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Kitsilano's hippie reputation has evolved into a relaxed-yet-refined restaurant scene.
There’s something happening on Vancouver’s west side. At its heart, Kitsilano, a.k.a. Lululemon yoga-mom, hippie-granola ground zero, suddenly finds itself a lot less juice bar, and a lot more elevated seaside dining.
(Photo: Andrew Querner.)
It all started with Mak N Ming (1629 Yew St., maknming.com), a fine-dining establishment squeezed somewhere in between Local and Chewies on Yew Street. By the time you read this, the menu will no doubt be different, based largely on chef Makoto Ono’s consistently curious creations. The $83 tasting menu is the only way to go, and if you went right this very second you could taste baked egg with truffled motoyaki, or coconut, butterscotch and sake kasu. But go there tomorrow and no one will know what’s for dinner other than Ono—and in Ono we trust.
(Photo: Christin Gilbert.)
Then came Oddfish (1889 W 1st Ave., oddfishrestaurant.com). The team behind Nook and Tavola pushed for a more casual take on the city’s seafood scene by working with local producers, lowering prices and throwing in a solid drinks menu to boot. The menu changes with the tide, but keep an eye out for the hamachi with lime and jalapeño, and the coho salmon with a cherry tomato confit.
Shift a little south and you’ll find Yuwa (2775 W 16th Ave., yuwa.ca), the recent reincarnation of multiple-award winning restaurant Zest. Named for new executive chef Masahiro Omori’s grandmother, who owned a fish market in Japan, Yuwa’s menu pays homage to fresh catch in its own way, with a quiet atmosphere—a rarity in Vancouver these days.
Staying true to the west side vibe is new workout/eatery Turf (2041 W 4th Ave., ourturf.com), which offers boutique boxing and yoga classes followed by can’t-believe-it’s-healthy power food. You don’t have to exercise before you eat, meaning if you feel like grabbing some quinoa porridge and coconut sugar before work in the morning, or kimchi rice with edamame, wild mushrooms and wakame for a quick lunch, then you’re more than welcome to pop in.
Just opened is gourmet-come-fast-food hybrid Popina Canteen (Granville Island Market North, 1669 Johnston St., popinacanteen.com), the brainchild of chefs Angus An (Maenam), Robert Belcham (Campagnolo), Hamid Salimian (Earls) and Joël Watanabe (Kissa Tanto). In this room, set in shipping containers with outdoor seating overlooking False Creek, you’ll find fried chicken served alongside lobster rolls and ceviche.
(Photo: Gillian Stevens.)
It wouldn’t be true summer dining without an after-dinner ice cream, and for that, one spot has everyone talking. Pastry chef Mark Tagulao made the decision to turn his pop-up ice-cream cart into a beautiful Parisian-inspired brick-and-mortar parlour this year, and Vancouver hasn’t looked back. La Glace (2785 W 16th Ave., laglace.ca) is pure elegance with its airy room (complete with marble countertops and antique gold hardware) and made-in-house garnishes like crumbled macarons and waffles. Using a French technique to make the ice cream—more egg, less aeration—theyʼre pioneering ultra-rich flavours, such as Muscadine (milk chocolate, hazelnut and Cointreau), and Matcha Noir (green tea cream with black sesame swirls) to Vegan Chocohuète (made with cashews rather than dairy). They even sell ornate collectable ceramic containers if you want to take a pint to go.