Van­cou­ver

The Culi­nary Trav­eller’s Guide

Taste & Travel - - Taste& Travel Regional Marketplace - BY LINDA BATES

Neigh­bour­hoods

COM­MER­CIAL DRIVE This tra­di­tion­ally Ital­ian and Por­tuguese area on Van­cou­ver's east side now in­cludes pro­fes­sion­als and hip­sters ga­lore. The street is lined with cof­fee bars, res­tau­rants of many eth­nic­i­ties, and unique stores like Fratelli's Ital­ian Bak­ery and the or­ganic butcher Pas­tures to Plate.

GASTOWN Van­cou­ver's old­est neigh­bour­hood has long waited for its day in the sun. Ex­cel­lent res­tau­rants and stores with orig­i­nal, lo­cally made items are spring­ing up ev­ery­where. Pick up baked goods at Brioche, or fresh or­ganic meat at Save-On-Meats.

YALETOWN This for­mer ware­house district boasts some of Van­cou­ver's best and most ex­pen­sive res­tau­rants, as well as the up­scale food stores Choices and Ur­ban Fare. Treat your­self to a meal at Blue Wa­ter, one of Van­cou­ver's best seafood res­tau­rants.

RICH­MOND This sub­urb to the south of the city is a pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion for East Asian im­mi­grants, mostly Chinese. Many say the best Chinese food in North Amer­ica can be found here. As well as res­tau­rants there are food stores and malls packed with East Asian prod­ucts.

CHI­NA­TOWN The orig­i­nal home of Van­cou­ver's Chinese im­mi­grants still has ter­rific bud­get Chinese res­tau­rants, bak­eries and pro­duce, and some new, eclec­tic res­tau­rants. Pick up bar­be­cue pork buns at New Town Bak­ery or head di­rectly to Ph­nom Penh res­tau­rant, a Van­cou­ver in­sti­tu­tion, for Viet­namese/Cam­bo­dian food.

KITSILANO This hip­pie haven of the 1960s has mor­phed into an up­scale, uber-hip strip. Les Amis du Fro­mage stocks 400–500 va­ri­eties of cheese and of­fers meals and cheese plates. Terra Breads fea­tures ar­ti­san breads and rus­tic pas­tries as well as a lunch menu.

SURREY It's a bit of a hike from down­town, but this sub­urb south­east of Van­cou­ver is home to more than 100,000 im­mi­grants of South Asian, mostly Pun­jabi, ori­gin. There are count­less res­tau­rants and food stores, as well as sari and fab­ric stores, in the area around Scott Road. (There's a smaller but still in­ter­est­ing In­dian area at Main St. and 49th Ave in Van­cou­ver.)

GRANVILLE IS­LAND PUB­LIC MAR­KET The grand­daddy of Van­cou­ver mar­kets, with sev­eral square blocks of farm­ers' mar­kets, artists' stu­dios, per­for­mance spa­ces, res­tau­rants and stores — in­clud­ing a top kitchen­ware store. Open daily, 9 am–7 pm. 1689 Johnston St. www.granvilleis­land.com

RICH­MOND NIGHT MAR­KET Called the largest Asian night mar­ket out­side of Asia, with pre­pared food, food prod­ucts and other goods as well as per­for­mances from Chinese opera to Canto-pop. Open Fri­day and Satur­day, 7 pm–11 pm, Sun­days and hol­i­days, 6 pm–11 pm, May 17–Oct. 14. 8351 River Rd, Rich­mond. www.rich­mond­night­mar­ket.com

TROUT LAKE FARMER'S MAR­KET A favourite for lo­cal and or­ganic pro­duce and crafts. 9 am–2 pm, Satur­days, May–Oct. Trout Lake Park, East Van­cou­ver.

For the en­tire list of farm­ers' mar­kets in Van­cou­ver, see www.eat­lo­cal.org/mar­kets.

New and No­table

AB­SINTHE BISTRO Chef Corey Pear­son went to France from Van­cou­ver af­ter fin­ish­ing culi­nary school. Now he's brought his con­sid­er­able tal­ent back home, creat­ing light French-style dishes sans heavy sauces. The prix fixe menu changes ev­ery month; three cour­ses are $38 and two cour­ses just $28. The great food and the small bistro at­mos­phere can't be beat. 1260 Com­mer­cial Dr. www.bistroab­sinthe.com

BISTRO WAGON ROUGE More great af­ford­able French bistro food. Brad Miller spent five years at the high-end Bistro Pastis be­fore start­ing his own res­tau­rant. The space is down near the docks, the for­mer site of the Dock­ers Cafe. It could be parachuted into a lit­tle French vil­lage and feel right at home says res­tau­rant critic Mia Stainsby. 1869 Pow­ell St.

ASK FOR LUIGI It's not Luigi at the helm, but Jean Christophe Poirier, who learned his trade in French res­tau­rants — although here he's cook­ing Ital­ian. Pre­pare to line up for his pas­tas (in­clud­ing a gluten-free one), sauces and ap­pies. 305 Alexan­der St. www.ask­for­luigi.com

CUCHILLO Owner/chef Stu Irv­ing has cooked at two of Van­cou­ver's favourite res­tau­rants, Asian-fu­sion Wild Rice and the now de­funct Co­bre. At Cuchillo the small plates tend to­ward Mex­i­can but in­cor­po­rate Peru­vian, Chilean and Colom­bian dishes too. 261 Pow­ell St. www.Cuchillo.ca

FARMER'S AP­PREN­TICE Chef David Gu­nawan cre­ates new recipes daily, on the spot. In sum­mer, farm­ers bring in prod­ucts that are at peak and Gu­nawan trans­forms them. Although meat dishes like quail and pork ter­rine are avail­able, the res­tau­rant tends to fo­cus on veg­eta­bles. 1535 W. Sixth Ave. www.farm­er­sap­pren­tice.ca

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