Bishop's Restaurant
By YP Contributor

A Class Act

After a rare night off work sick, John Bishop calls the diners he missed last night to apologize for his absence.  It’s clear why Bishop’s has had more than 30 years of success: John Bishop is a class act. The acclaimed chef, cookbook author and consummate host says, “It’s a tough industry, it’s not romantic. You have to want to be in it.” It’s evident that even after three decades in the business, he still has that passion.

“My clients often say that being in my restaurant feels like being at home, and that’s a huge compliment.” John goes in every night to oversee operations, mingle with customers and shuck a few oysters.  He considers his restaurant, which has won countless local and national awards, an extension of his home and family.

Clients often say that being in my restaurant feels like being at home. - John Bishop, owner and chef
Acclaimed chef and restauranteur John Bishop helms the kitchen at Bishop's
Owner and chef John Bishop has been at the helm of his namesake restaurant for more than 30 years. Photo courtesy of Bishop's.

Ahead of the Curve

Local, organic and seasonal meat, seafood and produce might be all the rage today, but that wasn’t so in late 1985, when Bishop’s first opened.  They didn’t jump on the organic bandwagon, they built it.

”There wasn’t much organic fine dining 30 years ago,” John explains. Back then it was mostly theme-based restaurants, such as French or Italian cuisine. John adds to that, “Fine dining was for special occasions. People wouldn’t go out for simple local fish – they wanted something exotic, like Dover sole or Atlantic lobster.”

Things are different now, and people are more aware. “Today’s social and environmental changes make it more important than ever to look at where we buy our food,” John explains.  This philosophy is at the heart of his restaurant, which continues to source locally and support local producers.  “For us it’s all about good, local, organic food.” He’s pleased that people see the value in local organic produce, and are growing aware of food waste.  “We waste too much food.  Buy less and don’t waste anything!”  Any well-run kitchen lives by the waste-not motto, and it’s clear that Bishop’s respects produce. “Someone has taken the time to grow this, we can’t waste it. We must be mindful.”

He pays homage to his philosophy with seasonal dishes such as Hazelmere beets with fresh goat cheese and pine vinaigrette, Quadra Island scallops with Foxglove Farm beans, and Humboldt squid and Peace Country lamb loin with sunchoke, rutabaga and Hannah Brook brassicas.

Bishop's specializes in seasonal dishes made with high quality, locally sourced ingredients.
The ever-changing menu features seasonal dishes made with high quality, locally sourced ingredients. Photo courtesy of Bishop's.
Local artwork hangs on the walls at Bishop's in Kitsilano.
Art by Bill Reid, Don Yeomans and more have graced the walls of the Kitsilano restaurant. Photo courtesy of Bishop's.

Culinary Explorations

In keeping with the restaurant's local ethos, the walls at Bishop’s are adorned with locally created indigenous artworks, which rotate every few months.  John delights in the art and how much it inspires his guests, especially ones visiting from other countries.

His love of travel and culture led John to volunteer for Journeys with Heart, an organization that puts on celebrity-host holidays that raise money for B.C. charities. The tours provide participants with a terrific opportunity to explore culture, history and food of other lands, while raising charitable funds.

John reflects on his good fortune at having great mentors and supportive family and friends. He thinks back to 1985 when he began the tough, risky venture of becoming a restauranteur.  Back then he had no idea he’d still be loving it all these year later. “I love to celebrate the seasons and local food," he says, ”Plus, I have amazing clients.”

Bishop's on West 4th has been a Vancouver dining institution since 1985.
Bishop's has set the standard for fine dining in Vancouver since 1985. Photo courtesy of Bishop's.
Close menu