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These are the meals that live in our heads rent-free.
It’s hard to play favourites when you’re blessed to live in a city like Vancouver. Between all of our incredible Restaurant Award winners, our Michelin-starred rooms, and our beloved local spots that we refuse to tell anyone about, naming a Best Meal of 2022 can feel downright impossible. But, bravely, we’re putting down our forks and sitting down at our keyboards to at least try. Read on for our editors most memorable dishes of the year.
I’m a glutton when it comes to shellfish: I literally do not know what “too many oysters” means, having never once reached my limit. Scallops fall into the same (fishing) boat—I just can’t get enough. Which is why this stunning dish from Archer is at once the culinary highlight of my year and a true tragedy. The artfully composed plate of buttery, perfectly seared Hokkaido scallops, tender local root veggies and bed of just-so cauliflower risotto is the thing of dreams, but a dream that always has to come to an end. And not just at the end of the meal—Archer’s highly seasonal menu means that this gem of a dish is now off the roster. Until we meet again, my friends.—Stacey McLachlan, editor at large
I’d heard rumours about the smokin’ deal that Sura restaurant on Robson had at lunch time—and to come hungry. I finally headed down there earlier this year to catch up with our Wine & Spirits editor, Neal McLennan—and wow is it terrific. It can change over time, but back when we were there in April, the dishes ranged from rich congee and a fresh green salad to spicy sliced pork, excellent Japchae noodles and soy bean paste soup. At least 14 dishes crowded our tiny table, with us attempting to eat as quickly as we could as the dishes kept on coming. (As they warn you: this is not a course menu, but rather, it comes as quickly as it’s prepared, whether you’re ready or not). At $25 a person, it’s absolutely the best deal in town—and one of the tastiest lunch-time treats you’ll experience, too. —Anicka Quin, editorial director
Calling an izakaya restaurant a “whisky vault” suggests there’s more of an emphasis on liquor than food, but let me tell you: the food at Cask (part of Hotel Versante, a boutique hotel in Richmond) is incredible. Every dish is so thoughtfully put together, from the decadent truffle potato okonomiyaki to the light and fresh green tea soba salad. I absolutely recommend getting the Whisky Vault Tasting (it’s $59/person) which comes with both of those dishes, plus four more—including the beef short rib, which snatched the title of the best thing I ate in 2022. It’s perfectly juicy and tender, with a crispy exterior, and drizzled with an awesome black garlic teriyaki sauce. Is that not enough sauce for you? There’s also a super rich koji butter sauce on the side. Yes, the drinks were also fabulous.—Alyssa Hirose, associate editor
I’ve been asked countless times for my thoughts on the Michelin selections for Vancouver and like everyone else there are selections I love, some less so, but all in all a pretty interesting effort for our first year—with one exception. The omission of La Quercia is like leaving Connor McDavid off Team Canada. I can only assume it has to do with one half of the restaurant pivoting more towards full buyouts at dinner, but the lunch is still easily worthy of a nod. I’d be willing to bet that if you polled the chefs who were recognized as to who they think deserves to among their ranks that La Quercia’s Adam Pegg would be at the top. His cooking has zero artifice, no flashy showoff-y dishes designed for Instagram. Instead he runs a spot that specializes in focus: on ingredients, on traditional techniques and on his staff and customers. For me this dish sums all that up: the zucchini blossom comes from his garden and I have no doubt the preparation comes from some corner of rural Italy that I’ve never heard off. But it all comes together in a confident, yet relaxed journey to someplace new and wonderful—and isn’t that the highest calling for a dish? —Neal McLennan, Wine & Spirits ed.
There’s nothing basic about this noodle mammoth with the best broth in the ramen game (controversial, I know, but sometimes you have to put your own reputation on the line for something you believe in). It’s ramen but for people who love salt, butter and noodles. It’s Jiro-style ramen which is known for its large portion of hearty, chewy noodles in a rich, savory, garlic soy sauce and pork soup base. Choose between the rich or light broth option (both are good, but I personally like to live that rich life) along with the choice of karaage (Japanese fried chicken) or chashu (simmered/braised pork) topping. I’ve only ever tried it with karaage because the idea of getting to eat noodles and friend chicken together in one meal feels like a true coming together of all my passions. And besides all that, it’s not too pricey ($12.95), comes in a spicy, and tastes really nicey (sorry, I really wanted that rhyme). All in all, the best thing I’ve had this year. —Kerri Donaldson, assistant editor