Tacofino Taco Bar, photo by Laura McGuire
While some of us have been hibernating throughout the winter, new restaurants have been poking up across Vancouver. Here are six spots that have opened in 2015 and are generating buzz among locals.
Named after a chop suey eatery that occupied the space in the 1920s, this Chinatown restaurant is cooly sophisticated with exposed brick walls and preserved ironwood trees. Chef Douglas Chang’s menu mixes his Chinese and Jamaican heritage with global influences. The delicious result? Dishes like freshly shucked oysters with a spicy mignonette, pea agnolotti with Jinhua ham broth, and fermented red tofu-glazed pork belly.
Unfinished wood tables and a galvanized metal wall behind the bar give this Commercial Drive spot a casually chic feel. One-plate meals like minced chicken with Thai basil on rice dominate lunch, with Thai congee for Sunday brunch. Dinner goes beyond pad Thai with dishes like northeastern-style Thai steak salad, and craft beer from local breweries 33 Acres Brewing Company and Strange Fellows Brewing.
There’s no sign above the heavy, unmarked door at the side of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, but velvet ropes with well-dressed attendants give this spot away. Descend underground to a luxurious 3,000-square-foot bar complete with a roaring twenties-style ambiance, live music and vintage cocktails. Oysters and caviar keep things elegant.
With the word RAMEN hammered out in nails behind the counter, this Chinatown spot has had ramen fans lining up since day one. It’s the first North American location run by Menya Kouji, a Japanese ramen chain, and Food Network’s Alton Brown has already given it his slurp of approval. Noodles are made in-house.
Run by the folks behind the popular food truck and commissary, this upbeat restaurant facing Gastown’s Blood Alley is already a neighbourhood hit. The small-plates menu offers everything from squash and cauliflower tostadas to beef rib with chilaquiles and kale. A takeout burrito bar operates at the back facing West Cordova Street.
Formerly a Top Chef Canada contestant, chef Michael Robbins named his first restaurant after his grandmothers. The funky 65-seat Kitsilano eatery offers modern Canadian fare such as bison tartar, garlic confit lobster and kale salad with sea asparagus and fried cauliflower.