Kitsilano ......................... 28
Once the counterculture crossroads, now a affluent yuppie enclave, Kits (as the locals call it) still has one constant: the scenery. All residents, from university students to young families and well-to-do retirees, share a love for the stunning beaches, plus panoramas of downtown and the North Shore mountains. On main drag W. Fourth Ave., you’ll find some of Vancouver’s best independent boutiques alongside a string of awardwinning restaurants.
La Quercia ( 3689 W. Fourth Ave., 604-676-1007. Laquercia.ca) is one of our most beloved casual rooms; it nails food, service, and wine selection in a space too small to hide any gaffes. There are no PR flacks milling about, no air kissing, and no semi-ironic taxidermy. Instead, proprietor Adam Pegg takes a yeoman’s approach to the craft of running a first-rate restaurant. The predominantly Northern Italian menu changes frequently, with classics like branzino with fennel and vitello tonnato making frequent appearances. Pegg’s pasta may be the best in the city, with the agnolotti di Guido (veal, chard, ricotta) a firm favou- rite—though the spring variation, earthy and ethereal with stinging nettles, is better yet. Seven impeccable courses for $50 explains why you might have to reserve a few weeks ahead.
Nearby: In a city where the hectic, bustling ritual of dim sum is our preferred Sunday worship, Dynasty Seafood ( 108–777 W. Broadway, 604-876-8388. Dynasty-restaurant.ca), a viewheavy West Broadway room, does everything right. All the classic dishes are executed with focus and clarity, but must-orders include steamed crab dumplings and lemon-spiked barbecued pork pastries. Fresh and imagi- Thai ingredients blend seamlessly with local ones at Maenam ( 1938 W. Fourth Ave., 604-730-5579. Maenam.ca), where warm service and a terrific wine list complement a tight menu of classic dishes like pad Thai and jungle curry—chef’s selection makes ordering easy. Speaking of chef, Angus An trained under David Thompson at the world’s only Michelin-starred Thai restaurant (Nahm in London), and splits his time between his Vancouver room and the street-food Longtail Kitchen ( 116– 810 Quayside Dr., 604-553-3855. Longtailkitchen.com) in adjoining suburb New Westminster.
native takes on Chinese vegetarian cooking are found here, especially in the Buddha’s Feast dish, a jumble of bamboo shoots, mushrooms, bean curds, tofu, noodles, and green vegetables.
Blend with locals at the original home base of Lululemon Athletica ( 2113 W. Fourth Ave. 604-732-6111. Lululemon.com), where yogawear unabashedly doubles as daywear. Founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson (who lives in Kits), Lululemon Athletica is both a symbol of the neighbourhood and a brand with a global following.
When the flagship for Nicole Bridger ( 2151 W. Fourth Ave., 604730-1129. Nicolebridger.com) finally opened, her impassioned following rejoiced. Stop by to browse the Vancouver-born, Vivienne Westwood-trained designer’s ecofriendly line, which proves green clothing can satisfy the sophisti- cated businesswoman as well as the enlightened earth mama.
Gravity Pope ( 2205 W. Fourth Ave., 604-731-7673. Gravitypope.com) stocks timeless footwear staples like Vans and Clarks alongside high-end labels like Church’s and Acne. Next door, Gravity Pope Tailored Goods is so skilled at sourcing in-vogue apparel that it’s a magnet for visiting designers (like Rag & Bone founder David Neville).
If you enjoyed the 1990s cult hit Empire Records, you’ll want to live in Zulu Records ( 1972 W. Fourth
Stepback ( 2936 W. Broadway, 604731-7525. Stepback.ca) is devoted to all things nostalgic. The inventory at this lifestyle/curiosity shop is a mix of vintage odds and sods (industrial furnishings, ceramics, taxidermy, school maps) and new items with old-school flair. Succulents growing in vintage coffee tins, Eames chairs, and a 1930sera “Frog Dissection” biology chart are examples of the quirky items co-owner Chris Switzer finds on days off from touring the world as a guitar/drum technician for bands like Radiohead and (local celeb) Sarah McLachlan. Ave., 604-738-3232. Zulurecords.com). Behind the army-green façade, cool indie kids hiding behind ironic glasses and beards dole out concert tickets, and headphones for shoppers who need a pre-buy sampling. Zulu is also a community centre of sorts, with a regular lineup of in-store concerts.
Vancouver’s only saltwater swimming pool is at Kits Beach ( 2305 Cornwall Ave.). Its adjacent park teems with picnicking families, half-naked students blowing off steam, serious muscleheads, and addicted sun worshippers. Claim your spot, but don’t nap. Whether for toddlers learning to bike, enthusiastic beach volleyballers, or seagulls in pursuit of lunch, it’s advisable to keep one eye open.
Nearby: The city has just completed a $6-million extension of the Seaside Greenway, a 28-kilometre bike and pedestrian path linking neighbourhoods from Stanley Park downtown all the way out to UBC on the West Side. That means you can dip in and out of parks all the way from Kits Beach to Jericho and Locarno to UBC, with its storied clothingoptional Wreck Beach.
TASTE TH IS
Waffle Taco RAIN OR SHINE
Fill your shell with dangerously tempting ice cream flavours like brown butter snickerdoodle and honey lavender. Toppings range from candied hazelnuts to a red-wine reduction. 102–1926 W. Fourth Ave.,