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When David Hawksworth opened his namesake restaurant in 2012, the room flooded with diners welcoming the conquering hero back to his rightful place. More than just a restaurant launch it was a measure of the city’s ambition and talent tied to a man whose food has virtually defined our fine dining for the last decade and a half. Even international big guns like Daniel Boulud and Jean-Georges Vongerichten couldn’t shake Vancouverites’ loyalty to local superstars, so it should come as no surprise that Hawksworth has been chosen Best Upscale Restaurant for the third year running.
But make no mistake-diners’ affections (and dollars) are hard won in this capricious and wickedly competitive market. Not only has Hawksworth’s kitchen maintained supremely high standards, the brigade has been relentless in sharpening and refining every dish. Flavours from Chinese, Indian, and Japanese cuisine are incorporated with a delicious ease and confidence that authentically reflect our point of view. A focus on foraged seasonality brings vivid freshness to the plates, while flawless French technique and execution underline a deep respect for local ingredients. Hawksworth, along with chef de cuisine Kristian Eligh, has worked with honesty and truth in his cooking. As a result, the food, free of flash and fashion, is better than ever.
The perpetually buzzy room is welcoming and effortlessly comfortable but never loses its sense of occasion or composed style. As a diner, you can surrender yourself to a front-of-house team that balances easygoing friendliness with an alert and unerring attention to detail that has become the standard for West Coast-style service. The wine program smartly builds on genuine enjoyment and a sense of fun over flashy trophies.
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca (Silver) was a close second in this category; for more on the justly celebrated bastion of Old World excellence, see Chef of the Year and Best Upscale Italian. Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (Bronze) also held its own, winning Best Seafood and Best Yaletown.