Where To Eat Lunch and Dinner in Vancouver
By Amanda Orlando
Aaaand now I am officially a broken record. I went on vacation and stuck to my safe food, oysters, but only about 40% of the time. Which is actually not bad for me. I've been on vacations where I only eat raw seafood nearly the entire time. Ceviche, anyone? I love sticking to raw foods, such as oysters, because they're a 1-ingredient meal that's contained in its own shell. This is convenient when you have many severe food allergies like I do. Fanny Bay is definitely what you'd call a true oyster joint. The tanks of fresh crustaceans are located right by the door so you can smell the fresh saltwater scent upon entering. I love seeing fresh ingredients and I especially like when restaurants feature them like this. It shows a sense of pride and transparency. The oysters are the star of the show after all.
Most west coast oysters are foreign to me because in Toronto we mainly get them from the east coast. Raspberry Point are pretty popular out here but in Vancouver I tried the Fanny Bay's (obviously) and Kushi. I'd never heard of Kushi and was excited to try them. They have a briny flavour and firm, meaty texture that was very pleasant. I'd definitely order them again. Also on the menu were sandwiches and other more substantial items that Brandon indulged in. Such as the oyster shooter pictured below. Overall I really enjoyed my experience at Fanny Bay. Our server was friendly and ensured my allergies wouldn't be an issue, even in regards to their homemade sauces to be paired with the meal. It was a great spot to stop in for a casual lunch.
Boulevard was recommended to me by a local so I tried it out first. And on our first day in town before Brandon and I succumbed to jet lag we went for happy hour at Boulevard which coincidentally was located in our hotel. Happy hour seems to be pretty popular in Vancouver. It's not really a thing in Toronto but we were happy to get great drink and bite deals. The restaurant space is high end and stunning with lots of light and rich materials. Even the outside (below) was stunning. How could you not want to step inside? We got drinks and a couple dozen buck-a-shuck oysters that were prepared at a bustling bar right near our table. I'd suggest visiting in the evening for drinks and snacks, it has a great vibe.
I'm really sorry to say that I don't have any photos of our dinner at Gotham Steak House. We were way too busy eating! We went for my birthday dinner on the recommendation of another local, my pal Rya. It's the perfect date place and has a very dark, cozy atmosphere with lots of rich reds, black, and tufted leather. The name is appropriate. Our server was extremely attentive and made me feel comfortable about their ability to take care of my allergies. A comfortable meal is the best kind of meal. I had a 7 ounce fillet mignon and Brandon had one that was about twice the size! We had oysters to start on the recommendation of our server and our steaks were served with a generously sized side salad. The meat was so incredibly tender and flavorful. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a fillet that much. When in Vancouver you should treat yourself to a dinner at Gotham.
We set an evening aside to tour around Deep Cove and Lower Lonsdale with Rya, with plans to eat in a local independant restaurant for dinner. Unfortunately once we sat down we found out they weren't able to accommodate my allergies so we had to head elsewhere. Rya gave us a driving tour of the whole neighbourhood which is beautiful by the way. You definitely have to visit Deep Cove if you're in Vancouver. I honestly think it's one of the most picturesque places in the country with cottage-like homes, winding hills covered in trees, and a view of the sunset over the water like no other.
We ended up in the North Shore where there was a Cactus Club. It was my first time eating there and I was so pleasantly surprised to learn that they have food allergy policies in place, especially since we were all very hungry by that point. The manager came to the table and clarified my allergies and their severity (very severe), then recommended what I should order. They brought me a steak with steamed asparagus, simple and delicious. Alberta beef is really flavorful and I happily ate the whole thing. The manager asserted that they take allergies very seriously so it officially made it onto my list of regular places to eat. Go there on a date, with friends, or with family; it's an all-occasion place and their food is super yummy.