Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Vancouvers best looking restaurant


jamiemaw
 Share

Recommended Posts

OK, kids. Many of us have made the circuit of the New in 2004 dining rooms now.

Food and drink aside, which new restaurant do you feel offers the best design?

And because the which isn't as important as the WHY (see Arne's excellent reply below), here's a list of new restaurants of interest that opened in BC last year.

Aprés

Arbutus at the Brentwood Bay Resort

Aqua

Black Tuna

Bouchons (Kelowna)

BravoBistro

Brown’s

Cactus Club Café (Park Royal)

Cassis Bistro, Tapas & Lounge

Chambar

Clove

Coast

Culinaria

Dan

Dundarave Fish Market & Restaurant

Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar

at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler

Go Fish!

Gyu Japanese Teppenyaki

Henry’s Kitchen

Kingston Taphouse & Grille

La Boulangerie (Kelowna)

Libby’s Kitchen

Lift

Memphis Blues (Commercial Drive)

9th Avenue Grill

One Restaurant Lounge

Pacific Crab Co.

Pair Bistro

Rangoli

Relish

River Rock Casino Resort –

(Lulu Lounge, Sports Bar & Grill and Runway 26)

Sejuiced

Sequoia Grill

Shiru-Bay Chopstick Café

Tamarind

Toshi Sushi

Vintropolis Wine Bar & Bistro

Wilson’s Steak House

Yuji Tapas

Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine

Edited by jamiemaw (log)

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From a designer's POV, I really like what they've done with Chambar. 2 very distinct room style that blend well with each other. I've dined on either side of the "tunnel", and like each for different reasons. The dining room in particular with its amazing baquette and cathedral windows is stunning.

My only comment is more of a trend in restaurant design than it is a fault with Chambar. The continued use of hard surfaces makes for a lively sounding room. My ears, having suffered way too many evenings being bombarded with Led Zeppelin, Yes and Queen under Senheiser cans, have a rough time hearing even my dining companions sweet utterings over the din.

I'd be very interested to hear how FOH feels about the "tunnel." It seems this could be a difficult room to work.

A.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think it's that much of an issue. I believe that a server needs two things: access to a pass or a line and access to the bar. Chambar appears to have that sorted out (tunnel notwithstanding). The design is the last of the FOH worries, unless it messes with access to mise en place, etc....must also provide a place to hide, a place to smoke.... :biggrin:

I like the easy flow of Coast. The design puts me at ease right away. Nice muted colours. Beautiful black slate (?) flooring. The nakedness of wood throughout turns my crank. Easy-does-it lighting.

Sidebar: Speaking of lighting. First prize IMO should go to Lucy Mae Brown and Fiction. Their fixtures are very unique.

The Dundarave Fish Market has one of the most beautiful tables I've ever had the pleasure of sitting at (upstairs deuce by the window). This is still one of the best kept secrets in Vancouver, IMHO.

Most already know how I feel about the new Cactus Club (me likey). Same aesthetics at play in CC ally Brown's on Lonsdale. Laid back, modern design. (Derek Archer rumoured to be opening another Brown's, this time in Yaletown).

One Restaurant Lounge is a pretty swank set up design-wise. Plenty space. Soaring ceilings. More stunning empty than packed! :wink:

Lift is pretty cool lookin', too...but far smaller than I thought it would be.

From the pictures I've just recently seen of Ch'i...I think it might deserve to be on the list for 2005.

Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sidebar: Speaking of lighting. First prize IMO should go to Lucy Mae Brown and Fiction. Their fixtures are very unique.

:wub:

I wish I could take all the credit for those, and thank you for noticing.

Oddly enough, when my lighting deadline hit, I'd found nothing and remember stumbling across some art students who'd done some fun lighting. I took a chance on them and it paid off.

Propellor Design has since produced lighting for lucy mae, fiction, and my house, and were featured in Wallpaper* mag for it. I just wish I could keep them as my own personal secret!

Owner

Winebar @ Fiction

Lucy Mae Brown

Century - modern latin -

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had lunch at the West Vanc. Cactus Club today. Interesting room. It looks like they hired the former Human Resources Manager from Earl's.

The bathrooms- very nice. Had to take Matthew a couple of times and he did the full tour of every appliance. This kid's "Y" chromosone is spelled "WHY". Very cool bathrooms indeed. I am assuming the ladies is the same sans urinal. I have seen it mentioned here before but now that I have seen it for myself, it is very special.

Perhaps a sub - design catagory ? Best Biffy ?

Neil Wyles

Hamilton Street Grill

www.hamiltonstreetgrill.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aprés - Never open?

Arbutus at the Brentwood Bay Resort

Aqua

Black Tuna

Bouchons (Kelowna)

BravoBistro - Blahhhhh

Brown’s

Cactus Club Café (Park Royal)

Cassis Bistro, Tapas & Lounge - Looks run down and shabby

Chambar - Love the room, nothing like it in Vancouver. Lots of unique design elements.

Clove

Coast - Hated the open kitchen, it's like a scar across the room. They should have left it sleek with the kitchen totally hidden. That way the cooking table would be the only place peoples eyes would travel, now you don't even notice it.

Culinaria - Cafeteria looking

Dan

Dundarave Fish Market & Restaurant

Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar - Gorgeous when full, are you in a lobby? when empty

at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler

Go Fish! Best Concession I've ever seen

Gyu Japanese Teppenyaki - Wow, that wood. Love the private rooms. Did you see the bathrooms sinks, gorgeous!

Henry’s Kitchen

Kingston Taphouse & Grille

La Boulangerie (Kelowna)

Libby’s Kitchen

Lift - Boy, those waiters are going to get their exercise. Love some parts, hate other parts.

Memphis Blues (Commercial Drive)

9th Avenue Grill

One Restaurant Lounge - Gorgeous room, masculine. Need a central something....

Pacific Crab Co.

Pair Bistro

Rangoli - Love the food, hate the teeny weeny tables and teeny weeny chairs

Relish

River Rock Casino Resort –

(Lulu Lounge, Sports Bar & Grill and Runway 26)

Sejuiced - Wheel chair ramp is a nice touch

Sequoia Grill - the left side (as you face the restaurant) What a beautiful room, the far right side (used to called the atrium) what a shame some designer ruined it!

Shiru-Bay Chopstick Café

Tamarind - Cheap and cheerful, comfy Indian decor

Toshi Sushi

Vintropolis Wine Bar & Bistro

Wilson’s Steak House

Yuji Tapas

Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From a designer's POV, I really like what they've done with Chambar.  2 very distinct room style that blend well with each other.  I've dined on either side of the "tunnel", and like each for different reasons.  The dining room in particular with its amazing baquette and cathedral windows is stunning.

My only comment is more of a trend in restaurant design than it is a fault with Chambar.  The continued use of hard surfaces makes for a lively sounding room.  My ears, having suffered way too many evenings being bombarded with Led Zeppelin, Yes and Queen under Senheiser cans, have a rough time hearing even my dining companions sweet utterings over the din.

I'd be very interested to hear how FOH feels about the "tunnel."  It seems this could be a difficult room to work.

A.

That's funny, we were there last friday and my boyfriend was having a hard time hearing me, too...also having slightly compromised hearing (for the same reasons). We were in the "tunnel" in the two-seater against the striped clad wall. (Really love that funky chandelier over the dining table!) I do love a lively restaurant but sometimes some noise reduction is in order. Maybe draped fabric on the walls would help in areas.

Anyway, Chambar, so far wins for design and feel for me. Really comfortable and warm. Great lighting, albeit a little dark to see the food, but necessary for that "gemutlich" feeling.

bimbojones
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Aprés - Never open?

Arbutus at the Brentwood Bay Resort

Aqua

Black Tuna

Bouchons (Kelowna)

BravoBistro - Blahhhhh

Brown’s

Cactus Club Café (Park Royal)

Cassis Bistro, Tapas & Lounge - Looks run down and shabby

Chambar - Love the room, nothing like it in Vancouver. Lots of unique design elements.

Clove

Coast - Hated the open kitchen, it's like a scar across the room. They should have left it sleek with the kitchen totally hidden. That way the cooking table would be the only place peoples eyes would travel, now you don't even notice it.

Culinaria - Cafeteria looking

Dan

Dundarave Fish Market & Restaurant

Fifty Two 80 Bistro and Bar - Gorgeous when full, are you in a lobby? when empty

at the Four Seasons Resort Whistler

Go Fish! Best Concession I've ever seen

Gyu Japanese Teppenyaki - Wow, that wood. Love the private rooms. Did you see the bathrooms sinks, gorgeous!

Henry’s Kitchen

Kingston Taphouse & Grille

La Boulangerie (Kelowna)

Libby’s Kitchen

Lift - Boy, those waiters are going to get their exercise. Love some parts, hate other parts.

Memphis Blues (Commercial Drive) - Dirty!

9th Avenue Grill

One Restaurant Lounge - Gorgeous room, masculine. Need a central something....

Pacific Crab Co.

Pair Bistro

Rangoli - Love the food, hate the teeny weeny tables and teeny weeny chairs

Relish

River Rock Casino Resort – Smelled like smoke, looked like a Moxie's

(Lulu Lounge, Sports Bar & Grill and Runway 26)

Sejuiced - Wheel chair ramp is a nice touch

Sequoia Grill - the left side (as you face the restaurant) What a beautiful room, the far right side (used to called the atrium) what a shame some designer ruined it! 

Shiru-Bay Chopstick Café

Tamarind - Cheap and cheerful, comfy Indian decor

Toshi Sushi

Vintropolis Wine Bar & Bistro

Wilson’s Steak House New visits - Wilsons - (Painfully empty!) Cookie cutter, lots of wasted space,plastic

Yuji Tapas

Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

What is Vancouver's best restaurant interior? I was watching Opening Soon last night of Food, and the programme was about Marcus Samuelsons new joint in Philly, partnered with a local restaurant impresario who has opened ten spots in Phillidelphia, including Morimoto (of Iron Chef fame). All of this gentlemans projects were miles ahead of the design of any local restarant I could think of. What is Vancouvers best designed restaurant? And why does beige factor so heavily in our high end locales? (Think Coast, Lumiere, C.)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is Vancouver's best restaurant interior?

I actually quite dislike Lumiere's interior (although it does not affect the taste in my mouth). The bar is gorgeous, but the main dining room is cramped, can't seem to figure out if it wants natural light or not, and that architectural piece (silvery curtain thing dividing the room) in the middle makes me feel like I'm about to have a seizure. That said, I haven't been since they re-opened so this comment may be completely irrelevant.

I think the question is highly subjective. Standards certainly get set by the high end spots, everybody tries to follow their lead. And it is the aesthetic of whomever is designing these places that determines the de facto style. That style won't fit everybodies preferences. It doesn't so much fit mine. But when dining, I think that if you're going to evaluate a place you have to fit your parameters to the style of the place. For instance, it's not fair to judge Lumiere poorly by saying "it doesn't feel homey." It wasn't trying to be, nor should it be. A restaurant that is somewhat in its class which should feel homey is La Regalade. I think it succeeds admirably, except for the two waiting barstools right beside the grey water, possibly a poor design decision, but maybe it does add to the hominess!

Before I get to my choice, I would like to make a comment about Tojos. What is with those head shots all over the dining area. It just bugs me. It feels like a roadside diner.

Ok, my choice, Wabi Sabi. I was recently extolling the virtues of this places food to a few eGrs, and now I can talk about the space. It really is beautifull. Serene, and cozy, nice accents, a good layout, enough seperation between the bar and the dining area, but not too much that you can't see the chefs. For the type/quality/atmosphere they are going for I think this is a beautiful restaurant.

I would like to give a nod to The Beach House in Ambleside. While some may feel the bar doesn't fit the restaurant (with the TV's I mean), it is well seperated and not interfering with the diners. The nice thing about the Beach House is it's big, but doesn't feel big. The multi-level design is quite nice. And I love the use of wood. Of course they have the best patio in Vancouver to boot, and their washrooms are beautifull too.

It's a good question Keith, and I'm very interested to hear the responses of others who have visited more spots than I.

Mark.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

who has opened ten spots in Phillidelphia

That's Stephen Starr...I lived in Philly for a few years and his restaurants look amazing...pretty damn good food too. Buddakan was a real treat...there is a HUGE Buddha statue overlooking a bunch of tables on the lower floor...there is a swirling staircase that takes you up to the 2nd floor...pretty amazing stuff.... www.buddakan.com

As for Vancouver restaurants that look good, the back room at Chambar is pretty cool. I'm not sure why Vancouver is so lagging in style...alot could be learned from Philly's dining scene actually. There are many restaurants there that would do very well if duplicated here. Jones for instance...it's very cool and has great food, but you don't have to pay through the nose for it!

Philly's dining scene is really underrated actually....totally blows Vancouver out of the water.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm guessing that Philly's scene has improved drastically in the 10 years since I left...La Truffe was one of the "best" then and I have seldom been so unimpressed with a "good" restaurant. I did enjoy Le Bec-Fin. I left when the Striped Bass phenomenon was happening...and have not eaten in a Stephen Starr resto, preferring substance over style and trendy people any day, which I understand was what Striped Bass was like, then: good food, but very loud and flashy. (I avoid loud and flashy here in Vancouver, too.)

When people try to compare Vancouver to cities like Philadelphia, I have to look at relative populations (I think we're at maybe 25% of Phila's population? maybe less, if you include the Main Line and other suburbanites who dine in the city), so obviously there's going to be a number differential off the bat; and I look at the fact that Philadelphia was founded more than 100 years before Vancouver, and hence has a little more tradition than we do; and then I look at the relative "lifestyles" which I will illustrate with the relative lack of pinstripes and exponentially greater incidence of fleece we have here. :wink:

I'm not expressing myself well, but I don't think it's a fair comparison.

ETA: I would say many of our restaurants rely on the scenery, rather than the decor.

Edited by *Deborah* (log)

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I agree with the whole scenery instead of interior style theory. The only problem is you can only look at the boring assed mountains so many times before you're completely and utterly tired of them.

And thanks Wylman, the organisation is Starr Restaurants (BEWARE - Hyper irritating flash site. The man might be a great designer, but he's total crap at the web.) I didn't look at any menus, the pages were too frusterating to try.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Anytime I go to Earl's, I really enjoy taking in my surroundings. Doesn't seem to matter which Earl's I go to either.

In all seriousness, well I was serious above, but for what you're all looking for, I do like Fiction a lot. Lighting is great, the bar is gorgeous.

And the back room at Chambar has a good vibe, but is too "open" - as in, since everyone is looking out the window, unless you're in a booth pretty much everyone is looking at you.

And just to toss some controversy in (perhaps), I actually like the burning red effect of Feenie's. I think it's bold, which makes up for the otherwise insipid view of Broadway / White Spot / KFC.

Edited by BCinBC (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That's Stephen Starr...I lived in Philly for a few years and his restaurants look amazing...pretty damn good food too. Buddakan was a real treat...there is a HUGE Buddha statue overlooking a bunch of tables on the lower floor.... www.buddakan.com

The Buddha statue thing would never fly in Vancouver because frankly it is a little offensive to most buddists and asians. To serve meat in what should be a sacred space is a little like having a big star of david sitting over a baby back ribs joint. I noticed this trend with the big Buddha I guess starting out with the Buddha bar in Paris (I think) I hope that the trend dies down. It reminds me of the time that I saw a designer stick little pieces of paper with gold leaf squares onto a room divider that she found in chinatown on one of those home improvement shows on TV. Those little pieces of paper are offerings that you burn at funerals for your ancestors - so using them as decoration is more then a little culturally illiterate.

That being said - I do wish that there were more 'grown up' places in Vancouver. I think the lack of well decorated places is a result of alot of people being immediately suspicious / intimidated by a dramatic space. For example - on the retail side I know alot of people who are afraid of going into Richard Kidd on Water St - a big soaring glass enclosed space which would be perfect for a restaurant. Why - for goodness sakes - its just a store.

For me Chambar and Lift do a good job. Though for some reason - Lift's upstairs area is so poorly lit - it is almost pitch black at night and seems to rely soley on tea candles for lighting. The Feenie's bar area with it's cocoon-like walls always feels more oppressive to me rather than cozy.

The CFD places seem to do a good (if generic) job of things too. The Earl's on Robson has a circle of booths surrounding the central bar area - for some reason the booths are almost always occupied by guys (insert your Earl's HR practices joke here).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok, my choice, Wabi Sabi.  I was recently extolling the virtues of this places food to a few eGrs, and now I can talk about the space.  It really is beautifull.  Serene, and cozy, nice accents, a good layout, enough seperation between the bar and the dining area, but not too much that you can't see the chefs.  For the type/quality/atmosphere they are going for I think this is a beautiful restaurant.

I love the room at Wabi Sabi for the same reasons. :smile:

It can be quite a romantic restaurant--there is enough privacy for each table, and the lighting is dimmed.

Edited by Ling (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

rangoli and vij's are great rooms. i think the designer's name is bricault. If I won a lottery i would hire him to do a extreme makeover of my house. Has he designed any other restaurants?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...