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105 E. Pender St., 604-620-1175. Bestie.ca
Ah, zee Germans. They love their fancy eyewear and Teutonically designed bank vaults on wheels, but when they want to unbutton their tightly fitting Jil Sander jackets, where do they go? The local currywurst stand, a mashup of sausage and curry and sauce and fries. It’s delicious and cheap-and thankfully Bestie has faithfully imported it here, using artisanal sausage (pork, turkey, bison), tossing in a small but excellent beer and wine selection, and keeping true to the relaxed concept. The Gastown ethos may be easy to mock, but when the freewheelin’-startup vibe works, as it does here, it makes for a great place.
833 Denman St., 604-428-2528. Buckstop.ca
Barbecue (the noun, not the verb) done right is a thing of beauty, but B.C.’s litany of laws and regulations conspires to turn a cuisine that’s supposed to be relaxed, communal, and cheap into something far more uptight and pricey. Still, thankfully, some die-hard lovers persist, and the proprietors of this new spot on Denman have created a room that’s an ode to the idea of barbecue rather than a slavish devotion to the craft. The result wouldn’t cut it in Austin or Greensboro (both places that would demand venison from a place called Buckstop), but in Vancouver, its pulled pork dish-cheaper than at a lot of food carts’-paired with a pint of Blue Buck or a well-priced whiskey is a welcome addition. Continue reading…
2610 Main St., 604-877-8582. Charlieslittleitalian.com
This multiregional Italian spot is a wise reimagining from the team behind Habit (whose former digs Charlie’s occupies) and Cascade (the next-door-neighbour cocktail lounge whose food was always a little too similar to Habit’s). Now there’s no confusion between the menus, and South Main gets a pleasing dose of Italy to go with all its craft IPA purveyors. Charlie’s offers amazing value-order a misto salad ($5), linguine vongole ($16), and a glass of excellent Falanghina ($7.50) and you’re having that rare treat in Vancouver-a well-executed dinner in a smart room for under $30. A winner.
433 Dunlevy Ave., 778-773-1962. Dunlevysnackbar.com
Theo Lloyd-Kohls has switched up his format a couple of times since opening this pocketsize eatery on the fringes of Strathcona and Chinatown. But his latest shift to an Asian-inflected menu, designed by chef Aarin Smith, who worked at Toronto’s Grand Electric and then Vancouver’s the Parker, is a definite winner. Smith’s Korean roots are well represented in his budget-priced shared snacks. There’s not a misstep on the menu-and with the most expensive dish ringing in at $8, it’s easy on the pocket, too. Smashed cucumber salad with crunchy puffed rice and chili oil is a piquant pleaser, while the daily bibimbap is sure to quell any starch craving. Local DJs spin nightly after 9-whiskey sours are a choice accompaniment. Closed Sundays and Mondays