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Good Bread in Van

Bread is definitely not a Vancouver special-ty. Even the best places here pale in comparison to bread I've had pretty much everywhere else.

+1 for the baguettes at Faubourg.

I also don't mind Beyond Bread.

Now for updates! The owner of Rise Artisan Bread's storefront on Fraser St., Batard, is apparently very close to opening. I'm very excited about this addition to what is becoming a really food-centric neighbourhood.

The new bakery on Homer, Small Victory, did a soft run last week and will be open open Dec. 1. I haven't tried them out yet but will do soon and report back.

One place I actually have been to recently is Romania Country Bread in Steveston, though I'm embarassed to say it was really very recently. They make one style of bread and it's $10 but it's the real deal.

http://www.yelp.ca/biz/romania-countr...

The situation is admittedly a little sad. I mostly make bread at home.

Potholes in the Vancouver Dining Scene and a Thumbs Up to the Folks of La Buca/Pied de Terre

Yes, London is also about 10 times the size geographically.

The one pastry

Yes, and I love Timbertrain coffee! Finally made it back to Chez Christophe this weekend. Tried the gianduja cerise cake (layers of hazelnut, chocolate and cherry). It was very good. Also got a chocolate eclair which was better than Beaucoup's - might be my fave eclair in YVR. Macarons were nicely flavoured but could have used some textural refinement. Overall, very impressed.

If we are adding savoury to the list, I would put forward the *almost* too rich little quiche from Temper. The pastry is amazing!

Canlis Vs Altura

I've had amazing night at both but the experiences as people have said are really different.

The service at Canlis is as close to perfection as humanly possible but I would definitely not call it stuffy. It is formal by West Coast standards but not in an oppressive way - it's in a way that makes it feel like dining there is a special thing. The room is one of the most beautiful and romantic dining rooms in the country, so +1 to the suggestion of cocktails and apps if you decide on Altura - especially on a starry night. Plus the food is excellent and their wine program incredible.

Altura has a much more casual room but the food is delicious. The kitchen is open which is fun to watch and I would say it's a better choice for adventurous eaters. You really can't make a wrong decision here.

The one pastry

Those are really good too. I would like to sample more of the stuff from Chez Christophe but I never make it out there. Any other recos?

The one pastry

Nah, I wouldn't call not having tried the Black & Tan Cake "a problem" per se ;)

and if it is, at least it's the kind that can be solved with cake.

Potholes in the Vancouver Dining Scene and a Thumbs Up to the Folks of La Buca/Pied de Terre

For the size of city Vancouver is, I think the variety, overall quality and rate of openings here - especially lately - is impressive. I've actually been feeling like I can't keep up with all the new places to try living here full time. Obviously, this city has neither the population base nor do residents here (in general) have the available income of a New York or San Francisco, but from the last year or 2:

Farmer's Apprentice, Pidgin, Cinara, Ask for Luigi, My Shanti, Boulevard, The Fish Counter, Gyoza Bar, Blacktail Florist, The Fat Badger, Mamie Taylor's, Crackle Creme, Dunlevy Snack Bar, Cuchillo, Chicha, Bistro Wagon Rouge, Kessel & March, Basho, Exile, Buck Stop, Forage, Bufala, L'Offucio, Nicli Next Door, Prontino, Bella Yaletown, Fabrika, Curano, Graze, Pazzo Chow, Good Wolfe, Tuc, El Camino, The Abbey, La Mezcaleria, Absinthe, Shirakawa, Belgard, Yolks, Burdock and Co, Feast, Longtail Kitchen, Bambuddha, Bestie, Left Bank, Jamjar, Gringo, Charlie's, Don't Argue and I swear about 5 Flying Pigs.

That's just the stuff I remember hearing about somewhere in advance and not including food trucks, microbreweries, coffee shops and juice bars that seem to keep appearing out of thin air. Other places, like Mr. Red whose owners probably don't employ a publicist, are the kind of thing you learn about from a board like this. For that, I'm grateful.

The one pastry

That is a tough one! I can't but I can put forward some favourites:

The Last Crumb's Browned Butter Brownies
Cadeaux's London Fog cake
Blackrook Bakehouse's Black and Tan Cake
Beaucoup's Pine Nut Croissant
Beta 5's Cherry Coke Cream Puff
Honey's classic doughnut
Cartems's Earl Grey
Savary Island's Lemon Buttermilk pie

Take Out/Delivery Pizza

This is a topic near and dear to my heart. You can get some delivery of reasonably ok city but it'll cost you since they are mostly available through paid delivery services. I had hoped that Bella Yaletown would become available since you can order $20 pints of gelato for delivery but it does not appear to be yet. The Ragazzi site says "call if you're outside of our delivery area" but I have never, ever gotten a yes from them on coming downtown.

In rough descending preference order, I would say:

Fabrika (Order It).
Ludica (Wow Tasty)
Novo (Order It and Wow Tasty).
The Parlour (direct). It's got more of the 'creative toppings' situation happening but not a great crust.
Incendio (direct)

French Olive Oil

One place to call might be the Epicerie in the Granville Island Market. They have a lot of imported french product there and sell oils and vinegars from cans.

Best Italian pasta in Vancouver - what's your vote?

I would go with La Quercia or Ask for Luigi, though +1 on the ragu at Campagnolo - it is so tasty.

More downtowny options would be Cibo, Lupo and Cioppino's (if it's a special occassion or money rains from a cloud that follows you all over town).

Gyoza Bar ......

Hey Dennis.

We also hit the Gyoza Bar right at the opening bell on Saturday and ate our way through a LOT of the menu (it was somewhat shameful). But just a note on the auto-grat. We must have been done after you because our server brought us a bill, then brought a corrected bill a few minutes later because apparently, they had been set to auto-grat every cheque all evening by accident. I really do think it was an opening night hiccup, but it sucks.

Onto the food. Fried brussels and wild boar bacon - delicious. The wild boar bacon is in a dish at Minami and it's sooo tasty. Also came with fried shishitos.

We ordered the tonkotsu ramen as a reference point and it was exceptionally porky. The noodles had excellent texture (and the bowls are gorgeous). I was similarly expecting the char siu to have a delicious charred edge but it did not (it should be said that I am 100% on the side of chinese style char siu so I like it lacquered and/or crunchy); and when char siu does not have a delicious charred edge, it should be meltingly tender and Gyoza Bar's wasn't.

The teppan gyoza were tasty but the gyoza skins could have been a touch chewier - though the delicate crispiness was excellent. We also tried the chili shrimp which were delicious but not spicy and the short rib gyoza which were a little over the top in terms of richness. They could have benefited from a side pickle instead of the feta cheese topping.

Overall, I think the place will do very well and I'm sure I'll be back. Everything we had was tasty but the menu feels a bit self-consciously un-japanese at the moment instead of daring. We'll see where they go from here.

First visit to Bao Bei

At that time you should be ok. If the wait is long and you just can't do it, there are plenty of options in the hood - Calabash, Campagnolo, Mamie Taylors, The Parker, Oyster Express. Farina has very good pizza but the seating is really limited and, while licensed, it doesn't really have that 'nice spot to hang out and drink' feel to it. I've only been to The Abbey (in the old Wild Rice location) for drinks but I liked what I saw and it could be an option as well.

One thing I would say, don't actually eat at the Keefer. The last couple of times I was suckered into that because I was hangry were a disaster.

SF Bay Area hound needs fun foodie stops near Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center

Hi. Really, really, really close to your hotel is a restaurant that will look horrific from the outside - Beyond at the Century Plaza Hotel. It looks like an overpriced hotel restaurant but they have recently hired an excellent italian chef so if you are craving pasta, that might be an option.

Also close by is the newly opened Boulevard at the Sutton Place hotel. It's expensive but tasty with a heavy seafood focus. I would also not discount Le Crocodile if you are craving french (I could eat an entire onion tart there). It's been a consistently excellent option in Vancouver for 30 years which pretty much makes it a unicorn. I've also eaten there alone and had a lovely.

I would also +1 Miku, Miko and Santouka recos and add that in the neighbourhood of the latter two, there are a number of delicious izakaya within a block or two.

If you read about Vancouver's food scene, you may learn that it is a place where people are used to paying nothing for sushi so you often hear that Miku and to a lesser extent Miko are "overpriced". I think they are both worth the price and, if you are from the Boston area, they will probably not seem out of line for what you get. Miku is, however, a bit of a trek from the hotel (doable but more than a 15 min walk). Minami, its sister restaurant, is closer on foot by quite a margin and has seating at the sushi bar which is especially fun if you are on your own.

If you are looking for a tasty, inexpensive and very Vancouver sushi experience within a 3 min walk, I would suggest Shizen Ya on Hornby.

One night is really not enough in to explore but hopefully you will have an excellent time and come back again for longer.

Bella Gelateria Yaletown is Open!

The decor is very bright and white with the back wall in that semi-dark wood. It's a nice room with obviously a lot of window frontage. We did go last night, saw the lineup and my heart sank, went to the hostess stand and asked how long the wait was for dinner and we were seated within 5 minutes. The crazy line was just for gelato.

Those people were insane because the pizza is really, really good. Really good. We tried the burrata and foccacia (good) and the insalata mista (tasty) but the pizza is the star. Though the pizza menu itself could use a little more differentiation (personal opinion), the crust is really nicely flavoured and texturally right in the centre of soft-chewy-charred-crisp zone. Toppings are very classic.

Here is a photo of the Diavola. I want more.

Weekend trip from Van? Best chowspot?

The restaurant at the Willows Inn is indeed excellent and destination-worthy. But definitely a splurge and a half.

Bella Gelateria Yaletown is Open!

One week in Vancouver... The catch? Two little kids

Hello. Some excellent digging. As a fellow 'other board' lurker, I approve.

Coffee - I prefer Matchstick and the previously mentioned Timbertrain to Revolver but they all have good coffee. If you are closer to the West End/Stanley Park side of downtown, try Greenhorn. On Main St, Gene is pretty good.

Pastries - I can't say that I agree with the reco for Baguette & Co. (if you name your business after a food item, you should be able to make said item better than Safeway) but I do have an oddball reco that is right across the street from it. Transylvanian Traditions makes delicious kurtos kolacs, light and crispy "chimney cakes" that are baked on thick dowels and sprinkled with sugar that caramelizes on the outside while the dowels are rotated over hot 'coals'. So tasty.

If you do decide to go to Farmer's Apprentice at lunch/brunch, Beaucoup Bakery is just a couple of blocks away and good.

Downtown, Thierry, Ganache and Cadeaux are your best pastry options. Cartems doughnuts are very good - Earl Grey is my favourite that they always have but they also really like to do specials.

Dim Sum - yes, take the kids on a Skytrain adventure to Richmond. Many of the city's very best Chinese restaurants are within a 5 minute walk of a station (Sea Harbour which is terrific though busy and expensive is practically in the River Rock Station).

Ramen. I love Santouka and Motomachi (pork jowls? yes please!), but depending on where exactly you live in the Bay Area, I think you can get similar ramen at home (including I believe your own location of Santouka). There is a fancy gyoza bar & ramen place opening downtown shortly that will have something interesting to bring to the table but otherwise, I would skip.

Pubs - The Abbey and The Fat Badger are both new gastropubs, though I would say that The Abbey is more like an upscale restaurant that serves pub-inspired food. The Alibi Room is good for beer but I wouldn't go to eat there. As people have said, Chambar is not super kid-friendly though they are pretty good at accommodating people.

Ice Cream - your side of town definitely kicks our butt in this department. I finally tried Rain or Shine and, while I like the approach and the ideas - and the fresh waffle cones - I would trade a dozen Rain or Shines for 1 Humphrey Slocombe, Smitten, Bi-Rite or any of a number of other Bay Area parlours. Mediocre texture + moderate flavour levels = meh. That said, on Tuesdays they do taco shell waffle cones with fun toppings and the kids would probably enjoy that a lot. It's also just a couple of doors down from Fable which is excellent and open for dinner and lunch (get the duck meatball pasta).

Bella Gelateria is the city's true standout in the frozen category and the owner is about to open a pizza & gelato restaurant in Yaletown (right by the Skytrain station that would take you to Richmond). I haven't been (opens Friday) so I can't speak to its kid-friendliness but I would think it will be fine.

Not to Miss?
Farmer's Apprentice is, yes, delicious and very Vancouver. I would also put Fable in that category though it's less adventurous.

Phnom Penh for legendary chicken wings and lac lac beef.

Miku or Minami for aburi salmon oshi sushi (lots of people on this board seem to dislike Miku/Minami for whatever reason but still love this dish)

Alvin Garden - hunanese chinese food if you get a car (it's in Burnaby, a suburb to the east of Vancouver)

HK BBQ Master - HK-style barbecued pork, crispy-skinned roasted pork and soy chicken. they really are masters.

Shanghai River or Dinesty for XLB/soup dumplings

Any one of a number of excellent Vietnamese options in East Vancouver. Mr. Red is one that's recently been on the hot list and it's located in the East Village neighbourhood.

East Village is home to a lot of independent food spots like the Black Rook Bakehouse (which doesn't look like much but makes some truly yummy cakes, several available by the slice) and Basho Cafe (Japanese patisserie/cafe, only open until 4pm and only M-F) and a lot of good restaurants like Bistro Wagon Rouge, Campagnolo, Kessel & March, Le Do, Tacofino...

Chicha is a Peruvian restaurant on Broadway and Main. It's still a bit under the radar but it's fun, tasty and open for lunch.

If you do decide to get a car or don't mind a bus ride, you might get a kick out of Moderne Burger on the west side - the menu is burgers, fries, soda/floats/shakes. END OF LIST. Conveniently located a couple of doors down from delicious pastries at Thomas Haas.

It doesn't scream kid-friendly but there's a both in the back so if you can get it, I have to give some love to Cinara. It's so lovely and the food is so tasty.

Have an amazing visit!

Feast - new in west van

The chef is Kayla Dhaliwall who used to be the chef at House Guest and there was chicken & waffles there too so I think it's a signature for her. The seasoning is smokey with a little kick. It's served with a thick gravy.

Feast - new in west van

New restaurant in the old Dundarave Fish Market spot - Feast. I got to try out a chunk of the menu with friends last week. The concept is west coasty, refined comfort food (think ridiculous burger, mussels, pork belly)

It's not the Fish Market anymore (don't get me wrong - I loved me some rip tide squid). The room's been brought into this century (like a spoonful of Gastown in West Van) - y'know, weathered wood and ever-so-rusted industrial pendants with those old timey lightbulbs.

We tried a number of dishes that were all solid. Highlights were the avocado & beet fries, the almost all crab cakes, the ginormous burger (ground in house so you can order it cooked something other than well done! comes with a raft of bacon!) and the fried chicken (crispy and flavourful, and I noted available at brunch with waffles). There were healthier things on the table (the roasted halibut was well executed) but I yam what I yam.

Dessert wise I think they are still settling down but they do have mini donuts so you could have an entirely deep fried meal there in theory. I support that lifestyle choice.

Unfortunately, I did not get pics of everything that was tried cause my battery was dying but here are the bone marrow toast, side of greens and that chicken. Entrees were in the $20-30 range with sizeable portions. Overall, a good addition to the strip. I could see myself going there for brunch, getting a treat from Temper and then picking up a steak from Sebastian for dinner.

New to Frasier/King Ed neighbourhood - Whats good?

Oh my god. How could I forget Ho Yuen Kee?? I was obsessed with their Peking duck and chicken salad a few years back. Yum.

New to Frasier/King Ed neighbourhood - Whats good?

Yes, your new hood is definitely undergoing some changes.

In addition to what's already been mentioned, I would add Hai Phong and Green Lemongrass for Vietnamese. You are also ridiculously close to the Main & King Ed area where you can find The Fish Counter, The Acorn, and East is East.

I've been to Carano and I would say that it's a great neighbourhood option but not worth a trek from out of the hood. I think Barberella (which is really just a hop, skip and jump from your door) does a way better job.

A little further down Fraser there is a Venezuelan spot called Magda's that's good for when that arepa itch must be scratched.

I've heard good things about Pink Peppercorn but I have yet to visit.

Enjoy!

Good Bread in Van

Eater just broke that Purebread is opening a location in downtown Vancouver (W. Hastings and Cambie, same building as Meat and Bread). Whoa.

Vancouver Hound's first real trip to Seattle -- help an elf out?

For sure. Lots of things that have already been mentioned above. I would +1 Columbia City breads (the bread situation in Vancouver depresses me to no end), everything at Crumble & Flake but especially the brownies, Paseo Caribbean roast, and the made-to-order doughnuts from Dahlia (if Seattle has a doughnut shop as good as Portland's Blue Star, I am not aware of it and will be upset that no one told me about it). The biscuits at Serious Biscuit are good but not unreal, though there's no better/equivalent at home so it's worth a go for brunch.

As for individual dishes, I would single out the calamares from Harvest Vine, the kalbi at Joule, anything seafood at Canlis, the meatball or porchetta sandwich (or the gnocchi if you go on a Tuesday) at Salumi, and everything at Il Corvo. Don't make the same mistake we made last time we "weren't that hungry" and only order 2 of the 3 options - never again!

Also, if you are going to Ballard, try a cone from Parfait.

As for Altura, I get it. I brought it up because it was the first really memorable meal I've had this year and it's not standard Italian fare well executed; it's really creative food with strong Italian roots. There were things like a salad of raw thinly sliced porcini with salmon roe and bone marrow tuile. So it stood out.

Vancouver Hound's first real trip to Seattle -- help an elf out?

Hey - another fellow Vancouverite chiming in for some reason.

We were in Seattle for a quickie a few weeks ago and ate many delicious and amazing things as always. Most noteworthy though - and I know that you said you weren't feeling Italian lately - but seriously. The tasting menu at Altura was fantastic! It's very modern and interesting. I loves me some Spinasse but I thought with its approach, it might be a good replacement for Book Bindery (interested to see what they come up with next - I loved BB).

Late Sunday night dinner recos

Forgot to follow up here. Thanks for the reco, both. We ended up going to Von Trapp's for beer and sausage. Can't win em all.

The Fat Badger

Forgot to include these yesterday. The interior is dark gray and it was crowded so I didn't really take pictures but here is the menu.

Best late night eats

10pm is definitely not all that limiting downtown.

I would definitely second the general option of West End izakayas (and Suika on Broadway). Most of them are open til at least 1am.

Other options would be:

Buckstop on Denman (modern barbecue, good drink specials, open til 2 usuall),

I believe The Flying Pig is open til midnight. That's more of a treat for a date night away from the chitlins.

The Calabash is open late and usually has music at night. It's so fun and the food is delicious.

Bao Bei is open til midnight. Delicious cocktails and good food. Also pretty date worthy.

If it's a special occasion, Hawksworth is also open til 12am.

Fabulous brunch spots?

Too late for your March visit, but on the topic of brunch, the Calabash Bistro recently started serving a very tasty Caribbean brunch menu. Tried the crab cakes with poached eggs and rundown (coconut "hollandaise"), the roti with turkey sausage and the Brunch Bowl with jerk beef and fried plantains. I'm always up for a new brunch option with something a little different. Of course, being the Calabash, brunchy cocktails were delicious (grapefruit. rhubarb. mimosa. yes, I'll take 3 to start please.)

The Fat Badger

Got a chance to visit the newly opened Fat Badger, the gastropub concept that opened in the former Le Gavroche space on Alberni.

The menu has tasty takes on most of the British classics you might expect. The menu, written on chalkboards along the wall which I'm guessing means they will be making regular changes, is divided into "Bar Snacks", "Starters", "Mains" and "Desserts".

We tried mini yorkies with roast beef and gravy, the chicken tikka masala and paneer on chips (British poutine!), the fish & chips with mushy peas (ling cod), the welsh rarebit (perhaps not the best choice after our multiple fried courses). Everything but the fish was considered a "bar snack" though they were reasonably sizeable dishes so I'm not sure what a starter would look like.

The food was very good - the chips exceptionally proper thick-cut chips. Next time, I think we will order some of the lighter dishes (saw spot prawn cocktail and whiskey-cured salmon) so I have room for delicious toffee-y British desserts.