Canada’s 100 Best - - THE LIST -

801 W. Georgia St., Van­cou­ver, B.C. hawksworth­restau­rant.com

DROP BY Hawksworth at lunch, and you can set­tle in ca­su­ally at the gran­ite bar for a su­perb ham­burger, with only a beer and a news­pa­per for com­pany. Or if you pre­fer, a few steps away, in the glam­orous chan­de­liered Pearl Room or the sunny Art Room, you can go posh and have an el­e­gant lob­ster salad with a fine glass of chardon­nay or sau­vi­gnon blanc. Come cock­tail hour, there is no more chic set­ting for a tête-à-tête than the leather-lined ban­quette in the lounge, be­neath the daz­zling Damien Hirst (“Big Love Di­a­mond Dust,” with a but­ter­fly, of course). Fi­nally, at din­ner, it is fine-din­ing time, and the full range of David Hawksworth’s ex­quis­ite culi­nary vision is on full dis­play. His style is con­stantly evolv­ing and al­ways in­ter­est­ing. It pos­sesses a fi­nesse that’s eas­ily traced to the great U.K. kitchens where he honed his craft decades ago. As did more re­cently his South African chef de cui­sine Quin­ton Ben­nett, who came to Hawksworth fresh from run­ning Nigel Ha­worth’s kitchen at North­cote. Their cook­ing at Hawksworth is so­phis­ti­cated, en­chant­ingly colour­ful, gen­er­ally light, and pos­sessed of an al­most Asian pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with tex­ture and mouth feel. Ex­pect bright, dis­tinct flavours, bal­ance and, typ­i­cally, var­ied tex­tures and a bit of crunch. In­flu­ences are as­sertively, con­vinc­ingly in­ter­na­tional. Hamachi crudo is en­riched with co­conut and bright­ened with a nat­u­ral pair­ing of or­ange and fen­nel, while oc­to­pus meets mole, smoky mez­cal and the umami of charred av­o­cado. Ingredient­s are top-qual­ity and lo­cal—within rea­son (which means yes to fish from New Zealand, truf­fles from Tas­ma­nia and lob­ster from our East Coast). Wayne Kozinko’s desserts are ex­cep­tional. The wine list is long, var­ied and well-cu­rated, and many ex­cel­lent wines are avail­able by the glass— ask sommelier Bryant Mao for one of his in­spired rec­om­men­da­tions. Or bet­ter yet, set­tle in for the “B.C. Jour­ney” tast­ing menu, and have him pair the lot.

Bur­rata, beet, pis­ta­chio, honey miso dress­ing

Milk choco­late fon­dant bar, man­darin or­ange sor­bet, toasted hazel­nut

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