When conducting business over lunch, choosing the right setting is critical. The venue must have a particular ambience, polished servers and top-notch food. Whether you’re planning a casual business meet-up or an intense strategy session, here are our picks for Vancouver’s best power lunch spots.
Executive chef Quang Dang is serving some of Vancouver’s most intriguing lunch plates these days, from tomato and gin soup to fusilli with cider-braised pork cheek and roasted apples. No worries, though, if your lunch companions are more cautious eaters; this classy Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star gem in the South Granville district does an equally good job with wild BC salmon or beef strip loin paired with smashed potatoes. If you’re in a hurry, let your server know, and he’ll guarantee to have you fed and on your way in 45 minutes. Have time to linger over a cocktail instead? The top-notch bartenders here can concoct anything from a classic Kir or Negroni to zingy originals like the Geishagave, which blends tequila, sake, green tea syrup, lime and jalapeño.
A glam space with a sparkling chandelier and glass-walled wine cave? Check. Solicitous staff? Check. Regionally focused contemporary fare, clever cocktails and a buzzy see-and-be-seen scene? Check, check and check. Located in Rosewood Hotel Georgia downtown, this Four-Star restaurant checks all the boxes for a midday power meal. Take time to peruse the menu, where you might find starters such as hamachi served with crispy taro and a cucumber sunomono (vinegar), or octopus ceviche plated with side-stripe shrimp, avocado and plantains. Then, venture on to grilled pork with kabocha squash and endive, steelhead with spiced carrot purée, or the crunchy duck salad. Don’t miss the sophisticated sweets, too, from chèvre cheesecake to an assortment of macarons.
The hip Four-Star Opus Hotel Vancouver finally has a restaurant where the food is as exciting as the lodging’s vibrantly colored guest rooms. In a bright window-lined space, La Pentola serves up innovative takes on traditional Italian fare to the film industry types and fashionistas who frequent the stylish Yaletown neighborhood. At lunch, go light with a salumi board or a puffy Parmesan soufflé, try a bowl of the housemade pastas (perhaps linguine with clams or polenta gnocchi served with mushrooms), or tuck into more substantial plates, such as braised lamb shank or duck confit. For a sweet-tart start to the rest of your afternoon, save room for the popular lemon-cream dessert.
When you want the time-honored, white-tablecloth ambience of gracious waiters who tend to your table with “Of course, madame” or “Oui, monsieur,” say “Bonjour” to this refined French bistro. For nearly 30 years, this downtown dining destination has been pleasing local business people, socialites and celebs alike; its illustrious guests have ranged from former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien to actor Jack Nicholson. Traditional lunchtime favorites include pan-fried Dover sole, steak tartare or the black truffle omelet, though the crab ravioli or the mixed grill of halibut, prawns and wild salmon remind you that this taste of France is firmly at home on Canada’s west coast.
The Four-Star dining room at Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver flies a bit under the radar, compared to some of its newer, flashier brethren, but it’s an ideal location for a discreet business confab. Seafood is the specialty here, especially west coast plates such as the BC spot prawn cocktail, the classic club sandwich jazzed up with Dungeness crab and lemon aioli or the sablefish that might be paired with a pear and parsnip purée. If you’re sealing or celebrating a deal, order the seafood tower, an impressive array of Pacific oysters, albacore tuna, Dungeness crab salad, ceviche and humpback shrimp.
Vancouver has one foot planted firmly toward the Pacific Rim, so it’s no surprise that plenty of business gets done in the city’s upscale Asian dining rooms. One of the best is Kirin, which has several locations around town. The City Square branch, opposite City Hall (with excellent skyline views), is a favorite with government types who savor the Hong Kong-style dim sum, while the downtown location, with a northern Chinese menu (think chicken and pineapple fried rice), draws the suits from the nearby offices. Either way, the classic Chinese cuisine makes an excellent midday meal.
Photos Courtesy of Hawksworth Restaurant, West Restaurant and La Pentola della Quercia