Posts Tagged ‘annual’


Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Restaurants and food are hot topics in Vancouver. Everyone has an opinion, a favourite, a “must-try”, and a “must-avoid”. There are few topics in Vancouver that spark people’s passion, outrage and emotions as much as food. It’s easy to see why: it’s a true foodie town with a multitude of options from different cuisines, different neighbourhoods, different price ranges, and different styles.

I’m running an awesome contest this week and giving away over $100 in gift certificates to some of the best restaurants in BC and some amazing cookbooks. Scroll down to enter.

The Georgia Strait’s Best of Vancouver voting is going on right now! Want to vote for me? Simply go here and vote for VancityAllie under “Best Local Blog” and “Best Local Twitterer”. and it inspired me to create my own restaurant guide… especially after having so many people ask me for my suggestions. Keep in mind that these are just my personal opinions based on my experience after being born and raised, and living in Vancouver for 20+ years. So here are my “Best of Vancouver” restaurant suggestions…

Food Experiences at West

My Favourite Fine Dining Restaurant (and Favourite Restaurant of all time): West Restaurant
Why: Impeccable food, service, and drinks. One of the best managed restaurants in thecity, not to mention amazing food. Ask for the “Chef’s Table”.
What to Order: Any dish is fantastic… but the Pea Agnolotti from their currentsummer menu is to DIE for. One of the best pasta dishes I have ever had. Ask to add bacon.
What to Avoid: Nothing!

At Cafe Medina for lunch with coworkers.. Waffles, bacon, fruit and toppings (incl. dark chocolate!)

My Favourite Weekday Brunch: Cafe Medina
Why: Really unique, interesting selection… everything from waffles to curries, to adventurous skillets.
What to Order: No matter what you get, you should get at least one waffle. Order it with some maple syrup, dark chocolate sauce and/or one of the other interesting sauces such as raspberry compote or raspberry caramel. Mmmm! Don’t forget to order a side of bacon… they smoke and slice it there.. it’s thick cut with a drizzle of balsamic reduction. DELICIOUS! The daily curry is also very good.
What to Avoid: The salads. They aren’t bad… but they also aren’t all that exciting!

My Favourite Lunch Spot for Under $10: Grounds for Appeal at the Law Society Building (845 Cambie St)
Why: Amazing butter chicken, veggie curries, and daily specials at prices you’ll be stunned at. They do take-out and sit in as well. Come a bit before or after the lunch rush as they can be quite busy.
What to Order: Definitely the butter chicken. Comes with a full plate of rice and lots of delicious naan. They also make amazing chai tea.
What to Avoid: I’m not a huge fan of the sandwiches or salads.

Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival in Whistler

My Favourite Out-of-Town Restaurant: Araxi
Why: Amazing local cuisine, Chef James Walt sources much of the food from “100 mile” producers such as from Pemberton. He lives on a farm there and really understands the quality and flavours of local food.
What to Order: Chef Walt’s soup creations are always incredible. When Elk/Venison is on the menu, it is not to be missed… as well as any beef or pork dish. If you get a chance to try the souffle, you will not be disappointed! Don’t forget to chat with Araxi’s Sommelier/Manager, Steve Edwards about the wine… ask him for his favourite Mesclat! He is one of the most knowledgeable sommeliers in the country.
What to Avoid: Nothing!

Mmmmm I love weekend breakfasts at Tomato...

My Favourite Weekend Breakfast/Brunch: Tomato Fresh Food Cafe
Why: Located at Broadway and Bayswater, Tomato gets quite busy on weekends, but never as much of a lineup as you would see at some breakfast diners. It’s a great bright open space, and the food is always very fresh. It’s also one of the few breakfast places that uses free-range eggs.
What to Order: I love getting the french toast there with bacon, and Allan loves the classic Bacon & Eggs. Don’t forget to try a chocolate milkshake!
What to Avoid: We’re not crazy about the Eggs Benny.

My Favourite Cocktails: West Restaurant
Why: David Wolowidnyk is one of the city’s best bartenders, if not the best… His attention to detail, creativity, and extensive knowledge is unsurpassed in my opinion. David W. is the bar manager, but the other bartender, David is also quite good as well.
What to Order: The Noyeau Glacé — a jewel of a drink with interesting flavours including apricot, ginger vodka, lemon, other fruit juices and topped with chamomile flowers. Amazing (it’s actually my favourite drink to have when I’m sick)! It’s also worth trying whatever his seasonal “fizz” drink is, but David W. is so creative he will be able to come up with something new for you every time. Like simple sour apple martinis? Yep, he can do them to perfection as well.
What to Avoid: Well, they have a proper absinthe contraption. Whether you choose to avoid or not could be a good or bad thing ;)

My Favourite Malaysian: Tropika (Cambie Street)
Why: Fast service, no fuss, and extensive menus. Food is always served hot with lots of flavour. We like the Cambie street location vs. the Robson or Richmond ones.
What to Order: You must order the Malay bread! Also good are the satays, fresh lime soda drink, Sambal beans, Tropika homestyle chicken, and the lemon chicken.
What to Avoid: The fish curries, the Haianese chicken.

Best Place to Take Someone on a Date: Hapa Izakaya on Robson
Why: Great ambience, delicious food, fun vibe, just the right amount of lighting, and the tapas aspect makes it easy to keep the date as short or as long as you like.
What to Order: The “Hello Kitty” drink is the perfect cocktail to suggest for your female date, and there are plenty of different beers for the guys. All the tapas are good, but I highly recommend the sushi, gindara (baked sablefish), beef short ribs, and the grilled asparagus when it’s on the menu.

My Favourite Japanese: Tojo’s
Why: Although quite pricey and considered “Japanese fine dining”, Tojo’s has been a long-time Vancouver legend for their creative food, traditional Japanese methods and flavours, and gorgeous dining room.
What to Order: The Chef’s Omakase menu is a must if you are brave. You set your price, and the Chef creates a unique menu for you based on your preferences and what’s seasonal/fresh. Myself, I always order the sablefish or Halibut cheek. It’s amazing. If you like beef, the tenderloin is incredible. The cocktails are also very good, from the lychee to the asian pear flavourings.
What to Avoid: The chicken dishes. They are a bit boring.

My Favourite Indian: Handi’s North Shore (Honourable Mention to Vij’s)
Why: You can’t get better Indian food than Vij’s in Vancouver. However, the no-reservations policy and lining up the door every day is a lot to deal with on a regular basis. The flavours are very traditional and the spices are subtle and complex. That being said, if you’re looking for a good Indian take-out or a great Indian experience, we like Handi’s on the North Shore. They also have a restaurant on Dunbar. The food is rich, flavourful, and always good.
What to Order: Butter chicken is amazing, so are the lamb curries, the vegetable curries, and the naan. Definitely order a mango lassi, they make one of the best in the city.
What to Avoid: The desserts.

My Favourite Dessert: Cheesecake etc.
Why: Amazing, creamy cheesecakes in a quaint little room with live piano music on weekends. If you like “creamy” soft cheesecakes, this is the place to go. If you’re looking for firm NY-style cheesecake, this might not be the place for you. It’s busy, so try to come early or don’t go if you’re in a rush.
What to Order: The chocolate cheesecake, make sure to add strawberries and dark chocolate sauce. There is no replacement. This is the only way to go here.
What to Avoid: Everything else. OK, the other desserts are good, but not as good. :)

My Favourite Fish’n’Chips: Pickwick’s Fish and Chips on Granville (Marpole)
Why: Okay, so fish and chips is probably the most hotly debated cuisine in Vancouver. EVERYONE is picky and has their own style. Pickwick’s is my personal favourite. Crispy, hot, fresh, and just the right amount of batter with great pieces of fish. What to Order: You just can’t go wrong with two piece Halibut/Cod and chips! Note that the Granville St location is the best, the downtown one doesn’t even compare.
What to Avoid: Anything that isn’t deep fried fish and chips. :)

My Favourite Milkshake: White Spot
Why: It’s chocolatey, always consistently good, and a good price.
What to Order: The chocolate milkshake
What to Avoid: N/A

My Favourite After Bar/Clubbing Snack: Megabite Pizza (Honourable mention to Fritz for Poutine)
Why: Cheap, greasy, and delicious. Great crust and toppings. Not to mention close to the clubbing districts downtown with multiple locations.
What to Order: Any of the pizzas! Don’t forget to squeeze a little “white ranch” sauce on top… it’s popular with the regulars.


Worst Pizza: Whole Foods Cambie
Why: The pizza staff here knead every last bubble out of their dough consistently until it is rock-hard cardboard. It’s also extremely expensive. They generally let the pizzas sit out too long as well. Too much greasy cheese, not enoguh sauce, bland sauce, not enough herbs, and terrible, terrible dough/crust. I’ve tried it over 10 times, and have been constantly disappointed.

Most Overrated: Go Fish on Granville Island
Why: Long line-ups, bland and lacklustre batter, and overpriced. I realize I am probably going to take some heat for this one ;)

Worst Buffet: UBC Golf Course
Why: Overpriced, bland, and food tends to be quite soggy.

Most Trying-To-Hard-to-be-Trendy: Society (Yaletown)
Why: Expensive prices, tacky decor and slow service. I’ve eaten here a couple times and the crowd itself is a bit pretentious. The food is made with a heavy hand… too much cheese/butter/salt in many dishes. Avoid the mac and cheese… the truffle oil is completely overdone and a poor substitute for real truffles at those prices.



Sour apple martinis with Crista at West

Grand Prize: $50 gift certificate to West Restaurant in Vancouver and a copy of the West Restaurant Cookbook and Blue Water Cafe Cookbook
How to Enter: Leave a comment on this post by Tuesday, July 20th 2010 at 10:00 PM PST.
Additional Entries: Tweet “I entered to win a $50 gift certificate to West Restaurant & 2 cookbooks from @VancityAllie … RT to win!”
Prize will be drawn randomly on Tuesday night and the winner will be e-mailed details on how to claim the prize.

Best-of-Whistler Twitter-Only Prize Pack: $50 gift certificate to Araxi Restaurant in Whistler and a copy of the Araxi Cookbook
How to Enter: Tweet “I entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Araxi Restaurant & a cookbook from @VancityAllie … RT to win!” by Tuesday, July 20th 2010 at 10:00 PM PST
Prize will be drawn randomly on Tuesday night and the winner will be e-mailed details on how to claim the prize.



After 65 comments and over 250 retweets on Twitter…

For the Grand Prize: Comment #33 Vinci Au!
For the Twitter-Only Prize Pack: @kumii

Disagree? Agree? Have a suggestion for the “Best of” or “Worst of”… ? Just leave a comment here and you’ll automatically be entered into the Grand Prize contest.

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This the blog of a 28 year-old Vancouver girl who loves and writes about everything “Vancouver” and West Coast. This is the blog of a girl who works in Vancouver's video game industry, it's also a surfing blog, snowboarding blog, food blog, Canucks blog, gadget blog, and photography blog. is an award-winning blog that receives over 2.7M unique visitors every year and over 4,500 followers on Twitter. has been featured in books, newspapers, magazines, and television.

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