Story by Michelle Hopkins
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — Formerly a warehouse district where textile shops and train yards provided little in the way of merriment, Yaletown has morphed into one of Vancouver’s hippest areas, brimming with funky sidewalk cafes, trendy restaurants, a thriving nightlife scene and intimate boutique hotels.
This upscale and trendy enclave is home to some of the hottest restaurants in Vancouver. There are too many hot spots to mention here, with many that can and do compete on the international fine-dining scene.
These are five noteworthy restaurants (in no particular order) that strive to consistently provide a memorable experience with cuisine that is innovative, distinctive and delicious. … you know that meal that you rave about to your friends and family for days after your visit to Vancouver is through and you’ve returned home happier and more well fed.
One of the newest eateries in Yaletown comes from the same restaurateurs (John Crook and Erik Heck) behind the popular The Flying Pig franchise. They are building on a reputation as a hotbed of great atmosphere, fresh cuisine and incredible seafood — standouts include Quadra Island honey mussels, ahi tuna and East Coast clams and mussels, to name a few.
Heck’s greatest achievement is his treatment of the classics. Dishes that have become repetitive at other seafood eateries — Shrimp Louie salad, scallop fettuccine, Hawaiian Ahi Poke and pan-seared Haida Gwaii halibut — are executed here with the dazzling skill usually reserved for more ambitious menus.
“We believe that our rich soil, temperate climate and salty air all contribute to the outstanding flavours of West Coast ingredients, whether we’re using Yakima Valley lamb or Dungeness crab,” says Heck. “But don’t get me wrong — we’re also fans of the ‘merroir’ of ingredients sourced from the Atlantic, and coastal regions beyond. If it was raised by the sea — any sea — it’s all good.”
Meanwhile, the urban chic meets industrial interior at this sexy maritime-influenced restaurant might make you linger a little longer.
[box_info]Location: 1079 Mainland Street
Twitter: @WildTaleVan. Instagram: @WildTale
Menu Price Range: $21-$39 [/box_info]
Minami Restaurant delivers one of the most unique and masterful Japanese dining experiences to Yaletown. At the helm of the kitchen is maestro Seigo Nakamura, a restaurateur with a family pedigree that spans nearly six decades across the globe.
Of course, the main event at Minami is the sushi, and the selection can leave one wide-eyed, admiring the surgically precise slices of pristine sashimi, the exquisite fingers of Aburi Oshi Sushi, the pretty maki rolls and the artistic arrangement of it all. Other notables include sablefish, duck, and Minami Zen.
Minami, like its sister restaurant Miku on Vancouver’s waterfront, specializes in Aburi (flamed) sushi. He’s not reinvented the wheel but Minami (named after one of the owners’ daughters) goes a step further with a family secret sauce customized for each type of fish before torching, creating some memorable sushi.
From the kitchen, seasonal and regional ingredients, as well as Ocean Wise seafood options, are integrated into dishes to reflect the diversity of responsible food choices.
Here sushi hounds are well served.
[box_info]Location: 1118 Mainland Street
Menu Price Range: $18-$53 for main entrees; $60-$80 for Shokai (chef’s selected dishes); $100-plus for Omakase experience.[/box_info]
Consistently voted best seafood restaurant in Vancouver, this fine-dining establishment offers polished service and an extra added touch or more resulting in a flawless dining experience. The sophisticated setting, exceptional service, and prevalence of only the freshest and most sustainable seafood calls to mind a haute cuisine czar. With its fashionable crowd and cool vibe, Blue Water Cafe continues to dazzle its clientele.
[box_light]Read About Blue Water’s Twist on Sustainable Dining [/box_light]
Housed in a gorgeous brick and beam heritage warehouse, executive chef Frank Pabst has been impeccably guiding the kitchen at Blue Water Cafe since 2003. He consistently demonstrated excellence, both in offering fresh catches and in the execution of his dishes, all the while showcasing his ease in cooking for VIPs and celebrities alike. His cooking ethos is “complexity without complication.”
To go with any of its classic or modern dishes, choose from more than 1,000 labels and a cellar of 14,000 bottles, hand-picked to pair with Blue Water Cafe’s accomplished menus.
[box_info]Location: 1095 Hamilton Street
Menu Price Range: $28-$40 for main entrees; seafood towers range from $28-$149. [/box_info]
This fine-dining trattoria is not only a treasured neighbourhood favourite, but also a destination restaurant for those from beyond the Greater Vancouver Area. The multiple award-winning Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill is headed by the notorious perfectionist, chef/founder Pino Posteraro. He strives to ensure that each dish balances classic technique with new culinary influences.
The nexus of the cuisine springs from the master himself, who is often in the kitchen, checking plates as they go out. His army of impeccably trained wait staff flits about, serving pappardelle with veal cheeks and porcini mushrooms or a sablefish with soy sabayon, in the elegant room, resplendent in rich reds, warm earth tones and whites with walls bursting with an expansive wine collection.
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill is truly a symphony of classic and modern, tradition and evolution.
[box_info]Location: 1133 Hamilton Street
Menu Price Range: $25-$48 for main entrees[/box_info]
This popular Italian vintage-inspired spot is perfect for a quick bite or a leisurely pizza dinner with a bottle of wine. With its leather booth seating, high-tops and a stunning oversized reclaimed wood bar that emulates a giant barrel, this eatery is hot with everyone from the young and older professionals and baby boomers, too.
The Parlour boasts a nice selection of Canadian beer on tap, extensive craft beer available by bottle, inventive cocktails and both wine by bottle, as well as seven varietals on tap.
An innovative menu features hand-crafted pizza and a modern twist on classic comfort cuisine. Purists will appreciate the 99.9 per cent raw wraps, the ceviche and salmon tartare. Don’t miss the Ahi lettuce wraps, the bacon and lager mussels or the oysters with sinfully good dipping sauces as they are menu highlights.
[box_info]Location: 1011 Hamilton Street
Twitter: @ParlourYaletown. Instagram: @TheParlourYaletown
Menu Price Range: $20 for pizzas; other dishes are less than $20[/box_info]
A Map Showing the Restaurants Mentioned In the Article