Vancouver

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Across the board, seafood reigns in Vancouver, where restaurants flout their oceanfront advantage in almost every dish. International fare is well represented across town, but none so much as Asian cuisine, thanks to the city’s sizeable Southeast Asian population. Locally sourced, organic, and sustainable produce features on an ever-increasing number of this environmentally conscious city’s plates, and West Coast cuisine (a fusion of Asian, French, and Californian flavors) stars on many of its menus. Vancouverites are rightly proud of their cosmopolitan restaurant scene and exciting new bistros and bodegas of every style and nationality open almost weekly.

Top Restaurants in Vancouver

Bin 941

This sliver of a venue is a late-night favorite on the hem of the Gay Village. Most menu items, referred to as “tapatisers,” are about $16. A litany of popular dishes – including a mussel medley, sashimi-grade ahi tuna, and a shitake mushroom chow mein – combined with an exhaustive selection of wines, deservedly pack in the upbeat hordes. Cleverly crammed tables fill up this sultry space, where professionals and socialites share plates into the lingering late night. The mouthwatering desserts – like a crème brulee with Mexican chocolate and Baileys, and a mascarpone white chocolate cheesecake – are fitting finales to the decadent dinners.

941 Davie St., BC, 604-683-1246, www.bin941.com
Tags: gay and lesbian | moderate | trendy | open late | notable wine list | small plates

C

Devour a sumptuous array of local seafood with a six- or ten-course menu and an enticing wine list at this chic room overlooking False Creek’s bustle. Sustainable seafood sourced from local waters is the cornerstone of the intriguing menu. Executive chef Robert Clark deals directly with suppliers and producers and makes environmentalism a top priority. Floor-to-ceiling windows look out over the water to Granville Island. Décor is chic, spare, and modern – a design approach reflected on the plate. A user-friendly champagne- and white-heavy wine list offers perfect pairings for your seafood selections.

2-1600 Howe St., BC, 604-681-1164, www.crestaurant.com
Tags: seafood | expensive | smart splurge | notable wine list

Crave

Crave’s confident, retro-chic comfort food is reason enough to make your way to this slightly off-the-path modern bistro, but the intimate atmosphere is also alluring. Local luminaries and ladies who lunch make up most of the clientele, eye-catching contemporary art adorns the walls, and dark wood tables flicker in the candlelight come evening. On summer days, a tiny patio offers the best seats in the house. The chefs rustle up an excellent brunch, followed by appealingly priced lunch offerings (try the chicken melt with citrus tapenade) and down-to-earth dinner entrees (don’t miss the sun-dried tomato and basil meat loaf or the poutine with truffle parmesan fries).

3941 Main St., BC, 604-872-3663, www.craveonmain.ca
Tags: moderate | comfort food

Go Fish Ocean Emporium

Boat-fresh fare straight from the nets fuels the patiently queuing crowds that cram this fish shack at the Fisherman’s Wharf. A crunchy beer batter makes delicious use of local Granville Island brews. It’s not just fish ’n’ chips on the blackboard menu, though; you can also tuck into oyster po’ boys, salmon burgers, and fish “tacones.” Take a seat on the wooden patio or be more daring and fend off voracious seagulls as you savor your catch from a seat on the Seawall.

Fisherman’s Docks, BC, 604-730-5040
Tags: budget | seafood | great value

Kadoya

Among the city’s excellent, affordable sushi joints, tiny Kadoya, in the bustling West End, is one of the best. The compact room is crammed to the rafters nightly as enthusiastic Vancouverites pile in to devour Kadoya’s creative sushi rolls. Taste local flavor with a yam and unagi Stanley Park Roll or tuck into a crab filled Spider Roll or coconut adorned Snow White Roll. Sunset Beach is just three blocks down the hill.

1063 Davie St., BC, 604-608-1115
Tags: moderate | great value | sushi

Lolita's South of the Border Cantina

Lolita’s was a hit, right out of the box, when it opened on the edge of the city’s Gay Village in 2005. The compact venue isn’t much bigger than the “bocadita” morsels on the shared plates, but the cozy room offers some irresistible concoctions, such as the piquant ceviche, that make the squeeze worth it. Make sure to add a blackberry and guava Pomello Noche or a Hail Mary Caesar with pickled jalapeno and horseradish to the bill. Beer options are either “local” or “loco.” Their superb tequila selection lures agave aficionados from around the city.

1326 Davie St., BC, 604-696-9996, www.lolitasrestaurant.com
Tags: gay and lesbian | moderate | editor pick | trendy | mexican | small plates

Stepho's Souvlaki Greek Taverna

Gargantuan helpings of great Greek food at inconsequential prices account for the interminable lines that grow outside this Davie Street den from 4pm, seven days a week. Locals and visitors devour all the Greek staples you’d expect, including souvlaki and moussaka, for rock-bottom prices that you might not. Okay, It’s basically cheap and tasty Greek fast food – if you discount the hour you spent in line beforehand. Décor is standard Greek, with whitewashed walls and blue accents. The staff is efficient, although somewhat lacking in charm. The location, in the heart of the Gay Village, is handy for downtown hotels.

1124 Davie St., BC, 604-683-2555
Tags: budget | great value | greek

Sun Sui Wah

Geoduck, dungeness crab, and an assortment of the freshest seafood feature on the menu at acclaimed dim sum palace Sun Sui Wah. This vast restaurant is a Westerner-friendly option, although the core clientele is Cantonese and the room is often crammed with boisterous family parties and celebrations. Renowned for its fresh-from-the-tank King Crab, Sun Sui Wah also offers a reasonable selection of vegetarian fare and deserts worth saving room for. You don’t want to miss out on mango- and cream-stuffed crepes.

3888 Main St., BC, 604-872-8822, www.sunsuiwah.com
Tags: moderate | seafood | chinese | dim sum

The Flying Tiger

The myriad flavors of Asian street markets fill the menu at the hip Flying Tiger, offering tasty jaunts from Mumbai to Seoul, Hanoi, Manila and other delicious corners of Southeast Asia. Located in Kitsilano (“Kits” for short), one of the city’s hottest ’hoods for foodies, the restaurant boasts several conscience-pleasing principles: ingredients are free-range, organic, and sustainable, and as many as possible are locally sourced. The presentation is an upscale play on street food, with several dishes presented in paper cups or banana leaves.

2958 W. 4th Ave., BC, 604-737-7529, www.theflyingtiger.ca
Tags: moderate | trendy | asian fusion | street food

Vij's

Savor inventive East Indian fusion cuisine at this sultry West Side spot. Vij’s famous wine and fenugreek curry-glazed lamb popsicles are the only constant on a regularly changing menu. They don’t take reservations, but it’s no hardship to linger over complimentary chai and appetizers in the inviting lounge until a table is ready (though you may have to wait up to three hours). Enigmatic host Vikram Vij can be seen sashaying between tables and chatting with guests while his wife, Meeru Dhalwala, helms the stoves.

1480 W. 11th Ave., BC, 604-736-6664, www.vijs.ca
Tags: expensive | smart splurge | indian

West

Thrillingly unpredictable combinations blend into perfection on West’s innovative menu, and impeccable service makes every visit memorable. The top restaurant in town, it’s an absolute must for any foodie. Indeed, this chic, South Granville room’s most die-hard fans make trips to Vancouver just to savor its contemporary West Coast fare (try the peppered pave of pork with pomme fondant or veloute of pumpkin and cumin). At the helm of a knowledgeable and friendly staff, executive chef Warren Geraghty ensures that only culinary masterpieces appear on every plate. Inventive libations, such as the tangy Kaffir Fling (made with vodka, lime leaves, and ginger), are on hand from the bar, where award-winning mixologist David Wolowidnyk is the man with his hand on the shakers.

2881 Granville St., BC, 604-738-8938, www.westrestaurant.com
Tags: expensive | notable chef | editor pick | smart splurge | notable wine list

Zin

A knowledgeable and dedicated staff serves witty liquid concoctions and fusion tapas in seductive surroundings at this hotel restaurant, whose modern takes on small plates range from octopus carpaccio to organic Spring Creek Ranch tenderloin with polenta parfait. An exuberant wine list accompanies the mouthwatering menu. They also offer a sumptuous breakfast and brunch selection, including a chorizo and roasted red pepper hash and a maple pecan French toast sandwich.

1277 Robson St., BC, 604-408-1700, www.zin-restaurant.com
Tags: expensive | trendy | notable wine list | small plates

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