I’m not from Vancouver and I don’t live in Vancouver, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love Vancouver and all of British Columbia that I’ve experienced. In fact, I’m sitting in a hotel, staring at the Whistler mountains as I type this, marveling in the beauty this province has to offer. And if you know me at all, you know that I research like a serious foodie before heading anywhere, regardless of it being my first visit or fourteenth. So, for this reason, my second installment of Write.Eat.Drink.Repeat will be Vancouver-based. It’s topical.
I obviously had a list of must-do restaurants and simply not enough time during this trip to Vancouver. We came out west for a friends wedding and ended up making it a family/friend trip. Ian, Xavier and I shared an Airbnb with one of my besties April and her boyfriend (message me if you are looking for one- it’s fab!), and reunited with lots of other friends who were attending the wedding too. (And now we’re in Whistler with my brother and sister in-law and my two nieces. The fun doesn’t stop!) It was a long day getting to Vancouver, (shoot me a message to hear the most annoying/nightmarish airport story with our toddler) so on our first night in Van, we ordered in from the recommended Juke Chicken (it’s owned by a friend of a friend), and it was delicious and enjoyed by all.
The first time I visited Vancouver, it was recommended we try out Bestie. I thoroughly enjoy German food, and Bestie didn’t disappoint. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I dragged April back with me this time around. We enjoyed curry-wurst and scrumptious fries, cheese and pretzels. I’m so happy I went back and would definitely recommend this casual lunch joint to German-foodies.
My foodie friend Lauren recommended we try Maenamfordinner one night. Made popular by Seth Rogan tweeting Chrissy Teigan, this Thai restaurant was on my hit-list. It’s described online as “located in the heart of Kitsilano on bustling West 4th Avenue, Maenam serves authentic Thai cuisine with innovative twists on centuries-old recipes,” and while I did agree that the food was primarily Thai, I really enjoyed the fusion that some dishes linked with Cambodian and Chinese flavors.
At Maenam, I enjoyed a chaba cloud cocktail (hibiscus tea infused vodka, bitterhouse rubato liqueur, green tea simple syrup) and it was divine. It was colorful and dainty, with a small flower garnishing the glass. This cocktail can definitely be recreated using Grey Goose Cherry Noir.
Dinner was phenomenal. I shared steamed manila clams with lemongrass and thai basil, served with nahm jim sauce with April’s boyfriend Anup, and I was thrilled with our choice. We all ordered our own main dishes due to some dietary restrictions (although all of the dishes are made to be shared), and selfishly I was happy to have my order to myself. I ordered the gang kau, tumeric curry of grilled striplion beef, described as “rich and flavourful curry with kale, shrimp paste and shredded wild ginger.” It was super spicy as green curry should be, and the meat was cooked to perfection. Our table shared pad thai, and it was also given a thumbs-up by all of us. It included fresh rice noodles, tamarind, peanuts, tofu, egg, and prawns. We ordered our little guy the grilled thai sausage and crispy rice salad that included house fermented pork sausage, crispy curried rice puffs, coriander, lemongrass, ginger, and fried shallots. Xavier sure loved it, and our whole table passed it around for a few spoonfuls to ourselves. Ian got the 8 spice ling cod, served with caramelized palm sugar and tamarind sauce, crispy ling cod, fried thai spices and aromatics. Everyone’s meal was delicious, and I think we would all recommend the restaurant.
Like every great city, Vancouver offers a ton of brunch options and brunch at Chambar was something special. It is described as “Vancouver’s top destination for modern casual dining. We offer fresh, local ingredients, Belgian-inspired cuisine, and a chic yet inviting atmosphere”. Chambar is quite big, and they take reservations (bonus when you’re with a baby!) unlike its busy neighbor Jamnext door. (It’s apparently a great dinner spot too!)
I started with a lavendar latte (recommended to me from both a friend and my sister-yum!) and my sister ordered a side order of the maple glazed bacon which happened to be the thickest-cut bacon I have ever seen. I had the Paella (1 fried egg, curried orzo, hot Spanish chorizo, charred tomato salsa, cucumber, picked cilantro), Ian had the Fricassée (braised short ribs, balsamic cipollini onions, potatoes, watercress, fried eggs, applewood smoked cheddar) and we all had some waffles (obviously). The waffles are only $3.15 each and are great for kids and adults alike; bet you can’t each just one!
Earnest Ice Cream seems to be an institution in Vancouver. It didn’t disappoint! I got the salted caramel and the London Fog scoops (oh my gosh- the London Fog was out of this world if you like the drink version!). Recommended by a longtime Vancouver dweller, we walked up the street from our Airbnb and ordered some delicious treats.
Here are some places that we didn’t make it to this trip, or didn’t have time to eat at but came recommended. Let me know if you have been to any of them!
Bontanist– Contemporary cuisine inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim. This artfully decorated new restaurant was just in the running to be one of Air Canada’s Annual Top Restaurants in Canada top ten list. My sister took us on a quick tour of the restaurant and I wish we had time to eat there!
Cinara – Modern European Cuisine located at 350 West Pender St.
Bao Bei – In Chinatown across from Juke; same owners as Kissa.
Kissa Tanto – “Best new resto in Canada” according to my foodie friend Lauren. Same owners as Bao Bei.
The Sardine Can– Our friends Ornob and Neha went to The Sardine Can while they were in town and really enjoyed their Spanish tapas.
Ask for Luigi– Italian that came recommended.
Rocky Mountain Pizza House– Off Main street. Child-friendly and recommended by friends.
Chickpea– Child-friendly & recommended by friends.
Miku– I have enjoyed Miku in Toronto, and it originates on the West Coast.
Takeout close to our AirBnB:
Pizza Garden– the Margarita Pizza specifically is our friends fave.
Sushi Mania– Off Main Street.
Toshi Sushi– (Off Main St. and recommended by our friend Saveena).
Le Betard- Breakfast Café. Their breakfast sandwich is amazing and not typical. Great brunch and close to our AirBnB. Recommended by Friends and located between Main and Fraser, beside Earnest ice cream).
Yolks. (Off Cambie and there’s also one in Hastings, but in a sketchy part of the city). It’s busy, the food is great and super child-friendly.
(Between my sister and brother and sister-in-law who live in Vancouver and love brunch, this list is not complete. Message me if you want some more suggestions- the options are endless!)
Vancouver Art Gallery
Joyride (April and I had our nails done here and had a fantastic experience, surrounded by cute decor!)
Throne of Glass Books 1 & 2:
The two books I’d like to (quickly) review for you this post are Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight; books 1 and 2 in the Throne of Glass series. Here’s what you need to know: despite it’s misleading cover art, this series is Young Adult meets High Fantasy. The world, written by author Sarah J.Maas, is a complex one, with characters who are both likable and mysterious; the reader quickly learns that Throne of Glass is just setting the stage for this epic series.
Assassin Celaena Sardothien is a young, ruthless woman who has spent the past stretch of time in a ‘work’ camp, worked almost to death before she is summoned at the hands of the King’s men to be brought to the castle. Celaena hates the king, and is confused as to why she would be summoned to leave the camp. She soon learns that she has been requested to participate in a deadly competition that will put her against the most dangerous murderers the world has ever seen. And who will she be fighting for? The king’s very own son.
You see, Celaena is not just any assassin: arguably, she is the deadliest assassin that has ever lived.
Complete with a love triangle, budding friendships, betrayal, action and complicated lineage in every chapter, author Sarah J. Maas writes her first two books in the Throne of Glass series complete with everything you want to read about in a fantasy series. A BIG thank you to my friend Jane for staying on me to read it!