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please help me complete my weekend chow plans in Vancouver

I'm an NYC hound who'll be in town on business--it's my first time in Vancouver and I'm hoping to have a great food experience in your fine city. We get in Friday night and will be tired. Want someplace downtown that's good, relatively fast (no fine dining) and still open at 9pm. I was thinking of Peaceful Restaurant for the beef roll, spicy eggplant, and various noodles.

Saturday lunch needs to be very close to the convention center so I was thinking Bali Thai. Saturday night I have a reservation at Boneta.

Any suggestions for brunch or lunch on Sunday? Downtown preferred. Sunday dinner I'm looking for a great Chinese place--preferably somewhere with good king crab options (assuming that'll still be in season in early April). Dinner does not have to be downtown. Thoughts?

Monday I'll be tied to the convention center during the day again but free to explore at night. Suggestions? Another gastown favorite like L'Abattoir? Or something different?

Any and all suggestions and critiques will be much appreciated.

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  1. I would give one of the Guu locations a try on Friday night. Pretty casual, relatively fast, and fun - the atmosphere will definitely keep you awake. I think the Gastown location is closest to the convention center, though personally I like Guu Garden the most.

    For your Monday, L'Abattoir is a great option, and you'll get lots of recs for on it here, seems to be a BC board favourite.

    As for brunch - I think Yew (at the Four Seasons) is a pretty nice option. Weather-permitting I always enjoy the rooftop patio brunch at Joe Fortes as well, the food is decent though a bit pricey - but it's a great place to relax with a mimosa on a Sunday morning.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jerkstore

      I'd throw in Hapa Izakaya or Kingyo into the mix of Guu options. Or Hokkaido Ramen Santouka.

    2. I think you might be out of luck for king crab - we checked around last week and the prices had gone WAY up - it's now about $30/lb. Apparently a small catch this year. Try our dungeness crab - you won't be disappointed.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Quattrociocchi

        Thanks for the tip. Any suggestions on where best to eat dungeness?

        1. re: alex m

          Chinese restaurants tend to do the best job IMHO since they keep the crabs alive in the tanks until being ordered a la carte. They'd bring one to you to inspect before taking it back to the kitchen for preparation and cooking. There's a slew of very decent ($$$ not implicit) Chinese restos that'll serve you up a nice big platter of dungeness. But if you are dining alone and/or prefer to stay within downtown, I'm at a loss to make a rec, since the wealth of Chinese restos within close proximity to each other are in Richmond (and can be reached via the Canada Line rapid transit direct).

          There is one resto not terribly far from downtown core that you can get to via a taxi ride (I don't recommend taking the public transit in this case, but if you choose to it's #19 Metrotown and you can board it on W. Georgia St or Pender St). It's called KEN's, on Kingsway, a major arterial road that diagonally cuts through Vancouver and Burnaby:

          http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180976...

          http://chowtimes.com/2010/06/18/cra-2...

          The #19 Stanley Park (WB)/Metrotown (EB) takes you right to their front door.

          IMHO, dungeness is best served stir-fried with a simple ginger, onion, green onion and garlic mix, with a very light amount of soy, like this:

          http://www.followmefoodie.com/2012/01...

          1. re: alex m

            welcome to Vancouver BC - we "heart" NY (as the famous slogan said) ... have you considered the halibut that's fresh in season now? you're in prime halibut country, so to speak ... I get mine from a boat that i know about - so i don't know how to judge where a restaurant gets it (ie is it this year fresh or last year's catch) - other than their reputation now and future -- and the "Oceanwise" approval makes it all seem nicer, for sure. (see Vancouver Aquarium - no, you're not eating the displays - http://www.oceanwise.ca/ )

        2. Are you going to be attending the AFP Conference? I'm coming from SF and have been scouring chowhound for options as well. To compare notes, here's what I'm thinking:

          Either Guu or Kintaro Ramen or Santouka Ramen Friday night. Then Saturday night probably sushi - Miku or Miko. Sunday I was also going to look for good Chinese options. Finally, I was hoping to fit in Vij's or Vij's Rangoli in somehwere, maybe Monday night.

          Let me know if you'd be interested in meeting up at some point for lunch or dinner - would be great to meet another hound during the trip. You can e-mail me directly at tomotsu @ gmail.

          2 Replies
          1. re: tomotsu

            I love Santouka but it's not the same without the toroniku so a slight caveat on dinner there as they do run out of this pork of the gods. I always go for lunch (early) to ensure I get my mitts on some.

            1. re: tomotsu

              Thanks for the offer, tomotsu, but I'm attending a different conference about a week later.

            2. You should really try Phnom Penh in Chinatown. It is a very popular Vietnamese/Cambodian restaurant. They are open for lunch and dinner as well as late night eats. Best chicken wings you will ever have, I promise!

              1. A train ride on the Canada Line to Richmond and check out their Asian malls' food courts would be fun, if time permitting.

                Here's the best local compilation of the malls and of the food court vendors, to my knowledge:

                http://chowtimes.com/2010/09/09/looki...

                3 Replies
                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Thanks for the tip, LotusRapper. Does anyone have any more advice for/critiques of this plan:

                  Friday night: arrive around 9pm. Still looking for the perfect place for a quick, delicious, Chinese meal. Needs to be open until at least 10pm (obviously) and either in downtown or on the way from the airport to downtown. Does not need to be fancy--cheap hole-in-the-walls happily welcomed! Bonus points for somewhere that serves great dungeness crab or halibut.

                  Saturday: Lunch at food cart or porchetta sandwich at meat & bread. Dinner at Boneta.

                  Sunday: Brunch at Yew or Joe Fortes (?). Dinner at Peaceful Restaurant.

                  Monday: Lunch at Cafe Pacifica (no real choice there, as it's a business lunch that had to be in or very near the convention center). Dinner at L'Abbatoir.

                  Tuesday: Quick lunch at Bali Thai before heading to the airport.

                  1. re: alex m

                    Re: Friday night > 9pm options. My take is Richmond is easier to find options as there are so many of them within a tight geographic area. But trying to think of one still open past 9pm and with great dungeness crab or halibut eludes me, as that's not my area of expertise.

                    I can think of one 24-hr place at the Lansdowne Shopping Mall (right on #3 Road and Lansdowne) that has lots of options, but exquisite seafood dishes aren't one of them:

                    http://www.richmond9.com/menu_mobile....

                    Prices @ #9 are a wee bit higher than your typical restos with similar foods, but my experience has been pretty good. Service can be spotty, you'd need to assertively flag down the waitresses as they zoom across the room from one end to another.

                    OTOH, I suppose Garden City Hot Pot might work since seafood is part of their repertoire, and open until 10:30pm:

                    http://topgungroup.com/restaurants/ga...

                    1. re: alex m

                      If you're taking the Canada line in from the airport on Friday night, you might consider getting off at cambie and king Edward and going to cafe glouchester. They're open late and serve hong kong style cafe food, so you get things like baked spaghetti or pork chops but with an Asian twist. Not much seafood though. If you do go try the lemon coke, it's one of the best in the city.