Cult-Fave Milk Bar Just Opened in Nordstrom
Breaking: There’s a New Comfort Food Lunch Pop-up Opening in Gastown
Apparently, Lots of Vancouverites Are Buying Chocolate-Covered Strawberries for Themselves
The Perfect Autumn Cocktail Recipe: Donostia Askatuta
Everything You Need to Know About the BCL’s 2022 Whisky Release
A New Pop-Up Wine Bar Is Coming to Strathcona in November
5 Shows to Catch at the 2023 PuSh Festival
What It’s Like to Be a Figure Skater for Disney on Ice
Ten Black Friday Deals to Check Out Now
The Ultimate Winter Staycation Guide 2023: 6 Great Places to Explore in B.C.
B.C. Winter Staycation Guide 2023: 48 Hours in Tofino
B.C. Winter Staycation Guide 2023: Everything You Need to Know About Whistler’s Creekside
We Tried It: Indochino’s New Custom Women’s Suits
11 Holiday Gift Ideas from Local, Indigenous-Owned Brands
Nugu Brings design-led, sustainable dinnerware to North America
It's been a year of great eating.
Ready, set, eat! Our 30th Annual Restaurant Awards feature is a result of a lot of eating by a lot of judges. The process starts as soon as last year’s awards are done and doesn’t stop until this issue goes to press. In the interim there are hundreds of meals, a few glasses of wine and plenty of heated debates. These are the results—dig in.
Winning Restaurant of the Year back to back in 2018 and 2019 is truly exceptional, but St. Lawrence truly earned it. READ MORE ▸▸▸
St. Lawrence269 Powell St.,stlawrencerestaurant.com
Chef JC Poirier is a maestro in the kitchen, yet he approaches his job not as star but as workhorse . READ MORE ▸▸▸
St. Lawrence269 Powell St., stlawrencerestaurant.com
The duo behind Stem Japanese Eatery are two scrappy upstarts with a dream. READ MORE ▸▸▸
Stem Japanese Eatery5205 Rumble St.,stemjapanese.ca
Pepino’s631 Commercial Dr., pepinos.ca
Ugly Dumpling1590 Commercial Dr., uglydumpling.ca
Honourable MentionsElisa, Como Taperia
Boulevard. (Photo: Christin Gilbert)
This past year, Gold medal winner Boulevard promoted Alex Chen, 2018’s Chef of the Year, to executive chef for all of the Sutton Place Hotel’s brands and Roger Ma took more day-to-day control of the kitchen, but the quality, inventiveness and precision that saw them win this category last year have not waned in the least. When the two are working in tandem, there’s no one who’s cooking with more finesse or ambition. Taking Silver and reaffirming itself as one of the city’s elite rooms is Hawksworth, where David Hawksworth and executive chef Quinton Bennett are likewise turning out ingredient-driven treatises on locavorism in the most elegant room in town, usually packed with the city’s who’s who. Winning Bronze is the perennially solid and under-the-radar the Pear Tree, where Scott Jaeger continues to achieve nightly greatness in the shadow of the praise heaped on lesser rooms that don’t happen to be in Burnaby.
Boulevard845 Burrard St., boulevardvancouver.ca
Hawksworth801 W Georgia St., hawksworthrestaurant.com
The Pear Tree4120 Hastings St., peartreerestaurant.net
We’ve resurrected this category thanks to the explosion of relaxed spots turning out some of the most buzzworthy chow in town. Take Gold winner Downlow Chicken Shack. Owners Doug Stephen and Lindsey Mann closed their beloved but poorly laid out Merchant’s Workshop last summer and moved north up Commercial Drive with an idea of serving up Nashville hot chicken, and the crowds clamouring for their wholesome fare have been non-stop. And for fun, they morph into a burger bar on Mondays, producing the city’s best in that genre as well (and the concept will get its own spot shortly). More under the radar is the tiny—and, to be honest, sort of dingy—slice of authentic Mexican that is Silver winner Chancho Tortilleria. The minuscule menu is an exercise in minimalism: three types of pork and fresh (as in made two minutes before you eat them) tortillas all served on beat-up aluminum trays. It’s perfect. Rounding out the winners with Bronze is Angus An’s Fat Mao Noodles, a sliver of a room in Chinatown that keeps it authentic and casual with pan-Asian bowls like southern Thai beef laksa.
Downlow Chicken Shack905 Commercial Dr., dlchickenshack.ca
Chancho Tortilleria1206 Seymour St., chancho.ca
Fat Mao Noodles217 E Georgia St., fatmaonoodles.com
Hey, Dumplings!, The Tuck Shoppe
At Keefer Bar, Amber Bruce manages the melee with grace and skill. READ MORE ▸▸▸
It was a shock to find out CinCin‘s Shane Taylor hadn’t won this award years ago. READ MORE ▸▸▸
This year sees this at-times-unwieldy category finally settle down to recognize a trio of restaurants that truly encapsulates Vancouver locavorism. First up with Gold is criminally underappreciated Burdock and Co, where chef Andrea Carlson transforms her jewel box of a room into a master course on taking the bounty of this area and moulding it into tiny, tasty treatises of what it means to create magic from sustainability. Taking Silver is Kits’s AnnaLena, a room that continues to be one of the hardest reservations in town since opening five years ago, in large part because chef Michael Robbins oversees a menu with gems like trout with roe and chive beurre blanc that have an unwavering sense of place. The Bronze goes to David Hawksworth’s Nightingale—another coveted reservation—where the famed chef and his executive chef, Phil Scarfone, are able to do the near-impossible feat of populating the big room by creating flawless dishes that have local provenance.
Burdock and Co 2702 Main St., burdockandco.com
AnnaLena1809 W 1st Ave., annalena.ca
Nightingale1017 W Hastings St., hawknightingale.com
Farmer’s Apprentice, The Pear Tree
These neighbourhood spots offer great food—and an insight into the locals who live there. READ MORE ▸▸▸
Our province’s capital continues to siphon both chefs and diners in search of more affordable housing and a slower pace, and the dining scene is exploding as a result. But Gold winner Wild Mountain isn’t interested in trends or chasing the next big thing. Instead proprietors Oliver Kienast and Brooke Fader use their Sooke outpost to celebrate food prepared in measured and handcrafted reverie (their house-made root beer prosciuttini is a charcuterie revelation). Silver goes to the relentlessly offbeat Part and Parcel, which operates out of the tourist flow from its Quadra Street perch but nonetheless effortlessly churns out show-stopping dishes like beet falafel with ricotta and grilled radicchio at prices that never get near the $20 mark. And Bronze is long-time fave Olo, where there’s been unwavering consistency coming from the kitchen of chef Brad Holmes since the space transformed from Ulla four years ago.
Wild Mountain1831 Maple Ave. South, Sooke, wildmountaindinners.com
Part and Parcel 2656 Quadra St., Victoria, partandparcel.ca
Olo509 Fisgard, Victoria,olorestaurant.com
Agrius, House of Boateng
Well, sooner or later the local secret had to get out, and this is the year our judges decided to spill it: Gold winner Alta Bistro is the best restaurant in Whistler. Chef Nick Cassettari has been a model of overperforming for almost a decade now, somm Eric Griffith curates the most interesting list in town, and the young and carefree vibe has none of the formality that can affect resort dining. Silver goes to last year’s surprise winner, the Grill Room, where chef Derek Bendig shows that being attached to a hotel—the Fairmont Chateau Whistler—doesn’t mean that the food has to be expected and safe. And Bronze goes to the rock-steady Araxi, where even a trying year with chef changes couldn’t keep the perennial Gold winner off the podium.
Alta Bistro4319 Main St., altabistro.com
Grill Room4599 Chateau Blvd., fairmont.com/whistler/dining/grillroom
Araxi4222 Village Sq., araxi.com
Bar Oso, The Red Door
This is getting silly. This category has seen a pantheon of different judges over the years and no matter what the mix, the result is the same: Mark Filatow’s Waterfront Wines wins gold…for the 3,000th-time. (It’s actually only 11.) And this in a year where Filatow could have easily taken his eye off the ball with the opening of his casual lunch spot, Waterfront Café. But no—the food coming out of Waterfront’s kitchen—try ling cod and trout rye tempura for a sample—continues to wow our judges, as does one of the best-curated wine lists in the Interior. Silver goes to the only restaurant more iconic than Waterfront: Rod Butters and Audrey Surrao’s institution Raudz, where a reinvigorated menu shows that Butters can still throw down with anyone in the province. Bronze drops on Liquidity Bistro, where owner Ian MacDonald continues to shake up the old order of how wineries (and winery restaurants) are run, with chef Matt Martin offering an innovative take on a tasting-room menu with dishes like squab with cherry and shiso.
Waterfront Wines1180 Sunset Dr., Kelowna, waterfrontrestaurant.ca
Raudz 1560 Water St., Kelowna, raudz.com
Liquidity Bistro4720 Allendale Rd., Okanagan Falls, liquiditywines.com/Bistro
It’s been five years since Gold winner Chef Tony opened, and its refined, bustling approach to Cantonese food continues to make it one of the busiest restaurants around, thanks to its elegant room serving standout dishes like sea cucumber soaked in vinegar and a liberal use of truffles. The Silver goes to Hoi Tong, a fitting tribute to the beloved 82-year-old chef Leung Yiu Tong, who recently retired and whose trailblazing touch with interpreting the Cantonese classics—his sweet-and-sour pork knew no equal—helped inform several generations of diners on what fine Chinese cooking can be. Rounding out the podium is former Gold winner Dynasty, where chef Sam Leung likes to push the envelope, especially with seafood, and where dishes like his deep-fried crab claws stuffed with shrimp paste cater to those not wanting to make the trip to Richmond for dynamite Chinese food.
Chef Tony4600 No. 3 Rd. #101, Richmond, cheftonycanada.com
Hoi Tong8191 Westminster Hwy. #155, Richmond (closed)
Dynasty108-777 W Broadway, dynasty-restaurant.ca
Jade Seafood, Sanbo
It had to happen. After 11 years of having Le Crocodile atop the French throne (and 17 Golds in total), JC Poirier’s St. Lawrencehas earned the Gold with authentic but playful takes on the Paris-Brest, venison tourtière and choucroute garnie that have made securing a table at the east-side eatery about as easy as winning the lottery. But once in the cozy blue-hued room, everything and everyone works in unison, and you’re transported to the Quebec food of chef Poirier’s youth (with a few welcome elevations). Michel Jacob’s Le Crocodile hasn’t gone far: its Silver, a testament to a level of focus and consistency that has no equal in town and a chef/owner for whom the word “legendary” seems insufficient. Securing Bronze is the Kitsilano arrondissement’s ode to the honest, inviting world of Parisian café culture, Au Comptoir, and its playful riffs on standards like a bavette with dauphinoise potatoes.
Le Crocodile909 Burrard St., lecrocodilerestaurant.com
Au Comptoir2278 W 4th Ave., aucomptoir.ca
Café Salade de Fruits, Tableau Bar Bistro
In choosing Savio Volpe as the Gold winner, our judges have aligned themselves with the public, who have made Savio perhaps the town’s toughest table to get since it opened three years ago. Its combination of atmosphere, affordability and a dialed-in but not doctrinaire take on regional Italian—suckling pig and chicken agnolotti with sage—has redefined Italian food in Vancouver. It feels like a neighbourhood joint…for the entire city. A surprise Silver goes to Umberto Menghi’s Giardino, showing that the legendary restaurateur can still deliver precisely made classics like bistecca alla Fiorentina that suit the type of locals who aren’t interested in chasing the next big thing but who want their food on point and on time. And Bronze goes to Robson Street’s CinCin, which keeps its mid-career renaissance going strong even as executive chef Andrew Richardson attends to the new Elisa steakhouse, in part thanks to a stellar wine program and wood-fired gems like lamb sirloin with salsa verde.
Savio Volpe615 Kingsway, saviovolpe.com
Giardino1328 Hornby St., umberto.com/giardino
CinCin1154 Robson St., cincin.net