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Visiting Vancouver: Where to Dine? (merged)


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Parkside has morphed into L'Altro Buca, Gastropod is now Maenam and Val d'Isere in Whistler has been closed for years.

Thanks, George -- I did that post in kind of a hurry, compiling from a bunch of sources. I should have edited better, cuz I knew about LAB and G'pod (though not VDI).

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To add to that list..

For a lovely morning/early afternoon (awesome) coffee and snack, Uva. Open 7 - 2. Then they open back up at 5:30 as a wine bar.

Campagnolo for inexpensive delicious casual Italian. On Wednesdays, they do market specials as there's a farmer's market close by that day. The restaurant has a dining room up front and a wine bar in the back.


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Though an evening is enjoyable at Campagnolo, the bill can move up pretty quickly. It's not nearly as cheap and cheerful as it would seem. But still, it's a nice evening out, great room and well run service. I'd stay away from the pizza.

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  • 3 weeks later...
SS.  Have you come and gone?  What did you decide?

Yes. My girlfriend and I went to Vancouver, and just returned last week. Generally, I would say that we ate pretty well. We went to a combination of restaurants that were higher end places, and more local, ethnic places. I've included ratings below -- ratings are only relative to other similar places (i.e. hot dog places or thai places or very high end/splurge places, etc,), so take them for what you will -- they are primarily indicative of the level of enjoyment I got from eating there. I appologize in advance for ommitting details regarding the particular dishes we ordered. Places that we went to included:

1) Japadog - Went for late lunch snack while walking around town. I liked this place a lot. Good quality sausage and interesting toppings. Had the Oroshi and a Kurobata Terimayo. 8/10.

2) Guu w/ Garlic - Went for lunch. Very limited lunch menu. Had Kobe Beef rice bowl dish, whcih was interesting, flavorful and well prepared. Kind of like a hamburger with a fried egg on top, with rice, and various toppings. 6/10.

3) Boneta - Went for dinner. Interesting dishes, fairly complex preparations. Started with the Bison Carpaccio and Gravlax, both of which were very good. Then moved onto Wild Salmon and Lamb Shank Dishes. Only the salmon dish is still on the menu at this point, from what I saw on the website. Ingredients were nicely prepared, enjoyable, and really nothing wrong with it, but neither of us were wowed. 6/10.

4) Ajisai - Went for lunch. Sushi is arguably my favoriate thing to eat, and this place was Great. I had the standard dinner 8 piece selection, and augmented with 4 special pieces of the day. Compared quite favorably to places costing 3x as much in New York. 9/10.

5) Vij - Went for dinner. I love indian food, and go for it with some regularity, including nicer places in NYC. I have never had food like this. Both my girlfriend and I loved it. If you go here, make sure to get a dish involving with grilled Kale. 8/10.

6) Phnom Penh - Went for Dinner. Again, I love vietnamese food (what food don't I love?). This place was superb. The wings were easily the best wings that i have ever had, with not even a close second (2nd best - Wings from a Korean Fried Chicken Place - UFC - in Queens). Other food was also fantastic (crepe, rice noodle dumplings w/ meat roll). 10/10.

7) Fuel. Went here and had the 5 course tasting menu. The chef actually gave my girlfriend and I two completely different set of courses - nothing repeated - which was a really thoughtful thing to do. We had a lot of food, I did not take notes. I liked the food here a lot, well prepared, interesting, and the best of the higher end dinners we had - by a lot. Quality of the ingredients really shined through, from meats to fishes, to strawberries at dessert. Only problem is that the portions were huge!!!!! I purposefully ate a really light lunch, and scheduled a late dinner, and yet, we could only manage to eat about 4.5 of the 5 courses (leaving over half of the second to last dish). 9/10.

8) Pho Hoang. Went here for lunch. Place was good, though not great. We each had Bun, and though the menu promised grilled beef, it was actually more of a sauteed beef, which was unexpected, and not as good. Spring rolls, while tasty, were incredibly greasy. 4/10.

9) Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant. Went here for dim sum lunch. Far superior than anything available in New York (that i've tried). Simply awesome. Had a variety of dishes which I am not recalling right now, but heavy on different types of dumplings. Wait for table was 30 minutes. 9/10.

10) C Restaurant. Went here for splurge dinner. I liked the ambience and service here a lot. Food was another issue. While quality of ingredients were very high, and dishes were interesting, the overall outcome missed the mark. I ordered the potato crusted scallops. Scallops were nicely cooked. Only problem is that they weren't seared -- rather, the potato crust was seared. The crust, which was overcooked (giving it a slightly acrid taste), fell off fairly easily, leaving a scallop, which was in effect, took on a baked kind of taste (not good if you are a fan of scallops). My girlfriend ordered the lobster special, which while interesting, was slightly overcooked - enough to be noticeable, but not enough to really do anything about. For apps, we had the grilled sardines, and the smoked trout salad. Both were good, but did not have any sort of wow factor. I personally would not go back to this place. We thought our dinner at Fuel was far superior, and at a more reasonable cost. Interestingly enough, one of the dishes at Fuel was a seared scallop dish that also involved Potatos. I enjoyed this dish far more due to the fact that the scallops themselves had been expertly seared rather than the potato -- something my girlfriend agreed with. 5/10 (this rating is relative to a comparably priced restaurant).

11) Dix BBQ - went here to check out the brewery and have dinner. Food here is definitely an afterthought, as it was barely passable. The dish of fried ribs was positively horrible. Then again, beer was OK, and free pool was nice. 2/10.

12) Toshi Sushi - Went here for dinner. Thought it was good, though not great. prices were good. 5/10.

13) Campagnolo - Went here for dinner. We liked this place a lot. Good, simple, rustic preparations using high quality ingredients. I would recommend this place to anyone visiting Vancouver, though the area is somewhat sketchy. 8/10.

14) Kirin - Dim Sum. Wait was horrendous. Make a reservation. Food was amazing though. I didn't think it could get better than Sun Sui Wah -- but this place was better (by a hair). I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients, generous portions. Interesting flavors. 10/10.

I'll try to refine the descriptions a bit further when I have some more time. Thanks to everyone for their advice.


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Good to hear that you enoyed your visit and that you generally dined well. Your assessments are pretty bang on. I would say you selected a great cross section of Vancouver dining.

Vancouver generally excels at Asian cuisine, and in particular, Chinese food. Your dim sum experience echo's what other out of town visitors have said.

Pho Huang is pretty awful. Guu is best for dinner (I've found that Japanese places generally have very limited lunch menus).

C Restaurant is quite ambitious. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

Edited by Hestia (log)
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Congratulations, you covered a very representative sampling of the Vancouver dining scene, minus the New York clones (DB and Market). For your next trip, I would strongly recommend (1) La Quercia, a very promising and relatively new Italian bistro and (2) a lunch or two at one of the Shanghai restaurants that now are so popular in the Chinese community(e.g. Chen's in Richmond).

Pending David Hawksworth's return to the market (not until 2010 at the earliest, it seems), I think that Fuel is probably as good as it gets on the high end (again not counting places run by chefs from elsewhere). Finally, if you liked VJ's and are ever in Houston, try Indika. Very similar awesome, modern Indian food -- but without the long wait.

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