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New to Grandview area (Victoria/Venables) - recommendations within walking distance please!

Just moved from Kits into the neighbourhood around the corner from Via Tevere. We're still getting to know the area, and would love some recommendations.

I think I've got a pretty good handle on some of the good restaurants and food places but would love to know if I'm missing anything worth checking out. Good places known to us so far: Merchant's Oyster Bar, Kishimoto, La Mezcaleria, Dolce Amore, Mr. Red Cafe, Basho, Saltenas, Campagnolo Roma, Tamam, Le Do. Of course, I'm also stoked about the proximity to the breweries and St. Augustine's.

The main things I'm seeking out:
- produce/grocery stores
- butcher/fishmonger/other specialty food places
- any good bubble tea in the area?
- good Japanese other than Kishimoto, which always has crazy lineups (I'm going to miss my previous 'hood for the proximity to Octopus and Yuji's)
- least pretentious coffee shops with good coffee

Anything else I should check out? Thanks!

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  1. For Italian groceries, an excellent selection of cheese, and fantastic sandwiches, go to La Grotta Del Formaggio. For coffee, I would avoid the attitude next door at Cafe Calabria and instead, go across the street to Continental Coffee.

    https://www.facebook.com/lagrottadelf...
    http://continental-coffee.ca/

    1. Congrats!

      Grocery Stores: Donald's Market on Hastings

      Butcher: Windsor Meats on Hastings a few storefronts west of Le Do

      Japanese: Tatsu Japanese Bistro on the drive when Kishimoto is too insane. Best Nabeyaki udon I've found thus far and good basic sushi.

      Also you're close to Fujiya for all your Japanese grocery needs.

      Coffee: Haven't been yet but Pallet Coffee Roasters just opened up near Basho so that might be worth checking out, not sure about the hipster quota though.

      Other things of note: Yolk's & Bistro Wagon Rouge

      5 Replies
      1. re: moyenchow

        All good reccos so far, woot! For coffee, Platform 7 is doing some nice pourovers and tasting flights. I used to like Prado more but it's prolly the best "3rd wave" on the Drive, unless Bump'n'Grind pulled their socks up recently.

        Not for when you're craving Japanese spur of the moment, of course, but I've made resos at Kishimoto when we've gone.

        When I lived in the hood a thousand years ago, there was a good greengrocer a couple blocks north of 1st. I know it is still there but not sure if still worthy. The Home Hardware across the street was excellent as well for, well, incidental hardware needs and other more kitcheny stuff (I bought my very first set of flatware there!).

        1. re: grayelf

          Norman's Fruit & Salad is still going strong... there's also Triple A Market a few stores south which a friend of mine describes as "the thrift shop of grocery stores". Though some of the stock looks like it's been sitting around for a while, it's always worth poking your head in as you'll never know what you're going to find, and when they bring in the fresh local produce, it's excellent and cheap.

          1. re: Florentine

            Nice one, Florentine! I was on the Drive today and made a note that Norman's was still there. Good to know it is still worthwhile.

            Pallet is most definitely a place to seek out. Beautiful shop with a full-on roastery and prep area in the back that you can see into. Excellent choc and hazelnut croissants (better than Chez Christophe's IMO) baked in house, as are their other pastries. They're doing a la minute sandos as well that looked great. And they have a tea brewing bar which is v. cool. Top notch customer service here.

            Also can recommend Lear Faye. Had an excellent Elysian cold brew (they change up the beans periodically) and a very nice breakfast sando with home fries today. They are also doing all their baking in house, and fixing to start curing meat as well. And they might do a nitro tap for the cold brew, woot! Longer hours are coming, with tapas in the evening and a patio buildout. They're abolishing wifi/electronic gadgets to encourage more customer interaction (yay!) in the comfortable but well designed room. One of the co-owners, Dolly, worked at Prada before it was bought by Sammy Piccolo, and she appears to know her onions. Another place with superb staff, all fully engaged and knowledgeable. Looking forward to a revisit soon!

            Also checked out Renfrew Café today but they don't officially open till tomorrow :-(. They will be serving PIE though so all is forgiven. Apparently they soft opened in August and then went on holidays. Very close to the PNE grounds...

            Final stop today was East Café at the corner of Nanaimo and Hastings. Delicious iced coffee with secret espresso and brown sugar elixir plus cream. Refreshing hibiscus drink as well. And a tasty pumpkin choc chip mini cookie free sample baked by super-welcoming owner Tomo. Another winner, though I'll pick a cooler day to take my niece there as the NE corner exposure meant it was a bit toasty inside.

            In the middle of all this, I stopped into Basho which was packed so I just bought a yuzu madeleine to go, which alas lacked any citrusy flavor. Super cute shop, again with delightful service.

            And because I hadn't had quite enough caffeine, I snagged a laphet thoke to go from Laksa King. They have the winner for me, helped no doubt by the fact that they recently brought tea leaves in from Myanmar according to Daisy the co-owner. A shoutout to her for abandoning family meal to make me my salad even though they were technically closed :-).

            1. re: grayelf

              Great report. Just a few notes:

              Dolly's brother was also a barista at 49th Parallel on Main and I believe at Artigiano before that. I love that space.

              Renfrew Cafe actually opened earlier this spring and had another short hiatus over the summer. They just added an espresso machine along with longer hours.

              And East Cafe just changed owners a month or two ago. The new owners were part of WE Coffee Roasters, so they've switched over from serving Intelligentsia to their own WE Coffee (WE stands for West End where they had their original cafe).

              Laska King sounds great, need to try it soon.

              1. re: cafeyvr

                Thanks for the additional intel on the Lear Faye crew. Dolly mentioned that everyone working there had worked at other "big gun" coffee places in Van but didn't get into specifics. I also had a quick chat with the designer who happens to be their dad -- he is justifiably proud of how it all turned out. So cool that these young people are so together. The only thing wrong with it is that it's too far from my house :-).

                Forgot to mention that East was using West End beans -- I've never tried them before and was suitably impressed.

                Just to be clear, I've only had the tea leaf salad from Laksa King so can't vouch for the rest of the menu. Can't believe it's been two years since they bought Bo out :-(.

      2. Congrats on your move.

        Cindy's Palace (no it's not a Barbie-themed house) on Nanaimo & 2nd offers good Chinese eats (esp. late nite snacks/small dishes).

        Also a bit further east, Bing Sheng on Renfrew & 1st (opposite T&T Supermarket plaza) offers good casual banquet-quality Chinese eats.

        In the T&T plaza, Thai Son offers good Vietnamese dishes. My fave is their #34: bun thit nuong cha gio.

        Not resto-related, but Gourmet Warehouse on Hastings immed. east of Clark Dr. is well, a foodie/amateur chef's heaven.

        I'm quite surprised no one yet mentioned South China Seas Trading Co's other store, on Victoria @ Grant. I go there (not frequent at all, but it is my default SCSTC location) because I can't be bothered to put up with Granville Island's parking hassles, and the crowds (I must be getting less tolerant of crowds in my ripe old age ..... ;-) )

        http://goo.gl/maps/5xATN

        Enjoy the 'hood, a great enclave within Greater Vancouver.

        1. The Daily Catch fishmonger on Commercial is 100% sustainable and Oceanwise.

          South China Seas on Victoria is stocked with specialty ingredients from around the world. Good selection of spices and cookbooks too. It's a very fun store if you're a foodie.

          Mediterranean Specialty Foods on Commercial has a good selection of tapenades, olives, and the like, and always has hot fresh spanakopita, tyropita and whatever you call the ones with lentils and mushrooms. It's a great spot to pick up bits and pieces to make a platter if you have last minute guests and no time to cook.

          Fratelli's has very nice cakes; I particularly recommend the lemon and raspberry, although they are known for their St. Honore.

          I could keep going ... foodwise you are in a pretty sweet spot.

          1 Reply
          1. Thanks so far for all the suggestions! I'm putting everything together on a google map and it's looking pretty impressive.

            I'll have to check out Continental Coffee, and Pallet. I've always been curious about Cindy's Palace! Great to hear an endorsement. I've been meaning to try Yolk's but haven't been able to face the line yet... :)

            I didn't love Bistro Wagon Rouge when I went, but the menu also wasn't as interesting as I expected. I may have to give it another go.

            Love Platform 7, and Bing Sheng is a favourite with my family. I forgot about them!

            mendicity - if you can keep going with suggestions, please do! I'm all ears!

            2 Replies
            1. re: twinkienic

              I know what you mean about BRW's selections not being super-interesting but I really enjoyed the dishes both times we went. Their boeuf bourgignon was very good indeed. I'd go more if they took reservations -- both times we attended very early after a meeting and before a small's bedtime. I prefer to eat later but it's too small to lineup for a table IMO.

              1. re: twinkienic

                Too bad about Bistro Wagon Rouge. Still haven't gotten to eat there due to line-up issues.

                I forgot to mention Jackalope's Neighbourhood Dive near Campagnolo Roma. My cousins liked it there.

                Also there's Song Huong Vietnamese Restaurant.

              2. Coffee tip from cafeyvr on another thread Lear Faye Espresso Kitchen: http://cafeyvr.com/news/2014/6/23/ope... at 2270 Commercial nr 7th and St Augustine's. Also Renfrew Café at 826 Renfrew near Venables. Maybe a bit far to walk...

                1. Ugo & Joe's Lucky Meats (SE corner of Hastings & Nanaimo) is about a click from the intersection of Venables and Victoria:

                  http://www.yelp.ca/biz/ugo-and-joes-l...

                  Sushi Nanaimo at the NE corner of Hastings & Nanaimo does a surprisingly good (and good valued) McSushi fare. Very good tonkatsu and fresh rolls and nigiris :-

                  )

                  http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/161994...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    Also, Renzullo Market on Nanaimo near Charles is even closer to your location. Italian deli and groceries, they also have coffee and deli sandwiches made to order (less sandwich options than La Grotta, but pretty good nevertheless).

                    1. re: Scoffier

                      I haven't been for a bit, but the original Bosa is not bad for things deli-ish and canned/jarred/bagged goods. Also decentish sandos if they're still doing 'em.