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Vancouver Chinese Food Experts Needed!

Richmond is actually super easy to get to from the cruise ship terminal - Waterfront Station is literally right on the same block as the cruise ship terminal. He'd walk into the station and buy a ticket ($4 paid with Canadian cash or credit card or debit card) from the machine, and then board the next Richmond bound Canada Line train. 20 minutes later, he'll be at Bridgeport Station where Sea Harbour Seafood is located: Or he can take the train a stop further to Aberdeen Station for a cluster of Chinese restaurants and food courts and a good first taste of Richmind's immense Asian food culture. Honesty, doesn't take any longer than searching around Vancouver for an alternative. It's practically door to door.

Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA on tap -- who has it in Vancouver?

Try St Augustines. I swear I drank it there in the past. Or maybe that was the Tangent Cafe. Try them too! Call up Liberty Wine Merchants on Commercial Drive to see if they're stocking it. Stateside Craft may also have it. Good luck! All I know is that it shows up on the menu in all my Commercial Drive watering holes.

I Guess It Was Inevitable-Artisan Perogies

That place off Commercial Drive is a Langley company. I've bought their frozen perogies while at a Langley's farmer market. Nothing hipster about that place. In fact, I don't see them lasting long on Commercial Drive only offering frozen foods.

Solo diner with a day and a half

Dinesty (yes spelled that way) on Robson by Denman might be a good choice for Shanghai/Taiwanese if you're solo. They do have some dim sum options though it is not a traditional dim sum restaurant.

Week in Vancouver late May

A piece of trivia: Absinthe is the #1 restaurant in Vancouver based on customer feedback on TripAdvisor:

I would bet that if you asked Vancouverites for the best restaurant in Vancouver, almost none of them would mention Absinthe Bistro, if they have even heard of it. And yet, I think the reviews are legit. It's a small, unassuming space from the outside, but those who are lucky enough to get a reservation and enjoy a meal are in for a treat.

My other favourites around Commercial Drive are La Mezcaleria (for a vibrant, fun atmosphere and tacos) and Kishimoto (for sushi). Both places, however, are usually busy and extremely hard to get into. Via Tevere a few blocks over on Victoria Drive for authentic Neapolitan pizza. Commercial Drive is a fun neighbourhood in general. Spend some time strollings its streets. It's fun for people watching and bar hopping. If your daughters have a geek streak in them at all, take a quick peak into the Storm Crow Tavern.

Deep Cove is a bit of a culinary wasteland, a sleepy village where people go to hike and kayak. People rave about Honey's Donuts there, but I don't see what all the fuss is about. There's a promising-looking coffee shop that I saw the last time I was there. I think if you're going to dine in North Vancouver, heading over to Lonsdale Avenue or the Lonsdale Quay area will give you more satisfying options.

Peaceful on E 5th (just off Main Street) is great. I like the cumin lamb. If you've never had xiao long bao (Shanghai soup dumpings), they're worth experiencing.

Dinesty (yes, spelled that way) on Robson Street by Denman is also good if you love Asian food, if you're foodies, and you're also bringing along non-adventurous types. It's a mix of Taiwanese and Shanghainese cuisine, in a contemporary, casual, and dare I say hip setting. You can stroll over there from your West End accommodation.

Also for Asian, have you considered venturing out to Richmond for an Asian culinary extravaganza overload? That could be a fun experience depending on your mood.

Best cheap Chinese food -- not too salty or greasy

What about the T&T takeout counter in Chinatown? I always forget it's there, but it's cheap.

Does Vancouver have a signature dish?

No, I'd argue that Vancouver doesn't have a single signature dish, although if you come to Vancouver and don't eat a) local, wild BC salmon (whether smoked, raw, BBQed or cooked however) or b) Japanese cuisine (whether it's sushi, izakaya, etc.), you are missing the point entirely.

Dream burger

Nostalgia, pure and simple.

Vancouver Pizza Culture

Thanks! Not sure if any of this is truly "unique to Vancouver" though, without doing further research on the pizza scenes elsewhere across the country, but it is what it is.

Vancouver Pizza Culture

That cheap dollar-a-slice Granville Street pizza has been a part of the downtown Vancouver landscape since the 90s at least. It doesn't really exist much beyond downtown, with a few rare exceptions around busy transit hubs (ie: Broadway/Commercial), from what I've seen.

I don't associate it with Vancouver pizza culture, but it's certainly a part of the downtown Vancouver nightlife culture. It's always been cheap, greasy pizza that you only eat while drunk after clubbing or as a starving student. You don't eat it because it's supposed to be good pizza, although at 3am it certainly hits the spot in the same way that a steamie in Montreal does at 3am. There's a reason those pizza slice places are busiest at night.

Blue cheese drizzle on ground beef is just one of the flavour combos you'll see. Sesame seeds on the crust is another thing. I was dragged to one of those dollar pizza joints a few weeks ago, and I noticed that one sad slice of pizza had a whole hotdog wiener on it! Comical at the time, but disgusting in retrospect.

Growing up in the Metro Vancouver suburbs in the 80s and 90s, the pizza places we'd order delivery from were often owned by immigrant Greek families, not Italian families. Pizza (with salami, ham, black olives, green pepper, onions, mushrooms) and Greek salad (loaded with feta, onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and one or two Kalamata olives) and a sad-looking greasy wedge of garlic toast was the pizza culture of my suburban youth. This was pizza when I was a kid and teen. Mama's Pizza, Caesar's, Bella Pizza (all in Richmond) are examples of these Greek pizza places we'd go to and order from. White Tower Pizza on Robson Street is a Vancouver example of the same type of place. They'd also sell generic baked lasagna and spaghetti with meatballs, served in aluminum take-out containers, always covered in mozzarella that would stick to the paper lid.

There were also the generic chains: Panago, Dominos, Little Caesar's.

Flying Wedge opened up in the early 90s with its "gourmet" pizza (what a concept!) but I always found it too bready. I think locals thought the place too expensive. Martini's Pizza on Broadway had its multigrain pizza crust - popular amongst East Van health nuts. Nat's New York Pizzeria on Denman Street was always voted "Best Pizza" in the locals newspapers.

I suppose Commercial Drive always had its own Italian pizza scene with places like Lombardo's and Marcello's fighting for "best pizza".

Incendio opened in Gastown and was also considered decent, and Steveston Pizza Co opened in Steveston. People would rave about those two places in the past.

Otherwise, Vancouver's pizza scene has never been a scene. Tourists familiar with good pizza would complain about Vancouver's lack thereof.

It really wasn't until Nicli Antica opened in 2010 or 2011 that Neapolitan pizza seemed to take over a real phenomenon in Vancouver, and finally foodies started paying attention to pizza in Vancouver in ways they never had before. Vancouver's pizza scene does revolve around the Neapolitan pizza, places like Pizzeria Farina, Barbarella, Via Tevere, Novo Pizzeria, The Bibo, etc.

Yaletown lunch on a Sunday in March with gluten free options?

Weird. Was there a reason as to why? I thought they were doing well?

Yaletown lunch on a Sunday in March with gluten free options?

I work here and even I'm scratching my head. Bella Gelateria (the new location on the Yaletown Harbour waterfront with Napolitano pizza) has a gluten free pizza as an option, but they can't guarantee cross contamination if GF = celiac, in this case.

Kaide for sushi rarely disappoints, but you've heard me sing that song before. It's really just sushi though. There's also Sakana Bistro, which I like with friends for sharing, but evening only, not for lunch.

I've only been to Good Wolfe once, but I'd look into their menu.

When I'm trying to appease vegans and vegetarians, and I'm with friends before a show, Nuba's Seymour location can sometimes hit the spot... as long as you don't mind the tiny location and ordering at the till. Gluten free options? Hold the pita, and that's most of the menu. I mean, expectations are low here, but food is tasty and fresh. And it's Yaletown. So it somehow makes it more acceptable because where else are you going to go?

Yaletown itself is kind of uninspiring as a dining destination. Homer Street Cafe could be an option...

Help ! Need a St. Honore cake for Sunday/8th

Good to hear Fratelli's worked for you. Another place to consider for next time is Notte's Bon Ton Bakery on W Broadway in Kits.

Every week sushi?

Haha, thanks! It was a rather entertaining evening. ;)

Every week sushi?

It's not loud or boisterous, for one. Looking around at the other diners, there were more than a few families with teenage kids, parents and grandparents. We had an elderly couple with us, and they loved it. It's not dowdy or depressing or anything like that... it's understated elegant and beautiful - the kind of place you go to with your parents for a nice night out, when you want to relish in the company and enjoy conversation. That's all I meant. I'm in my thirties. My parents are in their sixties. My boyfriend's parents are in their seventies. We all enjoyed it, hence = perfect for parental units. They're not going to feel alienated, whether they're Japanese aficionados (like grayelf's mum), or like my boyfriend's mom, completely ignorant on what constitutes Japanese food. Both will enjoy the experience.

Every week sushi?

It's the perfect restaurant for parental units. ;) I forgot about the free kinpira gobo, which was excellent (and one of my favourite foods!). If you end up there, let me know how it goes!

Every week sushi?

Hmm. Good question about the prices. I know they were higher, certainly, but, say... Kishimoto or Kaide higher, not Minami higher... if that makes sense. I would certainly go back. Not weekly, but monthly? Sure.

Edit: This blog post shows some of the prices:

Every week sushi?

What about Kaide in Yaletown, tucked away in a nondescript condo on Richards by Pacific? That's my go-to every week sushi, usually for lunch (I work nearby). It doesn't look fancy, but the sushi's terrific:

Also, has anyone been to Takumi on W 10th (by Trimble) in West Point Grey?

I ended up there, kind of by accident, a few weeks ago and was floored by how authentically Japanese it was. It was somewhat old school Japanese with its understated elegance (as opposed to the modern/hip vibe you get from other popular Japanese restaurants these days), but it was the only Japanese restaurant I've been to in a long time where not only the waitstaff and the chefs were Japanese, but so were the patrons. Multiple generations of Japanese families were dining the evening I was there. There were other tables - men in jackets, a young couple dressed to the nines at the sushi bar. What kind of alternative universe had I stumbled into? Atmosphere alone was unlike your typical Vancouver Japanese experience. We had some cooked items (we were visiting with unadventurous elderly Winnipegers, excited to see "noodles" on the menu) - ordered some agidashi tofu, eggplant robata, assorted tempura (I normally hate tempura, but this stuff was immaculate), and pork yakisoba, and sadly had to cancel our sushi order because we had to run off to a show at the Chan Centre, but I'd love to come back and properly experience this restaurant. It's best not to be in a rush. Service was fantastic. Food, from what I tasted, was phenomenal.

Fresh truffles to purchase?

All I know is that Urban Fare used to sell them.

Please help me shorten my list!

Which food courts? A lot of them are accessible from the Canada Line stations along No 3 Road, so pretty easy access without a car if you're staying downtown. Unless you're talking about the ones closer to Garden City.

Please help me shorten my list!

I get your desire to try poutine if you've never had it before, but do recognize that it's no more representative of Vancouver's food culture than a New York pastrami sandwich is a a part of the San Francisco food culture.

Poutine, I find, is also a food best eaten in the right context. It's a junk food developed in Quebec, best eaten at a greasy spoon fry shack at 3am when you're drunk and the Montreal nightclubs have poured into the streets. You gobble it up to soak up the booze.

Also, agree that it's a waste of time to send Californians to a diner like Yolk's or the Red Wagon. The lineups are ridiculous for what you can no doubt get better at home. Vancouver doesn't do American diners. You're setting yourself up for disappointment. Prices are higher, portions are smaller, booze is taxed astronomically, there is no free-pour, and the whole diner scene is forced. If you're seeking a good Vancouver brunch that'll give you a taste of Vancouver personality, I'm a huge fan of the Oakwood Bistro in Kits on W 4th. It's a tad more locavore, but I've never had to wait, service has been excellent, and the food has always been delicious and perfectly executed.

Christmas in Victoria...?

Haha! Actually, I embarrassigly missed that. This will teach me to respond to threads on my iPhone. Didn't see the 2010 date at all.

Christmas in Victoria...?

Can you tell us what beer you drank, or what breweries you visited in Victoria & Vancouver? What's your idea of a good microbrewery in Seattle or Portland? As far as Vancouver's concerned, I've noticed there's often a disconnect between the breweries & pubs that tourists are recommended (or what casual beer drinkers recommend) and where the craft beer lovers venture. For example, while in Vancouver did you visit Brassneck? 33 Acres? Bomber? Powell Street Brewing? Alibi Room? Or did you end up at the Molson Coors owned Granville Island Brewery? Or Steamworks or somewhere like the Yaletown Brewing Co? What sort of beers do you enjoy drinking? I'd be happy to point you in a better direction. Heck, this would be a great separate CH thread. :)

Christmas dinner - Turkey? Prime rib? Ham? And where to source it?

That looks AMAZING! If I didn't have to serve a pork-a-phobe, that would be in my oven on Christmas. ;) Maybe another special occasion in the future.

Christmas dinner - Turkey? Prime rib? Ham? And where to source it?

Thanks waylman! We've decided to go with a fresh turkey. I have a meat thermometer and have made gravy from scratch, and will be sure to rest the turkey. I think I needed some sort of reassurance that you can indeed cook a turkey dinner in a tiny apartment kitchen. ;) The plan right now is to roast the veggies and make the mashed potatoes while the turkey's cooking. I'll make the cranberries a few days before - making your own is a million times tastier than anything out of the can. ;)

Christmas dinner - Turkey? Prime rib? Ham? And where to source it?

I'll be making Christmas dinner for 6 (possibly) 8 people this year. The torch has been passed from my parents to my sister and I. Both of us live in small East Van apartments with our partners, and a utilitarian oven with 4 burners and no dining room table. We can make it work and we want to make it work. It will work but wow, where do begin with 8 days to go?

While I love cooking and have roasted numerous chickens, and have occasionally made roast beef, I've never cooked a turkey, a Christmas ham, nor have made any fancy Christmas dinner prime rib. The idea of cooking a turkey doesn't intimidate me, though I question how I'll fit anything else in the oven other than the turkey.

So, I'm throwing the question out there:

What are your Christmas dinner plans?

If you're buying a turkey, where do you like to source it? There are numerous butchers I may seek out - Pete's Meat, Pasture to Plate, Big Lou's, Windsor Meats, etc. Maybe I opt for a frozen President's Choice special at the Commercial Drive SuperValu, or pre-order via Spud's (who donates $10 to the YMCA)! Maybe venture to Granville Island Market? With 8 days before Christmas, I still have time... I think!

While Christmas turkey is my own family's tradition, part of me wants to change it up and go with the traditional English prime rib, an acknowledgement of my Dad's English heritage. With a bit of direction, I'm sure I can do it, but is this something to experiment with on Christmas?

Decisions, decisions. I'm not really looking for answers here, I suppose, but I thought I'd open the discussion to see what my fellow Chowhounders are doing. I need inspiration. :)

new year's eve with well-behaved kids

Funny enough, we celebrated my mother's retirement at Season's in the Park a few weekends ago. My mom's choice - I offered a few suggestions (Fable, Maenam, etc.) and my sister suggested Seasons, thinking Mom would prefer to go there. She was right. Miserable isn't the word I'd use - traditional, perhaps, but not miserable. It certainly is a "special occasion" restaurant in Vancouver, especially for groups with multiple generations. They run a tight ship - service is fast (but never rushed), the food is safe but well executed - I was happy with the pork chop w/mango chutney that I ordered. While I don't think it's what you're looking for, there are worse places to end up at.

Some restaurants that immediately popped into my head that you may want to look into, based on the fact that they'll likely have New Year's menus and the fact that I have seen children eat there, so you know it won't be an issue. They're also close (relatively speaking) to the West End:

Minami (for sushi):
Chambar (Belgian):
Hawksworth (French-inspired west coast):
Yew (seafood): -ignore their cringeworthy stock photography

Edit: I see now that Minami is probably not the atmosphere that you're looking for:

Also, I see that many of these places are having more limited, safe menus for NYE. Something to consider.

Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Thanks greyelf! We were downtown supporting a friend who's band was playing in the sad Grey Cup party on Beatty Street. We wanted brunch and took the Skytrain downtown and noticed it was open, then decided, "What the heck? Let's do brunch at Chambar." Pricy, perhaps, but worth the splurge when there are so many mediocre brunches in this city who are charging not much less. Again, it's Medina Cafe brunch without the lineups. What's not to love?

Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Oh, one more place to put on your radar for Chinese, is Peaceful - the location at E 5th and Quebec (a short walk north of the Main Street/Science World Skytrain station):

Seattleites in Downtown Vanc

Big fan of Dinesty. You can also hop on the Canada Line (our southbound rapid transit line) south to Richmond, which is a 15-20 minute ride from downtown. Literally hundreds of Chinese restaurants there, many of them good, quite a few excellent. Some argue that Richmond has the best Chinese food on the continent.

If you fancy heading to Richmond, that's another topic entirely... but these posts might point you in the right direction. I know that quite a few Seattle food writers have come up here to write about it: