We are so lucky to live in the beautiful city of Vancouver. Its cultural diversity allows us to have the best and most versatile cuisines around. Most places we feature are discovered through word of mouth or just happen to be some we stumble upon. Either way, we’re always excited to share our stories of amazing places to eat, so you can have awesome food adventures as well :)
It’s foodies’ most favourite time of the year, Dine Out Vancouver! For those who don’t know, Dine Out is an annual event wherein participating restaurants have set menus for three course meals at various prices ($18, $28, $38). These prices are a bargain for most restaurants considering you get an appetizer, main entree, and dessert. This year, the event goes on from January 18-February 2. I for one take this as an opportunity to try out restaurants that would otherwise be slightly out of my last-semester-of-university-student budget.
First up, Dan and I checked out a place that’s been on my must try list for a while now—Raw Canvas. This cozy little place situated in the heart of Yaletown is perfect for your inner artsy-fartsy waiting to come out because you get to dine and paint!
For $38, their Dine Out is well worth it considering the average price of their smallest canvas alone is $55!
Going with a partner is perfect because you can order one of each appetizer and share! The Artisan cheese Tasting plate which came with three cheeses—Riopelle, Marechal, and a three year aged gouda was the perfect match to the Charcuterie Tasting plate filled with delicious slices of Pheasant and Pistachio terrine, Prov. Saucisson sec sausage, Czech beer salami. In the middle were tasty extras like pickles, figs, almonds, olives, tomatoes, and mustard. They also serve a healthy bowl of french baguette on the side for you to experiment different combinations of cheese and meat on.
My personal favourites were the Riopelle + figs + almonds and Czech beer salami + mustard + mustard + tomato. We also paired our meal with the recommended wine (Poplar Grove Chardonnay and Monster Vineyard Red Eye blend) that they have special for Dine Out.
The dessert, gelato accompanied with Port wine poured on top, was the perfect cap to the meal. We yummied it up quite quickly as we couldn’t wait to get painting!
As mentioned earlier, part of the Raw Canvas experience is suiting up in a paint splattered smock and going to town on a blank canvas (pardon the blurry picture, argh!). They provide all the art supplies, all you have to do is bring your creativity! I was stressing out about what I wanted to paint. Eventually, I took the advice of one of the lovely staff and “just went in their thinking abstract”. It’s definitely more fun to just splatter paint without any care in the world!
Below is our final product, you can guess who did what. Raw Canvas is an awesome place to go with tons of friends or perfect for a date night. We were quite proud of ourselves in the end and had tons of fun!
Raw Canvas is located at:
1046 Hamilton Street
There’s a lot to love about this heritage site on the edge of Gastown, with its building just as full of character as its menu. The restaurant has a ton of rustic decor and plenty of seating since it also has a cozy lower floor. If you’re as lucky as us, you can get a table at the far end where trains pass by right outside the window. It’s not something you get to experience all the time, but it was definitely neat.
Boasting an impressive beer menu, we couldn’t settle on just one. They have the option to create your own personalized Beer Frat Bat – a set of four beer tasters of your choice. Needless to say, we were in. Being the indecisive individuals we are, we told our server to please bring us his recommendations based on how hoppy we like our beers.
From left to right: Seedspitter Watermelon Witbier, Farmhand Saison, Rise Up Organic Red Ale, Naramata Nut Brown
It helped that the Frat Bat was organized according to hoppiness. Our favourites in order were the Naramata Nut Brown, Farmhand, Seedspitter then Rise Up Red – the darker ale we particularly enjoyed because it tasted lighter than it looked. We would recommend the Farmhand to try as your next lager as it’s not too hoppy and paired well with everything we ate. So if you’re looking for beer heaven, Alibi Room just might be it.
And for our meal, we opted for the cheese plate with various Canadian cheeses, house condiments, and breads. Since the cheese plate changes daily, we’ll probably order it again. But for now we trust Alibi Room in putting together some wonderful cheeses and spreads to complement their selection of breads, which we found completely delicious!
So according to Nikole and Kat, here’s how to have the perfect Alibi Room Experience:
- Give your server parameters on levels of hoppiness (or happiness) you’re aiming for, to create the perfect Beer Frat Bat combo.
- Order amazing share plates such as the cheese platter and bucket of fries. Why have wine and cheese when you can have beer and cheese?
- Realize that the cheese-to-bread ratio is not going to work, so you’ll have to get creative.
- Make ridiculous combinations of bread, apple, jam, and cheese (but it’s okay cause they pair well together, we promise).
- OPTIONAL: Proceed to make a beatbox/rap about bread, apple, jam, cheese in any given order.
You can probably tell we are an easily amused group of friends. We eat together, share stories, and laugh about random and usually epic things. And we wouldn’t have it any other way! So Alibi Room, kudos to you for creating a lovely atmosphere for get-togethers and great conversation.
So don’t think twice about trying Alibi Room if you haven’t been. Have a great weekend everyone!
157 Alexander Street
After finishing one of our many design projects, we visited Acme Cafe for some celebratory food action. This restaurant can be found in Gastown right before you enter the Downtown East Side, and has a really retro, diner-like feel to it.
As we were seated right by the window, we witnessed many interesting people walk by and even more interesting scenarios (think firefighters, travellers, funky outfits). Always something new every day, right?
Now for the delicious plates we ordered:
Spinach portobello mushroom and cheese cannelloni
Turkey sandwich with a side of mac & cheese
Brie, cranberry-Grand Marnier sauce, grainy dijon mayo and arugula on panini grilled Ciabatta
We have no idea how we ate all of this, it was a LOT of food. Of course we concentrated on eating the main courses, and our reason being “there’s no need to fill up on SALAD!” But don’t get us wrong, the salad was a perfect palate cleanser. The cannelloni was packed full with multiple cheeses, and distinctly feta. It was a tad on the bland side, but overall nothing really to complain about. Here’s what really stood out for us: the turkey sandwich. Acme Cafe did a fantastic job at merging Thanksgiving’s turkey and cranberry with brie and dijon mustard, to create a nice twist to this classic. Many restaurants already offer similar sandwiches, but hardly do we find any that live up to the grand holiday. Our take on it is do it well or don’t do it at all! We give Acme brownie points for creating a killer Thanksgiving-in-a-sandwich combo.
Chocolate Cream Pie
Acme’s Twitter description says “keep your fork – there’s pie!” We were wise to take their advice, and settled on the chocolate cream pie. It was extremely rich, so we only recommend it if you have a severe case of sweet tooth. We loved the oreo pie crust! If it’s one thing we agree on about Acme Cafe, it’s to always ask what pies they’ve baked that day to complete your meal, you won’t be sorry.
For a reasonably priced and more than filling dinner (around $40 for beers, entrees, and pie), we would probably go back. The turkey sandwich alone has us convinced that trying their other ones wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
51 West Hastings Street
After a lovely meal at Finch’s Tea & Coffee House one afternoon (see review here), it was absolutely necessary for us to go get something sweet as a pre-class snack so we hit up Cartems Donuterie (Pop-up Shop). We’ve heard a lot about this little spot recently and decided that we needed to check it out! Boy, it was worth the trek.
Cartems makes their donuts fresh every morning and is open until they run out of donuts for the day. What makes them even better is that all their ingredients are sourced locally! They have staple donuts that they make almost every day but once in a while they get creative with some and have an interesting donut of the day.
1. The Green Tea & Mango Donut
This was their special creation of the day. And if you’re reading this Cartems, please make more of these! It was an interesting combination that was deeeeelicious. We both tried it and loved it. Pat then decided to include one more with the other five she brought home for her family.
2. The Classic
I firmly believe that the classic/plain flavours tell the full story. Bringing everything back to the basics if you will. The classic is anything but boring. As it says on their website, it’s nothing but straight goods. It’s a simple vanilla donut with vanilla bean glaze.
3. Triple Chocolate Threat
For all the chocolate lovers out there, this is for you. This baby doesn’t mess around. It’s a chocolate cake, with chocolate ganache, drizzled with little balls of chocolate. Drool.
4. The Carrot Cake
This one came out of left field. Carrot cake isn’t usually up there in favourite flavours, but this one ended up being Pat’s favourite! They embed carrots into the dough itself and glaze it with caramel. It’s finally topped with toasted oats. Would go great with a cup of coffee. Just sayin.
5. The Mexican Mole
I picked this one out of pure intrigue. Typically when people say chili and chocolate you don’t really imagine them together. But this worked. It had four kinds of chilis, cumin, coriander, star of anise, cinnamon and dark dark dark chocolate. Yum.
Say hi to the super friendly people at Cartems Donuterie! We’ll definitely be going back because we didn’t get to try their Earl Grey Donut that they were unfortunately out of for the day we went (stay tuned for review once we get our hands on it).
Cartems Donuterie (Pop-up Shop) is located at:
408 Carrall St
As you know, we took a little bit of a hiatus during the month of May because we immersed ourselves in a Graphic Design course we absolutely loved. Again, apologies… but we were never too busy to squeeze in finding some delicious eats in and around Gastown. To make up for lost time we’re going to do features on some of the places we found in a little something called “Gastown Eats”.
First, we’ll cover Finch’s Tea & Coffee House where we found this gem: The blue brie, roasted walnuts, pear, prosciutto, oil & vinegar baguette.
This tastes as delectable as it looks exquisite. You can really tell that the people here at Finch’s take their time and really put their heart and soul into each sandwich they make. It’s like a piece of art! So as they say, if you’re in a rush call ahead so they have ample time to prepare your order. The combination of the sweet pear, salty prosciutto, brie cheese, and everything else in between is just perfection. Pat was feeling under the weather that day so she decided to pair the baguette with their Jasmine tea (just one of the many teas in their extensive selection).
We believe that this is definitely “a must try” for everyone and is now one of our Vancouver favourites that we will definitely be coming back for more! It was absolutely necessary for us to top this meal off with something sweet so we trekked over to Cartems Donuterie for some donuts (see review here).
Finch’s Tea & Coffee House is located at:
352 West Pender St.
Not going to lie, constantly discovering new places to eat has had some serious impact on my wallet. Hence why I seize the opportunity to bring my family to some of these places I want to try. Best part is, my parents pick up the tab! Heh. Sunway Restaurant—as recommended by my lovely sister Abigayle—has now become one of my family’s favourite places to go. This cute little hole in the wall has bright and fun decor. The place may be shortchanged on square footage but overcompensates with deliciousness! So buckle up as I take you through what we ordered. Warning: You will get hungry.
For an appetizer, we started off with their deep fried tofu that they had on special (10% off that day). It comes to the table piping hot so give it a second to cool down or you’ll burn your tongue.
Next is their Three-spice chicken that was also on special for the day. I think it is best paired with an order of plain rice. It’s not too hot so it’s perfectly fine for those of you guys who think you can’t do spicy. The taste reminded me of Filipino barbecue … MMM.
This is why I am a big fan of social media. After ordering, I tweeted that I was eating at Sunway (of course). My friend Adrianna almost immediately replied back saying that I absolutely must try their Popcorn chicken. So I of course added it onto what we had ordered. And boy, was she right. Again, have it with rice (trust me). These bad boys stayed the same temperature the entire meal. Magic? Possibly.
*Drumroll please* This dish was specifically recommended to me by Abigayle and I am telling you the same. When visiting Sunway Restaurant, ordering the “Dead Man’s Coffin” is a MUST. Out of everything we ordered, this was my favourite and has given me more than enough reason to return. It’s basically deep fried toast that has been hollowed out and filled with a creamy sauce (think clam chowder). Inside is stuffed with seafood like imitation crab, prawns and mussels.
Proper way to eat the Dead Man’s Coffin:
1. Divyy up the coffin lid.
2. Scoop out the insides and eat!
3. Make sure to scrape at the inside portion of the toast that has been soaked in the sauce.
4. Once all contents are consumed, devour the whats remaining of the coffin.
5. Complain about how full you are.
So make sure to visit this lovely little place located in the heart of Richmond.
ps. Let me know when you go so I can tag along :)
Sunway Restaurant is located at:
1300 – 4540 No. 3 Road
If there’s one thing I love about having school in Vancouver this summer, it’s being able to check out all these new places I have yet to try! Last Thursday, my dear friend Giang took me to La Taqueria for a wonderful pre-class meal. Located in close proximity to the busy business district and a Canada Line Station, La Taqueria is a very popular lunch time go-to spot for those in a hurry and on the go. There portions may be small (Tip: Get at least 4 to really fill you up) but are filled with a plethora of deliciousness.
I decided to try the Asada (Grilled ‘AAA’ Flank Beef), Al Pastor (Pork Marinated in Achiote Chilli and Pineapple), and the De Lengua (Braised Beef Tongue).
The Al Pastor, which was actually recommended by one of the staff, was my absolute favourite. A hint of chilli and the sweetness of pineapple? Need I say more? If you’re a fan of spicy, make sure to add on their hot sauces (available from mild to hot) to top it off. It really gives each of them a kick that completes the meal!
La Taqueria is located at:
2549 Cambie Street
Continuing on my “extended” birthday adventures, Krissy and Faye took me to Hapa Izakaya for some Japanese eats. With it being one of Vancouver’s first gorgeous days this season, we sat on their sunny Yaletown patio to properly enjoy the weather.
Words that came to mind to describe Hapa Izakaya’s atmosphere would be sleek, modern, and lively. Because many of their menu items are tapas and share plates, I recommend coming with a group of friends to really get the most out of it.
With Hapa’s trusty allergy sheet in hand (Faye is allergic to dairy, shellfish AND usually eats a vegan diet!) here’s what we ordered:
The best item hands down was the Ebi Mayo. In addition, I loved that the beef short ribs were topped with sesame chili sauce, which added flavour without it being overwhelmingly spicy. The Karaage was tender and really good as well! Next time, I would probably branch out and order the Bintoro and other tuna dishes (which at this point I still have a weird thing with not liking tuna).
So that’s all for this lovely casual Yaletown Japanese joint, which I highly recommend if you’re in the area. Happy food adventuring!
Romer’s Burger Bar has been on my must-try list for a while now. Our usual group of friends decided to have a spontaneous meal one night and Romer’s was gracious enough to accommodate our group of almost 20 (We love you!). Maybe it was the fact that it was 10:00pm and I still had yet to have dinner, but man… This meal was dee-licious.
In my state of “hanger” (the feeling of being so hungry you’re angry), my eyes laid upon the “Man’s Man Burger” on the menu — Thick-sliced applewood bacon, local creamery amber ale cheddar, onion strings, smoked alder salts, vine-ripened tomato, and whole grain mustard. This $11 party in your mouth does not include fries so make sure to order them separately (Tip: the fries’ portioning is large so share with a buddy!). This time, I got the basic Fresh-cut Fries that are double cooked and tossed in sea salt. My only regret of the night was not pairing my delicious meal with the Red Racer Raspberry Wheat Ale that my friend let me try. That would have been perfection.
So check out Romer’s Burger Bar! I have a feeling this will become a favorite spot for those burger cravings this summer.
Romer’s Burger Bar is located at:
1873 West 4th Avenue
This gem of a pub and restaurant can be found in Gastown, fairly close to Chill Winston and Guilt & Co. The space features a cozy setting, brick-lined walls, an upper floor and a selection of board games. Too distracted by the amazing atmosphere and international 43-beer menu, it was easy to forget about the board games which I’ll definitely have to go through another day.
I was thrilled to see that their menus are bound with old, tattered book covers. And with so many beer choices, I went with the Leffe Abbey Blonde and Wes picked the Duvel Strong Golden Ale. My very first experience with Belgian beer but won’t be the last, because it was delicious! It reminded me of Hitachi Nest white ale (which I can’t find anymore boo). For their full beer menu see here.
Six Acres’ menu features primarily share plates, but portions were generous.
Kennebec potatoes, St. Ambroise stout gravy & cheese curds
Chicken & Avocado Salad
Grilled organic cajun chicken breast, avocado, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, mixed greens, lime & yogurt dressing
Mac & Cheese
Macaroni, gruyere, grana pandano, aged cheddar & sweet onion with a toasted breadcrumb crust
Based on the poutine alone, I’m definitely going back. And you probably can’t tell by the photo of the mac & cheese, but it was actually on a miniature skillet – if it was any bigger I’d most likely pass out.
So if you’re looking for a cozy place to eat delicious appies in Gastown, check it out!
Six Acres is located at:
203 Carrall Street
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