Move­able Feast

Vancouver Magazine - - News - Amy O’Brian BY Ari­ana Gill­rie PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY

Vic­to­ria Drive is the city’s undis­cov­ered foodie gem.

along Vic­to­ria Drive can be in­tim­i­dat­ing in their mod­esty. Ab­sent are the slickly de­signed in­te­ri­ors with come­hither ap­peal, and the culi­nary choices can be over­whelm­ing— if not down­right con­fus­ing. Im­mi­grant in€uences abound in this neigh­bour­hood, deep in the heart of East Van, barely touched by the gen­triƒcation that has reached Fraser and Main streets. Menus along this com­pact strip—be­tween East 32nd and 36th av­enues—run the in­ter­na­tional gamut, from tra­di­tional Ger­man goulash to Myan­marese chicken biryani. It’s hard to know what to try ƒrst.

FROM THE WEST

Deutsches Haus at the Van­cou­ver Alpen Club ( 4875 Vic­to­ria Dr., van­cou­ver­alpen­club.ca) an­chors the row at its north end. This long-stand­ing in­sti­tu­tion has been serv­ing up schnitzel, lager and its fa­mous pork hock since 1935. The din­ing room in the gar­gan­tuan bunker-like build­ing has plenty of wood and pat­terned car­pet to lend it a vin­tage ski chalet feel, while the menu (printed in Ger­man and English) reads like a his­tor­i­cal doc­u­ment for meat-and-potato lovers.

Far­ther south, a sunny pair of Mex­i­can restau­rants o„er soul-warm­ing cheap eats that trans­port you straight to Sayulita or Oax­aca. Adeli­tas ( 5178 Vic­to­ria Dr.) and El Cara­col Cafe ( 5190 Vic­to­ria Dr.) look sim­i­lar from the side­walk, but the lat­ter—on the block since 2000—dis­tin­guishes it­self by serv­ing Sal­vado­ran and Hon­duran

dishes such as pu­pusas and sopa de res, as well as $4.99 huevos rancheros. Adeli­tas is a tad newer but has earned le­gions of de­voted din­ers who rave about the tacos al pas­tor and chile rel­lenos. How to choose be­tween the spots? Pick the one with an avail­able ta­ble.

TO THE EAST

Flavour-crav­ing plant lovers flock to VanMag’s Bronze Award win­ner for best veg­e­tar­ian, 4 Chau Veg­gie Express ( 5052 Vic­to­ria Dr., chowatchau.ca) for bright, clean Viet­namese-in­spired dishes like the Mid­night Swim bowl, Golden Tem­ple soup and Na­maste rolls. Ve­g­ans and those in con­flict with gluten can also revel in the abun­dance of green-lit items, in­clud­ing sin­ful desserts like caramelized banana cheese­cake and co­conut vanilla bean tapi­oca. The room, like the food, is light and cheer­ful, while the ser­vice is smooth and ef­fi­cient. Be­ware of line­ups at peak times. A few doors south is 5 Amay’s House ( 5076 Vic­to­ria Dr., face­book.com/ amayshouse), which de­scribes its menu as Burmese and Asian, and in­cludes samosas, cur­ries and pad Thai. Among the spe­cial­ties are the rich and spicy chicken biryani, fer­mented tea-leaf salad and co­conut curry laksa. On the same side of the street is 6 Kawa Sushi ( 5088 Vic­to­ria Dr., kawa­sushi .wee­bly.com), a small, bright spot that prides it­self on serv­ing wild sal­mon and cre­ative rolls. A lit­tle far­ther, at the corner of East 35th, are the steamy win­dows of 7 Fatty Cow Seafood Hot­pot ( 5108 Vic­to­ria Dr., face­book.com/fat­ty­cowhot­pot). Don’t be in­tim­i­dated by the se­cret-club am­biance and con­tra­dic­tory name. The place is of­ten nom­i­nated for the city’s best hot pot, which is es­sen­tially the Chi­nese equiv­a­lent of fon­due. Across Vic­to­ria Drive, on the west side of the street, is 8 AA Plus Restau­rant ( 5207 Vic­to­ria Dr., face­book.com/aaplus­fish­noodle­soup), which spe­cial­izes in build-your-own noo­dle soups. On the corner, in a mini-mall fac­ing a gas sta­tion, is 9 Sandy La Chi­nese Restau­rant ( 5257 Vic­to­ria Dr., sandy­lachi­ne­ser­estau­rant.com), which is a late-night sta­ple (open un­til 3 a.m., and they give you free con­gee if you spend $20), and, fi­nally, in the mid­dle of the block, is 10 Kalvin’s Szechuen Restau­rant ( 5225 Vic­to­ria Dr., face­book.com/kalvinsszechuan­restau­rant), a long­time favourite that sees fre­quent line­ups, so it’s bet­ter if you’re din­ing early. From Chi­nese hot pot to Mex­i­can en­chi­ladas, all within four blocks—it doesn’t get more Van­cou­ver than that.

Kalvin’s Szechuen

Sandy La

Deutsches Haus

Adeli­tas

Amay’s House

El Cara­col

Kawa Sushi

AA Plus

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