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March trip to Van


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I'm planning a trip to Vancouver at the end of March. I'm coming in from Toronto and expect to be there maybe a week, week and a half. I have a few ideas on places to eat but would like some feedback or additional suggestions. So far I have:

lunchish:

-a friend visited a really famous, really really good ramen place in Van but doesn't remember the name. Does Kintaro fit this description? Could it possibly be another place?

-Kirin (Cambie location) for dim sum

-Fratelli bakery?

dinner:

-Lumiere or (and??) Feenie's

-Tojo's

-Sun Sui Wah (Richmond location)

-Guu (not Guu with Garlic)

-I heard about an all-you-can-eat sashimi place in New West called Top Gun??

other:

-Ganache

-Cheesecake Etc.??

-gelato of some sort?

are there any suggestions on what days of the week to hit these? I've also heard that Tojo's might be currently closed for renovations, does anyone have any more info about this? Would anything on the dinner list fit well/better on the lunch list? Are there any "genres" I'm blatantly missing? Suggestions for other stuff to do while I'm there (currently I'd like to check out UBC, SFU, Stanley Park, Lonsdale Quay)?

any advice is appreciated. Many thanks.

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wow, looks like you've got a lot of money to throw around :biggrin: don't waste it on all-you-can-eat anything. those places are dime-a-dozen here, and hardly ever match the quality of even mid-range authentic Japanese restaurants.

i've had great quality sushi meals at Shiro on Cambie near 14th, Ajisai in Kerrisdale, Toshi's on Main near 16th, so those are definitely recommended if Tojo's is closed. they'll be a lot lighter on the wallet as well :raz:

Kintaro Ramen on Denman is also worth a shot. Very good as far as Vancouver standards go.

And i've had great experiences at Guu, so definitely give that a shot as well! however, don't go to Guu during lunch...they don't do the izakaya-style stuff at lunch (only set lunches) and the last time i tried it, it was disappointing... dinner's much better.

will this be your first time in Vancouver? i daydream about the jamaican food i had the first time i went to Toronto...

album of the moment: Kelley Polar - I Need You To Hold On While The Sky Is Falling - 2008
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Consider Thomas Haas in place of Fratelli Bakery and Cheesecake Etc.

Kintaro Ramen is quite good and their soup is on a par with some of my favorite ramen places in Tokyo, not just by Vancouver standards. (Ramen choice is very personal, however.)

I'd also skip all-you-can-eat. Maybe you can pick up some ideas for Chinese from the Chinese food thread. Perhaps throw in a lunch of pho and bahn mi?

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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mangez -- thanks for the info. I assume when you say "new location" that Tojo's moved, not that they opened a new branch?

sanrensho -- the all-you-can-eat was just a thought for if Tojo's wasn't open. I'll check out the Chinese food thread but probably won't dedicate more than 1 or 2 meals to it -- options are good here back in Toronto. Same goes for banh mi. Pho~ would be a possible lunch option.

thanks for the advice so far.

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Yep, Tojo's has moved - it's not a 2nd location. I'll 3rd the suggestion about skipping all-you-can-eat. However, I'd like to recommend Yuji's on West 4th Avenue, in Vancouver. Better quality than Guu, and not too expensive either. My mouth is starting to water as I think about their grilled beef tongue. (sidebar: my friend ordered the grilled beef tongue at Guu last week, and said it was very chewy. Yuji's is WAY better).

Cheesecake Etc. isn't worth it. I had a really good cheesecake at Beyond Restaurant & Lounge (Century Plaza) that was made with Saltspring Island goat cheese. It was light (and I don't normally like light cheesecake) and you could just taste the lingering goat cheese. If you like hot chocolate, check out Chocoatl in Yaletown. Yaletown Gelato is worth checking out as well (it's only a few storefronts away from Ganache Patisserie).

For Chinese dinner, you might want to check out Sea Harbour (No. 3 Road, Richmond), Jade (Alexandra Road, Richmond), or Gingeri (at Lansdowne Mall, Richmond).

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If I can throw in my 2 cents, I would recommend Rare, Parkside and Aurora. All three are representative are what Vancouver does well.

Kirin is good- you really should try to fit in some Chinese- Richmond Chinese food is truly outstanding.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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thanks to everyone for the replies. I am still following this thread closely and noting all suggestions.

annanstee -- Kirin is a definite yes and I will be having at least 1 Chinese dinner in Richmond in addition to that.

all-you-can-eat and Cheesecake Factory are off my list.

any suggestions for a Sunday morning brunch or lunch? Downtown is preferable but hardly a must.

does anyone have a rough price range for omakase at the bar at Tojo's?

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This is where I sulk 'cause Aurora does not do brunch anymore.

Ocean 6 Seventeen is just across the water from downtown ( you can take the little ferries across False Creek). Lovely tiny patio right on the Heather Marina

Feenies does good brunch too- Really depends on what kind of atmosphere you are looking for. Funky? Casual? Formal? Hung Over?

IMHO, the best Vancouver brunch is Dim Sum :smile:

As for Tojos- price will range- if you stop at 5 dishes, I think it is 80, and goes up from there.

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Second, Shiro if Tojo is not available. Not in the same class, but very good QPR and also way better for the pocket.

Second, Kintaro for cheap ramen.

Second Diva @ the Met for dessert.

Lumiere is way over rated, IMHO.

(Feenie for brunch is okay.)

Better bet is West or C.

Parkside is another one that I'd propose.

Sun Sui Wah for dimsum or chinese dinner.

Pear Tree is doing interesting stuff.

Edited by owzer (log)
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I agree that dim sum is the best brunch, but if you want eggs 'n stuff, I have to second Ocean 6 Seventeen. The complimentary basket of homemade scones is worth the trip alone, they are generous with the hollandaise (a key factor for me, at least :raz: ) and the view is lovely.

And Rare, Parkside, Aurora? Gems.

edited for egregious grammar.

Edited by lauraf (log)

Laura Fauman

Vancouver Magazine

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Try Kirin on Cambie & 12th for dimsum (or dinner). A bit more higher priced but excellent food & attentive service.

Shijo for Japanese on W 4th, near Burrard (it's one or 2 streets west I think). Sit at the sushi bar!

Crave on Main St & 26th for Sunday brunch. It's a pretty small space, especially when their patio isn't open for the colder months, and they don't take reservations. Chef is ex Four Seasons. Ohmygosh the crab cake bennies are to die for! Crab cake appetizer at dinner. Yummmmm!

For gelato, definately La Casa Gelato on 1033 Venables Street. They make everything in-house, and over 100 flavors to choose from at any one time. Even crazy flavors like curry, garlic, wasabi, pine mushroom.....

Enjoy your trip!

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thank you for all the enthusiastic replies. I'll post what my current plans are to cut down on duplicate recommendations:

-staying 7 days, downtown

-Kintaro, Kirin, Tojo's are a lock. I appreciate the alternatives presented, but I won't have time for more than one ramen, dim sum, sushi meal.

-Izakaya-style Japanese for sure. Undecided as to which yet.

-Chinese in Richmond for sure, probably just 1 dinner.

-I'm still thinking I'll do Lumiere if only for the "fame" (both the chef, and the restaurant's reputation in Van) factor. I *am* looking closely at the other high-end options suggested here though (Rare / West / etc.), as an addition, not a replacement.

-Ganache and Thomas Haas are in. I'm definitely still noting down all the dessert recommendations.

-Ocean 6 Seventeen looks really, really good...

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Note that Thomas Haas is on the North Shore (near where I work :smile: yay for me), but that his products are available at Senses on Georgia and Howe (downtown) as well.

La Casa does have a million flavours, but I have been disappointed there. Dolce Amore, Amato, or Mondo are better IMHO, if fewer flavours.

Have you chosen a Richmond Chinese place yet? Canucklehead is our resident expert if you need recs.

Dessert- Hamilton Street Grill is justifiably famous for its Gingerbread Pudding.

Edited by annanstee (log)

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Note that Thomas Haas is on the North Shore (near where I work  :smile: yay for me), but that his products are available at Senses on Georgia and Howe (downtown) as well.

Have you chosen a Richmond Chinese place yet? Canucklehead is our resident expert if you need recs.

taking the Seabus (?) across is no big deal. I'm expecting to spend a lot of time on the SkyTrain / B-line / etc. anyway.

I'm leaning towards Sun Sui Wah on a recommendation from someone I know personally. I have yet to get around to reading the thread about Van Chinese, unfortunately.

Edited by Endy' (log)
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If you want to do destination Vancouver then add Vij's.

Missing genre: local sustainable: Aurora Bistro, Rare, Raincity Grill, C, Bishop's

Line up for Forest Fire Ramen at Kintaro on Saturday, the only day you can get it I believe.

Mondo Gelato would be my pick.

Phnom Pehn.

Cheers,

Anne

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Yes, Vij's is great- beware no reso policy. Be prepared for a wait. How many days are you here for again?

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Izakaya: Kitanoya Guu (Gastown; I haven't been to the other two Guus) is fun, loud, inexpensive; Hapa Izakaya is also fun and tends to loud but a little bit more expensive (haven't been in a while); Kingyo on Denman Street is really good food! and a little more expensive than Hapa. I'm happy to eat at any of those :smile:

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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  Suggestions for other stuff to do while I'm there (currently I'd like to check out UBC, SFU, Stanley Park, Lonsdale Quay)?

any advice is appreciated.  Many thanks.

What are your interests?

Granville Island is more interesting than Lonsdale Quay in my opinion and is worth a visit for Oyama Sausage alone. Plus you can build a nice amble around it. Aside from the Public Market there is a micro brewery and an artisan sake brewery, lots of boat stuff, and artisan studios etc. There's cookbooks at Barbara Jo's in the Netloft. You can walk along the seawall to Go Fish for lunch and then another couple of blocks to Patissserie LeBeau for belgian waffles, Barbara Jo's mother store for more cookbooks and Les Amis du Fromage for cheese, cross Burrard and walk back to the seawall, have a drink at Watermark (don't bother with the food) walk back along the seawall to the Maritime Museum and the Vancouver Museum, (interesting show on native north american jewellery from the northwest and southwest, on until March 25th). Then you can take a ferry back across to downtown. There are many other interesting diversions from this route - go up Burrard to the Elysian room for coffee, walk up to 4th Avenue and check out Chocolate Arts.

Or you can visit Granville Island after brunch at Ocean 6 Seventeen via ferry or a walk along the seawall then take a ferry back to the base of Howe and walk up to Ganache.

Or from Granville Island you can walk south on Granville for art galleries and window shopping as well. Lots of great restaurants in this area: Vij's, Rangoli, West, Bin 942, Cru.

Late March is prime cherry blossom season and the Cherry Blossom Festival will be on - it kicks off on March 22 at the Burrard Sky Train terminal. (Aside: I saw my first daffodil of the year on the walk to work yesterday :rolleyes: ). Find a street lined with cherry blossoms in full bloom and walk down it: it's an altered environment. Then go to an izakaya, drink some sake and write a haiku.

The Vancouver Art Gallery has a couple of interesting shows on featuring local artists: BC Binning and Fred Hertzog. The Art Gallery cafe is a decent spot for lunch and if the weather is nice (admittedly iffy at the end of March) has good patio. Across the street is Law Courts complex featuring some excellent landscape architecture.

At UBC check out the Museum of Anthropology, for the architecture as well as interesting exhibits. And visit the Nitobe Memorial Garden - a traditional Japanese garden - for more cherry blossoms.

I have lots more suggestions but, as you can see, my interests lie in the arty-crafty world and yours may not.

If you are more interested in sporty stuff, opportunities for kayaking and skiing and other such activities abound, others can tell you about that stuff.

Cheers,

Anne

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Stanley Park is a bit of a mess right now due to windstorms, and a lot of it may still be closed while you are here. If you go out to UBC, there miles of trails through Pacific Rim park, running from the Fraser River down to the beaches (if you want to get into a forest but not out of the city). You will have to share with horses and cyclists. A trip to the local mountains might be good. Are you sporty or as Barolo says- arty crafty? Tell us what you like and we can make suggestions. I agree that Granville Island is a better choice than Lonsdale Quay.

The sea was angry that day my friends... like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.

George Costanza

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Would anything on the dinner list fit well/better on the lunch list?  Are there any "genres" I'm blatantly missing?  Suggestions for other stuff to do while I'm there (currently I'd like to check out UBC, SFU, Stanley Park, Lonsdale Quay)?

any advice is appreciated.  Many thanks.

UBC has a restaurant on campus Sage, http://www.sage.ubc.ca/ . I have never been there.

There's a Japanese garden (Nitobe?) but there's an admission fee as long with the Museum of Anthropology. Some people love it at the garden but I think it's okay. I personally love the Rose Garden right by the Chan center at UBC. I love the view of the water from the tall buildings if you can sneak into one... ... no more comment on that...

I don't personally enjoy eating on campus as a student. I've only found that I've enjoyed the pasta at Mahonley's. I did not enjoy going to Cafe Crepe. There's a Japanese restaurant called One More Sushi at the place called the Village on Campus. My friends enjoy it there. So that's only if you are on campus and are hungry.

SFU has some really pretty trails there. You can walk to Burnaby Mountain from SFU. I recommend checking out Burnaby Mountain as you can see a lot of Vancouver. At night you can see a lot more stars there. SFU has the better "nicer" restaurant than UBC imo. It's called the Diamond Alumni Center http://www.sfu.ca/dac/. I won't recommend the dessert but the lunch there is awesome.

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