Vancouver's food scene is nothing if not vibrant, with cool new bars and restaurants popping up year-round. The past few months have seen a number of spots worth checking out around the city.
Gastown continues to sprout watering holes and trendy concepts all around. Noted Gastown entrepreneur, Sean Heather, has added to his growing slate of businesses (The Irish Heather, Salt, Judas Goat, Bitter), the coffee shop/deli Ranier Provisions. Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner - and brewing Portland's favourite java, Stumptown, Ranier Provisions aims for a cross between a New York deli and old fashioned British provisions store. Enjoy locally-produced charcuterie, a desert bar and a range of tempting comfort food dishes.
Another Gastown restaurateur with concepts around every corner is Mark Brand (Save On Meats, Boneta, The Diamond). He's added two new spots recently - a ramen joint and a pub. No.1 Noodle House is located in the original Boneta space on the corner of Cordova and Carrall, and serves up bowls of noodle soup as well as fried chicken wings, bao buns, salads and Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches.
Just down the street, is Brand's Portside Pub, a design-forward drinking house with fairground-style food windows and a hot live music and DJ schedule.
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Half a block from Ranier Provisions, Pidgin restaurant has suffered from a vociferous anti-gentrification protest. But inside is a sleek, modern room serving up beautifully presented fusion dishes from one of Canada's best chefs, Winnipeg's Makoto Ono.
The ever-more upwardly mobile Alberni Street now boasts a glamorous roof top patio, appropriately monikered, The Roof. From the Glowbal Group stable (Italian Kitchen, Coast), The Roof sits atop their steakhouse, Black & Blue, and is fully fitted with fire pits and huge umbrellas if Vancouver's weather turns on your outdoor soiree.
Moving East, another addition to the city's growing vegetarian contingent, Graze, has transformed the space previously occupied by Fray. Graze presents an elegant, decadent twist on vegetarian and vegan cuisine that belies its pure roots. They also open for weekend brunch.
Main Street is no slouch in the battle for your belly. The old Cafeteria space has been picked up by chef Andrea Carlson (formerly of Bishop's and the passion behind Strathcona's Harvest) to emerge as Burdock & Co. Committed to organic, locally-sourced produce, Carlson's menu is one of the more impressively creative offerings in the city right now. The room is also lovely - all reclaimed wood and whitewash, with a large share table and a beautiful bar.
The group behind Cascade Room and El Camino's closed down Habit and turned it into a neighbourhood pasta joint. Charlie's Little Italian also boasts the type of cracking cocktail list we've come to expect from this group.
If cocktails are your thing, be sure to travel further south along Main to Shameful Tiki Room. Picking up from the much-loved - and now lost - Tiki Bar in the Waldorf Hotel, Shameful offers a slice of Polynesia with your Trader Joe's-style Mai Tai. Those who really want to feel they've sailed off to the sun should try the clamshell Mystery Bowl cocktail for two which arrives aflame to the ringing of a big bell. What's not to love?