|Blue Water Cafe in Yaletown is known for its innovative West Coast plates, which use seafood from wild and sustainable harvest.|
Chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten are moving in on the Vancouver dining scene. We say fine by us! After all, it’s not just any city that gets the opportunity to welcome these star-wattage chefs. Boulud, the man behind New York’s ultra-fab Restaurant Daniel, has taken his namesake restaurants to London, Beijing, Las Vegas, Miami and, a few years ago, back to Vancouver, where he already operated the high-end West Sider, Lumière. This time he comes to the city with a db Bistro Moderne outpost—and we can’t resist his signature db burger (filled with braised short ribs and topped with black truffle), his tarte flambées and the charcuterie that’s becoming ubiquitous in restaurants throughout the city.
Meanwhile, last year, Jean-Georges debuted an outpost of his rapidly expanding Market by Jean-Georges franchise in downtown’s Shangri-La Hotel. It comes complete with the expected power scene, gorgeous dining space and modern French menu, including a six-course tasting menu (think foie gras brûlée).
But it’s not just these celeb chefs that have put Vancouver on the culinary map. Over the past five years, there’s been an explosive growth in the food scene overall, Eric Pateman, founder of Edible British Columbia Culinary Experiences, tells Luxury Travel Advisor.
|Dirty Apron is a cooking school, which offers high-end, hands-on cooking and dining experiences.|
It’s also a multicultural scene, says Chef David Robertson, co-owner of the Dirty Apron Cooking School, which offers high-end, hands-on cooking and dining experiences. Vancouver excels in Chinese, Korean, Japanese and sushi, offering some of the best in North America, adds Robertson. Restaurateurs here have also caught on to the contemporary trend of using locally sourced ingredients and concocting palate-pleasing cocktails.
But be sure to book well in advance. At the city’s better restaurants—particularly high-enders in Yaletown, such as top-shelf veterans Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar, and the West Side’s Bishop’s and West—diners should make reservations a week or two in advance.
|West offers regional cuisine and has a Mobil four-star rating.|
From East Side to Gastown and Richmond
Some of the better recent restaurant openings are in neighborhoods which weren’t frequented by serious diners in the past. The East Side is one such area that has undergone an evolution. We love Campagnolo, the northern Italian newcomer from Chef Robert Belcham and sommelier Tom Doughty. The Fare: Rustic eats, inspired by the Emilia-Romagna and Piedmont regions, grace the menu. Another East Side newbie we love, Latitude on Main, reaches for locally sourced ingredients on its eclectic, Nuevo Latino menu, while the newish Ping’s Café, part of a blossoming trend of izakaya openings (casual, Japanese small-plates eateries), attracts hipsters to the neighborhood.
It’s a good thing it’s so easy to get to Richmond now—it takes 25 minutes by the newly opened Canada Line branch of the Vancouver SkyTrain to the heart of the city—because it’s the best place to head for dining outside the city, especially for Chinese and Asian fare. For a guided tour of the best restaurants in Richmond, check out the newly launched Foodie Tour to the Richmond area. Top Fare: We like the spicy Sichuan dishes at Golden Spring Szechuan and the high-end Hong Kong-style plates at Sea Harbour Seafood.