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Vancouver’s top new restaurants of 2014

The article in the Globe and Mail actually listed Ms Gill's picks for top 10 Vancouver restaurants of 2014, not specifically "new" restaurants. The "News 1130" article misquoted the original article. Or at least that's what I recall from reading the article on Saturday.

While I may not agree with all of her opinions, I always look forward to reading Alexandra Gill and find her reviews to be balanced and informative.

Bishop's 2014--How is it?

I have never eaten at Bishop's, and my wife and I would really like to give it a spin in about 1 month's time. Has anybody been lately, and is it as good as ever? I sure like the looks of the menu--the dishes look elegant, not overly fussy, and timeless rather than trendy.

Oct 12, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Bucatini pasta?

I have never had any problems finding bucatini, and I live in Victoria, so it should not be a problem at all in Vancouver.

The question will be the quality of the pasta. For dried pastas I favour Rustichella d'Abruzzo; although not cheap, they have superior quality and are the easiest to cook al dente. Lesser brands go from al dente to mushy in the blink of an eye. Sadly, I have not ever seen a bucatini from this excellent producer.

Di Cecco makes a decent bucatini. They should be easy to track down.

Oct 12, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Best restaurant on this list? Need your vote!

I posted a similar query about a year ago and wound up at Tuc for my 40th birthday celebration. Although some of the food was good (the mains), the room was very noisy and I had to shout to communicate with the person across the table from me. Also, they don't have any stemware, which to a wine drinker like myself is poor form (they serve wine in little water glasses, which although "trendy" does no favours to wine)

Chambar is decent for things like moules frites but the food is not exceptional and it too is a loud room (unless they have changed that with renos).

I am definitely in the minority on this board with the following opinion but I have had two very good experiences at Hawksworth. The service was among the best I have had in Vancouver, the wine list was superb, the cocktails were great, and everything I ordered was beautiful to look at and delicious. Last time I went about two years ago and I remember particularly enjoying a hamachi appetizer (crudo) and a gorgeous heirloom beet salad. The first time I went my wife and I enjoyed a bone-in ribeye for 2 that was served with two sauces: one was a béchamel and the other was a herb sauce (I think it may have been chimmichurri). The room is attractive and not overly corporate, but the clientele is definitely corporate and monied (which doesn't bother me because I was there for the food and wine, not for the company). And yes, it is expensive, but if you are celebrating a 40th, why not?

Also, why not consider Yew? They are probably the best seafood spot in Vancouver for cooked preparations. Yes, it is a hotel restaurant and indeed "corporate", but the tables are nicely spaced out and the ceilings are very high so the acoustics are favourable for a larger party. And when I went, the prices were reasonable as far as seafood goes. The wine list is solid and there is something for everyone (including "turf" for the non-seafood lovers).

Anyway, I recognize that you want non-corporate, but if I could do my 40th over again I would favour a restaurant that is conducive to conversation and is strong in all restaurant "domains" including appies, mains, desserts, cocktails, and wine.

Oct 04, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Girls night in Victoria

Victoria's not much of a 'happy hour' town. Having said that, you could start out with appetizers and a cocktail at a place like Veneto, then move on to dinner at a place like Brasserie L'Ecole or Little Jumbo.

Stage in Fernwood is also a fun place but a hike from town (30 minutes).

The Oyster right across from the Empress has a happy hour and good deals on oysters during said hour.

Ferris's Oyster Bar is another fun place, though the food is not amazing. You could start downstairs with oysters and a drink, then make your way upstairs (to a related but separate restaurant) for dinner and cocktails.

Apr 30, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Looking for the Best Noodles in Victoria (Chinese or Italian or?)

Padella is definitely an adult atmosphere. If the kids were well behaved I'm sure it would not be a problem, but you'd probably get some dirty looks if they're apt to scream and throw tantrums.

And yes, the chefs are the same as the chefs from the now defunct La Piola.

Haven't been to John's Noodle Village in eons. Really can't comment.

Mar 18, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Looking for the Best Noodles in Victoria (Chinese or Italian or?)

I'm partial to Padella Bistro on Estevan, which makes its pasta in house and is very good.

Another good bet will be the ramen house that is opening soon on Broughton Street near Blanshard. It is owned by same people who run Foo, and they serve up a pretty good ramen at Foo.

Mar 16, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Quick trip to Vancouver

Don't worry, everyone had a good time at Tuc, and the prices are extremely reasonable, especially for the food quality. It is amazing how much cheaper it is than a place like Earl's or Cactus Club (and yet with significantly better food).

Feb 03, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Quick trip to Vancouver

Hi Everyone: Thanks for all your breakfast recommendations. Here is a quick breakdown of our enjoyable 24 hours in the city.

Friday lunch: Le Crocodile. My wife and I had never been here before so obviously were excited. The food was great and the portions were bigger than I expected, so we ended up eating overselves into an afternoon coma.

I had the classic alsation onion tart with curly endive salad for my starter; the salad was adorned with a little half quail egg. The flavour and texture were great. Lornna had the lobster tempura--also lovely (although odd to serve tempura at a traditional French restaurant, non?)

The server saw we were indecisive about the escargots and talked us into ordering them as a "between course" snack. This was my wife's favourite taste of the weekend.

My main was the seared scallops with black linguine; the sauce was a basil beurre blanc. My SO had the crab ravioli with smoked salmon in a cream sauce. I found the smoked salmon overwhelmed the delicate crab flavour.

Good wines (enjoyed the half-bottle selections) and lots of little extras (an amuse bouche was a small duck liver tart: hot, buttery, and delicate. Pear sorbet served with pear granita (sp?).

Quite expensive meal, but I'm glad it was lunch as the prices were much more reasonable than dinner and the portions were quite ample (i.e. my scallop dish had 5 scallops, which was not bad for $18).

After an afternoon siesta at our hotel and some window shopping, we made it down to Tuc Craft Kitchen where we met a party of 10 to celebrate my 40th. Prices were extremely reasonable and most of the tastes were quite good. I enjoyed the pickled veg in my starter salad and also enjoyed my rib-eye steak. My wife loved her lamb chop starter. Everyone at the table seemed pleased with their meals. My only beefs (pun intended) were that the restaurant does not have any proper stemware (little tumblers only, no wine glasses) and that the volume level was very high making it difficult to hear anyone other than the person immediately next to me or directly across from me. There was a big "standing room only" group of drinkers gathered around the bar and there was quite a din. Maybe not the best atmosphere for a 40th with friends.

Saturday morning: coffee at Kafka's on Main. I love the lack of pretension and low key vibe at this place. Plus the coffee is pretty great, too.

Brunch: I wanted to try Burdock and Co. but my wife thought the menu seemed too fussy and wanted comfort food. So a friend took us to a place called Yolks. I thought it was really good. We enjoyed croque monsieur sandwiches (the special, covered in béchamel sauce). The coffee was really good. The prices were reasonable. I'd go back.

All in all a good trip. I look forward to eating another lunch at some point at Le Crocodile. Their lunch menu is extensive and a lot of the menu items appealed to me (i.e. lamb chops in a Provencal citrus sauce)

Thanks for the tips.

Feb 02, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Breakfast in Vancouver 2014

Yes, Revolver (i knew it shared a name with a Beatles song, but I got the wrong one).

Thanks for the tips. Yaletown is very handy because our hotel is close by.

Will report back.

Jan 28, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Breakfast in Vancouver 2014

The wife and I will be staying in Vancouver this weekend celebrating a special birthday--looking forward to meals at Le Crocodile and Tuc Craft Kitchen.

One thing I noticed is that there are no recent threads on breakfast in and around downtown Vancouver. The latest thread seems to end in 2012.

We love going out for coffee in the morning--really enjoyed Revolution last time we were in your city. But we need some suggestions of where to 'fill up' after our morning coffee. I have been to Medina a few times and found it to be just okay. Is there any place around downtown that serves exceptional breakfasts? We will be car-less and traveling back to the island later on Saturday morning or early afternoon so don't want to be busing too far around the city prior to busing back to Tsawassen.

Thanks for any ideas.

Jan 28, 2014
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Urban Diner's 30-best in Vancouver

Good list. I have not eaten at all that many of the places on the list, but the places I have eaten at I enjoyed.

RE: good vs. great restaurants in Vancouver, I think that Vancouver has great restaurants in the mid-price range but doesn't really have a showstopper high-end place a la the French Laundry in Napa, the Herb Farm outside Seattle, Alinea in Chicago, or any number of haute cuisine restaurants in New York (i.e. Le Bernardin, Per Se). I'm not quite sure why that is...I think the lower mainland would support a destination restaurant.

Dec 23, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Where to have dinner near Butchart Gardens (Victoria)?

In Brentwood Bay near Butchart Gardens there is a decent place that is also probably child-friendly called Zanzibar. It's nothing to write home about but the food is solid and the prices are not too steep.

Or you could wait until you returned to Victoria for a much bigger range of options. One of the better family friendly places in town is Pizzeria Primastrada. I prefer the Bridge Street location (a bit hard to find, but you can map quest it).

Have fun!!!

Dec 16, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

One Night Out in Victoria - can't decide!

Stage changed hands in the last year or so. I have not been since the new owner took over.

In terms of service, I definitely give the nod to Restaurant Matisse. The owner is also the maitre d'. It is a quiet type of place, not a rowdy bar-like atmosphere (unlike Stage).

Dec 04, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Victoria Recommendations

On Friday, I'm really not certain about the dinner at Canoe. I have not been there in quite a few years but the food has never impressed me all that much, and it is not cheap for what you get. How about a casual but good dinner at Sen Zushi instead (over on Fort Street)? I've always found that restaurant to be fun and buzzy on a Friday night (reservations would be helpful).

Another place where a casual dinner can be enjoyed on a Friday night at a reasonable price is Devour on Broughton. It is tiny, however. If it is full, you can go around the corner to the Clay Pigeon. I find the food at Clay Pigeon is good value and reasonably good quality.

Re: Relish, awesome choice, but be aware that it is open only from 9 AM-1 pm on Saturdays. And there might be a wait.

Not sure what Whiskey Bar is. Never heard of it. Little Jumbo has an unparalleled whiskey selection in town, however.

Let me know what you think of the Village in Oak Bay. I have not yet been.

Uchida is a great choice for Monday lunch. Just be sure that you get there early enough as it sells out quickly.

Nov 14, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Review - Finest At Sea Food Stand - Victoria

Stick to using them as a seafood retailer rather than a restaurant. I wish more businesses would take heed to the "less is more" epithet.

Good place for guaranteed fresh salmon, halibut, sablefish, cod, and all of your west coast shellfish needs.

Nov 12, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Victoria Recommendations

Yes, it is disappointing that so few people from Victoria post on this board. For all intents and purposes, it is a Greater Vancouver board (and more accurately a Vancouver/Richmond/Burnaby board as there is virtually no info on the Fraser Valley even though Surrey is the second most populated city in BC).

Cocktail bars are on thing that Victoria has. You could have a cocktail at Catalano, which is close to Little Jumbo. Or you could have a cocktail at Clive's Classic Lounge or Veneto, both which are within a 10 minute walk of Little Jumbo. Or you could have a delicious cocktail at Little Jumbo while waiting for a table if they have bar seating that night. Shawn, the proprietor, recently published a book on cocktails with employee Nate Caudle. They both worked together at Clive's Classic Lounge before Shawn opened Little Jumbo.

Nov 10, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Victoria Recommendations

Hey There: If you want brunch places, I can think of no better option than Relish on Pandora Ave. Local ingredients, good variety, nice bright atmosphere. They are mainly a breakfast and lunch spot but are open for brunch on Saturdays from 9-1. The only drawback is that they are not licensed.

I have not yet tried Jam Cafe for brunch but it seems wildly popular judging by the lineups.

For brunch, Mo:Le has *some* good menu items and is definitely licensed. One thing I like there is the spot prawn eggs benny. Avoid the undercooked "pesto potatoes," though:)

For dinners, and trendy, I recommend Shawn Soole's new restaurant Little Jumbo. They do not take reservations, so I would go early and avoid Friday/Saturday if possible (although my wife and I were seated promptly at about 5:45 on a Friday a few weeks ago). I have eaten there only once, and everything we tried was great. It is an a la carte menu, so your protein does not come with sides generally (you have to order the sides). Tremendous whiskey list if you're interested in that sort of thing (not only from Scotland, US, and Canada but also numerous whiskeys from Japan, Australia, India, etc....) Also good wine program, cocktails.

Ulla is modern and the menu is mostly good. This is a place where you could order local fish, although it is not a fish restaurant. You might find it "too composed" however.

Another new fav of mine for a plate of pasta is Padella Bistro on Estevan. The pasta is all made in house and is excellent.

My wife and I always like Restaurant Matisse for a special night out. Granted, it is "dated" in the sense that it is mostly traditional French cooking. But the service is excellent, and I have enjoyed most of what I have eaten there (though the one thing I did not like during one meal was a piece of overcooked halibut).

We've had some good meals at Cafe Brio over the years. I like how they fix proteins. I do not like their pasta dishes (can say this unequivocally). They have good desserts, too.

That's too bad about Brasserie. Generally they've been consistent over the years, but they are too busy now and not worth an hour and a half wait. Plus they desperately need to ditch the truffle oil as an option for their fries. Stinks up the whole restaurant and is a passe ingredient.

I'm thinking of checking out Lure sometime soon. They are a seafood restaurant in the Delta Hotel in Vic West. I'll let you know how it is.

Good luck, and don't give up. There are some good places here and there (i.e. Primastrada on Bridge Street for pizza and salads, pasta specials, etc...)

Nov 09, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Recommend a restaurant for a 40th birthday party for a party of 8-10

Thank you for all of the suggestions. I have perused all of the above menus and like Tuc the best out of what I have seen. However, my wife wants a place that serves pasta (not her b-day, but I want her to be happy too) and I was thinking about Lupo. I see on their website that they take reservations for parties of 8 or more. Does anyone have any recent experiences there? I do like the looks of their menu...

Nov 03, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Recommend a restaurant for a 40th birthday party for a party of 8-10

Wow. Thanks for the quick responses. Some very good options already. Grey-elf, your review of Tuc Craft Kitchen recently definitely piqued my interest. Sounds like great bang for the buck.

LotusRapper, I've always wanted to try Boneta. Are the noise levels reasonable? I remember my wife ate there with some friends quite a few years ago (somewhere between 6 and 8 years ago now) and said that the music was so loud the whole evening that they had to shout to hear each other, and that was just a party of 3. But maybe they got feedback from customers and changed that. Plus I think they're in a new location now, no?

Oct 26, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Recommend a restaurant for a 40th birthday party for a party of 8-10

Good Afternoon chowhound friends:

I will be turning 40 in January and want to plan a dinner with some Vancouver-based friends. I want a place that can seat 8-10 and will take reservations. It should be in Vancouver proper only because of where the majority of our Vancouver friends live (plus alcohol will be involved so driving is not an option). It will preferably be within a short bus ride or skytrain trip from downtown because my wife and I will likely be staying in a hotel downtown. A downtown location would be ideal but I'm sure we could make Kits or South Granville work too. I would prefer not to take transit at that time of year only because of how unpredictable the weather can be.

It should be quiet enough (or have a private room for 8-10) that we can converse without having to scream (don't want a nightclubby-vibe or bar vibe). It should have a special occasion ambience but I do not want something as expensive as Bishop's or Le Crocodile because some of our friends do not have much expendable income at the moment. I am thinking of a place with entrees in the mid-20s to mid-30s and appies in the low to mid double digits.

It could be any type of cuisine but I am skewing toward European influence because of my desire for a delicious chocolatey dessert to top off the evening. I have not yet been to L'Abbatoir but understand it is quite noisy. I like the look of their menu, though. I have been to Hawksworth a few times and unlike many on this board I have enjoyed my meals there but it is a bit pricey for the crowd I am thinking of.

I am being a bit anal planning this far in advance but I find people have such tremendously busy lives these days that they need lots of advance notice (especially for a crowd).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions you might have.

Oct 26, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Victoria for the long weekend

Chiarelli's has a bigger selection of products. They sell a lot of cheese but also some charcuterie, bread, butter, chocolate, various condiments and preserves, pastas....They actually cram an extraordinary array of culinaria in an extremely small space (a bit claustrophobic, but worth the visit).

Aug 30, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Victoria for the long weekend

Good Sunday night options:

1) Stage Small plates and Wine Bar
2) Restaurant Matisse
3) Little Jumbo
4) Cafe Brio
5) Sizzling Tandoor (Indian, obviously)

Clive's and Veneto are great for cocktails but I don't like the food all that much.

Have fun.

Aug 25, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

49th Parallel Coffee on Main!

Once in a while. I still think it's pretty good.

Aug 12, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

49th Parallel Coffee on Main!

To be fair, Artigiano is quite a few notches above Tim Horton's or other "chains."

Aug 12, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Vancouver / Victoria report, for what it's worth

The BC board is effectively already a Vancouver board. Hardly anyone ever posts on Vancouver Island, Okanagan, Fraser Valley, or anywhere other than VAncouver/Richmond (sigh...)

Aug 11, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Long weekend in Victoria - Looking for recommendations!

Brasserie and Ulla are both good, but both quite busy. Basically, Ulla is a bit more expensive and pays closer attention to plating.

Stage is a good choice for a dinner. Perfect for sharing.

Sushi is not great in Victoria. The one place that serves impeccable fish, Uchida, is a weekday-only place and sells out almost as soon as it opens. If you are here on a Saturday, bike, drive, or walk over to the Moss Street Market (10 AM-2 PM) and check out the Daidoco food truck. They might have crudo preparations of fish, but even if they are offering only cooked dishes that day I can guarantee that the quality of produce and fish they serve is impeccable. And the market is a great place to spend a Saturday morning.

A few other options to check out...

Restaurant Matisse has great service, reliable traditional French food, and a cosy atmosphere. I always have a good time there, even if what they are doing is not groundbreaking.

By late August, local mixology wonder Shaun Soole may have opened his own restaurant, called "Little Jumbo," on lower Fort Street (near Wharf). If it is open, I would check it out because Shaun makes great cocktails and is planning small plates based on contemporary French and Spanish cuisine.

Paderno is Oak Bay is great for dinner (Italian, with wonderful house-made pastas). And Catalano in the Hotel Magnolia has been turning out reliable and delicious Mediterranean cuisine (also has a good cocktail program).

Have fun.

Aug 08, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

49th Parallel Coffee on Main!

The criticism flung at so-called "Second Wave" coffee like what Starbucks sells is that it is over-roasted (burnt tasting), one-dimensional, and generic tasting.

The "third wave coffee," like what one finds at Blue Bottle in SF, Stumptown in Portland, or 49th Parallel in Vancouver, tends to focus on site-specific beans (think single-vineyard wines), medium roasts rather than dark roasts, and have lighter, more diverse flavour profiles. But many coffee lovers loathe the citrusy, even lemony tastes that they find in the third wave.

Like all consumer products, coffee is getting more specialized and fetishized over time. I'm noticing some higher-end specialty roasters including detailed information on their packaging about the region, harvest date, processing method and bean varietal. Some might view this as pretentious and elitist, while others will revel in the details.

Personally, I did not like the "third wave" coffees when I first tasted them in Portland about 6 or 7 years ago. I found them to be weak and more like tea than coffee. But over time, I have grown to enjoy the unpredictability and variety one encounters when tasting coffee made from site-specific beans.

The analogy I would use is this: Starbucks = Alexander Keith's (i.e. not bad, but mass produced and sort of generic) while places like 49th Parallel = Driftwood (i.e. similar to microbreweries that make a variety of unique and opinionated products).

Groceries- Vancouver vs Victoria

Can't say I'm all that impressed with the produce or meat at Red Barn. However, Dan's Country Market on Oldfield Road sells their own awesome produce (non-sprayed) and local organic grass fed meat in its freezer. They also sell fresh local free range chickens which are phenomenally good. The blueberries, strawberries and raspberries at Dan's are non-sprayed and really tasty, especially this summer. The only kicker is that Dan's is a day time place. I think they close around 5:30 or 6 in summer.

Jul 26, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Honeymoon Vancouver / Victoria - am I on the right track?

In Sidney (near the ferries) there is Fish on Fifth. I really like the place, but I would eat there rather than doing take out as fish dishes really don't "age well."

I think a better option would be to pick up some excellent charcuterie, cheese, bread, and condiments from a place like Choux Choux Charcuterie in downtown Victoria. You could do a "wine and cheese" on the ferry sans wine (sadly, and probably wisely, there is no alcohol allowed on the BC Ferries. Having said that, "I have a friend" who may have tweeked that rule from time to time, wink wink, nudge, nudge.)

Jul 26, 2013
anewton in B.C. (inc. Vancouver)