Now, let me start by saying that i know that spending just 6 weeks in Vancouver by no means makes me an expert. Not even close. However, knowing how much people like to hear other people’s opinions on restaurants, (see good eatin’ in Atlanta, which continues to be my most visited blog), i thought i’d share with you my personal favorites (and some not so favorite).
Maenam just opened the week we arrived in Vancouver, and was conveniently located about 4 blocks from our house. Perfectly balanced hot, sour, salty and sweet flavors make this reputedly (and believably so), Vancouver’s best and most authentic Thai restaurant. The chef makes every effort to use what is fresh and in season locally. The vibe is current and bright, with none of the kitch of most Thai restaurants. The service was great and the price moderate. I highly recommend reservations, as it looked packed every night.
The Naam Ohhh, what can I say? This was one of my favorites! A natural foods/vegetarian restaurant, this place is open 24/7. They have live folk and acustic music every evening at 7pm. HK was a little concerned about the looks of the old, funky, creaky-wooden floors and distressed furniture, (it’s been there 30 years, since the “hippie days of Kitsilano), but I’m here to tell you, the food was fab, and the beer and wine a good value. The menu’s big, and even carnivores will be able to find something to their liking. Wonderful desserts made from organic ingredients and local fruits rock!
Rocky Mountain Flatbread Company Freakin’ great pizza, and everything else, for that matter. I love their philosophy of using all local, organic ingredients. They also pair with local schools to teach young people responsibility, entrepreneurship and how to become responsible citizens. They are very creative in their recipes. Soups, salads, pastas and sandwiches are all filling and chock-full of flavor. We ended up going here several times and trying different dishes (and sharing) each time–neither of us tried anything that we weren’t very pleased with. A good value in a laid-back atmosphere. Nice patio, too.
Banana Leaf Malaysian food at it’s finest. HK and i both love saucy, spicy food, and we just luckily happened upon this place one night while walking around Kitsilano. We shared lamb curry and seafood chili sauce dishes, and the flavors complimented each other perfectly. Spicy, but not too hot, saucy, but not soggy, it was HK’s favorite dinner.
Annapurna is an Indian vegetarian restaurant that we had dinner at way back in 2001, and it was still as yummy and inexpensive as before. (well, a little more expensive…) I was sorry to be 2 of only a handful of people in the restaurant, because the service and food is excellent. The eggplant bharta was as good as at our favorite Indian restaurant here in the ATL. Yummers!
OK,OK,OK, i know you wanna hear an opinion on some seafood restaurants, since Vancouver sits on the Pacific and has a wealth of wild, fresh, local BC fish.
Watermark sits right smack-dab in the middle of Kits Beach, on the beach, affording fantastic sunset views. The food was fine, nothing to write home about, but the best part about this restaurant is the beachfront enclosed patio and the fact that you can take a nice walk on the beach befor or after dinner. Large and lively, with neat architectural features, it was fairly expensive, but not fancy.
Monk Mcqueens has one of the best patios in the city, with beautiful views over False Creek. The many sailboat masts surrounding it make a very cool backdrop for photos and ambience. I had the lobster–it was presented to me whole on a platter, and the chef came out momentarily to wisk it away and remove the head. i’m glad for that, not too crazy about having anything w/ eyes still attatched staring at me while i’m tearing off it’s claws. Stef loved her boullibaisse, as well. Nice thing here is they have small plates that are more moderately priced, but still enough food for dinner. (For me, anyway.)
go fish is a little seafood shack located right at the public fish dock near Granville Island. The menu i short (only fresh fish and oysters, scallops), lines typically long, and it closes at 6:30 pm so you’d better get there plenty early. But OMG!!! the halibut and chips was outta this world!(make sure if you want fisn n chips you get the halibut, not cod–the cod is too mushy and melts away.) I also tried the salmon tacones (a version of fish tacos, and a scallop sandwich. To die for, all of it. Here’s the deal…you stand in line rain or shine to place your order at the outside window, then you wait 20-30 minutes for them to holler your name. Then try to find someplace to sit (selection is slim, only about 8 littles tables on a deck), then just dig in. Portions are very goood for the price. Oh, be forwarned–no alcohol.
Anyway, there you have it, from somebody who tried to be a Vancouverite for at least a little while. If you have input, suggestions, etc, i would LOVE to hear them!