for really good food.

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  1. Some quick ideas:

    -Try the street carts/trucks. I like La Brasserie's chicken sandwich.
    -Quieter isakaya - Kingyo
    -Gelato - Bella Gelateria. James, the talkative gelato master there, makes really good gelato. Easily the best in this city.
    -Richmond - dimsum at Jade, or Red Star.
    -Thierry - Chocolates (he has some mixed reviews about the pastries on this board. I don't recall reading complaints about his chocolates though).

    Victoria - Ulla.

    1. You might like pattersie le beau http://www.grababetterwaffle.com/reta... for great belgian waffles, lemon tarts, sandwiches and quiche - open for lunch and breakfast. Hawksworth is a new restaurant producing quality food at decent but not cheap prices. http://www.hawksworthrestaurant.com/

      Le Crocodike and Bishops are Vancouver standards http://lecrocodilerestaurant.com/ http://www.bishopsonline.com/

      Ensemble is new and gets some good and not so good reviews http://www.ensemblerestaurant.com/

      1 Reply
      1. re: Philx

        Agree with this posters picks! If you are doing lunch you could also do Market at the Shangri-la for 3 courses.

      2. I was also going to recommend Kingyo - my favorite izakaya. I am also a fan of nearby Zakkushi.

        The best gelato in Vancouver- Bella Gelataria in Coal Harbour.

        Hawksworth is new and has a big buzz. Market, is a divisive place but has a cool patio and is reasonably priced fine dining.

        I don't know much about Victoria, but Schooners is often cited by Victorians as a nice brewpub. It's a bit of a faux-Brit place but afternoon tea at the Empress is a regular tourist stop, although for my money I'd just as soon go to the White Heather for that.

        871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

        2 Replies
        1. re: J_Bone

          Schooners? I live in Victoria and have never heard of that. I think there is a Schooners in Tofino (5 hour drive from Victoria).

          There is a Spinnaker's, but the food there is generally lousy.

          Are you going to the Sooke Harbour House because you are staying out there? Just asking because apparently their wine list is a shadow of its former self.

          If I had only one or two nights in Victoria, I'd be tempted to eat at Stage Small Plates and Wine Bar. Consistent food, plus you can try a lot of different items (fun for sharing). I'd also be tempted to go to Restaurant Matisse. Though definitely "old school" French, the service is always lovely as is the food. For lunch I'd want to head to Daidoco (if you are there on a weekday) or Relish (again only open on weekdays).

          1. re: anewton

            Erm... yeah. I meant Spinnaker's. Had a brain fart there I guess. The food's bad? Noted.

        2. I'm from Seattle and have been to both Guu with Garlic and Kingyo, and I FAR prefer Kingyo. Highly recommended.

          838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

          871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

          1. The new Guu, Kobachi, is my new favourite izakaya in town. They change the menu nightly and have a killer sake tasting menu. Much quieter than other Guus, and all the dishes I tried were fantastic.

            838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

            1. Hi Creepygirl, your preferences seem to have an Asian/Japanese emphasis. I have two to add for your consideration:

              - Ajisai (Kerrisdale neighborhood of SW part of Vancouver, about 3 kms west of Oakridge Shopping Centre). Youll LOVE the gindara there.

              - Kura (Kingsway, in Burnaby just west of Metropolis Shopping Centre) ..................... I recommend for dinner only.

              Look up their respective Urbanspoon Vancouver reviews if you have doubts :-)

              Another is a Vietnamese/Cambodian joint called Phnom Penh in Chinatown (Georgia Street) that has been there forever (25+ yrs).

              1. If you're feeling carniverous in a Cantonese way, try HK BBQ Master in Richmond:


                A bit tricky to find, as they're nestled in the dark parkade of the Canadian Superstore (local chain of discount supermarkets) on #3 Road at Leslie Road. Get the roast pork platter for like $10 to share to start off, but everything there is good regardless.

                * HK BBQ Master is closed on Wednesdays and they only accept cash.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Loooove HKBM but not the duck, unless things have changed. All things pork are very fine there to my palate, but especially the char siu (I like "half/half") and the roast pork.

                2. Thanks to everyone who replied. My husband and I had a fabulous time in Victoria/Vancouver.

                  Here's a rundown of the new-to-us places we visited:

                  Relish in Victoria: Crispy smoked chicken with rice, napa cabbage slaw and SE Asian dressing, beet and corn salad. This was one of my favorite meals on the trip. The flavor of the chicken was fantastic, and I loved the freshness and sweetness of the corn and beets. The rest of the menu looked fantastic as well, and I really like places with rotating/seasonal menus.

                  Sooke Harbour House: We went for the 7-course menu. A lot of the food was fantastic, particularly the tomato soup, duck and cherry confit, and the peach desserts. I do wish some of the courses were a little less rich, so that the flavor of the produce could shine through--there was one course with squash where I couldn't discern any squash flavor at all. The pacing of the meal was weird; very quick at the beginning, and very slow at the end. The fish and meat courses were ridiculously large, the size of entrees at a lot of restaurants. Service was well-meaning but really clueless for a restaurant at this price point. Reading what I've written, I sound kind of negative, but overall it was a great meal. We didn't order wine so I can't comment on that.

                  Kingyo: Pork belly was fabulous, but very filling. We'll definitely go back to try more of the menu.

                  Kimura Sushi: we were pleased with our sushi and sashimi, and next time we'll give them the 2 days notice for an omakase.

                  Bella Gelateria: I loved it so much we went there twice. The kulfi (cardamom, saffron, almonds, and pistachios) and the lavender gelato were standouts.

                  Feastro food truck: We enjoyed chorizo with rice, and the huge crabcake.

                  Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France: wonderful rich and dark drinking chocolate, and the truffles and chocolate squares were great as well.

                  Ma Dang Coul Korean: enjoyed the Mandu dumplings in beef broth, and spicy chicken and potato stew. Banchan were pretty standard but well-executed. Someone at a table near us had some fantastic-looking fried chicken, and we'll definitely come back sometime to try that.

                  Red Persimmon at the Crystal Mall: Taiwanese hamburger was good, but a bit larger than I expected. It was a hunk of pork the size of a large pork chop.

                  Chao Shou Wang at the Crystal Mall: dry spicy wontons. These were fantastic. The sauce was just the right level of spiciness (making my lips burn for a few minutes), and the crunchy peanuts were a nice touch. I think there might have been some Szechwan peppercorns in there, but I'm not sure. This was our last meal of the trip and a wonderful way to conclude our trip.

                  Photos of the meals here:

                  We can't wait to go back and try some more new places, and thanks to you all, I have lots of great ideas.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: creepygirl

                    Totally drooling over those wontons -- that might be my favourite prep of them and hard to find a good rendition here since my top spot closed years ago. Thanks for the tip and the writeup.