Move­able Feast

The West End is chang­ing rapidly, but Den­man Street— at least when it comes to food—is as re­li­able a des­ti­na­tion as al­ways.

Vancouver Magazine - - Contents - Michael White BY Christin Gil­bert PHO­TO­GRAPHS BY

Den­man Street’s top eateries, old and new.

in Van­cou­ver, the West End is in the midst of acon­tentious tran­si­tion. For decades awon­drously demo­cratic com­mu­nity where the well heeled and work­ing class alike could live a short walk from Stan­ley Park and nu­mer­ous beaches, an on­slaught of de­vel­op­ment, rent hikes and ren­ovic­tions is now smudg­ing its so­cial makeup. (The ‹ve blocks of Davie Street be­tween Bute and Bid­well alone are ex­pect­ing four new tow­ers in the com­ing years.) For­tu­nately, Den­man Street—its busiest and most com­mer­cial artery—is still a re•ec­tion of the West End’s (rel­a­tively) a—ord­able, come-as-you-are his­tory, es­pe­cially in terms of eat­ing.

NEW AR­RIVALS

Den­man has wel­comed an un­com­monly large num­ber of eateries in the past two years—and some have de­parted with just-as-dizzy­ing speed. Ar­guably most wor­thy of your at­ten­tion is Peaked Pies ( 975 Den­man St., peaked

pies.com). Orig­i­nat­ing in Whistler, it oers fe­ro­ciously ad­dic­tive Aus­tralian-style meat pies that come either un­adorned or “peaked” with mashed potato, mushy peas and/or gravy. (If steak or chicken is too con­ven­tional, try the kan­ga­roo-stued Hop­per pie. No, se­ri­ously.) Also set­tling in well is the enig­mat­i­cally named

3 Quar­ters Full ( 1789 Co­mox St., face­book.com/3quar­ters­full­cafe), a spar­tan but com­fort­ing pan-Asian café in­stalled in a cor­ner of the other­wise down-at-the-heels Den­man Place Mall; the aable counter sta are

happy to rec­om­mend a sweet or savoury hand-held (see page 20) to com­ple­ment your milk tea or 49th Par­al­lel co¤ee drink. Across the street, the con­vo­luted sig­nage at Pas­ture to Plate ( 1061 Den­man St.,

pas­ture­to­plate.ca) touts “peo­ple, an­i­mals, healthy soils” as well as “grill, broths and deli.” Which is to say, a cer­ti­fied-or­ganic butcher that also o¤ers a com­pact menu of mostly beef-based sand­wiches. Ev­ery­thing is im­pec­ca­bly sourced, but whether a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of passersby want a $16 chili or an $18 burger (al­beit a half-pound one topped with crack­lings and Em­men­thal) will be de­cided in time. What they do seem will­ing to pay is $9.95 for a cup of high­fa­lutin hot choco­late at the Que­bec-spawned Ca­cao 70

Eatery ( 1047 Den­man St., ca­cao70.com). Its brunches see crowds flout­ing nu­tri­tional sense to or­der the likes of ap­ple-and-ba­con wa¤les or choco­late-ba­nana “pizza.” (You can also get an omelette or ba­con and eggs, but even th­ese come with fruit and a mini-choco­late fon­due.) OLD(-ISH) RELIABLES It seemed a fool­ish leap when chef Neil Tay­lor de­parted his award­win­ning ten­ure at Yale­town’s Cibo Trat­to­ria to open a tapas bar in one of Den­man’s most cursed store­fronts. Yet Es­paña ( 1118 Den­man St., es­panarestau­rant.ca) has en­tered its fifth year as pop­u­lar as ever. The price-topor­tion ra­tio here makes it de­cid­edly up­scale, but for good rea­son: the three-dozen­plus small plates are con­sis­tently stel­lar, as is the Span­ish wine list. Also hold­ing their own against a capri­cious din­ing pub­lic are

Buck­stop ( 833 Den­man St., buck­stop.ca), where glee­fully un­healthy South­ern bar­be­cue and $4 shots of Wild Tur­key en­liven the weary af­ter-work set, and Damso Mod

ern Korean ( 867 Den­man St., face­book .com/damso.cui­sine), where the out­sized flavours of “Holy Sh*t!! Super Spicy” noo­dles and DFC (Damso fried chicken) are in­versely pro­por­tional to the diminu­tive room. IN­STI­TU­TIONS It seems un­fath­omable that there was a time when Kin­taro ( 788 Den­man St.,

604-682-7568) was down­town’s only se­ri­ous des­ti­na­tion for au­then­tic ra­men. Com­pe­ti­tion has ex­ploded, but its out-the-door queues re­main. As is the case at Kingyo ( 871 Den­man St., kingyo-iza­kaya.ca) —now part of a mini-em­pire ex­tend­ing to Toronto and Seat­tle, the orig­i­nal ar­ti­cle has been show­ered with medals at our Res­tau­rant Awards ev­ery year since 2006. Its metic­u­lous Ja­panese-style bar food and fruit-for­ward cock­tails never lose their charm. Af­ter­ward, have a night­cap at the

Bay­side Lounge in the Best Western Sands Ho­tel ( 1755 Davie St., bayside­lounge

.ca) and take in its leg­endary panoramic view of English Bay. If this im­per­vi­ous cir­ca1970s time capsule ever shut­ters, the West End as we’ve known it will truly be over.

Bay­side Lounge

Kingyo

Damso Mod­ern Korean

Es­paña

Buck­stop

PAIRS BEST WITH j JoieFarm Plein de Vie Brut // $19 // Sit­ting at English Bay, bot­tle opener in hand, and you spent only $19 on this amaz­ing bot­tle. We do live in the great­est city in the world!

Pas­ture to Plate

Kin­taro

Ca­cao 70 Eatery

Peaked Pies

3 Quar­ters Full

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