How to dine by the Fringe

The Georgia Straight - - Food -

Van­cou­ver’s an­nual Fringe Fes­ti­val re­turns this week (Septem­ber 6 to 16), bring­ing a slew of theatre per­for­mances and other events to the city. Be­sides the stan­dard theatre eti­quette, it’s never a good idea to at­tend a show on an empty stom­ach. A hand­ful of food trucks will be on-site on Granville Is­land, but if you have time to spare, why not en­joy a sit-down meal? From au­then­tic Thai food to tra­di­tional Afghan dishes to Nashville fried chicken, here are five eater­ies near Fringe Fes­ti­val venues on the is­land and the East Side to check out.

AFGHAN HORSE­MEN RESTAU­RANT

(202–1833 An­der­son Street) The first Afghan din­ing es­tab­lish­ment to open in Metro Van­cou­ver, four decades ago, the Afghan Horse­men con­tin­ues to wow its guests with its tra­di­tional, breath­tak­ing dé­cor. Filled with colour­ful lamps, pil­lows, and tex­tiles, the space makes guests feel like they’ve been trans­ported to an ex­otic coun­try. Its menu caters to meat lovers and veg­e­tar­i­ans alike, with dishes like pakawra (bat­ter-fried pota­toes with chaka [yo­gurt-based cheese] dip), lamb shoul­der, chicken and beef ke­babs, and sam­bosa (spiced mixed veg­gies and pota­toes wrapped in dough and deep-fried). It’s also steps away from all the Fringe per­for­mances on Granville Is­land.

HOSHI SUSHI BAR AT THE SANDBAR

(1535 John­ston Street) Lo­cated in­side a well-loved Granville Is­land eatery, Hoshi Sushi Bar is an at­trac­tion in its own right. Run by the hum­ble and tal­ented master sushi chef Tsu­tomu Hoshi, the newly ren­o­vated sushi bar is on the Sandbar’s sec­ond floor. It only has 10 seats, so those who are able to snag a fron­trow spot will get to watch chef Hoshi pre­pare dishes for guests through­out the restau­rant. His menu of­fers ev­ery­thing from fresh sashimi—such as sea urchin, al­ba­core tuna, and sea bream—to ni­giri to Ja­panese ap­pe­tiz­ers. Af­ter the meal, you won’t have to walk far to catch your show.

DOWNLOW CHICKEN SHACK

(905 Com­mer­cial Drive) It’s been a cou­ple months since this Nashville hot chicken joint opened not far from the Cultch, near the cor­ner of Ven­ables and Com­mer­cial Drive, but it still com­mands line­ups out the door ev­ery night. If you love spicy food and fried chicken, it’s worth the wait and you won’t be dis­ap­pointed with this eatery’s menu. Guests can choose their chicken’s heat level, which ranges from mild to ex­tra-hot, as well as “A Side of Milk”. Quar­ter birds and full birds are on of­fer, as well as pop­u­lar fried-chicken sand­wiches. Pair it with sides like wings, coleslaw, corn bread, pick­les, mac­a­roni salad, and fries. KIN KAO THAI KITCHEN (903 Com­mer­cial Drive) Don’t judge this tiny restau­rant by its size, be­cause its dishes are packed with flavour. This no-fuss eatery fo­cuses on au­then­tic Thai cre­ations—think street food or com­fort cui­sine. If you’re look­ing for a clas­sic dish af­ter a Fringe show at Ha­vana Van­cou­ver, go for its pad Thai. If you’re a lit­tle more ad­ven­tur­ous, try pad see ew (chicken or tofu, wide rice noo­dles, gailan, egg, gar­lic, and fish sauce) or stir-fry with Thai basil (minced chicken, pork, or egg­plant with gar­lic, long beans, Thai chili, onions, and oys­ter sauce). Pair your meal with Kin Kao’s ro­tat­ing ros­ter of craft beer, be­cause you will def­i­nitely feel the heat if you don’t usu­ally in­dulge in spicy food.

SOPRA SOTTO (1510 Com­mer­cial Drive) This rel­a­tively new Ital­ian restau­rant has been at­tract­ing plenty of at­ten­tion, which is no small feat in a neigh­bour­hood that’s sat­u­rated with pizza joints and Ital­ian eater­ies. Its Ital­ian­grand­mother cook­ing con­cept and farmer-style menu fea­ture lo­cal in­gre­di­ents, fam­ily favourites, and sea­sonal items. Din­ers can choose from a va­ri­ety of dishes, in­clud­ing mac­cheroni al forno (baked mac­a­roni in a creamy cab­bage­and-mush­room sauce), chi­tar­rine al ragù (square spaghetti in Bolog­nese sauce), margherita pizza, and Ital­ian cured meats, among other tasty things, which can be topped off with af­fogato or torta della nonna for dessert.

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