Dining on Commercial Drive

Tasting Plates Vancouver

The cooler at Via Tevere as part of Tasting Plates Vancouver, June 19 2013. Photo credit: Shawn Conner.

The East Vancouver neighbourhood of Commercial Drive is home to a great number of restaurants. Some have been around for decades, a result of the area’s Italian roots, others have sprung up in recent years.

This week, local food blogger Richard Wolak took several dozen people on a tour of some of the eateries in the area. As the publisher of the foodie website Vancouver Foodster, Wolak organizes Tasting Plates tours of different Vancouver neighbourhoods several times a year. Here are some of what we experienced on an overcast but not rainy June evening.

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Dining on Commercial Drive

Forage brings sustainability—and a little bit of Main Street—to Robson

The savoury clams at Forage Restaurant. Photo credit: Robyn Hanson

The savoury clams at Forage Restaurant. Photo credit: Robyn Hanson

A new restaurant on Robson is making efforts to be one of the most sustainable in the city. That, along with a cozy and intimate atmosphere and creative menu items, make Forage more like a place you might find on Main Street in Vancouver than on the busiest shopping district in the city.

Forage, which opens Tuesday Nov 20, is located in the Listel Hotel. The privately-owned hotel, one of two Listels in B.C.—the other is in Whistler—has been christened Vancouver’s “most artful hotel,” owing to sculptures, paintings and other objets d’art in the lobby, halls and rooms. The Listel is also notable for its association with the Vancouver International Jazz Festival; since the fest’s beginning in 1986, the hotel’s former restaurant O’Doul’s had been a hub for musicians and fans.

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Forage brings sustainability—and a little bit of Main Street—to Robson

Top 5 Thanksgiving Dinner Spots in Vancouver

Photo credit: Denise Oz | Flickr

Wondering where to get turkey and all the fixings in Vancouver this Thanksgiving?  These five restaurants promise diners Thanksgiving bliss without having to spend all day in the kitchen.

  • West: Traditional holiday flavours meet contemporary West Coast cuisine at this Vancouver fine dining institution.  The Turkey Tasting Menu is a five-course feast that can be accompanied by wine pairings.  Start with a Lytton pear salad with Farmhouse Castle blue cheese.  Then move onto the spiced turkey consomme, followed by braised turkey leg cannelloni with black truffles.  The main course is butter poached turkey breast with Yukon Gold potato puree.  And top it all off with pumpkin flan, caramelized pears and orange chiffon.  Oct. 5-Oct. 8; $68.
  • Bacchus: The swanky dining room at downtown’s Wedgewood Hotel is famous for its lavish Thanksgiving spread.  The three-course Thanksgiving Dinner Menu offers up the best of the local harvest.  Start with roasted corn and lobster veloute or organic arugula and baby spinach salad with poached pear and crumbled blue cheese.  The main course is roast free-run turkey with cranberry compote, apple and chestnut stuffing and chive-whipped potatoes.  For dessert, save room for the spiced pumpkin tart with cinnamon ice cream.  Oct. 7-Oct. 8; $55.  Continue reading:
    Top 5 Thanksgiving Dinner Spots in Vancouver

Top Chef Finale Features Vancouver restaurants Black+Blue and Coast

Dungeness Crab Cake

Stay with me on this one.  Two Vancouver restaurants are being featured in the upcoming finale of Top Chef: Texas.  Top Chef is the hit reality cooking show on Bravo, where chefs face off in a series of culinary challenges.  This season – judged by Emeril Lagasse, among others – is set in Texas and focuses on southern cuisine like pit BBQ and chili.

But the final episodes have been filmed right here in Vancouver.  The finale is set in two very popular restaurants on Alberni Street: Black+Blue and Coast. Catch it when it airs March 12 at 6 p.m. on Food Network Canada (or Feb. 29 at 10 p.m. if you get Bravo USA) – or head down to ritzy Alberni Street yourself for a first-hand look at the featured restaurants.

Black+Blue is a brand-new, upscale steakhouse that’s already winning acclaim for having the best steaks in town.  Continue reading:
Top Chef Finale Features Vancouver restaurants Black+Blue and Coast

Helpful Guide to Best Restaurants in Vancouver

Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre—Restaurant Food

Here’s the dilemma:  You’ve just arrived in Vancouver and want to sample the city’s acclaimed cuisine.  But how do you find the best restaurants? Do you trust your guidebook?  Do you do a quick Internet search?  Do you quiz the concierge at your hotel?

Maybe.  But there’s a better way, and her name is Mia Stainsby.  Stainsby is the food critic for the Vancouver Sun.  And she recently published an article called Metro’s 20 best restaurants.  Read it; study it; memorize it.  It’s like a concise little cheat sheet for understanding the best of Vancouver cuisine.

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Helpful Guide to Best Restaurants in Vancouver