So you’re in Vancouver and wondering where the heck to go for dinner. Well, if you’re an actor guesting on our show, all you have to do is swing by my office and I’ll provide you with a rundown of my favorite local restaurants. From the Japanese hotdog stand serving up Oroshi hotdogs to the latest celebrity chef venture in the heart of downtown, I’ve got you covered. Don’t bother with that list you received from the production office and, for Godsake, don’t ask your hotel for suggestions. When I first came to Vancouver, I made the mistake of asking the concierge at The Sutton Place Hotel to recommend a really good sushi restaurant. He directed to me to one of those places where the sushi selections float by on little boats, endlessly circling the bar like weary Bangkok prostitutes working the floor.
What’s that? You say you’re NOT a visiting actor but nevertheless plan on eating while in Vancouver? And you’d rather not do conveyer belt sushi? Oooh, look at you, all hoity-toity! Well, okay. Here’s a peek at my list of favorites. Just do me a favor. If you check out any of them, report back. Oh, and while you’re in town, DO ask your concierge for a good recommendation and report back on that too. I’d love to hear what they come up with.
Check out the list, then check out the mini mailbag. Today’s entry is dedicated to a hopefully-on-the-mend-soon Sessy.
Japa Dog: A hot dog stand with a Japanese twist. Located on the corner of Burrard and Haro, steps away from The Sutton Place Hotel, it offers – in addition to the more typical Bavarian smokies and bratwurst – turkey smokies with miso sauce, Kaiware, and Japanese mayo, and okonomiyaki-flavor kurobuta dogs.
Memphis Blues Barbecue House: 1465 West Broadway (604-738-6806)
For a taste of almost everything on the menu, try the Memphis Feast. Finish with the pecan pie a la mode.
Long’s Noodle House: 4853 Main Street (604-879-7879)
Tiny, hole-in-the-wall, family-run restaurant. Try the wine chicken (best in the city) steamed dumplings, pig pot (pork shank served on a bed of spinach), or the house meatballs (with egg-yolk centers). *Cash only. They don’t take credit cards.
Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant: 3711 No. 3 Road, Richmond, Vancouver (604-232-0816)
A little out of the way and pricey, but you won’t find a better top quality Chinese restaurant. The house chicken is to die for.
Sha-lin Noodle House: 548 West Broadway (604-873-1816)
Casual and inexpensive handmade noodles (you can actually watch them being made). Try: the curried dragging noodles with barbecue pork, and the spicy cumin lamb.
Sun Sui Wah: 3888 Main (604-872-8822)
Great dim sum. Excellent: Lobster with Ginger and Green Onions, Peking Duck, Braised Abalone.
Rekados Grill: 4063 Main Street, Tel: 604-873-3133
Filipino food at its rib-sticking best. Check out the crispy pata (pork hocks) or the sizzling sisig (crispy pig ear). And, for dessert, the cheddar corn ice cream that tastes a lot better than it sounds.
Bistrot Bistro: 1961 West 4th Avenue, Tel: 604-732-0004
Rustic French country fare. If it’s on the menu, try the duck confit mac and cheese.
DB Bistro: 2551 West Broadway (604) 739-7115
The Bistro is Daniel Boulud’s recent entry into the Vancouver restaurant scene. Nice, warm atmosphere. Try the handmade orechiette pasta. http://www.dbbistro.ca/
La Regalade: West Van (604-921-2228)
Rustic French cuisine served in earthenware pots. Huge portions. Excellent. Try the pear/goat cheese tart appetizer.
Le Crocodile: 100 – 909 Burrard (604) 669-4298
This restaurant has been serving upscale traditional French cuisine for over 20 years. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the oven-roasted beef bone marrow or the pan-seared sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms. http://www.lecrocodilerestaurant.com/
Lumiere: 2551 West Broadway (604) 739-7115
Boulud’s team now runs the kitchen in Vancouver’s celebrated high-end Lumiere. I haven’t been since the changeover but I’ve heard the food is excellent. Choose from three set menus: prix fixe, chef’s, or vegetarian. http://www.lumiere.ca/
Rangoli: 1488 W. 11th Ave. (604-736-5711)
Vij’s more casual sister restaurant. Try the Savory Chaat and the mutton kebabs.
Vij’s: 1480 W. 11th Ave. (604-736-6664)
Inventive Indian cuisine and one of the city‘s best. Try the lamb Popsicles, short ribs, and the mutton kebabs. Get there early though as the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. Last time Harrison Ford was in town, even he had to wait.
Don Francesco Ristorante: 860 Burrard Street(604 685-7770)
Right across from the Sutton Hotel. In addition to great standard Italian dishes, they have an excellent wild game selection that includes terrific grilled quail, venison, pheasant, and partridge. THE dish to get, however, is the Squash Agnolotti with black truffle butter. It’s listed as a main but you can ask them to serve it as an appetizer. In fact, should you have any requests (ie. mixing and matching pasta and sauces) just ask them. They’ll be happy to oblige. http://www.donfrancesco.ca/
Quattro: 2611 W. 4th (604-734-4444)
Great beef carpaccio and an excellent antipasto platter. Galetto (Cornish game hen), Spaghetti Quattro (black bean, garlic, and oil), and the House Tiramisu are excellent.
Villa del Lupo: 869 Hamilton St (604) 688-7436
Grand Italian. If you want privacy, call ahead and book the wine cellar. http://www.villadellupo.com/
Aki: 745 Thurlow (604-682-4032)
Mix of modern and traditional. Best Dynamite Rolls in town. Also check out the Katsu Curry, Butter Beef, and Live Uni
Tojo’s Restaurant: 1133 W Broadway (604-872-8050)
Upscale sushi and Japanese dishes. The place is expensive but offers the best sushi in town. Excellent bluefin tuna and live uni in season. Get: the dynamite hand cone, spider roll, tuna tataki nigiri, and Tojo’ tuna, and Canadian sablefish. http://www.tojos.com/
Yuji’s Japanese Tapas: 2059 W. Fourth Ave (604-734-4990)
More casual than Tojo’s and the emphasis here is less on the sushi and more on the creative small plates: meguro avocado crepes, isobe, spicy curry calamari, deep-fried spicy tuna rolls, and the green tea creme brulee.
Zakkushi: 1833 W. 4th (604-730-9844)
Don’t go expecting sushi. This place serves some of the best robata in the city. Tiny, but very authentic fare. In addition to the great grill items, check out the homemade tofu.
The Seoul House: 36 East Broadway (604-874-4131)
Barbecue your own meal on tabletop grills. Try: the premium cut short ribs.
Cobre: 52 Powell Street604-669-2396
Actually, Nuevo Latino Cuisine. Among the offerings: Patagonia battered Baja rockfish with chipotle ajo aioli, and Indian candied salmon tamale with green apple jalapeno jelly and platan.
Banana Leaf: 820 W. Broadway (604-731-6333)
Great seafood. Try the Black Pepper/Garlic Cracked Crab.
Boneta: 1 West Cordova (604) 684-1844
French-Italian fusion. Located in the city’s Gastown area, it’s very popular. http://www.boneta.ca/
Fuel Restaurant: 1944 West 4th Ave., 604-288 7905
Focuses on fresh seasonal ingredients. Pacific Northwestern. Rather than ordering from the menu, leave it up to the chef and go with a multi-course menu. Request that they include the crispy duck (the restaurant’s specialty). They’ll happily accommodate anyone with specific dietary restrictions. They’ll take very good care of you. http://fuelrestaurant.ca/
Market: 1115 Alberni Street Tel: (604) 689-1120
Just opened in the brand new Shangri-la Hotel, this is international super chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first Vancouver venture. And it’s fantastic. Be sure to check out the Rice Cracker Crusted Tuna appetizer and Soy-Glazed Short Ribs for your main course. http://www.shangri-la.com/en/property/vancouver/shangrila/dining/restaurant/market
2881 Granville (604-738-8939)
Very inventive, upscale regional cuisine. Named one of the top ten restaurants in the world by the UK Sunday Independent.
Au Petite Café: 4861 Main St. (604-873-3328)
Inexpensive Vietnamese. Closed Wednesdays and evenings after 7:00 p.m. Try: the pho, and the Vietnamese sandwiches. *Cash only. They don’t take credit cards.
Thai Son Vietnamese: 373 E. Broadway, Tel: 604-875-6436
It don’t get much more hole-the-wall than this place. Serves up great pho, grilled lemongrass chicken, and, evenings, a seafood crepe that’s worth checking out.
Ytimyona writes: “Haha I was gonna say I was surprised that Window of Opportunity and Ripple Effect aren’t your favorites, but I see I’ve already been beaten to the punch!”Answer: They’re certainly in my top 5, along with Morpheus (loved Vala’s psychiatric evaluation).
FatherCrow writes: “Why do all these writer guys seem to have an absence of hair? Is that a prerequisite of being a writer Joe?”
Answer: Untrue. Check out fantasy author extraordinaire Joe Abercrombie’s ( http://www.joeabercrombie.com/author.htm) full head of hair, the envy of every Nebula and Hugo nominee. Also, while you’re there, weigh in with your thoughts on the cover art of his forthcoming book, Best Served Cold: http://www.joeabercrombie.com/news.htm
AMZ writes: “In response to your response to Michelle about why you pick actors, I have to ask: by picking “the best actor” do you mean their abilities, presence etc? And do looks have a lot, or not-so-much to do with the decision?”
Answer: Again, it really comes down to the performance. You can have to equally skilled actors but one may offer a different take on the character that a producer may more readily respond to. Also, as writers, we tend to have an image of what the character looks like in our heads so, yes, appearance does enter into it as well.
Toomi writes: “When there’s various writers creating characters how difficult is it to get a balance between what everyone wants? How much fun is it to come up with each characters quirks and idiosyncrasies? Not asking for specifics but has there been a disagreement over a character in SGA, SG-1 or SGU where two opinions from both ends of the spectrum and no one would budge?”
Answer: My approach is to roll the dice. Take chances with the characters (which is what I’m doing in my first SGU script). But don’t fall in love with anything. At the end of the day, Brad and Rob, the show’s creators, will have the final say.