Com­mer­cial Drive ..........40

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

Home base for the city’s Ital­ian, Por­tuguese, and les­bian com­mu­ni­ties is The Drive—a long, quasi-mag­i­cal 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)


Of the many wor­thy con­tenders for Van­cou­ver’s sex­i­est pizza, we’re crush­ing on Via Te­vere ( 1190 Vic­to­ria Dr., 604-336-1803. Vi­at­ev­erepizze­ The room has a fam­ily-friendly buzz, 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.

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. Newly popular are the corn-tor­tilla-based huaraches, and for dessert, fried plan­tains with cream trans­port you down the Pa­cific coast.

Mer­chant’s Oys­ter Bar ( 1590 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-258-0005. Mer­chantsoys­ter­ 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. Fed­eri­cos­sup­per­, 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.

Long be­fore the pour-over cof­fee trend, when in­de­pen­dent cafés didn’t take them­selves as se­ri­ously as record stores, there was Turks ( 1276 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-255-5805. Mi­lanocof­ In keep­ing with its Lit­tle Italy digs, Turks crafts and roasts its own Old World Ital­ian-style espresso blends that are dark, full-bod­ied, and round. The un-Star­bucks staff is part of the ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fratelli’s ( 1795 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-255-8926. Fratel­libak­, 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.

Ban­di­das Ta­que­ria ( 2781 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-568-8224. Ban­di­das­ta­que­ showcases the Drive’s Latin Amer­i­can in­flu­ence.

Soft corn ta­cos come in veg­gie op­tions like the Ronny Rus­sell (yam, fresh guac, green salsa, and pump­kin seeds). Pitch­ers of white and red san­gria are just the thing.


A wave of spir­ited craft dis­til­leries is fol­low­ing closely on the heels of the Van­cou­ver craft beer boom, and Odd So­ci­ety Spir­its ( 1725 Pow­ell St., 604-559-6745. Oddso­ci­etyspir­ is in the lead. De­but prod­uct East Van Vodka is made with lo­cal bar­ley and fil­tered Van­cou­ver tap wa­ter. Grab a seat in their el­e­gant but quirky tast­ing lounge, and watch their cop­per tanks at work through floor-to­ceil­ing glass walls. Wall­flower gin and a crème de cas­sis is also avail­able, a white (light­ning) spirit forth­com­ing.

Par­al­lel 49 Brew­ing ( 1950 Tri­umph St., 604-558-2739. Par­al­lel49brew­ ups the ante with so­phis­ti­cated craft beers, dry-hopped for rich malt aroma and cool-fer­mented for crisp hop flavour. Best bet for ses­sion ale: Lord of the Hops, a brac­ing, piney North­west-style IPA with a big cit­rus fin­ish. Mintage ( 1714 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604-646-8243. Mintagev­in­tage. com) is known for its over­flow­ing sup­ply of dead­stock (un­worn vin­tage) from the 1950s on­ward, but style in­sid­ers come for gems like the re­worked in-house line of bright silk tanks sewn from retro scarves, and a range of sweet boho frocks by L.A.based Everly.


The wa­ter source for the Van­cou­ver lum­ber in­dus­try in the late 1800s, Trout Lake in John Hendry Park ( Vic­to­ria Dr. at E. 19th Ave.) is now a fresh­wa­ter sum­mer swimming hole (and dog mecca) for East Van res­i­dents. Pic­nic on shore, get sweaty in a rous­ing game of ul­ti­mate fris­bee, then cool down with a quick dip.

The Van­cou­ver East Cul­tural Cen­tre ( 1895 Ven­ables St., 604251-1363. is one of the city’s most beloved in­sti­tu­tions, with company and vis­it­ing plays, dance, and con­certs filling the sto­ried church build­ing (con­structed in 1909). A glit­ter­ing coun­ter­part, the York The­atre ( 639 Com­mer­cial Dr.) was com­pleted in 2014, sav­ing a 100-yearold for­mer movie the­atre; rental shows fill its bi­jou stage.

Ital­ian Days on the Drive

Pro­duce shop­ping

Via Te­vere


Trout Lake

Mer­chant’s Oys­ter Bar

Odd So­ci­ety

TASTE TH IS Queso Fun­dido With Chorizo LA MEZ­CA­LE­RIA It’s de­liv­ered pip­ing hot in a hefty vol­canic stone bowl. Smear the cheese onto tor­tillas and add heaps of gua­camole and salsa verde. Fold, bite, swoon 1622 Com­mer­cial Dr., 604 559 8226....

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