Tasting plate featuring duck rillettes, a tomato and bocconcini salad, and house smoked ruby red at Provence Marinaside
Last week, I had the pleasure of spending 36 hours in Yaletown, a lovely neighborhood in downtown Vancouver, BC. This wasn’t my first time visiting Vancouver, I’ve been several times over the past couple years – and it won’t be my last either. Vancouver is a fantastic city with an incredible food and cocktail scene, and Yaletown especially impressed me with both its classic Canadian fare and unique cocktails and dishes. And food lovers – now is the perfect time to visit Vancouver because the Taste of Yaletown is happening! What is Taste of Yaletown you ask? Well, it happens for two weeks in October, and brings diners featured menus, special tastings and innovative pairings from participating restaurants in the Yaletown neighorhood. You have the opportunity to select special offerings from participating restaurants, each with a special offering at $25, $35, or $45. It’s the perfect way to eat your way through this rad little area! Here’s your play by play on how to have the perfect culinary experience when you’re there.
First let’s start with where to stay before we jump into the food; you are definitely going to want to book a room at Opus Hotel. The accommodations are modern, striking and luxurious. This 96 room super savvy boutique hotel is the perfect home base for your Yaletown food and booze adventure. It’s in the heart of it all and the rooms are chic and lavish at the same time.
Start your morning off just a block away from Opus Hotel at local coffee shop JJ Bean. The Neate family has been roasting coffee for over four generations (wow) in Canada and established JJ Bean Coffee Roasters in 1996. You can taste in the coffee that they know what they’re doing. The pastries and baked goods here are equally amazing. I had a croissant so flaky and buttery it practically melted in my mouth. (And now I’m hungry again.)
Shredded Chicken Frybread with Vietnamese Pickles, Cilantro, Aioli
Put House Special on your lists of must visit restaurants on this trip. I visited before Taste of Yaletown actually started so they gave me a preview of what was to come with an amazing traditional market style Vietnamese lunch that began with these chicken frybreads. (You can get the full menu on the Taste of Yaletown website.) Oh my, they were like little pockets of heaven, y’all. I could have eaten a dozen. The other dishes did not disappoint either, I especially enjoyed the Pan Seared Duck Breast with Cauliflower Puree. I didn’t have the pho, but judging by the looks of it and the happy faces of the patrons around me consuming it, I can say with confidence that it’s good.
Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream at Made By Mister is a treat no matter how old you are! Just a short stroll from House Special, you’ll enjoy the ice cream making process as much as you will the actual ice cream (and trust me, it’s delicious). I had the Malted Cereal Milk ice cream and it was bomb. All of the ingredients here are sourced from local farmers so you can feel good about supporting the local B.C. community.
Well, you can’t go to Canada and not eat Poutine, and I recommend indulging in this B.C. staple at Banter Room. There’s a hip vibe here with good service and fresh, simple dishes. They have a fantastic happy hour where you can get this poutine and their stellar avocado toast for just $5 (among other great food and drink deals). These guys are also offering a three course menu for just $45 for Taste of Yaletown if you want to make it an entire dining experience!
The “From Canada With Love” at Brix & Mortar
The cocktails at Brix & Mortar were truly awesome. Inventive, beautiful and delicious – everything you could want in a cocktail! I had to try the “From Canada With Love”: Odd Society East Van Vodka, Parma Violet Sherbet, Tio Pepe Dry Fino Sherry, Fresh Lemon, Butterfly Pea Flower and Cucumber Tonic. It was as refreshing as it sounds with a powerful floral punch. The rest of the cocktails were equally impressive; I highly recommend you pop in here for pre or post dinner drinks.
You cannot miss dinner at Provence Marinaside when you’re in Yaletown. This was a truly extravagant experience. The food was on point and the service was excellent. They started us off with a surprise glass of vermouth which I love (um – how did you guys know I was just in Spain?). This might be the best deal of all for Taste of Vancouver and an experience I won’t be soon forgetting.
For the first course at Provence, Chefs Jean-Francis and Sheldon have created an elegant and delectable tasting plate featuring duck rillettes, a tomato and bocconcini salad and house smoked ruby red trout. These are the kinds of dishes I live for – simple, elegant and celebrating fresh ingredients. Truly fantastic. The rest of the meal did not disappoint either. I enjoyed the Seared Lois Lake Steelhead for my main course but you have the choice between that, a Daube De Beouf and a Bouillabaisse. End your meal with one of their decadent desserts, the Chocolate Mousse Cake was to die for. Get this fantastic three course meal for just $45 at Provence Marinaside throughout Taste of Yaletown! Add a wine pairing for $25 and you’ve got a meal fit for royalty.
Taste of Yaletown starts October 11 and runs through October 27. Visit their website for a full list of participating restauarnts and the menus that will be offered. Making reservations in advance is highly recommended.