In Browns Socialhouse, backed leather stools and cushy booths flank tables. On the walls, oversize illuminated signs reading EAT and Liquor shine brightly against the cozily lit dining room. Mixing social-house comfort with a contemporary edge, the decor at Browns Socialhouse mimics the style of its food. Chefs hand cut and double-cook fries to pile alongside their steak sandwich or housemade, hand-pressed burgers. They've got an eye for detail—for example, they char-grill their dry-aged pepperoni before piling it atop pizzas with pepperoncinis and asiago. The selection ranges from international favorites—such as street tacos and shrimp-and-chicken pad thai, among other—to updated pub eats, such as fish ‘n’ chips featuring pacific halibut dunked in a Sapporo beer batter. Every Saturday, Sunday, and on holidays, the chefs set their roosters to crow earlier so they can rise and mix up batches of their own hollandaise for brunches. They crack only free-range eggs for their brunch dishes, which include corned-beef hash and prosciutto eggs benedict with goat cheese.
The life of a table is often sedentary and thankless, but the tables at L.A. Grill find meaning in their existence by propping up bountiful plates of diverse bistro fare. Sizzling morsels of steak, chicken souvlaki, and salmon don international flavours via cool tzatziki and zesty Cajun spices, and toasted slices of whole-wheat bread swaddle seafood sandwiches and 6-ounce burgers. On the patio, outdoorsy tables bask in the elements beneath ample umbrellas, miming escape routes to their brethren indoors.
The Pantry Restaurant serves home-style meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Comforting classics such as cinnamon french toast or egg skillets share menu space with steel-cut oatmeal, fresh fruit, and granola pancakes. For lunch and dinner, soup-and-salad combos, burgers, and old-fashioned favourites such as meatloaf and lasagna please everyone, even the family nihilist.
At a sushi bar lit by paper lanterns, Watami’s chefs craft sushi and Japanese fare using fresh fish imported straight from Japan. They slice, roll, and shimmy slabs of fatty tuna and salmon into specialty maki rolls or onto sashimi platters before sending artfully styled platters to padded booths or small, semiprivate dining rooms.
Vera's Burger Shack handcrafts its meaty morsels using 6-ounce beef patties and any combination of 35 flavourful condiments, a recipe that has earned the title of Vancouver's Best Hamburger eight times. Diners can opt for the menu's classic Vera burger, topped with the usual fixings ($5.99), or adorn buns with more adventurous accessories such as fried salami ($1.79), feta cheese ($1.29), or a rakish porkpie hat. Burgers in lamb ($9.99) and veggie ($5.99) varietals offer alternatives to beef, and The Doug Special presents a double-decker, open-faced affair topped with cheese, fried onions, and chili ($10.99). A basket of frings, twice-fried fries and onion rings ($5.99), yearns for a dip in a bona fide ice-cream milkshake, which comes in varieties including strawberry, blackberry, and the most elusive berry of all, chocolate ($4.99).