While the year comes to a close and we all bundle up for the winter months, I am yet again in a nostalgic frame of mind. I wanted to take a moment to walk you through the restaurants that you would have seen Julio and I enjoy during our trip to the west coast for our wedding anniversary. For those of you visiting or living in Vancouver, these restaurants are sure to make you as happy as they did us.
I’ve been to Vancouver a few times for work over the years, but never for enough time to really sink my teeth into the food scene or distinct neighborhoods. This time with a lot of help and recommendations, we immersed ourselves in culinary experiences that I have to say rival if not outshine those of Toronto.
Now, I’m not here to start a foodie turf war, but I can say with certainty that the Vancouver food scene is one of the best in the country in my opinion. So, let’s get right to it and inspire you all to order from, visit and support these amazing establishments.
For those of you who don’t know, Julio loves to eat – like, a lot. And while I always joke around that our appearance might suggest the opposite, I knew after a flight and checking in to the hotel, I wanted to feed him well. Having heard about their menu from friends we arrived to a calming dinning experience. Highlights include the incredible dim sum, baos, and dumplings. Traditional and modern variations of them all allowed us a culinary and flavour journey that started our trip off on the right foot to say the least. For those of you visiting for the first time, don’t forget to try both their heritage platter and pink coloured salted egg yolk bun to end your meal.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.eatheritage.ca/broadway-menu
I don’t often get a chance to talk about experiences like no other, but that is exactly what we had the pleasure of experiencing at Street Auntie. The concept, born of street food vendors from the region being referred to as “Street Aunties” is both playful and elegant. You make a reservation on Tock, which is still a widely unknown platform for bookings and offers a certain insider cool factor. And the food…. oh my goodness. Born of authentic Yunnan flavours, the menu is magical. I always suggest letting your server lead the way when trying new styles of cuisine, and that worked out beautifully for us here.
Must try items include the Yunnan Ghost Chicken, 72-hour slow braised abalone and pork belly and GIANT fluffy fortune cookie made with jasmine tea and strawberry.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.streetauntie.com
Following my excitement when I heard that Minami Toronto had just opened (we will be ordering takeout from them over the holidays and I can’t wait) we thought we’d visit their sister location on the west coast. Known for their innovative land and sea Aburi offerings, we were led along their Holiday Shokai menu to celebrate our anniversary. The way to my husband’s heart is through sushi and sashimi, so this was a meal that made him extremely happy and subsequently me very happy for that.
From the immaculate presentation to the attention to detail when combining such complex flavours and subtleties, I was truly blown away. And that’s saying a lot considering how often we dine out and order in. Both Vancouver and Toronto are lucky to have such incredible restaurants to enjoy and I hope everyone in both cities orders from them or visits right away.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.minamirestaurant.com
I. Love. LatinX. Food. I always have, and probably always will. So when we were planning our trip to the city, I immediately was drawn to Chancho Tortilleria thanks to some amazing recommendations. Not to mention that it is on Davie street – Vancouver’s Gay Village and equivalent to Church Street – it was on the top of my to do list. “In Mexico, at the heart of every community is the tortilleria. Chancho brings that authentic, small-town feeling to Vancouver’s Yaletown neighbourhood.” – and let me say from experience that this small and mighty menu is as authentic as my experiences in Mexico City and Oaxaca. If you’ve got a craving for Mexican food, I highly recommend you head to this nostalgia themed destination with it’s throwback decor and food that feels like home.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.chancho.ca
Some of the best meals I’ve had around the world have been in hotel restaurants. For a long time I think these establishments got a bad wrap for being an after thought to foodies – now, they have quickly become sold out destinations for unique experiences. For example, a romantic dinner experience in the Winterlust snow globe is a hard ticket to get these days. And once we tasted the food, I don’t blame the city for jumping at the chance to enjoy a tantalizing meal under the stars and quite literally beside the sea. Our meal even had a bit of rain, but we cozied up under a blank and sipped bubble in the most beautiful of atmospheres. An absolute must while the season permits and for date night.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.htastinglounge.com
One of the most memorable establishments for its decor alone, the moment you enter the door you’re met with floor to ceiling wood. Something out of a movie depicting a train station in the 1920s the romantic atmosphere lends itself pretty magically to the intimate menu and vibe. By no means pretentious, but known among foodie circles far and wide, Ask for Luigi made some of the best pasta I’ve ever eaten. And that’s saying a lot for someone who doesn’t normally opt for or enjoy pasta.
“The service is family-style: all dishes are meant for sharing and food arrives to the middle of the table, as it is ready. The antipasti usually arrive first, with pasta dishes close behind.” I cannot recommend a meal here enough – highlights that I am still smiling about include grilled octopus, lentils & fennel, and the campanelle, lamb ragu, borlotti beans & sweet peppers.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.askforluigi.com
Every city has its “it” spot to go for drinks, and if you asked most of the locals in Vancouver, they’d point you to Pourhouse in Gastown. We started off our last night in the city here for drinks and I was so impressed I had to give it its own shout out. Not only are the servers extremely handsome – I hope Michael is reading this and blushing – but the mixology that goes into their menu is quite impressive.
Again we let our server guide us through some libations after telling him with alcohol we normally drank. From the drinks to the small snacks we enjoyed, this is definitely on the top of my list to return the next time we’re in town.
Check out their Instagram account by clicking on their name above and menu here www.pourhousevancouver.com
I love a good combo of cafe and restaurant because in my mind it harkens back to more simple times when it came to supporting local spots. You can grab your morning coffee and / or stop in for some of the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. Insider tip – ask for their housemade hot sauce to add to your dishes if you’re like me and like a little kick. Intimate is the perfect word for this establishment that has pivoted with plexiglass to not disrupt the candlelight and energy of the dinning room (safely of course).
We loved the food so much we brought our leftovers home to Toronto with us. Yes, the food crossed the country with us to not be wasted. So it’s worth a visit in my books to say the least!
Honorable mentions (based on recommendations that we will have to try next time) go out to Muratama Ra-men, Chung Chun Rice Hot Dogs, and Delany’s Coffee House. Of course you can always ask me for more recommendations.
Now more than ever restaurants need our support, and we deserve to spoil ourselves with amazing experiences at home or in the restaurant. Of course please remember to always be safe, wear your mask, and abide by local health protocols.
For more behind the scenes of this and other amazing brands we are working with around the world, make sure to follow along with the #DoTheDaniel Instagram account. I would love to have you join on my adventures.
Photos: Air Canada Vacations, Daniel Reyes & All Social Media accounts listed above
Don’t forget to be kind & laugh a little more this year
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