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Looking for Best of Vancouver

For my first time visit to Vancouver I'm looking for restaurants whose chefs use locally sourced ingredients creatively. We prefer fish over meat and want a "taste of Vancouver" rather that a place like Jean George's Market - which we have in NY.

I need to narrow down to 4 dinners and 4 lunches. So far from what I've narrowed from posts and your help, I've got
1. Blue Water Café
2. Vj’s or Rangoli
3. West
4. Coast
5. Bonita
6. Diva or *Hawksworth
7. *Raincity grill
8. Fable
9. Yew
10. Lift
11. Edible Canada Bistro
12. Diva

Any suggestions of what to leave out and did I miss some place that is amazing?


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  1. You done good ;-)

    Here's the annual (2012) list compiled by Vancouver Magazine, for your cross-reference:


    Within each category, you can click on the restaurant name and read the summary write-up for it. Gives additional context than simply ratings alone.

    1. Blue Water is great
      L'abbatoir is worth a look

      1. You've set yourself a challenging goal as I don't think this category is one in which Vancouver excels.

        Per current thread, great sushi chef at Blue Water right now. Deffo do Vij's over Rangoli if you can stomach the wait. West was pretty boring when we went last summer. Boneta is cool. Not in love with the room at Hawksworth, kinda dated, but I've only had the just-okay burger there so can't really comment on food. Diva is undergoing a chef change, I believe. Raincity Grill leaves me cold every time I go, too many weird things on the menu that complicate dishes and don't translate to the plate. I gave Fable three strikes and haven't been back since last summer (very dark in there all the time if that matters). Haven't been to Edible Canada since the recent (and much needed, IMO) chef change so I am hopeful again. Lift has an up and coming new chef so should be a decent bet.

        1 Reply
        1. re: grayelf

          I was just reading an article on sustainable dining by Tim Pawsey who highlights Bishop's, Commune Cafe, Forage and The Refinery. I can recommend the first and last, haven't been to the second and third. Thought they might be worth doing a bit of research on for the OP.

        2. I would definitely add:

          La Quercia - you will see it won best casual Italian and I think the best Italian in town. Definitely go for the 7 or 10 course chefs tasting menu. You will need to book well in advance. www.laquercia.ca

          PidGin - in a troubled area of town but a young, creative chef doing wonderful and interesting food. I'm a big fan. www.pidginvancouver.com/

          Bao Bei - (www.bao-bei.ca) . It is a hip Chinese bistro with a good cocktail scene. Located on Keefer street in Chinatown. They don't take reservations. Before or after, the Keefer bar which is just down the street is interesting for cocktails (thekeeferbar.com


          Bao Bei and PidGin are interesting "tastes of Vancouver"!

          Hawksworth has been hit and miss for me.

          One other thought for absolutely amazing although not in Vancouver is Willows Inn. NY Times voted it one of the 10 restaurants worth flying into. It is about a 1.5 hour drive from Vancouver on Lummi Island in Washington State. (www.willows-inn.com) . One of the best meals of my life.


          4 Replies
          1. re: abondance

            Willows Inn looks to be really special… I'm suddenly reminded of an article about a luxury restaurant/inn, also based on an (West Coast) island, that was noted for being one of the first to use all organic foods. But that was maybe 5 years ago, and so couldn't have been Willows Inn—or am I misremembering?

            1. re: calf

              Sooke Harbour House perhaps. They were one of the first to feature local cuisine - and hyper-local at that with much of what they serve harvested from their own garden and immediate area.

              1. re: kinnickinnik

                Even Bourdain checked them out, surprisingly with little or none of his tongue-in-cheek approach:

                (fast fwd to 33:00 mark):


            2. re: abondance

              And UHockey wrote an amazing review of Willows Inn in the Pacific NW Board:


            3. I think Bishop's is pretty good for the local theme and I would endorse Yew and second L'abbatoir.

              1. You have done well in identifying the major restaurants, but I would add Wildebeest, while dropping Lift and Yew. And I concur on La Quercia.

                That said, a food-driven trip to Vancouver just makes no sense without taking advantage of the vast array of superb Asian restaurants, especially the endless Chinese options throughout the Vancouver area. If you like seafood, think about going to places like the Kirin for live crab, cooked a dozen ways or to the Sea Harbour in Richmond for elegant seafood of all sorts. And don't forget dim sum. There are lots of posts on this board, if you want to add the Chinese options. Or let us know, and no doubt several of us will give you our favorites.

                1. A long standing French restaurant, Le Gavroche, has recently changed hands and new owners have dusted if off moved the focus to local and seasonal, modern French.


                  I hope to check it out soon - am intrigued.

                  For a fish and seafood dinner I prefer Yew over Blue Water - more consistent and better value IMO

                  For a casual local chain, Cactus Club certainly reflects much that is Vancouver and the view at Coal Harbour location is pretty sweet: