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Our Top 10 Main Street Restaurant Picks

January 2016

Ask for Luigi
Type: Fine dining, Italian, late night bites, family-style share plates
Address: 305 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1C4
Website: www.askforluigi.com
Email: info@askforluigi.com

Owned by executive chef Jean-Christophe Poirier, Ask Luigi is a casual and intimate Italian-inspired restaurant, known for its made-from-scratch pasta. Poirier’s credentials include working for Montreal’s Restaurant Toqué, Campagnolo and Lumière. Ask for Luigi was voted best new restaurant in the Georgia Straight’s online readers’ choice survey. It was also voted best Italian restaurant in the city in both the industry survey and the readers’ choice.

The restaurant only accepts a few reservations each night for its thirty-four seats, and line-ups to get in are common. The décor is casual, with a warm neighbourhood feel.

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
Type: Taiwanese, Shanghainese, Chinese, fine dining
Address: 163 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X3
Phone: (604) 688-0876
Website: www.bao-bei.ca
Email: info@bao-bei.ca

Bao Bei is a fashionable Chinese brasserie opened recently in Chinatown. The modern Chinese menu is a combination of Vietnamese, Shanghainese and Taiwanese, with a French influence. Authentic dishes have been enhanced with fresh organic produce, condiments made in-house, with free-range meats, and are cooked without MSG or preservatives.

What Ms. Ling has created is a loving homage to her family, with black and white photos hung about the restaurant, and adaptations of her mother’s traditional Taiwanese home cooking.

Burdock & Co.
Type: Fine dining
Address: 2702 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E8
Phone: (604) 879-0077
Website: www.burdockandco.com
Email: burdock@yulupr.com

Executive chef and co-owner Andrea Carlson has studied landscape design and organic farming, and serves refined dishes made from organic ingredients. She was executive chef at Bishop’s for six years, a restaurant at the forefront of Vancouver’s locavore movement. The seafood is also local, seasonal and sustainable. The wine list features a naturalist selection, with wines that contain no added sulphites or preservatives.

Tables are set with antique silverware and natural linen napkins, and the menu is printed on fine paper, with elegant embossing. Burdock and Co. doesn’t take reservations, so it’s a good idea to arrive before 6:00pm on a Friday night.

Chutney Villa
Type: South Indian
Address: 147 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5T 1W1
Phone: (604) 872-2228
Website: www.chutneyvilla.com

Muraleeswary Mariyadas, owner and chef of Chutney Villa, is a true Canadian success story. Mariyadas immigrated to Vancouver from Sri Lanka in 1999 with the burning desire to become a great chef. By 2004 she was a full time cook at Chutney Villa, and in 2011, when owner Chindi Varadarajulu wanted to sell, she took the plunge and bought the restaurant. She has taken the original South Indian menu and added more vegetarian dishes and Sri Lanken specialties. Her greatest strength as a chef is consistency. Chutney Villa’s uniquely spiced, specialty south Indian cuisine has gained favourable reviews in the New York Times and the National Geographic Traveller.

There’s something for everyone here at the Villa. They serve lamb, chicken, ocean friendly sea food, and a quite a  few vegetarian and vegan dishes. All dishes are accompanied by hot curries and cool chutneys.

Flying Pig
Type: Fine dining, ecclectic, North American
Address: 102 Water St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1B2
Phone: (604) 559-7968
Website: www.theflyingpigvan.com
Email: contact form

Located on a cobblestoned corner of historic Gastown, the Flying Pig on Water Street is a trendy nouveau Canadian bistro that serves up a simple, seasonally inspired menu featuring fresh, local ingredients. The farm to table theme comes across in the decor as well as the local ingredients. The service is warm and inviting and the atmosphere casual. Many of the menu items are classics that have endured the test of time; simple, bold and upfront. While Gastown is generally marketed to a younger, hip crowd, Flying Pig seems to appeal to everyone.

Flying Pig also has a wallet friendly happy hour menu, an opportunity to sample items from the regular menu, with feature snacks and drinks.

Les Faux Bourgeois
Type: French fine dining, late night bites, cocktails & wine
Address: 663 E 15th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 2R6
Phone: (604) 873-9733
Website: www.lesfauxbourgeois.com

A cozy French bistro located just off the little park at Fraser and Kingsway. You don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy classic French cuisine in Vancouver. Traditional French dishes like mussels in white wine, coq au vin, canard confit, and steak frites are always on the menu, and appetizers include  sweetbreads, escargots de bourgogne and country style pork pate. Main Street locals love being able to count on their favourite dishes being on the menu, but there are daily specials for those looking for something new. The food is superb, the bistro atmosphere warm and inviting, portions are generous, and the prices very affordable, with most main courses under $20.00.

The stucco exterior is very unassuming, but the dark wood and soft lights inside make it a romantic date night option. Les Faux Bourgeois is very popular and busy, so reservations are definitely recommended.

Pidgin Restaurant
Type: Fine dining, modern / fusion, late night bites
Address: 350 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J3
Phone: (604) 620-9400
Website: www.pidginvancouver.com

Executive chef Makoto Ono gained recognition in 2007 as the winner of the inaugural Canadian Culinary Championships Gold Medal Plates. He’s  opened restaurants in Beijing and Hong Kong, one of which made it to the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. He has set the bar and expectations high. Ono’s flavours are a mix of Chinese, Japanese, Korean and European cuisines. Pidgin offers an array of dining options, from snack food like chicken wings and oyster shots at the bar, to a ten-course tasting menu served at a reserved chef’s table.

Despite Ono’s alluring and imaginative new take on food, refined tastes and elegant presentation, the prices are very conservative, with most dishes ringing in at under $20.

Seasons in the Park
Type: Fine dining, North American
Address: West 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V5Y 2M4
Phone: (604) 874.8008
Web: www.vancouverdine.com/seasons-park

From the highest point in the city, near the peak of Queen Elizabeth Park, Seasons in the Park offers a panoramic view of the city skyline and North Shore Mountains. Among the many awards received, Georgia Straight rated it the #1 Most Romantic Dining Spot. For more than 30 years executive chef Peter Isacu has helped people celebrate their special events at some of Vancouver’s most romantic restaurants, including the Teahouse in Stanley Park and Bacchus Restaurant & Lounge. The tree-lined drive up to the restaurant, West Coast menu and exceptional service all contribute to making Seasons in the Park one of Vancouver’s finest restaurant experiences.

But there’s more than fine dining and celebrations. The outdoor patio is open year-round, with overhead heaters and fireplaces. Seasons Winebar is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a glass of wine and spectacular views.

Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant
Type: Chinese, Dim Sum
Address: 3888 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3N9
Phone: (604) 872-8822

A bustling Cantonese restaurant best known for its fine dim sum, which ranges from traditional handmade dumplings to more adventurous offerings. Sun Sui Wah may be one of the oldest Vancouver Chinese restaurants, but has a new approach to ordering dim sum from a cart; you make your selections on a sheet and it’s freshly made and brought out to your table.

Sun Sui Wah is a pioneer of using local seafood in the Cantonese style. Dinner specialties include king crab, pulled fresh from tanks and steamed with garlic, and roasted squab marinated in a secret spice blend. Service is polished and friendly.

Toshi Sushi
Type: Sushi
Address: 181 E 16th Ave, Vancouver, BC V5T 4R2
Phone: (604) 874-5173
Web: plus.google.com/116416152589663284048/

Run by Toshiyuki Saito and Tomoko Saito, Toshi is a local favourite. Line-ups are common, a good indicator that the sushi is of high quality and well executed, and the fish is fresh. Even though this little 30-seater is crazy busy, the staff are friendly and helpful, keeping up with refills and additional requests.

An authentically Japanese sushi restaurant, serving up maki rolls, nigiri, sashimi, tempura, gyosa and other fare. The food is excellent, atmosphere lively and the prices are very affordable. The restaurant does not take reservations, so you’ll want to arrive early.