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Kentan

Vancouver dining circa 1992

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The other day in a used bookstore I came across a copy of "Vancouver & Surroundings", published by Insight Guides in 1993. They are still publishing guidebooks, with the latest Vancouver version here.

I was curious to see what their restaurant recommendations were back then, and also how many restaurants were still open 18 years later. The list is below, taken verbatim from the book, with my comments in bold.

Well, out of 63 restaurants they recommended, 28 are still around. That's a 44% survival rate. It's actually higher than I thought it would be, although quite a few of the restaurants are 'destination' or 'tourist' spots, rather than neighbourhood restaurants.

For anyone who was in the restaurant scene back then - do you think their choices were the best of the best in Vancouver? Or were these the 'safe' choices? What did they miss?

“You can sample food from almost every country in Vancouver, and many of the chefs are internationally experienced. Here are a few restaurants, chosen for their popularity, reputation, or interesting fare. Restaurants are rated Expensive (over $30); Moderate ($15-30) and Inexpensive ($15 or less), excluding alcohol and tips.”

Vancouver area – still open in 2010

Revolving restaurants or those with a view

• Cloud 9 – 1400 Robson Street (42nd floor of the Sheraton Landmark Hotel)

• Top of Vancouver – 555 W Hastings – Dining atop the Harbour Centre. Seafood and Sunday buffet.

• Grouse Nest Dining (now Grouse Nest Restaurant) – 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver. Elegant dining atop Grouse Mountain.

Outdoor Dining

• Athene’s – 3618 W Broadway

Seafood Restaurants

(Will be closing March 27 2010) The Cannery – 2205 Commissioner Street – Cosy, with a harbour view.

• Joe Fortes Seafood House – San Francisco-style seafood grill.

• Salmon House on the Hill – 2229 Folkstone Way, West Vancouver – Excellent seafood; panoramic view of the city.

Dining in the Park

• The Prospect Point Café – Prospect Point, Stanley Park - Romantic Harbour View. Dine on the deck in nice weather.

• The Teahouse Restaurant – Ferguson Point, Stanley Park – Quiet dining in the park.

• Seasons in the Park – Cambie Street at 33rd Avenue – Fine dining in Queen Elizabeth Park.

Gastown

• The Old Spaghetti Factory – 53 Water St. – Informal, turn-of-the-century atmosphere. Family oriented.

Asian restaurants

Chinese

• Szechuan Chongqing – 2495 Victoria Drive – Inexpensive Szechuan-style food. (Moved to 2808 Commercial Drive)

Japanese

• Kobe Japanese Steak House – 1042 Alberni St – Hibachi-style cooking.

• Tsunami Sushi – 1025 Robson St – Vancouver’s largest sushi bar. Informal.

Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian

• Thai House Restaurant – 1119 Robson St; 1766 W 7th Ave; 4940 No. 3 Rd Richmond. Bangkok trained chefs. Inexpensive. (Moved to 1116 Robson)

• Phnom Penh Restaurant – 244 E Georgia St – Real Vietnamese atmosphere.

• Seoul House – 36 E Broadway; – Japanese and Korean food; tatami rooms. (Moved to 1215 W Broadway - Former location now Choon Ha Choo Dong)

• Pho Hoang – 3610 Main St; – Authentic Cambodian food. (Moved to 3388 Main St – Former location now Chef Claire’s)

• The Mongolie Grill – 467 W Broadway – Mongolian barbecue; food priced by weight.

French

• The Hermitage Restaurant – 1025 Robson St – Lovely outdoor patio.

Greek

• Acropol – 2946 W Broadway – Authentic Greek food. Live bouzouki music, singers and lots of dancing.

• Vassilis Souvlaki Greek Taverna – 6558 Kingsway, Burnaby. For atmosphere this has to be one of the best Greek tavernas in town. It has an excellent selection of well prepared food.

Native Indian

• The Tomahawk Barbecue – 1550 Philip Ave, North Vancouver – Family restaurant. Yukon-style breakfasts in a unique native Indian setting.

Italian

• Arriva Ristorante Italiano – 1537 Commercial Drive – Authentic Italian food

• Bacchus Bar and Ristorante (Now called Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge) – 845 Hornby St – Romantic European setting.

• La Piazza Ristorante – 3075 Slocan St (at the Italian Cultural Centre) – Authentic Italian cuisine.

Vegetarian Restaurants

• Bodhi Vegetarian Restaurant – 337 E Hastings (Moved to 3932 Fraser St – Former location now Flowers Café)– Casual. Buddhist vegetarian food.

• The Naam Restaurant – 2724 W 4th Ave – Established popular vegetarian restaurant with a varied, inexpensive menu. Live music at lunch and dinner.

• Greens & Gourmet – 2681 W Broadway (Moved to 2582 W Broadway – Former location now Bikram’s Yoga) – Salad bar and hot buffet. Delicious breakfasts. International menu.

Vancouver area – ***CLOSED***

Revolving restaurants or those with a view

• The Roof Restaurant and Lounge – 900 W Georgia – In the Hotel Vancouver. Formal Dining.

Outdoor Dining

• Aca Joe’s Grill – 398 Kingsway – A California-style party restaurant. Informal and inexpensive.

(Hotel Closed in Sept 2004, building since torn down) Park Royal Hotel, Tudor Room – 540 Clyde Avenue, West Vancouver – Luxury Inn.

• Fiesta Mexicana Restaurant – 1200 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver.

Seafood Restaurants

• The Boathouse – 566 Cardero Street – Coal Harbour next to the Bayshore

• Jonathan’s Seafood House – 1333 Johnston Street, Granville Island. Dine at the harbour and go for an after-dinner cruise.

Dining in the Park

(Renamed The Fish House in Stanley Park) The Beach House – Stanley Park, foot of Beach Avenue – Elegant dining in an old beach house.

Late Night Dining

• (Now Pulse Nightclub) Fresgo Inn – 1138 Davie St – Large servings at reasonable prices. Monday – Saturday 8am-3am. Sundays and Holidays 9am – midnight.

• (Now Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.) The Bread Garden – 1880 W 1st Avenue; 812 Bute St. Deli food, good breakfasts, muffins and cakes. Open 24 hours.

Gastown

(Same building as Guu with Otokomae) The Landing Restaurant – 375 Water St. – Harbour view. European cuisine.

West End

(Now the Boathouse) English Bay Café – 1795 Beach Avenue – Dine on the Bay. Excellent food, good reputation.

(Building now empty) Hy’s Mansion – 1523 Davie Street – Dine in an elegant old West End mansion.

(Now the soon-to-be-torn-down Maxine’s) Fogg ‘n Sudds – 1215 Bidwell Street, English Bay

(Location now the consulate of Indonesia) The Raintree – 1630 Alberni Street. Northwest Coast regional food.

Granville Island / False Creek

(Now the Sandbar) Mulvaney’s – 9 Creek House, Johnston Street – Cajun-style food.

(Currently which restaurant? Stonegrill?) Anderson’s Dining on the Creek – Granville Seawalk North (under the Granville Street Bridge) – Waterfront view.

(Now Dockside Restaurant) Pelican Bay – 1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island – Outdoor patio.

(Now C Restaurant) Café Splash – 1600 Howe St – Waterfront dining

Kitsilano / Fourth Avenue

(Now Q4) Angelica the Restaurant – 2611 W 4th Avenue – West coast cooking.

(Now Limelight Video) The Alma Street Café – 2505 Alma Street – Informal; live jazz Wed-Sat evenings.

(Site has been redeveloped) Soft Rock Café – 1925 W 4th Avenue – Dinner theatre; live jazz Sunday.

(Now Chivana) The Rattle Snake Grill – 2340 W 4th Avenue – Jazz and blues nightly. Rattlesnake actually served here.

Asian restaurants

Chinese

(Closed due to fire) Pink Pearl Chinese Seafood – 1132 E Hastings. Dim sum; Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine.

(Space no longer a restaurant) Ming’s restaurant – 147 E Pender St – Excellent dim sum served 10am-2pm.

(Now p2b Bistro & Bar) Dynasty – 1133 W Hastings St (at New World Harbourside). Fine dining.

Japanese

• Japanese Deli House – 381 Powell St – Inexpensive sushi in old Japantown.

Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian

(Now Bistro Pastis) Malinee’s Thai Food – 2153 W 4th Ave – Excellent, authentic Thai food.

(Now Kanpachi) Tea and Silk – 455 W Broadway - A fusion of East/West with traditional food from Asian countries.

French

(Former Irish Heather location) Chez Denis – 217 Carrall Street, Gastown. Superb cuisine and live jazz/blues.

(No more railcar!) The Railcar Restaurant – 106 Carrall Street, Gastown. Dine in an antique railcar.

Greek

(Now Presto Cucina) Romio’s Greek Taverna – 2272 W 4th Avenue – Excellent feta cheese omelettes. A good place to have lunch.

Native Indian

• Quilicum Westcoast Indian Restaurant – 1724 Davie St – Experience a native west coast potlatch feast.

Italian

(Now a clothing store) Settebello Ristorante – 1131 Robson St – Outdoor patio.

Vegetarian Restaurants

• Capers – 2496 Marine Drive – A natural food store/restaurant with organic produce and baked goods


健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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Interesting, thanks for the report. I'm not in the resto biz but I worked in the city for some of '92 and all of '93 and haven't been back since, not by choice. Consequently, I have strong and nostalgic memories of eating out around that time. I lived at Nelson & Butte and hung out at The Doll & Penny on Davie and The Railway Club upstairs somewhere downtown -- are they still open?

Umberto's was a big deal, I liked the man, the restaurant and the book. No surprise Hy’s Mansion went tits up, didn't eat there but it always struck me as both aloof and desperate. I liked that gimmicky martini joint in the west end, had a woman's name. Quilicum was a flight below street level, no? I would've embraced all that First Nations food if it wasn't dumb-silly expensive. Loved the Grouse Nest after the big hike up, before the cable car back down. Pink Pearl was our go-to dim sum place, hope nobody got hurt in that fire. Recall nice food at the Pan Pacific along with the view. White Spot? Elbow Room?

Ah, the memories. Nineteen years later the place has likely been taken over by whiz kids in diapers!


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Dynesty was run by the New World Hotel group from Hong Kong - and it was truly spectacular. I don't think there has been a place in Vancouver since that has matched the same level of service, decor and quality.

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I lived at Nelson & Butte and hung out at The Doll & Penny on Davie and The Railway Club upstairs somewhere downtown -- are they

The Railway Club is alive and kicking - an institution in Vancouver. Membership is $10/annum, so nice and light on the wallet.

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I liked that gimmicky martini joint in the west end, had a woman's name.

Delilah's?

I loved Dynasty. Going back even before that, I can remember going to Ming's in the 70s when I was 3 or 4 for Dim Sum.

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I lived at Nelson & Butte and hung out at The Doll & Penny on Davie and The Railway Club upstairs somewhere downtown -- are they still open?

Umberto's was a big deal, I liked the man, the restaurant and the book.

White Spot? Elbow Room?

Thanks for sharing Peter! Doll & Penny's has been closed for a while now. The Railway Club is still one of the best places for a drink in the city. It hasn't changed a bit.

Elbow Room is still going strong but has moved to Davie St.

White Spot is still around but it's become like any other family restaurant. Better burgers can now be found at Vera's, Splitz, and Moderne Burger.


健啖家(kentan-ka):A hearty eater

He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

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I lived at Nelson & Butte and hung out at The Doll & Penny on Davie and The Railway Club upstairs somewhere downtown -- are they

The Railway Club is alive and kicking - an institution in Vancouver. Membership is $10/annum, so nice and light on the wallet.

Good to know, I plan on getting back to Vancouver one of these days after all this Olympic fuss dies down. I don't recall actually eating anything at the Railway Club, just good beer on tap and Sook-Yin Lee's band.


Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I think a lot of those were safe choices, but it is hard to remember back that far with much accuracy.

Le Crocodile around that time was still on Thurlow I think. Was Cherrystone Cove still around then? That was a great restaurant. Angelica was good, I think that was Mark Potovsky post-Cherrystone Cove, but didn't last long. Rob Feenie worked for Potovsky at Cherrystone Cove and also at Le Crocodile.


Cheers,

Anne

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