VAN­COU­VER: The Best of the West

DINE and Destinations - - CONTENTS -

Forget just book­ing a room.

Hun­gry for din­ing out in Van­cou­ver, Kasey Wil­son dis­cov­ers that ho­tels are not just a pretty place to sleep any­more

Yew Seafood + Bar

Four Sea­sons Ho­tel Van­cou­ver, 791 West Ge­or­gia St, (604) 689-9333 When you’re a farm-to-ta­ble chef in Van­cou­ver, it doesn’t hurt that you also grew up in the Okanagan and know your lo­cal in­gre­di­ents like the back of your knife-wield­ing hand. Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Ned Bell helms a seafood-fo­cused kitchen with an eye to sus­tain­abil­ity and sea­sonal avail­abil­ity while pam­per­ing guests in this chic, con­tem­po­rary restau­rant. Beau­ti­ful wood mo­tifs and Pa­cific Rim de­sign sense dom­i­nate the room, lend­ing a ca­sual but el­e­gant feel—a sen­si­bil­ity that’s mir­rored in the food plates and the in­ven­tive cock­tail list. Bell’s in­ter­pre­ta­tion of New Eng­land clam chow­der with smoked black cod is creamy and com­fort­ing. The Yew Sig­na­ture Snack Boxes are whim­si­cal and de­li­cious— from Dun­geness crab meat­balls to lob­ster ta­cos with red miso, honey and radish. On the larger-plate spec­trum you’ll find Haida Gwaii hal­ibut, golden rain­bow trout and sides like golden Ken­nebec fries and gar­lic kale with parme­san and cau­li­flower. This is per­haps the only restau­rant in the city to have a cock­tail list in­spired by the world’s five oceans and de­signed to com­ple­ment the seafood­cen­tric menu listings. With names like Glacial Snout, Skookum-chuk or Icy Pan­cakes, it’s a voy­age of dis­cov­ery.

Hawksworth

Rose­wood Ho­tel Ge­or­gia, 801 West Ge­or­gia St, (604) 673-7000 Van­cou­ver is known as a ca­sual town, but some­times you want to break out your best duds and in­dulge in an ul­ti­mate fine-din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The city’s des­ti­na­tion for that level of din­ing can only be Hawksworth. The Euro­pean-trained tech­ni­cal prow­ess of David Hawksworth is the driv­ing force be­hind food that de­liv­ers bold con­tem­po­rary state­ments and also shows him to be not just a tal­ented chef but a true vi­sion­ary. Here, pan-roasted Pa­cific hal­ibut comes spiked with a smoky lob­ster chorizo broth, a meaty duck breast is glazed with tamari, and a veg­etable dessert fea­tures a creamy-tangy lime yo­gurt, with sugar peas on the plate and in­cor­po­rated in a bright green spun sugar rib­bon. Paired with an award-win­ning wine pro­gram offering di­verse selections for ev­ery taste, and a cock­tail list that runs the gamut from Pro­hi­bi­tion to post-mod­ern con­coc­tions, it’s art on the plate and in the glass. (It’s on the walls, too, which fea­ture pieces by Rod­ney Gra­ham, Har­land Miller and Damien Hirst.) The room and bar some­how man­age to strike that per­fect bal­ance of clas­sic trap­pings re­con­fig­ured for mod­ern din­ing. “Stately but for­ward­think­ing” best cap­tures the mood, both in the restau­rant and on the plate.

Notch8 Restau­rant & Bar

Fair­mont Ho­tel Van­cou­ver, 900 West Ge­or­gia St, (604) 662-1900 The enig­matic name here cel­e­brates the Fair­mont’s history as one of Canada’s pre­em­i­nent rail­way ho­tels. Notch8 was the term de­not­ing a lo­co­mo­tive run­ning on full power, and this new restau­rant is cer­tainly push­ing the throt­tle. Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Cameron Bal­len­dine has a couple of notches in his own culi­nary belt, hav­ing cooked in far-flung des­ti­na­tions from China to Egypt to France. His ap­proach is to recre­ate the fa­mil­iar, the com­fort­able and the time­less—all while ap­ply­ing a re­fin­ing touch to a well-trav­eled menu that in­cludes stan­dards such as Oys­ters Rock­e­feller and prime rib. The sig­na­ture cock­tails are also trans­ported from an­other time, and the beau­ti­fully re­vamped room with its quasi-play on train de­sign is like a ride on the Ori­ent Ex­press (or per­haps The Cana­dian) in your mind and on your palate. And the Ho­tel Van con­tin­ues to serve af­ter­noon tea that harkens back to an­other era.

David Hawksworth, Hawksworth Restau­rant

Yew Seafood + Bar

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