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Granville Island - Restaurants

Any suggestion for nice restaurants in the Granville Island area or nearby walking distance. Opened to hole-in-the-wall or fancy dining.

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  1. I strongly suggest you avoid anything on the Island itself especially Edible Canada but including Sandbar, Bridges, Dockside, Tony's, basically all of them. And for heaven's sake, don't go to the "food court" erlack.

    If you must eat on the Island, bring a knife and buy some Oyama duck and pork rillettes, a wedge of cheese and a demi baguette or demi walnut loaf (ask to have the latter sliced) from Terra and stake out a bench away from the marauding seagulls. Not fancy but delicious.

    It's pretty thin on the ground in the immediate vicinity (I just did a Yelp location search to confirm my long-standing impression and I'm now utterly depressed), but Go Fish is a short walk from the main market entrance and is decent to good. It will have a GIANT lineup. You can try calling ahead for takeout to cut the wait down. Not much seating there anyway.

    I think another board denizen likes the Afghan Horsemen so you might search on that one if you are interested. It's also just off the Island proper.

    Here's hoping others will have some good ideas -- let us know if you're willing to cast a wider net too.

    5 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      There's always Farmer's Apprentice. Had a fantastic meal there. According to google maps, its 1KM / 11 min walk from the GI Market.

      Go Fish is a good option but they close at 6:30 (and Mon/Tues too i think) if you're thinking dinner.

      Agreed on the negative votes for Edible Canada and the other restaurants on GI itself.

      1. re: mrbitterpants

        Good call on Farmers' Apprentice, even closer than Vij's! And they take limited resos for dinner, come before opening for brunch or lunch.

        Also like the idea of sake (wonder if they have their sparkling sake right now?), if the OP can keep it WAY on the downlow. Alcohol in public is a huge no no here, alas.

        1. re: grayelf

          "Alcohol in public is a huge no no here, alas."
          Which is why the ceramic travel cup was invented :)

        2. re: mrbitterpants

          Got lucky with a last minute reservation at Farmer's Apprentice.It was a month long attempt, for a couple next to us, to get dinner reservation & they are locals!
          As the name suggests, their food plating have room for improvement, and if so, rename to Farmer's GOURMET, perhaps!
          Having gotten that out of the way, the food and tasting experience is extraordinary.
          The chef, a qualified trained engineer , produces some of the best ever taste sensation,incorporating local products.
          Menu changes daily.
          Read island scallops with a blend of corn sauce , Pork cheek with slivers of apples. How about ice cream dessert with cherry tomatoes.
          The dishes were meant to be shared, tapas style, so we were able to try more.
          It really is very good value for a relatively inexpensive dinner.
          Oops, now the reservation will be even longer. Sorry locals.

        3. re: grayelf

          Is the mexican place's chicken bad? I always though it smelled and looked good.

        4. I don't mind Edible Canada but I haven't been there in quite awhile....always had good meals there. Go Fish is a short walk and has excellent fish & chips.

          I second the Oyama/cheese/baguette option. You cannot go wrong at Oyama.

          1 Reply
          1. re: waylman

            I also enjoyed Edible Canada though am annoyed by the ridiculous name and 'multifaceted culinary tourism' mission.

          2. I hope the weather will co-operate when we get to Vancouver next week, and will be at Granville Island with GO FISH ( fish and chips) and Oyama duck, sausage, local cheese, and micro brewery sitting on the bench. Million dollar meal!

            We will go as far as the wide net will cast for that food experience, and really appreciate the comments and suggestions.

            Thank you grayelf and waylman for taking the time to share your experience, including places to avoid.

            1 Reply
            1. re: towkay

              I gave Edible Canada three chances and it was a fail every time: too expensive, mediocre to bad food, and awful service.

              Vij's isn't that far from Granville Island if the OP is a good walker. I'd say give it a whirl, just go really early to get a spot in line for first seating, or be prepared to leave your name and go for a long walk and maybe a cocktail, perhaps at West.

              Does Lobsterman still prep sea creatures for you for an extra charge? At any rate, fun to look at all the spiney, shelly, clawy things in there while you're on the Island.

            2. Not sure whether this place has sit down dining - more of a take awayplace I think, perhaps another picnic option http://www.lepiceriegourmande.com/ A friend of mine had a chicken lunch from there that he thought was pretty good. Haven't tried itself but maybe others can comment.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Philx

                No sit down there, but the chix looked tasty in the rotisserie when we walked by last week. Might be worth a flyer for the OP... and ironically it's located where Edible Canada used to be when it was still Edible BC and didn't have a restaurant.

                1. re: grayelf

                  Word is that Lobster Man has an arrangement to cook some of the shellfish they sell and next door is Finest @ Sea which sells some of the most delicious smoked Salmon to be found anywhere.

                  http://lobsterman.com/

                  http://www.finestatsea.com/vancouver-...

                2. re: Philx

                  Had their rotisserie chicken. It was OK. Their lamb is MUCH better.

                3. As Greyelf mentioned, tt seems to me that to arrive at GI with a picnic basket some basic utensils and perhaps a few condiments might be the way to go: Oyama plus rotisserie chicken plus smoked salmon etc plus some decent bread should be a feast for the gods west coast style and there are a few dessert choices there too.

                  1. Yeah man, buy some oysters and a knife from Lobster Man, a bottle of sake from http://artisansakemaker.com/, a lemon from the market, dump the sake into an empty takeout cup, find a shady spot and you're golden!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: dennisthefoodie

                      Looking forward to their tasting program at Artisan Sakemaker.
                      Great recommendation.
                      Is there any sake from them that stands out!

                      1. re: towkay

                        Everyone's different and the tasting flights are great to figure out what one likes and dislikes. Personally, I like the Osake Junmai Ginjo Genshu and have it at home.

                        1. re: moyenchow

                          Here's a link to what they have in stock (alas, moyenchow's recco is out of stock): http://artisansakemaker.dreamhosters....

                          Agree re doing the tasting flight(s) if you can. And do be sure to try the Osake sparkling if they have it open!

                          1. re: moyenchow

                            I should have phrased the question better.
                            e.g.some winery produces better white than their red, and to narrow it further, to their different grape varietals.
                            The Osake Sparkling is one that I would like to try,as I have not tasted a sparkling sake before, but from the description of Osake Junmai Ginjo Genshu, it would be a better choice for those oysters from Lobsterman.
                            What the heck, we will get one of each (if available), as they are only 375ml each.
                            As you can guess,I am a novice in sake, but enthusiastic!

                        2. re: dennisthefoodie

                          The tasting room at Liberty Distillery is also worth checking out. They made artisanal small batch vodka, gin and "white whiskey".

                        3. I agree that all the restaurants are overpriced and mediocre, but if you want a place to sit and have a glass of wine in a nice setting Dockside is probably best.

                          As noted there's lots of good options for building a picnic at the Public Market. You can purchase selectively from the food fair too for juices etc.

                          For picnics, I'll add that you can walk a few minutes to the east side of the island and there's a nice green mound of grass, with benches to sit on, with few people, seagulls and pigeons, unlike the area surrounding the public market.

                          You can buy wine at Liberty, BC wine and beer at Granville Island Brewery and sake at the Artisan Sake Maker.

                          On Thursdays in the summer there's a farmers' market- 9:00-2:00 I think.

                          There's maps widely available on island that will help you find all these places

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Anne M

                            We certainly will search for that 'nice green mound' and enjoy our bounty, including sake in ceramic cup.
                            Thanks.

                            1. re: towkay

                              Here's a link to a Granville Island map: http://granvilleisland.com/sites/all/...

                              The mound is officially known as Ron Basford Park (#16 on the map). If you are at the sake maker, on Railspur, you'll already be halfway there from the public market.

                            2. re: Anne M

                              I agree that Dockside is hands-down the best "real restaurant" option on the GI. The food is decent if overpriced and the setting is lovely on a sunny day. I would especially recommend it for those travelling with little ones in tow as their children's menu is really good value and the wrap-around aquarium is always a hit.