03/06/2015 02:45 EST | Updated 05/06/2015 05:59 EDT

Vancouver fine dining experiencing a renaissance, says CBC food columnist

Local restaurant-goers bored with casual dining can rejoice: a fine dining renaissance is underway in Metro Vancouver, says On the Coast's food columnist Anya Levykh.

But if you're looking for starched napkins and tableside Caesar salads, think again. Levykh says fine dining isn't what it used to be.

"The old-school image of fine dining as a hushed room, vested and aproned servers, and thick linen tablecloths is definitely a thing of the past," said Levykh.

Instead, Levykh says what is evolving is the food itself, with restaurants are now offering something creative, innovative and still delicious.

"You don't go to eat a quarter-pounder, but you don't leave hungry either," said Levykh.

As for the decor, Levykh says it ranges from high-end luxury fittings to subway tiles, and $65,000 drapes over the windows.

3 fine dining restaurants

Here are some of Levykh's recommendations for fine dining restaurants in Metro Vancouver.

Secret Location

This restaurant is run by executive chef Jefferson Alvarez, a master of molecular gastronomy and food as art. But for all that, it's still highly approachable and satisfying.

Alvarez is currently only offering tasting menus for dinner, which are an excellent deal at $95 for 10 courses, including beverage pairings.

He's launching a focus on Persian food in the next few weeks, followed by Latin cuisines, so there's always something new to try.

Blacktail Restaurant & Lounge

Blacktail has gone through a bit of its own renaissance with its new chef, Geoff Rogers, who has completely re-invented the menu.

The space itself is highly casual, so no need to put on your bow tie (unless it's an ironic bow tie), but again, it's the food that stands out.

Chef Rogers is hosting a special dinner on Mar. 19, with several top chefs from across the country, including Scott Vivian of Beast in Toronto and Nick Nutting of Wolf in the Fog in Tofino, B.C. which should be an experience not to miss.

The Pear Tree

The Pear Tree has been quietly turning out beautiful dishes for more than 15 years and is still considered one of the top restaurants in the country.

The restaurant is owned and operated by husband and wife team, Scott and Stephanie Jaeger. Chef Scott Jaeger once worked at the Waldorf Hotel in London.

The menu is focused on seasonal local, organic and sustainable ingredients.