Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Venerated Vancouver Venues

Out of everywhere I've been in the world, however relatively limited that might be, my absolute favorite so far has to be Vancouver, B.C. Stunning vistas of land and sea, friendly people, varied neighborhoods, good shopping, and better eats - I love no place more. In fact, one of the things I miss most about living in Seattle is the regular weekend trips three hours north to this incomparable city. My friends know of this love of mine, and so pretty regularly ask my favorite places to visit when they're in Vancouver. The regularity of this request lead me to write a standard email I'd pass along. When asked recently for recommendations for a friend of a friend, I thought, "Why not post it on my blog and then I, and my friends, can point people to it anytime?" And so I did. I figure I might as well do the same for Seattle favorites, too, so keep an eye out for that post coming soon to a blog near you!

Veronica's Venerated 
Vancouver Venues

Most of my Vancouver recommendations are in the West End, since it's so central to shopping and the water (grab a cocktail and check out the stunning view at the rotating restaurant) or Yaletown (known as Little SoHo, my favorite neighborhood where we usually stay at the Opus Hotelwhich has a great bar/lounge, FYI). Forgive the scarcity of food photos in this post; we had not yet formed the habit of photographing what we eat back when we made these regular trips to B.C.


La Bretagne: For my #1 Vancouver restaurant recommendation, I choose this crepe cafe on Jervis just off Robson in the West End. The husband man & I would make the three hour drive from Seattle to Vancouver just for the duck confit crepe. My friend, Frances, who found and fell in love with Le Bretagne completely independently of me, loves the dessert crepes (I'm not really a sweet tooth and almost always opt for savory, so I definitely take her sweet-tooth word for it).

Also, as I mentioned, I absolutely adore Yaletown and highly recommend two places there:

Boulangerie La Parisienne: Exactly what its name claims. This tiny place has the best coffee (go for the French Roast - trust me) and croissants (I like the spinach or the ham - my savory tooth kicking in again). It's a great place to stop for a quick breakfast or snack. Plus, you can drool over the pastry/dessert cooler - you've never seen such cakes! 

Provence: You'll find this wonderful French seafood restaurant just a few blocks from Boulangerie. Another of my top Vancouver restaurants, it has some of the best seafood I've ever had (think mussels in creamy broths, bouillabaisse, crab & sweet pea risotto, and lobster ravioli in wine sauce.) They'll also pack you a to-go picnic basket, perfect for an outdoor lunch in Stanley Park!


Kirin: Our favorite of a number of great Chinese restaurants, right across the street from La BretagneDim Sum to die for. I love the steamed dumplings with spinach and scallops. They explode in your mouth with juicy flavor. Even Walter, a Chinese snob of the San Francisco variety, claims they have the best rice dough he's ever had.

Sun Sui Wah: On Main Street, less central than most of my other recommendations. The place to go with a group to order king crab and whole fish to share.

Yours truly posing a few years ago with a giant king crab just waiting
to find a home in a Sun Sui Wah patron's belly.


Villa del Lupo: Again in Yaletown, this has long been a favorite. It's cozy with killer food (think osso bucco and duck "streudel" rolls). 

Duck "Streudel" - phyllo dough egg rolls stuffed with duck confit; a dish we still discuss longingly so many years later.

Side Note: Villa del Lupo has changed hands since we last ate there, so it could be completely different than the place we loved for so many years. If anyone makes it there, please please let me know if they've maintained their previous quality. Just in case, I offer a couple alternates:  

Caffe de Medici: This classic Italian restaurant on Robson has since become a wholesale establishment. As much a grocery store/market aficionado as I am a restaurant nut, I'm dying to hear how their products match up.

CinCin: For an upscale (i.e. quite pricey but wonderful) Italian experience. This is the type of place you go for special occasions.

Our 3rd anniversary dessert platter at CinCin.



Yoshi: Hands down A-mazing experience. Nowhere outside Japan will you find better sushi than Seattle and Vancouver, and places like Yoshi are why I will stand by that comment.

Lobster with miso mayonnaise, one of many memorable dishes at Yoshi.


I also have to plug to my favorite touristy things, while I'm at it. Everyone knows about Whistler for skiing and gondola rides, but there are a couple other sightseeing activities I recommend. 

Capilano Suspension Bridge: I love this suspension bridge treehouse wonderland just outside of Vancouver. Beautiful, amazing, and so uniquely BC - a tourist trap that's worth it. The fudge they sell is pretty darn great, too.

The treetop adventure begins by traversing this impossibly long bridge suspended over a canyon and the river that carved it, allowing those who cross to take in a spectacular view of forest and waterfall.

Vancouver Aquarium: I'm  a sucker for Aquariums, and this aquarium in Stanley Park is no exception. My favorite inhabitant is the arapaima - prehistoric giants I delight in catching in Animal Crossing and which are rare to see in captivity because of their proclivity to swim crazy fast right at the glass, cracking it. 

The husband man introduces the ancient arapaima.

 Your turn!

Let me know if any URLs no longer work. Also, I would lovers recommendations of places I need to try next time I'm in the area. It's been awhile, so I'm sure a bunch of great new restaurants have popped up in my absence. I must keep my list up to date. Don't let this epicurean miss out on great cuisine!


  1. Hey V! I love this posting, and now I want to take a nice romantic weekend up to Vancouver. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. My dear friends and I enjoyed several of your recommendations. It meant we brought up your name often and fondly as we consulted your post for ideas. We especially enjoyed a last night in Vancouver with dinner at Provence. I'll write about our weekend in the next few days--and hope that you two get an opportunity to head up to Vancouver again soon!