Though envisioned as a casual family eatery, Hurricane Grill is anything but simple. Unafraid to reinvent their style over and over again, the chefs craft upscale-casual fare with locally sourced ingredients that draws on the flavors of North and Latin America as well as the Mediterranean and Asia. Brunch dishes beam with British Columbia-raised free-range eggs while West Coast shellfish and Angus beef steaks shine during lunch and dinner. Those looking to curb their cravings for homemade burgers can choose an all-beef, chicken, or veggie patty and adorn it with a litany of toppings. On warm nights, guests filter out onto the patio to share lively meals with families and friends.
The Rimrock Café is powered by the palate-pleasing prowess of chef and owner Rolf Gunther, whose transcontinental training informs a menu rich with fresh seafood and tender game. Embark on epicurean escapades with the chilled prawn cocktail, accented with accompaniments of avocado, tomato salsa and horseradish crème fraiche, or begin with a sautéed wild mushroom salad that wears a diaphanous gown of sesame vinaigrette upon its leafy luxuriance (all first course options are $13). Second course options (all $18) include the buffalo mozzarella, served with heirloom tomatoes, basil and olives, reminding diners why the delicate cheese was hunted nearly to extinction, while the papardelle pasta, emblazoned with a light lobster, goat cheese and cherry tomato sauce, carries a power-to-weight ratio that's the envy of heavyweight boxers and competitive light bulbs. For the main course ($34), diners can choose the five-ounce filet mignon, or stray from the beaten path with the porcini mushroom encrusted caribou (add $12), chaperoned by a tongue-tingling mélange of truffle butter, spatzle, and porcini cream.
Inside The District, two rooms provide unique dining experiences. One room is mainly for sit-down dining, while the other features a 20-foot long social table. It's no accident that the restaurant is set it up this way. The restaurant is all about building rapport between clients, whether it's between groups sharing space at the table or friends splitting a European-inspired sharing plate. Chefs create easily sharable dishes of aged meats and cheese supplemented with bar staples such as house-smoked olives or beef croquettes. They incorporate many recipes that claim European roots, from the patat friet fries served in the "friture" style of Belgium and the Netherlands to the dutch meatballs spiced with fresh herbs and caramelized onions and the popular French dish, duck rillette.
But despite this focus on community dining, the staff doesn't insist that you share your food. Chefs also cook up full-size entrees such as Gulf Island mussels served in a choice of four sauces or three different cuts of steak that were butchered in house. These can be washed down with a Belgian brew on the extensive beer list, or one the cocktails or glasses of wine from the award-winning drink menu.
With a tongue-in-cheek name like The Portly Chef, it's no surprise that you can grab a burger there that, according to the Vancouver Eater, "will make your heart stop." The Eater went on to add, "Bring a defibrillator: it's worth it." The Works burger made the publication's Live or Die By Burgers list for its hand-formed patty made with tenderloin, chuck, and beef brisket and topped with tangy cheddar.
Unique combinations aren't limited to the burgers, though. With an arsenal of local and seasonal ingredients and proteins, the chef whips up seafood-adorned linguine with a lemon-chili cream, a pork loin with creamy caramel goat cheese and apple compound butter, and lobster spring rolls. After making dishes more attractive than movie stars in magnetized tuxedos, the chef sends them out to wine-sipping patrons in the dining room.
Milo Bigler traces the origins of his passion for food to a childhood spent in the kitchens of his parents’ resort and spa in the tiny Swiss village where he grew up. He went on to pursue a culinary education, eventually winding up in Canada, where he has prepared meals for politicians and royalty. He has opened multiple restaurants, including Calvin’s Café in 1991.
At Calvin’s, Bigler prepares everything from breakfast platters to steak dinners. He crafts sandwiches, makes soups, and tosses salads, each with a tasty little twist thrown in. He enhances his spinach and goat cheese salad with pickled mustard seeds, and polka-dots his open-faced smoked salmon bagel with caper berries. To keep things interesting, he cooks completely different menus at different times of the day, offering unique morning, lunch, afternoon, and dinner menus.
The Lobby Restaurant and Lounge at Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier occupies a window-walled space on the hotel's ground floor, adjacent to the harbor. The proximity of the water provides pleasant views, but also ensures the chefs get fresh ingredients for their locally-sourced, sustainably-focused menu. They specialize in using Vancouver's abundant seafood to their fullest advantage, creating dishes such as pan-seared halibut with pan-fried yams, sweet corn, and asparagus. Of course, they work with some of the fruits of the land, too, encrusting roasted racks of lamb in herbs and dousing them in rosemary brandy jus.