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BryanZ

Planning 5 Days in Vancouver and Whistler

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Le Soleil hotel may have just eeked its way into my budget. Trip Advisor really likes it. It seems to be a bit more centrally located, if further north. Closer to Gastown which seems like a cooler place to hang out at night and avoids the whole driving after a couple cocktails conundrum.

Any opinions?

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Le Soleil hotel may have just eeked its way into my budget.  Trip Advisor really likes it.  It seems to be a bit more centrally located, if further north.  Closer to Gastown which seems like a cooler place to hang out at night and avoids the whole driving after a couple cocktails conundrum.

Any opinions?

Yes, way closer to Gastown, and a very nice hotel, if the lobby is any barometer - haven't been inside their rooms. Their hotel restaurant cuisine is an unfortunate blend of East Indian and generic Pacific Westcoast fare - not so great, IMO.

Eat well, dine well, and if you want other advice or referrals, I'd be happy to help! I love our restaurants and the people who run them.

Cheers,

Laura


Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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If I was visiting Vancouver I would have a serious look at C restuarant and VIj's. C, in my opinion does seafood at its best. If it is a nice day you can sit outside and have a lovely view of False Creek.

Vij does Indian better than anyone.

I would defer to people more knowledgable than myself on the recommendations for Chinese food in Richmond.

I have not been to Lumiere since the change in chefs. However, I found it fairly ordinary when I was there a year ago or so.

My husband and I had a fabulous meal at Gastropod a couple of months ago. It is a fairly new restaurant in Vancouver. We had great service, great food in a very modern decor.


Life is short, eat dessert first

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A few other suggestions to mess with your planning...

Another google map: Vancouver Hole-in-the-Wall and Ethnic Restaurants

Also, I would also encourage a visit to Richmond as many have suggested. And I agree Aberdeen is not really a special destination by itself. But the chicken wings recommended above are quite good.

Since you are from New York, if you want to get an idea about Richmond, you can imagine Flushing, minus the Korean population, minus easy train access from downtown (although that will be changed soon), and quadrupled in size since it is a much more suburban setting with malls and big parking lots. That is probably about as clear as mud.

If you want to see another Chinese style mall, that also has a good food court, but is accessible more easily by public transit visit the Crystal Mall in Burnaby. It is a very easy skytrain ride from downtown, and then about a 10 minute walk from the station. Here is their webpage.

Have fun!

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Things to do with whistler:

If skiing is your thing then you have one of the best places to ski in the world…. One day at blackcomb and one day at whistler mountain. Go where the locals go! It is about the ski experince.

You can not get this in New York!

I would do two days

steve

“If I have 4 nights, should I do 3 in Vancouver and 1 in Whistler or split 2 and 2? This former option saves money and is probably better for the food-related pursuits, but with time it takes to get from Van to Whistler I won't have a full day skiing.”

Fmed said: “If skiing is a "must" then you pretty much have to stay 2 days at Whistler....especially with the sketchy traffic on the Sea to Sky Highway. I don't go to Whistler much (...I'm not much of a snowcat) - I don't have any food recs.”

Kiliki Said : “You won't, but if you are a skier, it won't matter. Whistler isn't even a tourist town--it's a ski resort development. A land of time shares, overpriced restaurants and ski shops. BUT, who cares. The skiing is fantastic. Just don't go thinking the "town" will be interesting at all. Definitely give yourself a full day there so you can be in line when the lifts open. Another thing, and maybe since you're from NY you won't be surprised, but some of the nicer restaurants and bars have dress codes. Mostly just "resort casual," but if you're like me (okay, you're a guy, so you're not) you don't necessarily pack a skirt on a ski trip.”

http://www.rimrockwhistler.com/

http://www.tapleyspub.com/

(Riverside Junction Café)

http://www.whistlercamping.com/home.html

http://www.sushivillage.com/en/main.htm

http://www.edgewater-lodge.com/Whistler_Dining.html

http://www.cittabistro.com/

pronounced chee-tas


Cook To Live; Live To Cook

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Great information up stream. One thing to consider about Vij's - get there early - and that means 5:30 - otherwise its a long wait. A pleasant wait - but a long one.

Also - I am no Chinesefood expert - seriously - I'm just an avid eater.

fmed - great suggestions!

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To find Go Fish, walk off Granville Island using Anderson Street -you will be heading south and you will be walking underneath a bridge - as you pass the boat mooring and before 2nd Avenue (also just before Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts) you will see a seawall on your left. Follow allong the seawall to the fishermen's wharf and you will see Go Fish, a small blue building. This a short walk - 5 minutes or so.

I'm not really sure how much of the fish served at Go Fish is fresh vs frozen, but the reality is that most fish is frozen at sea here anyway. We don't have much of a day fishery.

I think to enjoy Granville Island best you need to actually buy stuff to eat, maybe some supplies for your trip to Whistler for example. Other than the Public Market, the Island has a lot of artisans - potters, fibre artists, jewelers etc - an art school, some craft guilds and shops, an aboriginal art gallery, an artist's supply store, a brewery, an artisanal sake maker, a coffee roaster, a hotel, a community centre, a kid's market, boat building, a bunch of theatres, a bunch of restaurants - nothing spectacular - etc, etc. The Net Loft, immediately across from the Public Market, has a craft shop, a wine store, books, cookbooks, kitchen ware, eyeglasses, beads, potters, weavers, and a few other shops.

As for what to do in Vancouver besides the food quest, I would say if you are sporty and the weather is nice, go kayaking. Or walk the seawall - it is a very pretty place, especially if there's sun.

Both Robson Street and Le Soleil are good locations. Le Soleil is in the business district so quite dead at night in the immediate area, but, as you noted, closer to Gastown. Robson is a shopping street and - heading west from where your hotel choices are - has a ton of restaurants serving language students, mostly from Asia, so there's lots of cheap and boisterous restaurants in the area.


Cheers,

Anne

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Le Soleil hotel may have just eeked its way into my budget.  Trip Advisor really likes it.  It seems to be a bit more centrally located, if further north.  Closer to Gastown which seems like a cooler place to hang out at night and avoids the whole driving after a couple cocktails conundrum.

Any opinions?

It's a nice boutique hotel. The rooms although not large are quite nice and better than Blue Horizon. There probably won't be much in the way of a view though as it's not real tall. Forget the restaurant.

It's a bit of a toss up as to which is the better location though. Le Soleil is closer to Gastown but Blue Horizon should have better views, is closer to Stanley Park and is right on Robson. You're only talking a few blocks difference and a taxi won't break the bank if walking is not an option.

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I'm a little bit surprised that no one has mentioned Parkside yet. You are sure to have a fantastic meal there, and it's located pretty much at the end of Robson on the beach side :).

Chambar is also a nice loungy kind of restaurant with excellent mussels. Walking distance from Le Soleil. Oh, and make sure you have the Fois Gras here!


Edited by Arsenic (log)

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I'm a little bit surprised that no one has mentioned Parkside yet.  You are sure to have a fantastic meal there, and it's located pretty much at the end of Robson on the beach side :).

Chambar is also a nice loungy kind of restaurant with excellent mussels.  Walking distance from Le Soleil.  Oh, and make sure you have the Fois Gras here!

Good call, Parkside is amazing as is Chambar. Don't know why I don't think of those places when out-of-towners ask for rec's. Maybe they seem less, I don't know, Vancouver-centric than others?


Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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A mini-update. Things are falling into place with cars, plans, hotels, etc. I still need to finalize my meals, but things are looking good.

I somehow wrangled the sickest rate for the Sundial Boutique Hotel. The property looks really nice and is literally right at the base of the two main gondolas. The room is on offer for $399/night, but I'm paying $199/night. Good stuff.

It seems like I'll be renting a car from the 12th-14th, so a two day rental plus a couple hours. Enterprise is the best bet here, as their business focus means they don't absolutely destroy under-25 drivers with surcharges. I'm thinking I'll do Richmond on Wednesday afternoon/evening, then wake up super early the next morning to get to Whistler.

As for dinner at Whistler, Bearfoot Bistro seems prohibitively expensive, and I'm philosophically opposed to menus that are overladen with supplements--it's like systematic unsubtle upselling. I suppose Araxi doesn't look bad, but I'm just not sure it's worth the price based on how the menu reads. What are some good mid-level recommendations--the Fuels, Gastropods, and Rares of Whistler? I'm honestly not even opposed to a bit of mountain kitsch--the fondue place upthread would at least be entertaining. Recommendations?

With regards to getting from Seattle to Vancouver and back, what's the best option? The train sounds cool, it's just not very flexible. I know there are buses both privately run and Amtrak-run. Is one better than the other? What transportation option affords maximum flexibility? Anyone have particularly good experience with a certain company or mode of transport.

Finally, I'm interested in doing an AM half-day kayaking trip that was mentioned upthread. Is there a particularly good outfit for this located in/near downtown?


Edited by BryanZ (log)

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For kayaking check out Ecomarine . They are located on Granville Island so should allow you to coordinate easily with your other plans.

I'm not a kayaker, so if someone with more knowledge wants to provide advice, please jump in.


Cheers,

Anne

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For kayaking check out Ecomarine . They are located on Granville Island so should allow you to coordinate easily with your other plans. 

I'm not a kayaker, so if someone with more knowledge wants to provide advice, please jump in.

That's who I would recommend but I would not make a reservation instead wait until the day (or perhaps the afternoon before) to ensure that the weather is going to cooperate. They almost always have kayaks available at short notice (weekdays being better than weekends).

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I'm an idiot - the seawall you follow is on the right (ie, west) from Anderson Street south bound, not the left.

To find Go Fish, walk off Granville Island using Anderson Street -you will be heading south and you will be walking underneath a bridge - as you pass the boat mooring and before 2nd Avenue (also just before Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts) you will see a seawall on your left.  Follow allong the seawall to the fishermen's wharf and you will see Go Fish, a small blue building.  This a short walk - 5 minutes or so.


Cheers,

Anne

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Most of the Amtrak routings between Seattle and Vancouver are actually buses. Also, the train isn't really that much faster than the bus. Greyhound or a Chinatown bus would work equally well. The bus is about 3-4 hours each way; driving by yourself is about 2.5-3.5 hours.

Flying is occasionally reasonably priced if you track down a good deal, but Seattle's airport is a 30 minute bus ride from downtown, and Vancouver's is also about a 30 minute bus ride. Flight time is about an hour, and you'll probably need 30-60 minutes to clear airport security.

With regards to getting from Seattle to Vancouver and back, what's the best option?  The train sounds cool, it's just not very flexible.  I know there are buses both privately run and Amtrak-run.  Is one better than the other?  What transportation option affords maximum flexibility?  Anyone have particularly good experience with a certain company or mode of transport.


Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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With regards to getting from Seattle to Vancouver and back, what's the best option?  The train sounds cool, it's just not very flexible.  I know there are buses both privately run and Amtrak-run.  Is one better than the other?  What transportation option affords maximum flexibility?  Anyone have particularly good experience with a certain company or mode of transport.

Wife is living in Seattle until April or so, so I use quickcoach.com quite frequently. They have a coupon for 50% off in the Entertainment book, one way comes out to 18-20$ with coupon. Much better than greyhound IMO, but QC has a stop/pickup spot down the street from my house so obviously I like it better.

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As for dinner at Whistler, Bearfoot Bistro seems prohibitively expensive, and I'm philosophically opposed to menus that are overladen with supplements--it's like systematic unsubtle upselling. I suppose Araxi doesn't look bad, but I'm just not sure it's worth the price based on how the menu reads. What are some good mid-level recommendations--the Fuels, Gastropods, and Rares of Whistler? I'm honestly not even opposed to a bit of mountain kitsch--the fondue place upthread would at least be entertaining. Recommendations?

This has been a problem for us as well--we certainly don't mind spending $$ on dinner, but not if we don't perceive it to be a good value, and Whistler restaurants seem to be terrible values. Crepe Montagne was recommended her as a good, inexpensive place--this might have been the fondue place you referenced--but when we checked out the menu dinner crepes were $22+, and Raclette was $33 per person. !! (It's melted cheese and sliced ham for god's sake). So I'm interested to hear if anyone does have any mid range good value recommendations. We've given up looking, and just cook in a condo. I've had good beer and decent food at the Whistler Brewhouse--I wouldn't call it a must-visit, but it's nice to at least find entrees in the under $20 range.

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The fondue place I mentioned was called Bavaria. It's decidedly not cheap, but it was a better experience than the crepe place. And they have other burgerliche dishes, and it's one of the more consistent culinary points of view in Whistler; I always thought it was funny to have the same bready pizzas, oversized pastas and so on at something-something bistro as at something-something pub and something-something trattoria.

No, there's nothing that I considered a good value, though Elements didn't strike us as shockingly expensive for the quality... We would have spent a similar amount in Vancouver or Seattle for that kind of small plates experience (though that was with the exchange rates of 16 months ago).

I've been to the crepe place, Montagne, and it's not bad; we've eaten there 2 out of 3 times in Whistler, but it wouldn't be interesting outside of Whistler and certainly far from cheap. It beats the ubiquitous Cafe Crepe in Vancouver, but that's not much to aspire to.

I think we went to the Whistler Brewhouse in 2004, and it wasn't bad, though it was pretty much ordinary pub food and the same menu you see in most of the casual dining places in Whistler.

On our most recent trip we only ate lunch at a unremarkable semi-Italian cafe serving fresh pastas at a relatively low price, but the quality wasn't that good. It was the only time we had eaten an under $10 meal in January, though.

As for dinner at Whistler, Bearfoot Bistro seems prohibitively expensive, and I'm philosophically opposed to menus that are overladen with supplements--it's like systematic unsubtle upselling. I suppose Araxi doesn't look bad, but I'm just not sure it's worth the price based on how the menu reads. What are some good mid-level recommendations--the Fuels, Gastropods, and Rares of Whistler? I'm honestly not even opposed to a bit of mountain kitsch--the fondue place upthread would at least be entertaining. Recommendations?

This has been a problem for us as well--we certainly don't mind spending $$ on dinner, but not if we don't perceive it to be a good value, and Whistler restaurants seem to be terrible values. Crepe Montagne was recommended her as a good, inexpensive place--this might have been the fondue place you referenced--but when we checked out the menu dinner crepes were $22+, and Raclette was $33 per person. !! (It's melted cheese and sliced ham for god's sake). So I'm interested to hear if anyone does have any mid range good value recommendations. We've given up looking, and just cook in a condo. I've had good beer and decent food at the Whistler Brewhouse--I wouldn't call it a must-visit, but it's nice to at least find entrees in the under $20 range.


Edited by JasonTrue (log)

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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The fondue place I mentioned was called Bavaria. It's decidedly not cheap, but it was a better experience than the crepe place. And they have other burgerliche dishes, and it's one of the more consistent culinary points of view in Whistler

Absolutely agree, the cheese fondue at Bavaria is very consistent and hard to beat. For fish lovers, RimRock is not bad. Our other favourite dish at Whistler is actually just the cheese bread at Hy's steak house (they have one in Vancouver as well).

I'm not sure if Seattle has those Chinese hot pot restaurants. The ones in Vancouver have pretty decent standard. If you can take medium spicy food, try the Thai curry fish hot pot at Landmark Hot Pot (on Cambie & Kind Edward) for dinner. You get a Tung Yum Goon soup with a huge fish as your soup base and you can order various types of fatty meat, veggie, dumplings to throw in.


Edited by mangez (log)

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I have taken the Amtrak bus from Seattle to Vancouver. It was great. I think it was about 3 1/2 hours, including a quick stop at the border for border check and duty free. It loaded downtown Seattle and let you off at the train station downtown Vancouver. I thought it was a great bargain for $28. I believe there are only two trains a day - early morning and later in the day. All other Amtrak offerings are on buses.


Life is short, eat dessert first

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Motomachi or Benkei or Kintaro for ramen?

haven't tried Benkei, but Motomachi is way better than Kintaro now.

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Haven't tried Motomachi. But Benkei is much better than Kintaro.


Edited by Vancouver (log)

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listel's a decent hotel. my friend works there and he's had no complaints.. of course i don't know about service levels or anything, but if ur on a budget for the hotel, and just looking for a clean and quaint (since its supposed to be a boutique hotel) place to stay on robson, that place will do. it is on the quieter end of robson tho, but since robson is only really 4 or 5 main blocks, it shouldn't matter.

u can take transit anywhere in vancouver (for robson/stanley park/granville island/gastown/yaletown), and its only one fast bus away from richmond, but because of all that CRAZY construction in richmond, its best to drive there. esp if u want to wander from mini mall to dimsum, or afternoon tea to late night hotpot. aberdeen's worth going to just to check it out. personally i dont shop any store there except for daiso (the $2 store) but that place is a treat in itself. i can't believe u can find anything u need for ur household there.

there's this place at metrotown in burnaby called topgun in crystal mall (a chinese mall) that has the BEST bbq pork buns. i can't say much for the rest of their menu but we always worry they'll sell out of the buns for dimsum. they are so small, and soft and fresh. its not like what u'd find at a bakery. and also, u get a list of teas (ie green, black, red, crystanthemum and lychee) and each person gets to select a tea, and u get the actual leaves to brew urself! its quite amusing. i go there for the sake of that, but u should have a reservation if u choose to go there. lineups are killer. and the mall its located in, tho its never quite taken off like the richmond malls, is still interesting if u want a mini version of what 'honger' stuff looks like.

i eat out almost on a daily basis for asian foods, so i dont even know what quality is anymore. lol. but i always go to a place across from richmond centre in the mini complex (w/ the staples and td bank).they have a dimsum place there that is pretty good. or if u want really good pho (straying away from chinese now) go to pho hong on waltham and kingsway. seriously, best pho ever! (lack of m.s.g). or good bubbletea and mini hotpots are at welltea (i'd hafta figure out the street address) but its on the street right inbetween lansdowne mall and aberedeen mall. and everyone else has pretty much said it, that alexandra road is food heaven. its ALL FOOD. if u want big hotpot styled food, u can eat at cattle hotpot or chubby lamb. they are located almost right beside each other on alexandra. or sun sui wah (2 locations, either one on fraser or main, and the other is across from landsdowne mall as well) . that place gets really really really good reviews for food. their dimsum is decent but its pricey. but the majority of ppl like that place so there's food for thought.

ok work calls. so i'll edit later!


Edited by foodcrazed (log)

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