Com­mer­cial Drive

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

Home base for the city’s Ital­ian, Por­tuguese, les­bian and ac­tivist com­mu­ni­ties is the Drive—a long, quasimag­i­cal suc­ces­sion of in­die cafés of­fer­ing ex­pert espres­sos along­side truly au­then­tic pizza joints. Post-lunch, stroll the tree-lined side streets for quiet ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the many heritage homes (and nascent in­fill)

EAT

Of the many con­tenders for Vancouver’s sex­i­est pizza, we’re crush­ing on Via Te­vere ( 1190 Vic­to­ria Dr., 604-336-1803. Vi­at­ev­erepizze­ria.com). The room has a fam­ily-friendly buzz (and the in­ti­mate back pa­tio is a dream) but the teal-tiled wood-fired oven at the cen­tre an­nounces the piz­zaioli know their craft. A blis­tery, min­i­mal­ist margherita with tomato, creamy fior di latte mozza, and aro­matic basil shows how a few qual­ity in­gre­di­ents can shine.

La Mez­ca­le­ria ( 1622 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-559-8226. Lamez­ca­le­ria. ca) puts a so­phis­ti­cated spin on tra­di­tional Mex­i­can cui­sine. Yet while the food is de­li­cious, the real star here—as its name sug­gests—is mez­cal. The oftover­looked spirit (com­pared to its her­mano, tequila) is smoky, rich, and com­plex enough to merit six cat­e­gories on the in-house list.

Mer­chant’s Oys­ter Bar ( 1590 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-258-0005. Mer­chantsoys­ter­bar.ca) ex­plores the turf along­side the surf. $1.50-a-shuck oys­ters steal the show at week­end brunches, but week­night din­ners sur­prise with beef tartare and pork belly—the best of both worlds.

At Fed­erico’s Sup­per Club ( 1728 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-251-3473. Fed­eri­cos­sup­per­club.com), owner Fed­erico Fuoco croons to crowds of ball­room dancers and bach­e­lorettes on week­ends. Chef Nick Grant’s Ital­ian menu means busi­ness, though: start with beef ten­der­loin tar­tar cros­tini with black truf­fle zabaglione, then graduate to pan-seared B.C. al­ba­core tuna in a pis­ta­chio crust.

Fratelli’s ( 1795 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-255-8926. Fratel­libak­ery. com), pur­veyor of fine fo­cac­cia and other fresh-baked ar­ti­sanal loaves, also ped­dles high-qual­ity espresso. Set­tle out­side with an Amer­i­cano (beans are sourced from Vancouver’s Torelli roast­ers), and Si­cil­ian can­noli filled with rich ri­cotta and sub­tle or­ange zest.

José and Ana Her­rera’s breezy Latin Amer­i­can spot Rin­concito Sal­vadoreño ( 2062 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-879-2600) shouts sunny trop­ics. Ana’s pu­pusas—a Sal­vadorean spe­cialty of beans, cheese, and pork stuffed into a home­made corn tor­tilla—are a great start be­fore tuck­ing into carne asada: grilled steak with rice, beans, and fresh avocado. For dessert, fried plan­tains with cream trans­port you down the Pa­cific coast.

Prado Café ( 1938 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-255-5537. Prado­cafe­van­cou­ver. com) is al­most out-of-step-chic com­pared to the plucky, odd­ball spirit of the Drive, but Vancouver cof­fee-scene pi­o­neer Sammy

La Mez­ca­le­ria

Pro­duce shop­ping on the Drive

Mer­chant’s Oys­ter Bar

Fratelli’s

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