Best new restaurants to try in Vancouver this fall

by Michelle Hopkins

Unquestionably, we can agree that Vancouver is one of North America’s best foodie cities. With passionate chefs espousing a farm-to-table philosophy – sourcing seafood from our waters and meats from our valleys – it is no wonder that culinary masters from across the globe are attracted to our shores. As a tribute to the talented chefs who have opened new restaurants recently, we offer you a list of some of the hottest ones to try this fall. [Photo credit: Edward Lai Photography]

Best new restaurants to try in Vancouver this fall

H2 Rotisserie & Bar

H2 Rotisserie & Bar in the Westin Bayshore hotel opened in May 2017 and is already proving to be a popular spot. Keeping the fires going is award-winning executive chef Kamal Silva, who cut his culinary chops at some of the most iconic Fairmont hotels. H2 offers upscale comfort food in quite arguably one of the most spectacular poolside locations in Coal Harbour, adjacent to Stanley Park and overlooking the ocean and North Shore Mountains. It’s clear what the specialty is here: whole or half rotisserie chickens, served with any number of potato sides, from herb-roasted fingerling potatoes and homestyle fries to chive mashed potatoes and yam fries – or try a non-tater option, the panko-crusted onion rings. There are also several winners on H2’s carte du jour.

St. Lawrence

Now that acclaimed restaurateur JC Poirier – the co-owner at Pourhouse, Pizzeria Farina, Joe Pizza and Ask For Luigi – has opened his French bistro, St. Lawrence, there is no need to leave Vancouver for some classic French cuisine. Yearning for those old school Quebecois recipes he grew up on, the award-winning chef decided Vancouverites were ready for a full-on French experience. His bet paid off. With St. Lawrence, he has gone back to his Quebec roots. The sophisticated eatery in Vancouver’s historic Japantown opened in the summer of 2017 and reviews and accolades are raving about the smoked bison tongue, venison tourtiere and duck ballotine. Poirier perfectly captures the best from centuries-old traditional French cuisine.

Botanist

After a sweeping renovation, ORU, the restaurant inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel, reopened as Botanist earlier this year. Botanist is certainly a looker, with its limestone, whitewashed woods, ornate metalwork and planters filled with plants indigenous to our province. But it’s the cuisine, rooted in deep farm-to-fork connections, that’s keeping both locals and hungry tourists alike wanting more. Executive chef Hector Laguna draws upon his culinary background to turn out impossibly delicious dishes, including the root vegetable salad, herb-crusted lamb saddle and housemade fougasse bread. We aren’t surprised that Botanist was recently nominated for Best New Restaurant in Canada by Air Canada’s enRoute magazine.

The Ellis Bar & Restaurant

The Ellis Bar & Restaurant, which opened its doors in June 2017, is a welcomed addition to the Kitsilano neighbourhood. First time restaurateur Kevin Day hired executive chef Tyler Dallner to lead the culinary team. A wise choice. After spending time in Europe, including at one of the world’s leading restaurants – Noma in Copenhagen – Tyler returned to Vancouver to pursue his passion for ancient farming methods and wild foraging. Using the freshest ingredients with the fervor of a true food evangelist, his menu reflects a Pacific Northwest flair infused with some Asian nuances. Shout outs to the veggie burger, chicken wings, picnic egg (an Asian take on the Scottish egg) and their signature earth chips, handcrafted from a mixed bag of root vegetables.

Chickpea

Chickpea began life as a food truck. Although the eatery on wheels still exists, Chickpea recently opened a brick and mortar location on Main Street. The vegan menu honours fellow Israelis and partners Rotem Tal and Itamar Shani’s passion for their native country’s Mediterranean diet. With bold, colourful images on the walls and vibrant menus, the only thing these guys seem to take seriously is healthy, tasty fare. Try the chickpea fries (who knew they could be so good?), the warm and nutty falafels, the addictive organic hummus dip and the flawlessly fried sabich.

Sen Pad Thai

One of Vancouver’s leading culinary chefs, Angus An, has done it again. Granville Island’s Sen Pad Thai is An’s fifth in a line of restaurants that have garnered him high praise. Inspired by bustling street food stalls in Chanthaburi, Sen Pad Thai honours the ubiquitous noodle dish of Thailand. Having spent a lot of time with his grandparents in Thailand, An became passionate about the Land of Smiles’ uniquely wonderful noodle bowls. You can slurp your way through any number of the delicious pad Thais, snacks and sides (the papaya salad is to-die-for) or the daily curry with rice. Sen Pad Thai gives yet another reason to visit Granville Island.

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