Trevor Bird’s lively restaurant in Kitsilano illustrates a trend towards farm-to-table eating. Beneath a chandelier made of pitchforks and beams reclaimed from the defunct Cecil Hotel, diners can sample dishes such as the signature “canned tuna”: slow-cooked albacore tuna, preserved lemon and potatoes served in a jar, to be stirred and slathered on bread. The flatiron steak rests atop a perfect rectangle of potato fondant, broccolini and syrupy black pepper jam. A good spot for brunch.
1944 West 4th Avenue; +604 732 1322
Part of the downtown landscape for decades, this slightly hushed dining room with friendly waiters and Italian-inspired food is still the place locals go for a special occasion. The wood-fired oven turns out pizzas, but also dishes such as crisp-skinned sablefish served with olive-oil mashed potatoes, braised kale and mushroom essence. Gluten-free pastas are freshly made on the premises.
1154 Robson Street; +604 688 7338
An army of cooks greets you cheerfully from the open kitchen as you enter this westernised Japanese restaurant on the ground floor of a downtown office building. The speciality here is aburi sushi, which is partly grilled, partly raw and pre-seasoned. If you try only one thing, make it the aburi oshi salmon sushi, topped with a creamy sauce and blow-torched like a crème brûlée, served with a slice of fresh jalapeño.
1055 West Hastings Street; +604 568 3900
Edible Canada Bistro
The Edible Canada tour company recently branched out with this airy restaurant facing the Granville Island market. Owner Eric Pateman puts the focus on BC and Canadian produce in dishes such as coconut soup made with local seafood and Thai spices, Alberta bison meatballs, and duck poutine with (imported) foie gras and duck fat frites. To finish, try a maple sugar pie or a brownie with Alberta rye ice cream.
1596 Johnston Street; +604 682 6681
Open since 1994, the best-loved Indian restaurant in Vancouver has grown into a mini-empire with casual offshoots and even supermarket ready meals. The original restaurant in the South Granville district has perfected a style of fusion cooking that draws on all regions of India while making use of local produce. Most representative of this cuisine are the wine-marinated lamb “popsicles” in fenugreek cream curry, but other dishes like the portobello mushrooms with coriander-spiced vegetable fritters are equally good.
1480 West 11th Avenue; +604 736 6664