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Jul 1, 2012 09:51 AM


Hello all—I live in Atlanta and will be visiting Vancouver for 2 or 3 dinners later this month (Sunday arrival, Monday and Tuesday nights). My wife doesn’t eat meat, and we’re OD’d on Italian and French. We love seafood. We’ll be staying downtown, and will use taxis as required. We prefer to dine at unique restaurants, providing excellent service, and very good + quality on food, presentation, etc. (We only have a few nights so I figure we should make it special). So far, I have narrowed it down to Blue Water Café for Tuesday to help celebrate birthday, and night before beginning our cruise. While I'm not frugal, I am willing to spend money for the food/experience...I do not like spending money needlessly. Any and all comments are greatly appreciated. I will provide feedback on my final selections and experiences. Thank you all!! atlfoodie

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  1. have you looked at Yew at the Four Seasons Hotel downtown? ---- vegan menu plus "normal" menu and wine special on certain nites (wine is more expensivehere in Canada than USA)

    there are many comments / reviews about this restaurant on the BC board - just search

    ps - BC Chowhounders - has anyone been to Pier 7 yet? i haven't so can't comment but might be nice esp for out-of-towner (*foot of Lonsdale in N van, fab views etc)

    just take the "seabus" transit ferry over from downtown --- great city or mtn views (depending on which end of the ship you sit) ---

    also - for a no-meat snack if you're out walking along the seawall at the north end of Burrard St - order some hummus and peda (fresh cooked while you wait) --- at Anatolia Express (google it on Urban Spoon) === great views, friendly family --- see the recent thread about lunch in coal harbor with kids - another ch-er suggested the dessert stop after A-Express.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Georgia Strait

      Thanks George Strait..I'll pass on Four Seasons, as I want a unique dining experience, and get a sense of Vancouver...hotel dining doesn't quite do it. As far as taking a ferry to N. Van, I'll pass on that as I'll be embarking on a cruise a few days later, so I'll get my view fix then. I'm really looking for something that Vancouver is proud to call their own, making it a special destination that Vancouver is proud of. Thanks for your comments. atlfoodie

      1. re: atlfoodie

        One of the best options for seafood in Vancouver is the various Chinese seafood fine dining options. There are some located downtown, but many are located just a short train ride away in Richmond (near the airport). There is a very convenient public transit option from downtown to Richmond on the train that takes under 30 minutes. Would those be of interest? Or is that way off track for your desires?

        Another option downtown is one of the numerous Japanese izakaya where they have a large selection of seafood options as well. Would those be of interest?

        1. re: YVRChow

          YVRChow, Great ideas. Downtown proximity via taxi is a must. We love asian cuisine, and are unfamiliar with izakaya, though it seems to be a big deal in Vancouver. My wife has low-mid tolerance for sushi, but we do eat it, along with other cooked foods in Japanese restaurants. This may be a unique experience for us. We know Chinese seafood quite well, and have always enjoyed it.

          1. re: atlfoodie

            You may want to take a look over the menus of places like Guu Garden ( or Kingyo ( to see if it appeals. They both have a little bit of sushi/sashimi, but their focus is definitely on other izakaya type of food more so than on the sushi/sashimi. So they may work well. They are both midrange and not terribly high end (both in terms of pricing at atmosphere). If you go to either of those options, I'd recommend definitely trying the Gindara (black cod/sablefish) which is a local specialty in this region.

            If you decide to go the Chinese route, the best options are really down in Richmond (which would be about $25 by taxi roughly). But if you insist on needing to be within shorter range from downtown, one that may work is Kirin on 12th. You can find their menu here ( They have solid preparations most of the time. Just a little further from downtown, but still in Vancouver a midrange option is Golden Harvest Seafood ( which has very solid preparations as well the times I've been.

            You may want to try one of the Chinese options for dim sum for either a late breakfast or lunch instead of dinner and then you can have both!

            1. re: YVRChow

              I LOVE your recommendations!!!!! Looking it up, I see that the Garden location is on Nelson. According to yelp, they may have two other nearby locations: on Thurlow St. and on Robson St. Incidentally, I see that Kingyo is also near the Robson St. location.So, is there a particular location that stands out for one reason or another? Also, your idea about dim sum is an excellent compromise.

              I really like these ideas, as another couple will be joining us for our last night in Vancouver (before we board the cruise), and they aren't as adventuresome as we are, which is why we'll go to Blue Water Cafe our last night. But these will be for us beforehand!!

              1. re: atlfoodie

                I recommended the Garden location based on the atmosphere and quality of the cooking. I have yet to try their newer Kobachi location on Denman - but that may work well as they have moved their main chef to that location. Just didn't want to recommend it without having tried it yet. I would skip the Gastown and Thurlow locations as the quality of the food at those two locations was disappointing to me compared to other locations. I'll let others who may have tried the Kobachi location tell you more about how it compares.

                Good luck with the visit - hope you enjoy it!

                1. re: YVRChow

                  YVRChow, you've been terrific. Thank you!! atlfoodie

                  1. re: atlfoodie

                    Note-it can be a tad tricky to find Guu Garden-it's up a stairway that has little for signage.

                    You'll see a large empty storefront on the SE corner of Nelson & Hornby St that's going to be a bank-to the right (south) of that is the stairway (standing on Hornby).

                    There are a few other places in the same corner complex but accept no substitutes.

                    1. re: Sam Salmon

                      We just got back from our Honeymoon in Vancouver and we had dinner last Thursday at Blue Water. It was excellent. A very nice looking restaurant and we actually chose it as we wanted to have our first sushi dinner together. We had each sampled a little sushi over the years here in Dallas but never gotten that into it. This restaurant was suggested to us as it is first and foremost a seafood restaurant in case we wanted to move back into cooked food. We sat at a table, not the sushi bar and asked our waitress to pick out our choices for us. We are very glad we did. The combination of sushi and the few rolls we tried were amazing. This is not going to be exotic type sushi like what we heard they might serve at a Tojo's, mostly salmons and tunas but it was a great experience. We really loved it and this has opened up a new cuisine for us although we dont think that the options in Dallas will be quite up to par with Vancouver. Highly recommend Blue Water. Also, we ate another night at the Kirin Seafood in Richmond. We had a car so it was no big deal. We really enjoyed the Peking Duck. Many asian families were obviously eating special soups and etc. as evidenced by the large serving tureens and platters. The menu was pretty complex with shark fin and birds nests soups (a little too exotic for our experience level) as well as other items we would never see on a menu down here in Dallas. We really enjoyed the experience, Hope you have fun.

                      1. re: ronaldpedwards

                        ronaldpedwards, My tennis partner here in atlanta recommended Blue Water, and based on everything I read, and confirmed by you, I'm going!!! Thanks! atlfoodie

                      2. re: Sam Salmon

                        Sam Salmon, Thanks for the directions!! And, no substitutes!!! atlfoodie

          2. re: atlfoodie

            I'll take a shot at changing your mind on YEW - though it's in a hotel, it's not hotel dining (some of our best restaurants are in hotels here - Cibo, Diva @ the Met, Hawksworth to name a few).

            Incredible portion sizes and value for money at that price point, the best seafood I've had in Vancouver and a chef that devotes a great deal of consideration to using local, sustainable produce and seafood. And it's not a stuffy, pretentious "scene" type of atmosphere that you can get at a lot of Vancouver restaurants.

            If you go on Sunday nights, the wine list is 50% off too.

            That said, the Chinese & izakaya options mentioned by others are certainly solid recommendations.

            1. re: reiney

              reiney, I wish I had more time...can't do everything. As my wife says, "you have to save something for next time". I agree with you that some very good dining rooms are actually in hotels, here in atlanta too, but, I have the sense that there's another element of dining in a standalone restaurant. The chines and izakaya option mentioned earlier is a sure winner, and my wife is thrilled. Thanks to you for your validations! atlfoodie

              1. re: atlfoodie

                Guu kobachi while not Abadir restaurant is not somewhere I would recommend for people visiting vancouver. It is more of a test kitchen for the Guu franchise where they serve different dishes every day.

                Guu garden is nice but a little too plain for someone visiting from out of town.

                I would recommend either Guu with garlic (which is a busier more cramped location) - the busyness adds to the romance of the location (it feels like you are in Japan) or Kingyo which I feel has similar or slightly better food than the Guu franchise and is a bit more upscale (yet still very affordable)

                1. re: quddous

                  quddous, Thanks for your input!! I really appreciate your perspective. I have scratched Guu Kobachi from consideration. I will put Guu w/ garlic and Kingyo at the top of my list for our Monday in Vancouver.