West End. ....................... 24

Vancouver Magazine - Best of the City 2016 - - Contents -

A lit­tle beach town, a lit­tle down­town, a lit­tle for­est, the West End never fails to de­liver di­ver­sity. The ge­o­graphic mix at­tracts stu­dents, se­niors, and most new­com­ers. It’s also the his­toric home to the city’s gay com­mu­nity. Only an eclec­tic hodge­podge of neigh­bour­hood restau­rants and green spa­ces could cater to the off­beat demo


Shouty servers and a play­ful menu never over­shadow the beau­ti­ful in­gre­di­ents and dis­ci­plined tech­nique on the plate at Kingyo ( 871 Den­man St., 604-608-1677, Kingy­oiza­kaya.ca), a West End room that sets the stan­dard for Ja­panese ta­pas with friendly ser­vice, sake­fu­elled con­vivi­al­ity, and a di­verse menu of de­li­cious small plates. The sleek space, all lac­quered wood and stone walls, con­jures ro­man­tic images of feu­dal Ja­pan. Dishes range from con­ven­tional (deep-fried tiger prawns dipped in spicy chili mayo) to bizarro (takoy­aki-style seafood pâté with blue cheese, cab­bage, red ginger, okonomi sauce, and bonito flakes).

The re­gion­ally fo­cused menu and beach­side pa­tio make Raincity Grill ( 1193 Den­man St., 604-6857337. Rainci­ty­grill.com) a West End trea­sure. If you in­tend to eat in, go with con­fit of pork belly with seared Pa­cific scal­lops, pearl bar­ley, pea tips, dill soubise, and ap­ple-thyme foam. But if you fancy a spot on the beach, hit up the fish ’n’ chips take­out win­dow for crispy, lightly bat­tered hal­ibut and fries, neatly tucked into re­cy­clable pack­ag­ing.

De­spite the mod in­te­rior, Mi­lano ( 849 Den­man St., 604-681-1500. Mi­lanocof­fee.ca) is favoured by all-day cof­fee ad­dicts who nurse espres­sos made from the 12-bean house blend roasted by owner and caf­feine vi­sion­ary Brian Turko. Sum­mer brings an in­flux of new­bies in search of Mi­lano’s rare gelato flavours, like wild­flower.


Bri­tish Columbia’s wine scene is grow­ing—and find­ing world recog­ni­tion: Mis­sion Hill just won world’s best wine un­der £15 with its pinot noir. Find that wine, and sug­ges­tions from an over­whelm­ing num­ber more, at stal­wart Mar­quis Wine Cel­lars ( 1034 Davie St., 604-684-0445. Mar­quis-wines.com). Owner John Clerides is an out­spo­ken, icon­o­clast ex­pert.

Lit­tle Sis­ter’s ( 1238 Davie St., 604-669-1753. Lit­tle­sisters.ca) has be­come an in­ter­na­tional legend for its decades-long strug­gles against cen­sor­ship. Stop in to look for GLBTQ books, or fo­cus on a prodi­gious and campy col­lec­tions of but­tons, T-shirts, and bumper stick­ers.


Stan­ley Park is a lush 1,000-acre oa­sis perched on a penin­sula at the north­west­ern edge of down­town Van­cou­ver. It would take days to view all the won­ders, which in­clude soar­ing old-growth fir trees, the vi­brant First Na­tions totem-pole dis­play at Brock­ton Point, nest­ing great blue herons, and Canada’s largest aquar­ium.

Head to Den­man St. at Davie for the stretch of sand called English Bay. Each sum­mer it be­comes a crowded three-ring cir­cus, com­plete with show-off rollerbladers, smooching cou­ples, and noisy buskers. An ideal place to peo­ple­watch with an ice cream cone. Sun­set Beach pro­vides a quiet pic­nic haven with more sandy real es­tate than English Bay, which is per­pet­u­ally over­whelmed with sprawl­ing sun­bathers. Bike the scenic stretch of sea­wall on a week­day rather than the week­end, when you can take in the view in­stead of fo­cus­ing on dodg­ing clear-sky­dazed pedes­tri­ans tot­ing bulky pic­nic ham­pers.

The Labyrinth at the 100-year-old St. Paul’s church ( 1130 Jervis St., 604-685-6832. St­paulsan­gli­can.bc.ca) is a replica of the maze laid in the stone floor of the Chartres Cathe­dral in France. Parish­ioners and vis­i­tors use the wind­ing, cir­cu­lar path as a walk­ing form of med­i­ta­tion, and a peace­ful way to es­cape the bus­tle.

Si­wash Rock, Stan­ley Park

English Bay

Raincity Grill

TASTE TH IS An­chovies on Toast ES­PANA The Span­ish think noth­ing of rais­ing so­phis­ti­cated snack­ies to their mouths while en­joy­ing a glass of beer or wine at a lo­cal tapas bar. Now Van­cou­ver has dis­cov­ered the much-ma­ligned lit­tle fish packs a...

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