Vancouver, Whistler, Salt Spring, Sechelt?
We're planning a BC Adventure and require top foodie destination help!! Great adventurous winelists are also an attraction.
in Vancouver - Chinatown destination and awesome oyster spots and somewhere to score spot prawns. great Indian or Greek?
what I've planned:
Vancouver: Hawkshead, l'abbatoir, BWC, Tojo's or Miko
I've noted Yew, Cru, Vij's and the Fresh Local Wild Truck.
Whistler: Sidecut, pasta lupino - is Araxi worth our time?
salt Spring: Hastings House
Sechelt/sunshine coast - we'll have a kitchen - oysters?
all and any help is appreciated :)
The report :
Vancouver (1st 2 nights):
Blue Water Cafe - hasn't changed much since our last visit 4 years ago. They do well what they do. It's polished service and menu combined. The price however is questionable. We did enjoy dinner again. But as for returning - no need to run back again anytime soon. (Some oysters are $3.50ea - that's very high.)
Rodney's Oyster House - ditto on the hasn't changed much. We somehow always get a brand new waiter (ours had just started that night) with no training what-so-ever. You are there for the oysters and they don't disappoint. Expect to be there a while. Oysters are slightly cheaper than Blue Water but not much. They had 10 selections on the weekend night we visited. Cooked food good, esp. vegetables. Service is the only issue.
Sechelt/Gibson's/Rogers Creek -
Sharkeys - Wow, certainly no neon lights directing you to it. Google Maps will show you it's at the crossroads but it's actually just before them on the north side of Rogers Creek Road. It's a little garage style building with a roll up door. The sign is tiny. Look for the open sign in the window. The Fish & Chips are made to order. We had Split fries with Salmon and Halibut. The coleslaw is vinegar based. The tartare sauce is excellent with a hint of dill in it. The fish is crunchy and not greasy. Best F&C ever? No. But very good. We took our lunch and ate at the beach park at the very end of Roberts Road - they have picnic tables there.
Smitty's Oyster Bar - we went for lunch and would happily go back anytime. Just 3 oyster types when we were there during the week. The Oyster po'boy had some heat, but was delicious. The open kitchen is tiny, but the chefs are cooking with care. We also had the lobster sliders (you taste the toasted roll, not the lobster) and the lamb burger. It's hidden down two flights of stairs underneath Molly's - so don't miss out going when you drive by and can't find it. The staircase runs on the north side of the long pier. Look for the blue building down below.
Sechelt Fish - Scored the spot prawns. They were fresh and gorgeous with no heads at 19.99/pound. Lots of other fish, much of it frozen.
We went to Wheatberries for bread and Bliss Cafe in Gibson's for a ferry lunch. Bliss is a wacky place - the baked goods are fantastic though! We loved the selection of lunch food but found it lacking in flavor - either too many ingredients or two few. The Shepherd's Pie was terrible. Don't miss the baking though. Wheatberries bread is fine (good ingredients) but nothing to swoon over. Tried the maple cinnamon roll - way too sweet for my taste.
We're in Whistler now... so will report on that shortly....
I am a whister local and chef. I believe Araxi is a very special restaurant, James Wlat is a truly talented chef and it is priced to boot. I feel that Whistler's best restaurant is the Rim Rock Cafe in Creekside, however if you are staying in the Village and don't want to take a taxi then Araxi for sure.
Edgewater Lodge is a rustic dinning room with the most spectacular views anywhere. They finally have a serious outstanding chef, Patrick Fortier, whose impecable Continental/Quebec style is so solid; I know he's a star on the rise.
Pasta Lupino is a small cafe that serves a combination of fresh house-made pasta with a few sauces. It is simple and delicious, great for lunch or recovering from last-nights over indulgence and a bruised visa card.
Sidecut has a great reputation as a steak house - definitely better than The Keg or Ric's.
Of course, should you have a hankering for Southern Soul food, I operate the Southern Soul Diner in Function Junction - Thursday Friday & Saturday nights only - www.bigsmoke.ca
In Vancouver by all means go to a Japadog cart (there are several) not the restaurant ,and have an amazing, inventive dog on the street.
In Vancouver there are the THREE: Tojo's, Vij's & Cioppinos’ Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca (Chef Pino Posterara) that represent the city's high end the best.
The ultimate Vancouver experience is an evening at one of the Guu restaurants. My favourite is Guu With Garlic on Robson. Wild, loud, raucous, delicious Japanese Izakaya fare, with beer chugging chefs, staff yelling orders back and forth, a boisterous clientele and delicious original food. The quintessential Vancouver dining experience.
I give a big thumbs down to Pasta Lupino. The only positive is the price (actually, my ceaser salad was fine). The pasta and sauce are not good--the tomato sauce tastes like it's from a jar, with way too much dried oregano on top. The raves baffle me.
Rimrock is an odd place. Reading the menu reminds me of flipping through a Bon Appetit from 1995--the menu is dated, and it's all over the place. The execution is generally good, though I've had some pretty boring dishes there too (like the lobster--how does someone make lobster bland?).
There's a great post about the Whistler dining scene in a thread that's a few months old now--search Whistler on this site and you'll find it.
Wow. Thanks for all the great suggestions.
I've since added Marketplace Cafe in Ganges, the restaurant 62 in Abbotsford (thank you waver & anne) - and noted all the great shopping destinations Georgia suggested for the Sunshine Coast - looks like I'll be doing some cooking! SpotPrawns here we come!. Wish the Curry in the Creek worked with our timing - what a great idea :)
I've added The Salt Table and Chambar to the Vancouver lineup and noted JapaDog and Feastro among other food trucks..
Any advice on a Sunday dimsum that is worth seeking out? Kirin?
may i ask what part of the world you're visiting from? maybe you can offer us all some tips for your neck of the woods another day : )
If you have any further questions about Sunshine Coast, just let me know. I don't think we can privately msg on this website --- in any event, we wish you a wonderful visit. It is a beautiful part of the world.
ps - there is a cute kitchen shop in Gibsons called Seasoned Kitchen --- it is like a mini Wm Sonoma - but with local personality - very friendly. It is near the IGA Marketplace store in Gibsons park Plaza (near the Tim Hortons ... and McDonalds)
you'll find all the usual - incl le creuset etc -- the unique local item that they sell is the locally crafted petite souris chocolates --- oh gosh. phone ahead.
re: Georgia Strait
interesting --- i think you'll find many similarities in lifestyles betw/ us and your part of Cal
i am assuming you include wine in your menu choices --- you will first note that we don't have anything near the price of TJ's infamous brand --- but Napa North (as Okanagan region of BC has been referred to ... tho i think that if one were to add up all the acreage in Okanagan - one might equal just ONE of the biggest industrial vineyards in CA) --- anyway, you'll find our liquor stores to be helpful -- we are more known for our white varietals tho there are a few vineyards that can grow a red (climate, heat, etc) --- and of course ice wine tho we are not big fans ourselves ... anyway, we like Sumac Ridge Gewurtz -- they have one of the best for the price -- and then if you like animals you will enjoy the story behind See Ya Later Ranch -- and sometimes a portion goes to the animal charities. http://www.sylranch.com/
we personally are not beer experts but you will find many options in the local stores here --- BC crafted. It is all very clearly marked in the gov't and private stores. Remember, the gov't liquor (wine and beer and 'hard' liquor0 are not open on Sundays and stat holidays (in general - there are some exceptions) - but there is (for an extra fee cuz it's private) a good wine shop in Sechelt - near the dry cleaner, kind of across from McDonalds. I bet it is open on Sundays.
and that reminds me - there is a good butcher shop near that wine store (i think it is called butcher block - the man's name is Dave and his wife has a great quilt fabric shop on the main drag in Sechelt
... the butcher shop is part of a strip mall that includes a carpet store and a dry cleaner and a coffee shop) ... really good Maui Ribs - which are a fav of many western Cdn's who have grown up going to HI
when you are in Sechelt - go out to where the "driftwood inn' is located (it is near the mall that includes Claytons Supermarket - my fav grocery there in Sechelt) --- anyway, walk to the WEST -- you'll find some huge granite outcrops on the beach --- BUT make sure you check the tide tables of course and storm conditions before venturing on them for obvious safety reasons --- it's lovely scenery and you can see all the way back down to WA State in the far distance ---- there are no restroom facilities there but it's close enuf to the mall etc to enjoy a picnic or a coffee on the beachy - forested area. The other place is Smuggler Cove - take a picnic and walk out the trail. stunning..i highly recommend that walk if you're up to it -- take water and picnic food. No fires permitted, no picnic tables - it's rustic but the views are amazing and you will see birdlife etc. http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/expl...
re: Georgia Strait
Those insider tips are fantastic Georgia. Thanks so much! I've printed and bookmarked. We are familiar with some of the BC wines and love a well brewed beer as well. We'll check out the Sechelt wine shop. Now I have too many great food choices! What to do :) We'll definitely try and hike out to Smuggler Cove :)
re: Anne M
re: Anne M
re: Georgia Strait
I've only been to Abbotsford once so my comments are based on pretty limited experience.
That being said, I think Lepps is definitely worth a visit if you are in the vicinity. It has a lot of upscale offerings and a great selection of local produce and products. It is on the circle tour.
The Hasting's House is lovely, especially on a sunny day or evening. Get a drink and wander around the property for a bit before dinner (or brunch). Expensive but probably worth it.
House Piccolo is also wonderful and high end. Cute, with a Scandinavian vibe.
But please do consider an evening (or lunch) at Marketplace Cafe. It is really outstanding. More laid back.
Next door to it is an Italian pasta maker who sells excellent fresh pasta to cook at home but also has a few warm take-out items to eat in the park across the street. He can also make up great batch of lasagna to bake at home.
And if you're there on a Saturday, the weekly market is a combination of great and crappy crafts and fresh local fruit and vegetables and cheese. The goat cheese is famous, but the cow is my fave. Entertaining but crowded.
ps - for Abbotsford - there is the Ah Beetz pizza place but it was sold and i don't know how good it is now. Maybe other Chows can answer -- here is a years-long thread
here is some sunshine coast info --- there are several places to buy fish, including the popular Sharkey's in Roberts Creek http://sharkeysfishlocker.squarespace.com/menu/ ... i also recommend the fish shop in downtown sechelt - owned by Mike and Mokie (i think) http://www.sustainablesunshinecoast.com/sechelt-fish-market.
Beldis is a fish shop on a boat in Gibsons Landing tho i have not bought stuff there. -- look for their sign near MOlly's reach and walk down the wharf to find it.
the best spot prawns i bought were from the fish shop in Sechelt. But another time i have bought them off a boat in Porpoise Bay (near hte Lighthouse Pub) and i think they had been brought down from Madeira Park - they were OK - a bit mushy
and now i will paste below some info that i posted a couple of months back in response ot chow-worthy day trips from Van - forgive me if this is not "done" but i'm doing it -
go and see where fish really come ashore at the dock - i recommend a day trip from West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay) to Sunshine Coast (Gibsons Landing). You will take a ferry www.bcferries.com ... you pay on the West Van side and it's good for a return trip. Yes, you can walk aboard and take transit (no dogs tho unless an aid dog) or you can drive your rental car aboard the big ship (your dog stays in the car). Make sure you plan your travel times because it does get busy at certain times (BC Ferries website describes all the busy times based on computer models). It is an amazingly scenic 40 minute "cruise" and then once on the Gibsons Landing side of the mainland (not an island) head in to the small village and take a walk on the wharf (a commercial boat wharf, not all pleasure craft). Any 40-something year old and up Cdn will remember Molly's Reach - it's a quaint restaurant now.
If you have an apartment in the city, go to Sharkey's Fish Locker in Roberts Creek (just past the golf course, turn UP the hill at the stop lights) and get real fish - it's only open certain days - i think they have a website. It's a small town experience but one that a real New Yorker might enjoy for a change. You can't get any more genuine coastal BC this close to Vancouver.
if you have a dog, there are lots of beaches and play areas for busy dogs. Bring an old towel for his drying his feet and he'll have the stick-chasing holiday of doggy dreams.
ps - there is outdoor seating at Molly's Reach - i have seen dogs eyeing their guardians' meals. Very pet friendly community.
People also like Smitty's Oyster House - it is below Molly's REach, right on the sea walk and wharf.
i hear good things about Sweet Water Bistro in the pink house near Molly's Reach. I have never eaten there but it gets good reviews. Not sure what is on menu.
in the "upper" part of Gibsons you'll find the usual chains incl Starbucks - but there's a relatively new place called Bliss that is across the st from the Shell Gas Station on Gibsons Way. Soup, bread, treats, coffees - not the cheapest prices but well worth it.
there are several local farmgate stands - here is a pdf brochure from one non-profit organization that promotes local food http://www.onestraw.ca/
re: Georgia Strait
and be sure to go to some of the farm-gate stands for fresh veggies. Bring small change cash cuz most are "put the money in the box" kind of self-serve honour system. If you are out and about early, might find some fresh eggs too.
it's a fun bike ride around this route described below -- (ie park somewhere near Tim Hortons Gibsons and then ride or WALK around the back roads with your back pack.
near Gibsons, WEST of IGA Marketplace - Tim Hortons etc ... you'll find ...
Henry Reed (supplies Feastro (one of the trucks downtown http://www.feastro.ca/))
across the road is The Green Room stand,
then nearby is Backyard Bounty stand, and then a few feet away to the WEST is something about Sunshine --- a kind of retro hippy sign - good for them, it's new, and they seem young and enthused.
and then further along Russell Road, on the old s-turns (near Coastal Tire shop) is a small farm stand in the shade ...
and then you're back out on the Hwy 101 again heading twd Sechelt.
refer to the www.onestraw.ca for some directions but there are some new ones that might not have updated.
this is another popular thing to do -- meet the lady who makes this amazing Indian (south asian) food at a certain time and place (pre-order many days in advance - see website) and self-cater as they say in the UK