1. Modern Canadian
Forage in the West End is homely and comfortable, and we love that they use local and sustainably sourced ingredients. Chef Chris Whittaker celebrates all things BC (British Columbia), including phenomenal dishes such as Turtle Valley Bison Ranch butcher’s cut steak and Chilliwack creamed corn.
Next door to Forage is Timber which puts fantastically inventive spins on classic Canadian dishes such as deep-fried cheese curds, butter tarts and poutine.
Nightingale on West Hastings Street is where modern Canadian cuisine gets social. The restaurant serves simple seasonal dishes packed with natural flavour, including house-made pastas, salads and vegetarian dishes, paired with craft beers, on-tap gin and tonics, and local wines. The oven-roasted cauliflower with sunflower seeds and green harissa is our veggie favourite. Nightingale is a great place to pop by with friends before a big night out on the town.
For those who don’t know, poutine is fast food that originated in Quebec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. There are plenty of great poutine spots all over the city, but we recommend La Belle Patate with its huge variety of poutine – 38 to be exact. We recommend the Hamburger Steak Poutine with beef and onions, the Breakfast Poutine with bacon and eggs and a festive turkey Holiday Poutine (below). Other options include Montréal smoked-meat sandwiches, authentic steamed hot dogs and delicious Quebec beer.
Vancouver is known for serving up good sushi, and our favourite is Miku by the beautiful waterfront. The restaurant offers the most amazing aburi (flame seared) sushi, so be sure to sample their signature Aburi Salmon Oshi sushi – it is out of this world. Miku also has a full bar, waterfront patio and private dining room.
Vancouverites all have a local hole-in-the-wall favourite when it comes to sushi, with joints dotted all over the city. We like feasting on Samurai Sushi on Davie Street, with their giant BC rolls (a maki roll with grilled salmon and cucumber) and warm yam rolls.
The Japadog was started by an ambitious Japanese couple who moved from Japan to Canada with a dream of creating a world-famous food stand. It is now found all over the city, and enjoys a host of celebrity fans. More than 20 toppings, including avocado, noodles and shrimp, are available to accompany the Japanese-style hot dog. You can even have a hot dog deep-fried in tempura batter.
5. Chinese cuisine
There are two places in Vancouver where you can find some of the best Chinese food in Canada – Chinatown and Richmond.
Chinatown spans across the east of downtown Vancouver and is home to everything from classic Chinese bakeries to dim sum spots. It is here you’ll find the famous New Town Bakery & Restaurant (above) – a family-run establishment that has been creating the most delicious baked goods since 1980. Try their award-winning apple tarts with a cup of jasmine tea, or enjoy a lunch of juicy steamed barbecue pork buns.
In Richmond, locals love premium Chinese restaurant Kirin (above) for its freshly made dim sum and exquisite seafood dishes. Jade is also a notable restaurant worth a visit in Richmond, with adventurous Western-inspired Chinese dishes such as beef tenderloin in foie gras sauce.
6. Farmers’ markets
Granville Island has a fantastic market where you can find everything you need for a delicious picnic or home-cooked meal. Check out Chau Veggie Express – a vegetarian eatery serving primarily vegan dishes inspired by Vietnamese cuisine. Pick up some BC blueberries from the market after, or wash your lunch down with a freshly made smoothie. Vancouver Foodie Tours offers two-hour walking food tours of Granville Island for those who want to find out more.
Soft Peaks is the city’s first all-organic soft serve ice-cream cafe, which uses whipped ice cream made with local Avalon milk. Toppings include honeycomb from the nearby Fraser Valley, Himalayan pink salt or yuzu marmalade. Cheesecake lovers should check out the super delicious Cheesecake Etc on Granville Island, where jazz meets cheesecake in an alluring venue that makes for a perfect date spot.
8. Craft beer
If your meal isn’t complete without a locally crafted beer, then you’ve come to the right place. In the last decade, Vancouver has emerged as a global player on the craft brewing scene, with more than 50 breweries opening from East Vancouver to the North Shore. Local ingredients including barley, hops, raspberries and honey work their way into all kinds of beer varieties.
Popular spots to sample these flavours include the Craft Beer Market (above) in False Creek, where beer lovers come together in the historic Salt Building to share fresh local food and the finest craft beers. They serve over 100 local and international beers, including a unique weekly cask brew, as well as wine and cocktails.
Back over on Granville Island, you’ll find Granville Island Brewing (above) which was Canada’s first microbrewery when it opened in 1984. Today, the brewery still operates the same way, with every new style of beer offered at their original small-batch brewing premises. Their beer is flavourful and refreshing and we particularly like the mini glasses used in the tasting flight.
PHOTOS: NIGHTINGALE FACEBOOK, FORAGE FACEBOOK, LA BELLE PATATE YVR FACEBOOK, MIKU SUSHI, JAPADOG FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, CHAUVEGGIE FACEBOOK, SOFT PEAKS ICE CREAM FACEBOOK, CRAFT BEER MARKET VANCOUVER FACEBOOK, GRANVILLE ISLAND BREWING FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.