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Airport Eats for YVR - your favourites?

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Hey 604 Chowhounds,

Remember how you were talking about there being a lack of Richmond in the newly-launched Eater Vancouver blog? Well, I took on an assignment to write their Airport Guide for YVR. Every single restaurant inside YVR must be included in this guide... including take out and fast food (yes, even Tim Horton's!). Fortunately these are small 2 sentence write-ups, and not reviews. I also get to select a few restaurants within close proximity to YVR for inclusion, and I intend to include a few Canada Line-friendly eats, perhaps shining the spotlight on Richmond's famed Shanghainese and Cantonese cuisine. And maybe even the novelty of the Flying Beaver Bar & Grill. Maybe.

Are there any restaurants that you think MUST be included as YVR peripherals? Ex: Sea Harbour Seafood for higher end dim sum/seafood, plus it's super easy to get to as it's only 3 stops away via Canada Line?

Also, does anyone have any particular favourite places to eat inside the airport itself? Other than, say, Globe@YVR at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Airport, I'm drawing a blank. I'm looking through the list of the endless cafes, fast food joints and satellite Milestones, White Spots..., and a few places are just boggling me. Like, does anyone actually eat at that Koho place in the International Terminal? Have you? Is Hanami to be avoided like all Yelp reviews suggest? While I've been using YVR my entire life, some of these places are still culinary mysteries to me.

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  1. Airport food is always about quick and convenient. So, the focus is not really about great food.

    I hate airline food and do very often order to go to eat on long haul flights. Sushi, sandwiches and the like would be the most neighbor-friendly. At times I would get a burger and it most certainly more often than not draw a comment indicating they noticed it.

    Other than the restos, do also a review of the food in airport lounges.

    People do spend a lot of time in airport waiting for flights. Having a proper place to sit down, relax, internet connection, etc is also what people would want to read about.

    How about comparison of the convenience between various types of fast food you can take on the plane? Pros and cons, etc.

    Last word, no one wants to read about great restos in airports because no one will go to an airport specifically for the food.

    My two cents.

    6 Replies
    1. re: chowtimes

      Ben-while what you say is true there are always a number of people on layovers who appreciate being able to access something different or in Vancouver's case some of the food we're famous for.

      The Canada Line Skytrain makes access to Richmond eateries easy thus adding value to visiting YVR.

      1. re: chowtimes

        I love the ideas, but I'm kind of stuck with the assignment, which is to write 2 sentences to go with a map of every food outlet in YVR. I agree that most of it's underwhelming, but that's not the point of this assignment. The point is to set expectations for people arriving at the airport, stuck with the offerings. I'm creating one of these Airport Dining Guides for Vancouver:

        http://eater.com/archives/2013/05/23/...

        Here's Seattle's, just to give you a sense:

        http://seattle.eater.com/archives/201...

        Fortunately, I'm also able to give a few "if you're able to escape the confines of the airport to eat somewhere nearby, here are my picks". Hence my idea for including Richmond restaurants.

        Now if only I had an eating budget for this... ;)

        1. re: Florentine

          I fly out of there at least twice a month, but stick to the Maple Leaf lounge if, by the grace of God, I'm early for a flight. That said, a Triple O Burger and a shake at White Spot is a fairly authentic Vancouver experience. As a U.S. transplant going on eight years now, I've come to enjoy the Triple O more than most fast-casual burgers in town (even in the 5 Guys era).

          1. re: CoolerbytheLake

            Is Harvey's burgers still in YVR somewhere ?

            1. re: CoolerbytheLake

              I fly in and out of Van about twice a month, and usually try to pre-eat. I dont' consider anything in the airport Chow-worthy, although, that Noodle place is usually busy.

              1. re: CoolerbytheLake

                Thanks for the feedback! Funny enough, White Spot is one of my highlights, precisely for those reasons.

          2. I can't help in resto recs inside the airport complex, as I've always eaten there for sustenance (and trying to avoid needing to eat on the plane, even for international flights). Having said that I actually enjoy a Harvey's burger once awhile, or a Tim's soup in bread bowl.

            As far as YVR periphery, I really like Flying Beaver. Not as a foodie destination, but to me it's a neat oasis away from the hustle & bustle elsewhere on Sea Island. On a nice warm day on their balcony, eating/drinking and watching float planes land. right in front of you. Where else can you really do that in the Lower Mainland ?

            4 Replies
            1. re: LotusRapper

              +1 to Flying Beaver
              Can't go wrong with a burger, beer and fun view of the sea planes coming and going.

              1. re: kinnickinnik

                Glad to hear I'm not alone when it comes to the Flying Beaver. I completely agree that it's more about the novelty of their location and atmosphere, than the food, but sometimes that's alright!

                I was looking into Pier 73 as well, the restaurant currently located at the Delta Hotel at what was once the Elephant & Castle. I met their manager and chef at an industry event last year, but the reviews coming in don't sound too promising. It's a shame, as the location along the marina is one of those Sea Island hidden secrets.

                Likewise, Tramonto at the River Rock looks like a hit and miss. I had it on my long list as possible options, but I think I'm also going to keep that one off in favour of more "Vancouver's famous Chinese food". And by Vancouver, I of course mean Richmond.

                1. re: Florentine

                  Eaten @ Pier 73 a number of times and would never recommend it to anyone I'd ever want to speak to again.

                  1. re: Sam Salmon

                    You're a riot, SS !

            2. The chinese stall at the pre-security international departures food fair (Fortune Wok, IIRC) sometimes offers a dish or two - soya chicken, deep fried squid, squid in satay sauce, fish in chili sauce, bbq thai ribs (not sure if those are even a thing) -that seem a little more ambitious than the usual run of the mill food court fare.

              Their noodle soups seem popular but I'm not a big fan of their choice of noodles.

              Nothing you couldn't get better and cheaper 10 minutes down the Canada Line, but still I think they deserve credit for going a bit off script.

              The chili from Wendy's is tolerable when supplemented with lots of hot sauce and saltines. And their chocolate milkshakes are quite reasonable. And filling.

              Yes, Hardy's is still there (and still serves Swiss Chalet dishes!). Not really my thing, but it has to be one of the last in the region.

              And - Hallelujah! - Flying Wedge just closed and will be replaced by a Thai stall.

              As an aside, given the ethnic makeup of the staff at YVR, and considering that probably half of the food court patrons are staff, I don't get why an Indian or Filipino restaurant couldn't make a go of it.

              5 Replies
              1. re: sov

                I think you meant Harvey's. However a HARDEES would be super duper. Oh I'm dreaming/missing a Charbroiled 1/3 lb Thickburger right now !

                And because of the name dispute between HARDEES and HARVEY'S, we now have a new Carl Jr. but my recent experience there left much to be desired :-(

                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Oops - yes I did mean Harvey's. Thanks!

                2. re: sov

                  Thanks sov! I already submitted the copy, but that's useful info to know. I might be able to get the editor to add in that tip about Fortune Wok as a post-edit. We'll see.

                  Speaking of Harvey's... this is an aside now, but I don't think Harvey's ever had much of a presence in Vancouver, other than inside Home Depots. Or am I just imagining things? I know Harvey's is supposed to be a great Canadian institution, but the only people I know who speak fondly for those burgers are either from Alberta or Ontario... or so I've found.

                  1. re: Florentine

                    Eons ago when Harvey's made their westcoast assault, they had a big "flagship" resto on Davie on the same side as the Shell gas station. I know cuz I ate there a few times. That was the '80s. There were a smattering of other outlets too throughout the Lower Mainland. Then Home Depot got their in-store ones, as well as the airport. But you're right, they never made a big presence here like they did with their sister stores: Swiss Chalet, Second Cup and Milestones, all owned by Cara Foods. Cara since sold Second Cup to Dinecorp.

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      According to Harvey's website, the only 2 locations still open in the lower mainland are at YVR and one in downtown Vancouver on Granville street. I believe that all of the Home Depot in-store ones are gone now.
                      I always liked their concept of building the burgers to order, however I was never a fan of the weird, rubbery texture of their meat patties