Vacationing in Vancouver

posted on August 1, 2006 at 1:20 pm

Hi all. I have just returned from a fabulous trip to Vancouver. My main learning from this trip is that the inexpensive places are the places to go. The overpriced and raved about top tier places are just not worth it. Stick with ethnic and you will be just fine.

1. Go Fish: Lovely little fish and chips place by the water that is sustainable and organic. Had some halibut and chips that they served with a spicy Asian slaw. Just fabulous. Massive pieces of fish and impossibly crisp batter. We also took a walk through the Granville market on Granville Island. It was truly a food-lover’s paradise. A whole store devoted to stocks and mise-en-place! Sorry no photos! I was an idiot and forgot my camera.

Go Fish Ocean Emporium on Urbanspoon

2. Zakkushi: Izakaya style Japanese restaurant. Notable dishes being grilled rice balls, grilled chicken livers and hearts, chicken meatballs topped with ground daikon and ponzu. All just lovely. Clean flavor and cheap.

The izakaya grill men hard at work.
Grilled chicken hearts, chicken gizzards and yound garlic wrapped in pork.
A childhood favorite…grilled rice balls.

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill (Denman) on Urbanspoon

3. Sun Sui Wah: Dim sum with quality that rivals Hong Kong. Amazing variety, piping hot and a definite must try if you are in the area. Kitchen does not open until 11 so dim sum only until then. We had a whole roasted squab which was lovely.

Shrimp toast.

Sun Sui Wah (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

4. Tojos: I had heard so much positive feedback about this place was very excited to try it. Many local chefs warned me that the quality had gone down but I just decided to go any way. The BF got some sashimi and I did they $80 omakase. My first dish arrived and it was a beautiful tuna with ponzu. It was so fresh and delicious. The next dish arrived and it was some squash blossoms stuffed with scallops and fried. A total letdown. The meal just got progressively worse. The chef was making things in an assembly line and it was like eating at some mediocre Japanese mall restaurant. It was just so bad and not worth the money. I should have had the sashimi like the BF but his was also $90 for 16 pieces of fish. A total rip considering Miko and Toshi (2 other places in town) were way better. Seems like Tojo is just coasting on a reputation he built a long time ago. Save you money and hit Miko or Toshi. Trust me.

The most expensive sashimi sampler in the world.

Tojo's on Urbanspoon
5. West restaurant: Widely considered to be Vancouver’s best restaurant. Lumiere and West are in a competition. I had a lovely scallop appetizer which was divine. Scallops in a lobster and lime broth topped with a crab ravioli. Very tasty. I had a chanterelle and arugula risotto for my main and it was soooo good. The service was also impeccable. A definite must try.

Fresh sardine appetizer.

West Restaurant + Bar on Urbanspoon

6. Feenie’s: The lower-priced alternative to Lumiere who always gets voted best brunch. We went over for some brunch on Sunday and it was divine. I had a croque madame that was to-die-for. BF had a burger (seems everyone gets them there) and he said it was good aside from the fact that they will only serve it medium and he is a rare kind of guy. Great meal and cute neighborhood.

My croque madame. They used brioche toast that was divine.
The BF’s burger. Those were very good fries.

Feenie's on Urbanspoon

7. Vij’s: Vancouverites just love this place and the wait shows it. We went for dinner at 5:45 because they do not take reservations and it is just impossible after 6. I like the all-woman kitchen and the atmosphere is nice. We ordered the wild boar, rapini with cashews and panir, lamb popsicles and chicken with jalapenos and cilantro. They pass little nibbles around which were quite good. I loved the cassava fries. The boar was great. It was topped with cantaloupe which was a welcome surprise. The rapini was bitter and lacking salt. Not a great dish. The lamb was good but not the best curry I have had. It was served on top of undercooked potatoes which just ruined the dish for me. The chicken was disgusting and over-spiced. A total waste and neither of us touched it after one bite. The naan was also a let down. It was dry and lacking salt. They also failed to brush it with ghee which ruined it in my opinion. It had also failed to bubble sufficiently making it tough and our basket just sat there uneaten…a true oddity considering we normally devour it. All in all a decent meal but I wish we had listened to my chef friend and hit rangoli next door (Vij’s less-expensive and more traditional restaurant). I just like the simple Indian food I grew up eating and most of the time these fusion restaurants disappoint. Vij’s was no exception. We got out for $150 total.

Rapini with cashews and panir.

Vij's on Urbanspoon

8. Kirin Mandarin: Hit this place for dinner. We ordered a peking duck and a fish in spicy sauce. The place was packed and I can see why. The food was awesome and very fresh. Perfect even. A must-try for Chinese dinner if you are in Vancouver.

The Peking Duck.

Kirin (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

9. Rodney’s in Yaletown: Great oyster house. Fresh, fresh, fresh. Nice selection of house made sauces as well. The steamers are also divine. A bit pricey but worth it. Nice staff too. I bought some of those sauces to take home. The “back from hell” sauce was killer.

Oysters and a variety of sauces.

Rodney's Oyster House on Urbanspoon

10. Cupcakes: A little place that specializes in, you guessed it, Cupcakes. many different types and also make specialty cakes. Really delicious if you are a cupcake addict like me.

What an assortment!

Cupcakes on Urbanspoon

Click here for more photos from this trip.

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