On a recent visit to Vancouver, I had three different dinner experiences, each enjoyable in its way, plus one really good brunch.
Located in the city’s Yaletown neighborhood and housed in a converted warehouse space, Blue Water Cafe floats between seafood restaurant and sushi bar. The menu definitely has a Japanese flair.
We chose the Stamina roll from the sushi menu to have as a starter course. It featured crab, barbecued eel and smoked salmon with a sweet soy glaze, dotted with sesame seeds. Each bite a delight. Not sure what stamina is required to eat it – maybe it takes fortitude to resist ordering another.
For my entree I chose the sablefish, served in yuzu dashi broth with baby bok choy, sliced shiitake, plump edamame and quinoa. The sablefish, also known as black cod, had big, white flakes and a buttery taste and texture.
My companion chose the scallops, perfectly seared, served with broccolini, snap peas and grape tomatoes and a panisse, essentially fried polenta fashioned out of chickpeas. The tender scallops were sitting in a preserved orange sauce.
The atmosphere is lively and bustling; rustic, with rough hewn beams and posts, and upscale with crisp white tablecloths.
Five Sails, on an upper level of the convention center and cruise terminal, boasts a panoramic view of Vancouver Harbour and the lights and mountain terrain of North Vancouver across the water.
Here we started with an unusual rillette featuring duck and liver parfait presented on thinly sliced and toasted baguette as sort of a sandwich, garnished with strawberries, grapes and cubes of aspic.
Although listed as an appetizer, the tartare served as my entree. The finely chopped beef tenderloin, deliciously spicy, was served with lavash crisps. Between the two mounds of tartare was a strip of charred flat iron steak, a sort of meaty lagniappe.
Rick had the lamb, a perfectly grilled strip loin topped with shishito peppers and served with eggplant caponata.
The decor is a little cruise-shippy but that view is magnificent.
Bacchus is located in the Wedgewood hotel in the city center so it’s no surprise the tables are graced with Wedgewood china. The menu and decor are more European while keeping local products in focus.
I couldn’t resist having some fresh oysters, served with a raspberry mignonette; cool and delicious.
Spring lamb bolognese was my entree while Rick and the spring rabbit braised in white wine.
Instead of dessert we shared a plate of local cheeses.
It’s a relaxing and quiet atmosphere enhanced with live piano music.
Located in the Library District, Cafe Medina specializes in hearty breakfast skillets with a Mediterranean bent.
An egg-topped cassoulet, for example, had the usual white beans and sausages you’d expect in cassoulet but also with thick bacon and roma tomatoes. More of a deconstructed cassoulet but satisfying nonetheless.
Same with the paella, served on orzo instead of rice, with chorizo, avocado and roasted vegetables.
The atmosphere is youthful and busy. Have the Medina 75, the restaurant’s take on a French 75, and relax – you’re on vacation.