While it’s tempting to stay indoors during Vancouver’s often damp winter season, new dining destinations and lots of savory special events should have you making restaurant reservations in the coming weeks. Here’s what’s new in the city’s dining scene this winter.
New Mediterranean Cuisine at Verre
When the chef has “foie gras” tattooed on his fingers, you know he’s serious about his ingredients. At Verre, which opened in December overlooking the Coal Harbour waterfront, chef Liam Breen has created a Mediterranean-inspired menu that channels sunny Provence with a mix of West Coast products and favorite ingredients from around the globe.
Breen has a way with seafood, evident in plates like fish soup swimming with shrimp, mussels and squid; and a whole branzino with fennel, cherry tomatoes and pickled garlic. Meat lovers might opt for short ribs served over polenta with a red wine jus, or the Parmesan-crusted veal chop. Add a side of crisp, charred rapini (broccoli rabe), and don’t miss the rich chocolate crème brûlée amped up with salted caramel and fried rosemary.
Decorated with lots of greenery and bright white tables, the restaurant plans to open a seaside patio in time for spring, but you don’t have to wait for the flowers to bloom to check out this window-lined newcomer.
Modern Steakhouse Fare at Elisa
Yaletown got a new dose of glamour with the recent opening of Elisa, a modern steakhouse from Toptable Group, the company behind contemporary Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star West, the high-end seafood spot Blue Water Café, Whistler’s Araxi and several other popular dining venues.
At the back of the spacious dining room, which is set in a restored heritage building with original wood beams, cream-colored furnishings and vibrant modern art, is the restaurant’s highlight: a substantial wood-fire grill, where chefs turn out steaks sourced from across Canada and abroad.
It’s not just meat on the fire, though, with lobsters, whole fish and even pineapple for cocktails like Charring the Cosmos (gin, lime, grilled pineapple, soda and Kensington bitters) getting their turn in the flames.
An extensive raw bar, plenty of salads and a long list of vegetables, from wild and foraged mushrooms to grilled broccolini and Moroccan-spiced parsnips, round out the menu.
With floor-to-ceiling glass walls, the restaurant’s dramatic wine room houses a wide-ranging collection of bottles from British Columbia, California, France and elsewhere.
World Chef Exchange Events
As part of the annual Dine Out Vancouver festival, which runs through February 3, several Vancouver restaurants are welcoming guest chefs from around the world for a series of one-night-only dinners.
The World Chef Exchange will pair top toques like Francesco Mannelli of Mode Kitchen & Bar at Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Four Seasons Hotel Sydney with Edgar Kano, executive chef of Vancouver’s Yew Seafood & Bar, who will create a world-roaming menu with wines matched to each course (January 23).
Other highlights include Montreal chef Jérémie Bastien of Monarque preparing a Quebecois feast with JC Poirier of Vancouver’s St. Lawrence (January 31), and chef Jason McLeod of Ironside Fish & Oyster in San Diego joining Chris Janowski of Vancouver’s Coquille Restaurant to host a celebration of west coast seafood (January 24).
More Dine Out Vancouver Festivities
Don’t wait to book your spot for other Dine Out Vancouver events either, with brewery tours, dim sum experiences and the ever-popular Secret Supper Soiree — a speakeasy-themed progressive dinner — counted among the festivities.
Also be on the lookout for dedicated event menus at more than 200 restaurants across the city, including the glamorous Notch8 Restaurant and Bar at Four-Star Fairmont Hotel Vancouver; Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar at Four-Star The Sutton Place Hotel; modern Italian La Pentola at Four-Star Opus Hotel Vancouver; and Victor, the steak and seafood destination at Parq Vancouver, home to stylish stays The Douglas, Autograph Collection and JW Marriott Parq Vancouver.
Tip: Even if you don’t make it to Victor during the festival, book a table for its grand weekend brunch, which features a classic chilled seafood bar alongside unique creations like sea urchin tacos, shu mai (shrimp and pork dumplings) topped with local Northern Divine caviar and foie gras French toast.