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It's here! Our 29th annual celebration of the best restaurants in the city.
Our judging panel spent the year feasting their way through the city—from rooms with starched white tablecloths to joints with waxed-paper wrappers—to bring you the definitive list of the best places to eat right now.
St. Lawrence brings home Québécois comfort food—and a pair of Gold medal wins. READ MORE ▸▸▸
St. Lawrence269 Powell St.stlawrencerestaurant.com
Chef Alex Chen employs precision and creativity in equal measure. READ MORE ▸▸▸
All ingredients are important. Every chef will tell you so. But just between us, some are more important than others. Let’s take Lycopersicon esculentum, the tomato. When it’s good, it’s divine, and when it’s not, every cretin on Yelp will be able to name its inadequacies (and then shout them from the rooftops). That’s why Angus An, Andrea Carlson, Adam Pegg, Lucais Syme, David Gunawan and a host of other chefs trust Milan Djordjevich (a.k.a. the Tomato Man) to carefully pluck his perfect specimens, load them in his truck and twice weekly make the four-and-a-half-hour trek from his Stoney Paradise Farm near Kelowna (stopping only occasionally to fly-fish the Coquihalla River) to supply them with imperfect perfection. And while he’s at it, he’ll probably bring some superlative beans or perfect Coronation grapes. For a thoughtful cadre of Lower Mainland chefs, his Stoney Paradise is the farm in farm-to-table.
With its homestyle Québécois cooking, JC Poirier’s St. Lawrence won judges’ (and Vancouverites’) hearts this year. READ MORE ▸▸▸
Botanist1038 Canada Pl.botanistrestaurant.com
Mak N Ming1629 Yew St.maknming.comHonourable MentionsYuwa, Fayuca
The design group Ste. Marie captures yet another Gold—they’ve won Best New Design for five out of the last eight years—for Botanist and its garden-meets-gold design. The transformation of the underutilized former Oru space into a bustling and beautiful art deco restaurant illustrates that principal Craig Stanghetta appears to have the Midas touch. “The material palette is rich in texture and executed beautifully,” says judge Denise Ashmore of Project 22 Design. Close second went to Scott Cohen for his design of Fayuca, a take on Northern Mexican design that won the hearts of the judges for its attention to detail. “The depth of consideration in the project was remarkable,” says judge and architect Marianne Amodio, “from the understanding of the history of the place to the investigation of traditional construction methodologies.”
Fayuca1009 Hamilton St.fayuca.ca
Honourable MentionsLa Glace, La Taqueria (Hornby), St. Lawrence
They’re the hosts, servers, sommeliers and bartenders that can make a dining experience truly magic. READ MORE ▸▸▸
Eryn DormanJen MansellJulie SopuckMichael Ziff
He may already own three Okanagan wineries, but this innovative proprietor is just getting started. READ MORE ▸▸▸
Anthony von Mandl
At Grapes and Soda, Satoshi Yonemori brings fresh, innovative flavours behind the bar. READ MORE ▸▸▸
As wine director for the city’s Fairmont hotels, Jill Spoor has immeasurable influence over how we interact with wine. READ MORE ▸▸▸
This category encompasses two very different approaches to French cuisine. Emerging on top is the classical perfection of Michel Jacob’s Le Crocodile, with proper service, starched napkins and expert takes on classics like lobster thermidor. But coming up fast is the—gasp—elevation of Québécois cooking at St. Lawrence, a cuisine undeniably French in inspiration, but equal part habitant in execution. Rounding out the group is the note-perfect brasserie that is Au Comptoir, with its zinc bar and authentic Gallic vibe that imparts a little Pigalle savoire faire into crunchy Kitsilano.
Le Crocodile909 Burrard St.lecrocodilerestaurant.com
Au Comptoir2278 W 4th Ave.aucomptoir.ca
Honourable MentionsL’Abattoir, Bacchus
Holy shakeup, Batman. Chef David Hawksworth’s eponymous restaurant has owned this category since its opening. But this year it’s the second act of Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar, Alex Chen’s temple to all things seafood in the Sutton Place Hotel, that the judges felt had found its groove four years after opening. “The combo of Alex Chen and Roger Ma may be the best in town,” noted one judge. Grabbing Silver was the uncompromising take on Italian that is Yaletown’s Cioppino’s, where there’s “a focus put on every angle that’s without equal” in the city. And taking Bronze is Scott Jaeger’s Burnaby stalwart the Pear Tree, which year in year out our judges rave about in terms of offering consistency and service while delivering some of the region’s best dishes, far from the limelight of downtown Vancouver.
Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar845 Burrard St.boulevardvancouver.ca
Cioppino’s1133 Hamilton St.cioppinosyaletown.com
The Pear Tree4120 Hastings St., Burnabypeartreerestaurant.net
Honourable MentionsCinCin, Hawksworth
Once a diva, always a diva. Hy’s schools Vancouver in old-school style with its Gold-worthy steaks, legendary cheese toast and always-impeccable front of house. Sit at the bar and have a dirty martini while you wait for your table—and table-side service. Coming in a close Silver, Gotham reminds us all that a perfect steak, simply served with salt, pepper and untold amounts of butter, can be a work of art. And Bronze winner the Roof impressed judges with its modern and fun takes on steakhouse classics.
Hy’s637 Hornby St.hyssteakhouse.com
Gotham615 Seymour St.gothamsteakhouse.com
The Roof1032 Alberni St.glowbalgroup.com/the-roof
Honourable MentionsBlack and Blue, Joe Fortes
Everyone needs a vacation, and evidently that’s what last year was for Cioppino’s, because Chef Pino is now back in the very comfortable Gold Medal position thanks to some subtle tweaks to the menu and the fact that he’s the rare head chef who’s in the kitchen almost every night. Hot on their heels is last year’s Best New Restaurant—Savio Volpe—whose more casual approach to relaxed-but-focused Italian has kept its reservation books packed since day one. Rounding out the medallists is Lucais Syme’s Cinara, a downtown spot beloved by those in the industry that’s at risk of losing its reputation as a hidden gem.
Savio Volpe615 Kingswaysaviovolpe.com
Cinara350 W Pender St.cinara.ca
Honourable MentionsCinCin, Ask for Luigi
We change the name of this category every year—it’s been Bakery, it’s been Last Course—but under any name, Thomas Haas just keeps winning it. Evidently his skill with cakes and chocolate and tarts is the real deal, because this marks his eighth win. But the footfalls of Christophe Bonzon and his Burnaby Chez Christophe are close behind—the former CinCin pastry chef wowed the judges with his rotating menu of delicate creations. And a surprise third is Dundarave’s Temper, helmed by Stephen Hodge, who, not surprisingly, spent a while working under Thomas Haas before opening his own spot a few years ago.
Thomas Haas2539 W Broadwaythomashaas.com
Chez Christophe4717 Hastings St., Burnabychristophe-chocolat.com
Temper2409 Marine Dr., West Vancouvertemperpastry.com
Honourable MentionsThierry, Beaucoup
We’re willing to stand in the rain for it, so of course it deserves its own category. Burdock and Co. leads the fray thanks to its small but eclectic group of dishes. Crispy fried chicken with dill pickle mayo and a poached egg is something our judges swooned over. Yes, there’s avocado toast at Silver surprise Belgard Kitchen, but there’s also the infamous Belgard bacon, a skillet sizzler of maple-bourbon pork belly with maple caramel. We dare you not to drool. And Merchant’s Workshop more than earned its Bronze for chef/owner Doug Stephen’s clean yet comforting fare (hot chicken FTW).
Burdock and Co.2702 Main St.burdockandco.com
Belgard Kitchen55 Dunlevy Ave.belgardkitchen.com
Merchant’s Workshop1590 Commercial Dr.,merchantsworkshop.ca
Honourable MentionsCafé Medina, Au Comptoir
Chef Masayoshi Baba’s culinary focus is as sharp as his knives, and he wins Gold this year for his elegantly adventurous exploration of omakase dining at his eponymous Fraser Street restaurant. Masayoshi’s thoughtful expressions of seasonality combine grand theatrics with the most delicate detailing over the course of an exquisite gastronomic journey. Silver winner Kishimoto elevates the neighbourhood dining experience with chef Akira Kishimoto’s impeccably executed dishes that are elaborately plated with a sense of artful whimsy. Judges awarded pocket-sized Tetsu Sushi Bar with Bronze, recognizing the care, skill and attention that goes into crafting pitch-perfect sashimi and nigiri.
Masayoshi4376 Fraser St.masayoshi.ca
Kishimoto2054 Commercial Dr.kishimotorestaurant.com
Tetsu Sushi Bar775 Denman St.
Honourable MentionsSushi Bar Maumi, Dosanko
Accented by a sense of delicious playfulness, Southeast Asian street food is vibrant, bold and lively. Longtail Kitchen tops the podium with a menu by Angus An and Justin Cheung that’s plucked straight from hawker stalls in warmer climes, featuring dishes like Malaysian laksa, Filipino Bicol Express and Singaporean cereal butter prawns. Chic and modern Torafuku wins Silver for its sharply executed lineup of sharing plates neatly paired with inventive cocktails. And Kissa Tanto’s elegant Japanese-Italian dishes set against a sultry supper-club backdrop garner the Bronze.
Longtail Kitchen126-810 Quayside Dr., New Westminsterlongtailkitchen.com
Torafuku958 Main St.torafuku.ca
Kissa Tanto263 E Pender St.kissatanto.com
Honourable MentionsLaksa King, Fat Mao Noodles
It’s fitting that earlier this year chef Angus An welcomed his mentor, the legendary David Thompson, to cook with him for a few nights at Gold winner Maenam, because the West 4th stalwart has quietly and easily become one of the finest Thai restaurants in the world. Not surprisingly, some of An’s competition came from himself, with his newly opened lo-fi, pad Thai-centric Granville Island spot, Sen Pad Thai, taking Silver. Sneaking in for third place is the criminally under-visited Jitlada, the Broadway and Granville room with an elegant and affordable take on Thai staples.
Maenam1938 W 4th Ave.maenam.ca
Sen Pad Thai7-1666 Johnston St.senpadthai.com
Jitlada1459 W Broadwayjitlada.ca
Honourable MentionsSawasdee Thai, Kin Kao
Three Golds in three years means Mr. Red Café is doing something right, and that something is the Northern Vietnamese fare produced by owners Rose Nguyen and her chef husband Hong Duong. Dishes like the young rice cakes with ground pork and prawn have made Tuesday night lineups irritatingly common at both locations. Meanwhile, Chau Veggie Express repeats last year’s snag of Silver thanks to its vibrant and healthy vegetarian menu. And newcomer Bánh Mi Très Bon shows that Richmond has more than just great Chinese food, with its organic pho, house-made bread and Bronze-worthy macarons (yes, macarons).
Mr. Red Café2680 W Broadway2131 E Hastings St.
Chau Veggie Express5052 Victoria Dr.chowatchau.ca
Bánh Mi Très Bon1840-4720 McClelland Rd., Richmondbanhmitresbon.ca
Honourable MentionsHái Phong, Bun Cha Ca Hoang Yen
Winner, winner, chicken dinner. This category has always been hotly contested and cause for long debate among our judges. Marutama topped this year’s list for its silky, deeply aromatic chicken-based and seaweed-laced broth. Well, that and the mega karaage chicken (squeeze the lemon slice over it; you won’t be sorry). No surprise that the lightly salted pork-based broth at the always-popular Hokkaido Ramen Santouka grabbed Silver (although those weird and wonderful green cream sodas might have lent a helping hand). Much-under-sung Ramen Danbo rounds out the podium thanks to its full-bodied and creamy tonkotsu.
Marutama Ra-men780 Bidwell St.marutama.ca
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka1690 Robson St.santouka.co.jp/en
Ramen Danbo1833 W 4th Ave.ramendanbo.com
Honourable MentionsThe Ramenman, Motomachi Shokudo
All that glitters is Gold for My Shanti as it takes top honours in this category for the second straight year. Vikram Vij’s eclectic menu reads like a culinary road map of his travels through India, showcasing specialties from lesser-known regions of the country with uncompromising flavour. Larger digs and a cocktail bar to lubricate late-night snacking contributed to Rangoli’s Silver award; judges praised Meeru Dhalwala’s value-driven slate of lush and hearty home-style dishes. Sachdeva Sweets wins Bronze for its hyper-authentic take on traditional Punjabi fare, ranging from tandoori and curries to chaat and a staggering array of desserts.
My Shanti15869 Croydon Dr., Surreyvijs.ca/my-shanti
Rangoli1480 W 11th Ave.vijs.ca/vijs-rangoli
Sachdeva Sweets118-7500 120 St., Surreysachdevasweets.com
Honourable MentionsSwad, Apna Chaat House
Vancouver and Richmond are packed with restaurants that practise the high art of Hong Kong-style Cantonese cuisine at stratospheric levels, but what sets Gold winner Dynasty Seafood apart is chef Sam Leung’s willingness to explore new ideas and flavours. The famous typhoon shelter crab with sticky rice is liberally dusted with garlicky toasted bread crumbs to provide lively crunch, spare ribs are braised with apple cider vinegar for rounded tart sweetness, Canadian lobster and crab tomalley is carefully extracted to serve as the creamy base for braised tofu. Silver winner Golden Paramount excels at dim sum in a classical style and will soon be moving to new, much fancier digs. And Bronze winner Hoitong Seafood is a tiny hidden gem that channels old-money Hong Kong with private-club-style dining.
Dynasty Seafood108-777 W Broadwaydynasty-restaurant.ca
Golden Paramount8071 Park Rd., Richmondrestaurantwebx.com/GoldenParamount