Where to eat in Vancouver and Whistler
Vancouver lacks high-end Michelin type dining establishments, but makes up for it with a very culturally diverse assortment of places to eat, and this is especially true when it comes to Asian food. Below are some of the place I recommend:
Osteria Savio Volpe – delicious and creative dishes; I would say this is the best Italian restaurant in Vancouver. Casual atmosphere, gets very busy, make a reservation on Opentable. They have different items depending on the season as it should be, like the delicious prawns below which I believe were cooked over their wood fired grill. The also have PERFECTLY cooked pasta.
La Terrazza – More traditional, less creative dishes but delicious also. More formal atmosphere. Service can be slow during busy times. Make a reservation on Opentable.
Vancouver has a lot of mediocre/average sushi places where funny rolls, California rolls, tuna and salmon are king. Not outstanding but good for a quick sushi fix. There is a lack of high-end sushi in the city where fresh fish is flown in daily from wherever it is freshest/in season. You will also not find a good omakase sushi bar serving in a nice atmosphere. However, there are some good places to eat sushi in the city.
Get the omakase B and uni tray.
Sushi Bar Shu – A new addition to the Vancouver sushi scene. Serves omakase only. Chefs are Korean.
Tetsu Sushi Bar – Flies in fresh fish. However, this is a small restaurant and service can be slow. Sushi and especially the rice, is on point. Have the foie gras nigiri and anything blue fin. They have a board showing everything that is fresh that day. Call in advance and ask to sit at the sushi bar.
Sushi Bar Maumi – This is probably the closest you will find to a traditional omakase experience in the city. Its small, 12 seats at the sushi bar with two seatings nightly so you need to reserve in advance. One issue is they do not serve any alcohol.
Miku or Minami – Miku has a nicer view, but both menus are similar. They are known for their aburi sushi. Get any of the Oishi’s. They also have more traditional nigiris though if that is what you want, I would go to the above two places over Miku. Of the three sushi places listed here, this is the best atmosphere for drinks and dinner as it is more modern. For lunch the chirashi tart is delicious. On Opentable.
I would say this is an area Vancouver needs work on. Yes there are steakhouses, but none are on par with the great steakhouses of the world like Peter Luger. I find Vancouver steakhouses to care less about where the meat comes from, and the cooking is inconsistent. Order medium rare, and get medium well etc. However, if you must have steak in Vancouver:
Victor – Victor has a lot going for it. Steak is good, and the atmosphere is great for a night out. Also, they have really good sushi. The sushi rice is good as is the fish. I have had their blue fin tuna, and uni, and both were very good. The only issue with this place is the service tends to be slow. TIP: For on Sundays for the prime rib dinner – best value in town.
Update (11/22/18) Elisa – So it turns out that a new steakhouse has just opened in Vancouver and they DO care about where the beef comes from. I was there 2 days ago and they did have a good selection of cuts and beef from a wide range of places. The service was excellent and the server was very knowledgeable about the products. The place is very nice and good for a date or night out with friends. The steak was cooked perfectly with my only complaint being that it could of been seasoned more, same with the veal tartare.
Five Sails – If you are craving an old world style tasting menu experience, this is the place to go in Vancouver. If you want to impress a date, this is the place to go. There are not many restaurants like this in Vancouver. The view is great.
Danbo – This place has great broth and you can specify how you want the noodles cooked (soft, firm etc). I don’t know if they still do the curry ramen during certain seasons, but if they do, get it. Its probably the best ramen I’ve ever had. Even if they don’t have it, the miso ramen is delicious. The problem with this place is it is ALWAYS busy with long lines. Try to go late in the evening.
Santouka – Although I prefer the broth and noodles at Danbo more, Santouka is the place I go to now simply because the lines at Danbo are so long. Santouka used to be the place with long lines but that is no longer the case given all the competition now in the ramen space. There is a line sometimes but it moves fairly fast.
Jinya – This would be my third choice.
Sura – Get the Galbi Short Ribs which come on the bone. You can watch the guy grill it from the window. Absolutely delicious. The drawback of Sura is that they don’t take reservations and there is usually a wait, but its worth it.
Via Tevere Pizzeria – Neopolitan pizza, fantastic dough, well seasoned and just all around delicious. The only problem with this place is they don’t take reservations and it gets busy.
Nicli Antica Pizzeria – The first VPN certified Neopolitan pizza in Vancouver. They DO take reservations.
Izakaya – Japanese small plates.
Zakkushi on Denman – Known for their yakitori or grilled meat (usually) on a stick. They grill their yakitori over Japanese charcoal. Call ahead for reservations.
Gyu-Kaku – Yes, I know this is a chain from Japan, and the people from Japan I spoke to did not think it was that good, but I think that’s because they have so many amazing choices in Japan for “Japanese BBQ”. However, for Vancouver, this is very good in my opinion. I used to go three times a week good. Make a reservation on Open Table because it gets VERY busy. Also note, there are two locations in Vancouver, make sure you book the right one. I frequent the one on Nelson, Downtown.
Wildebeest – Farm to table and meat focused menu featuring unique ingredients and preparations. Solid cooking and always delicious.
more to come….
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