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Four great dinners in Vancouver?

j
josephnl Jun 16, 2013 03:31 PM

We'll be in Vancouver for four nights next month, and are looking for great places to dine. We are staying at the Four Seasons, so relatively nearby would be great, but a short taxi ride is not a problem. We have terrific Asian food at home, so would prefer other cuisines...regional, seafood, French, Italian, etc. We like terrific food but also like reasonably nice ambiance...not too noisy, good service, pleasant setting. What would be your picks for four terrific dinners. Price is not a major factor, but we'd like it to not be "over the top expensive", nor do we like overly stuffy or pretentious service.

  1. i
    islandgirl Jun 16, 2013 03:57 PM

    I would highly recommend the restaurant in the 4 Seasons Hotel for one of the nights. It's called Yew and it has fabulous seafood and great service. And if you're there on Sunday night their bottles of wine are 50% off.

    1. LotusRapper Jun 16, 2013 05:08 PM

      Here's a recent thread by another visitor. Lots of suggestions in there, as well as the poster's feedback:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/904039

      1. b
        bonlee Jun 17, 2013 09:41 AM

        I had a really nice evening at Yew this past Friday and would recommend it to anyone visiting Vancouver. Not your typical hotel restaurant, and it specializes in seafood, mostly local and sustainable.
        Food was well-presented and expertly cooked, service was warm though perhaps a bit slow between courses, and the restaurant decor has a high-end West Coast feel. We had a glass of wine, bottle of beer, two starters (spot prawns and kennebec fries with bacon and lobster aioli) and two mains (salmon with kale and paella) for $105, which we thought was pretty reasonable. No room for dessert, but the chef had made some chocolate salmon and some power cookies for all the guests that night. Not sure what the couverture was, but based on the quality of the chocolate, I would guess the pastry chef has a deft hand.
        Another downtown "hotel" restaurant you might consider is Hawksworth. I haven't been in a while, but when I've been there the food has been delicious and the service spectacular but unpretentious. It's a very short walk from your hotel, basically across the street.

        1. s
          StarryFork Jun 18, 2013 03:46 PM

          I will add another vote for Yew at the Four Seasons - especially on Sunday night with the 1/2 off wine - it's a definite winner.

          Hawksworth, as recommended by bonlee, is a stunning room, great service, very tasty but not mind-blowing inspirational food (which I kinda demand, for that price point). Depends if you want the ultra-fine-dining experience - if you do, Hawksworth is your baby. If you decide against, you can always just try a "Hotel Georgia" cocktail in their bar, it's a truly smashing cocktail, and you get the ambiance/experience without paying for the full meal deal.

          I'm also very partial to Tableau Bar & Bistro downtown, classy room, reliably excellent French cuisine, at a reasonable price. I seem to recommend this place to everyone who hits me up for advice, it covers a lot of bases. http://tableaubarbistro.com/french-re...

          Fable restaurant is probably a $12-15 cab ride away from your hotel - this is my current fave place for BC/local food. Fable = From farm to table. This would be a good choice if you will be already over on that side of town, for instance if you are going to visit Granville Island, Vanier Park and/or the Maritime Museum (by the way the Maritime Museum is my #1 draft pick for "where to go on a downpouring Vancouver day").

          11 Replies
          1. re: StarryFork
            LotusRapper Jun 18, 2013 04:04 PM

            I'm surprised Bishop's isn't mentioned (yet). It really is the quintessential Vancouver experience. Sadly, I've only been there once so far [tinkles of pocket change being dropped into piggybank ....]

            Q4 al Centro would be a nice Italian option:
            http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/1554738/restaurant/Downtown/Q4-al-Centro-Vancouver

            As would Provence Marinaside for a pleasant waterfront evening:
            http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181450/restaurant/Yaletown/Provence-Marinaside-Restaurant-Vancouver

            And Blue Water Cafe:
            http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180191...

            1. re: LotusRapper
              s
              StarryFork Jun 18, 2013 04:13 PM

              Ah, definitely Bishop's. A glaring omission! I finally got to go there myself when the inlaws offered to take us <3

              Ditto with Blue Water Cafe. It's hard to go wrong with such a great kitchen, though I did find the room a bit loud when we were there. One of these days, I will call ahead and do an omakase dinner there.

              1. re: StarryFork
                LotusRapper Jun 18, 2013 04:15 PM

                Never been to BWC .... only the missus has, through work. I just got to hear about it [grin]

                1. re: StarryFork
                  LotusRapper Jun 18, 2013 04:18 PM

                  Dunno how Salmon House On The Hill is these days ..... not my crowd but there's prolly good reasons they're still around:

                  http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181559...

                  1. re: LotusRapper
                    b
                    bonlee Jun 18, 2013 04:34 PM

                    Bishop's is great for a more intimate dining experience, though I haven't been in a couple of years. I like their attention to the little things like linen and flat wear and their hospitality. The food is, as LotusRapper says, quintessentially Vancouver and very good.

                    I find Blue Water a bit too corporate--too many seafood towers--but good sushi.

                    I had a reaction to some pine nuts in a pasta I had at Q4 a while ago. Turns out the cheaper pine nuts from China are not as kind to our systems as those from Italy. So I haven't been back to Q4, since at their price point I think they should use the real deal.

                    Maybe LaBuca would be a good place for Vancouver Italian, although the taxi ride would be a bit pricey.

                    1. re: bonlee
                      s
                      StarryFork Jun 18, 2013 04:43 PM

                      Or La Quercia Della Pentolla? That fits with downtown/Italian, and definitely great food and nice ambience.

                      1. re: bonlee
                        LotusRapper Jun 18, 2013 04:49 PM

                        Outsourced pine nuts ??? ;-)

                        La Buca might seem a bit out of the ways (and nothing to do in that neighbourhood) for the OP which is why I didn't mention it .... nor did I want to steal Grayelf's suggestion :-)

                        1. re: LotusRapper
                          b
                          bonlee Jun 18, 2013 05:09 PM

                          ...who has been strangely silent.

                          1. re: bonlee
                            grayelf Jun 18, 2013 07:06 PM

                            I was thinking y'all had it covered : -). The other place I like in this category is L'Abbatoir but I'm turning into a broken record on that one.

                            I really must make the effort to try out Tableau. Someone in the industry just recommended it to me as well. The brunch looks handsome though that is the oddest spelling of pastry I've come across.

                            1. re: grayelf
                              LotusRapper Jun 18, 2013 09:42 PM

                              Mrs. LR took me to Tableau on my last b-day:

                              - moules frites
                              - rabbit terrine
                              - tuna nicoise
                              - steak frites

                              Can't recall what we had for desserts. But all that plus just one glass of wine and a beer, we still got a whack of change back from a C-note.

                      2. re: LotusRapper
                        Sam Salmon Jun 18, 2013 06:16 PM

                        SHOTH is dreadful and that's being kind.

                2. j
                  josephnl Jul 29, 2013 09:30 AM

                  We've just returned from Vancouver and thought I'd show my appreciation for all of you who helped us pick our dinners by posting a follow-up. We ate at:
                  Yew
                  Bishop's
                  Cioppino
                  Hawksworth

                  Our best experience was at Bishop's. We were there about 10 years ago, and think that this wonderful spot remains the place to beat in Vancouver. The restaurant is quietly elegant with fine linen, china, silver and glassware. The service is impeccable...warm, professional and attentive. Most importantly, the food is excellent...beautifully prepared and served, of excellent quality, and delicious. Our experience was heightened by John Bishop's visiting our table, chatting briefly and presenting us with the gift of a signed copy of his cookbook. This is a classy place, and should not be missed.

                  Second best was Yew at the Four Seasons Hotel. This is definitely not an ordinary hotel restaurant! The room is beautiful, the service excellent and the seafood pristinely fresh, perfectly prepared, and truly delicious. We were fortunate enough to be there on a Monday evening and all wine was at half price (someone else mentioned that this is true on Sunday...it was so on Monday when we were there). We loved this spot and would recommend it highly.

                  Cioppino is a very good restaurant, but definitely a notch or two below Yew. The room is pleasant, the food was very good but not outstanding in any way, and the service was just ok. We'd certainly return if we were in the area and wanted Italian food, but we wouldn't go out of our way to dine there.

                  Most disappointing, and definitely in 4th place was Hawksworth. We visited Hawksworth with very high expectations. Not all were fulfilled. Most importantly, the food was wildly variable...from the very delicious and extraordinary veal tongue salad and roasted carrot salad starters, to the very disappointing highly touted ahi tuna entree. Although the tuna itself was well prepared and of high quality, it was not special in any way, and the accompanying vegetables and sauce were so unbelievably salty as to be virtually inedible. This was brought to the attention of the server, but no response of any kind was forthcoming. The service was otherwise outstanding. The room itself is rather cold, and was extraordinarily noisy on the evening we were there. Normal conversation was not possible...indeed the din was so over-the-top that we couldn't wait to get out. Hawksworth is a very expensive restaurant (the most expensive of the 4 we visited) that can obviously put out very delicious food but also sometimes misses. With other wonderful choices in Vancouver such as Bishop's and Yew, we see no reason to return.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: josephnl
                    grayelf Jul 29, 2013 09:34 AM

                    John Bishop is the definition of class -- he was (and is) my first foodie crush : -). Cool that you interacted with him.

                    1. re: grayelf
                      LotusRapper Jul 29, 2013 09:39 AM

                      Maybe for my 50th bday (doh !) I'll get to go to Bishop's (for the 1st time). But seems everyone I know who've been there were able to meet Sir John in person. Now that's class.

                      He was foodie crush for so many famed & reputed chefs in town, amazing.

                      Hawksworth ..... the reports of inconsistencies and disappointments just keep piling up these days. What gives ?

                      1. re: LotusRapper
                        justxpete Jul 29, 2013 10:36 PM

                        I had a very I consistent meal at HW as well. Companion had short rib, and it nothing short of amazing. Complex, well seasoned, executed perfectly and a symphony on a plate. I shared a steak with another dining companion - just a basic ribeye - but it was underseasoned to the point of being bland, and the vegetables were undercooked, of all things. How can you mess up something so basic while producing an incredible dish in the same night?

                        1. re: justxpete
                          justxpete Aug 1, 2013 06:43 PM

                          Ahem. Inconsistent. Damn auto-correct!

                    2. re: josephnl
                      b
                      bonlee Jul 29, 2013 09:55 AM

                      Glad to hear you were able to enjoy Bishop's and Yew. It's too bad that Hawksworth is off its game; it started off with such great promise.

                    3. Lajo0806 Aug 1, 2013 05:27 PM

                      I would agree with Bishop's, however if you are shopping during the day and walk in wearing shorts and a T-shirt and having a backpack full of stuff because you forgot to look up the preferred attire, you will get a few awkward glances...Kitsilano's kitchen was also one of our favorites, the menu changes all the time depending on what's in the market. Le Crocodile had awesome food, but I it would most likely fit under the stuffy, overly expensive category...

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Lajo0806
                        j
                        josephnl Aug 1, 2013 08:58 PM

                        Do you really think that shorts and t-shirt, and wearing a backpack are appropriate attire for a classy restaurant like Bishop's? I think that Bishop's is a wonderful, somewhat dressy and surely a special occasion restaurant. i find it warm and not at all stuffy.

                        1. re: josephnl
                          grayelf Aug 1, 2013 09:22 PM

                          When I'm a tourist in SF and Portland, I often have the dilemma of having been out all (warm) day and not having time to get back to the hotel to change into more appropriate dinner attire. Not stuffy or dressy, just appropriate. So I usually avoid places that need more than capris and sandals. I took Lajo0806 to be suggesting that shorts and flipflops might be a bit underdressed for Bishop's, which I think we would all agree is the case. There are a few restaurants in otherwise quite casual Vancouver that need a bit of an effort in the duds department, and Bishop's is one!

                          1. re: grayelf
                            j
                            josephnl Aug 1, 2013 09:52 PM

                            Agree. Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, SFO...and most major cities have terrific restaurants where very casual attire is acceptable. Bishop's is not one of them.

                            1. re: josephnl
                              LotusRapper Aug 2, 2013 08:28 AM

                              +1

                              I think common sense prevails. Out of respect for the establishment, their staff, and other customers.

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