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Love it or loathe it, Vancouver House’s facade is part of our urban landscape—but does the troika of new restaurants located there elicit the same sort of emotions?
It was mid-April 2021, and social media was hopping with news about a flood on the 29th floor of Vancouver House gushing downward to the levels below. But instead of the usual heartfelt expressions of sympathy one normally associates with such events, there was an evident and disconcerting vein of glee: “I love the water feature!” wrote one real sweetheart.
The incident was par for the course for Westbank’s flashy tower, the twisting metal rising up from a formerly dowdy stretch of North False Creek. The project was greeted with oohs and aahs when it was announced with architect-of-the-moment Bjarke Ingels back in 2016. But a sizeable portion of that goodwill soured as rumours of it being marketed to offshore owners first and its overtly luxe leanings began to appear increasingly out-of-step in a city where the divide between the haves and have-nots seems to grow each year. Even hiring Rodney Graham, one of the most acclaimed artists the city has ever produced, to do a public art installation elicited a backlash.
But does this animus apply to the restaurants that have moved into the new zone? A stroll through the compact area—they’re trying to brand the microhood “the Beach District,” notwithstanding the lack of, you know, beaches—reveals a very slick, modern little footprint clad in metal and glass that wouldn’t feel out of place in London’s Kings Cross. And the restaurants appear to be hopping.
“Lucais Syme and Dustin Dockendorf’s third Autostrada has proved such a draw that I’m eating at the bar, by myself, on a rainy Tuesday at 5 p.m. I tried for weeks and weeks to get a reservation but it proved impossible.” READ THIS REVIEW⇒
“This ode to Brittany from Maxime Bettili (Au Comptoir) comes in the form of buckwheat crepes paired with cider. When people ask me whether Vancouver is a ‘world-class city,’ my new response will be to ask them if their city has a Breton crepes-and-cider house.” READ THIS REVIEW⇒
“If anything, stepping into the neighbouring Linh seems even more Français than Ça Marche. The room is gorgeous, with bistro chairs, on-point curved banquettes and soaring ceilings, all anchored by a beautiful marble bar that one can easily imagine F. Scott Fitzgerald passing out on.” READ THIS REVIEW⇒