Up a long, wooded road in Burnaby Mountain Park, Horizons Restaurant waits, its towering wraparound windows granting spectacular views of budding rose gardens, stately Japanese totem poles, and Vancouver below. These surroundings absorb visitors so completely that only when their dishes arrive—wafting up the garlic and herbs of Executive Chef John Garrett’s innovative West Coast–inspired dishes—can they tear their eyes away. Chef Garrett grills BC seafood and steaks on an alder-wood barbecue, pairing the meats with locally sourced produce and accentuating sauces. When discussing his food philosophy with reporters from Dine Out Vancouver, the culinary artist put it plainly: "start with freshest ingredients, prepare them simply to enhance their natural flavors, and let those flavors shine through."
Once plates have been cleared and glasses have been drained, satisfied guests stroll past the gardens and pristine lakeshores of Burnaby Mountain Park. Forests of lush trees and winding trails make the park an ideal landscape for taking long nature hikes or burying leftover crème brûlée in the ground for later.
Chef Mario Basile didn't perfect his secret pasta sauce recipe overnight. In fact, the seasoned chef spent the last half century developing the tangy, slightly spicy sauce while serving as a head chef for the Italian army and working in restaurants in Italy and across greater Vancouver. Today, Mario brings his years of culinary experience to the kitchen of an Italian eatery of his own—Da Mario Restaurant. Within the restaurant's kitchen, Mario showers his signature secret pasta sauce onto an array of pasta dishes and crafts gnocchi, lasagna, and cannelloni by hand. He folds fresh veal, chicken, and seafood into a sweeping variety of authentic Italian specialties, including the seafood linguini lauded by reporters from Burnaby Now.
Per The Chocolate Apprentice, Shelley Wallace waitressed at the Four Seasons for 10 years, serving high-profile figures such as Bill Gates. Craving a career change, Shelley asked to visit the chocolate factory that a customer said he was closing. Upon stepping into the factory, looking down at the production floor, inhaling the chocolaty aroma, and watching Violet Beauregardes roll around in their pen, she was sold.
Since then, Shelley's ideas have come to life with the help of her crew of trained chocolatiers, who create award-winning bars, bites, and seasonal treats from all-natural, sustainable ingredients. The team crafts signature truffles with flavours such as bubble gum and orange, and fills frog-shaped truffles with caramel and raspberries.
A cozy picture of Tudor revivalist design, the lakeside Hart House Restaurant purveys creative menus full of exquisite dinner, lunch, and brunch delicacies lauded for their casual elegance. At the helm of these sophisticated dishes is executive chef Alana Peckham, who grew up in Vancouver and applies her knowledge of Pacific Northwest ingredients when crafting dishes such as steelhead salmon with green beans and a pea purée and Fraser Valley duck breast. During warmer months, guests can enjoy Chef Peckham's creative fare on the patio with a Pimm's Cup or a local wine before cracking into an espresso crème brûlée.
Seasonal events, such as the Lobster Supper, celebrate fresh, local fare. Hart House's glass-walled lakeside cottage, sprawling green backyard, and second-storey private rooms also make it an ideal location for business meetings, weddings, and reenactments of The English Patient.
The chefs at Pasta Amore Ristorante blend fresh ingredients, organic greens, and old-country staples to create a menu of authentic Italian dishes that win over the picky palettes of kids and grandmothers alike. Many of the dishes feature traditional Italian ingredients and foods, such as prosciutto crudo in the antipasto misto, focaccia bread served with the steamed mussels, and creamy ricotta in the linguine fiorentina. Diners can also dig in to classic Italian entrees that Americans have come to know, love, and leave for Santa at Christmas, such as veal parmigiana and chicken pizzaiola: chicken breast combined with anchovies, olives, capers, and garlic in a tomato sauce. To reflect Italy’s costal cuisine, the chefs also serve up seafood dishes such as penne pasta topped with salmon, spaghetti with clams, and a stone-oven pizza crowned with mozzarella and baby shrimp.