A gentle breeze blows across the bay, travelling to an outdoor patio where it tousles the hair of patrons sharing tapas and lounging atop chic black-and-white couches. This scene embodies Mandalay Lounge & Steakhouse, a restaurant whose staff aims to seamlessly fuse globally inspired cuisine, trendy decor, and serene ambience. The eatery's chefs seek balance between Asian and European culinary influences as they top their succulent steaks in demi-glace and craft rice bowels. These multicultural influences seem to echo the dining room's decor, which blends the familiar glow of chandeliers with Southeast Asian adornments, such as decorative elephants that sound their trunks and ask for a bite at each dish's arrival. Upstairs, staff refill wine glasses in a private dining room that overlooks the water.
Serbian-born chef Boban Kovachevich has fired up stoves all over the globe. Cooking in Israel, he earned Jerusalem Post's nomination for the list of the 10 best chefs in the Middle East. At Carver’s Steakhouse, Kovachevich lavishes attention on every step of the culinary process, from growing the ingredients to cheering on the busboys. He begins with sustainably grown produce, local and organic meats, and certified Ocean Wise seafood. For his steaks, he chooses cuts of certified Angus beef. He ages each for 28 days, marinates it for a week in cold-pressed olive oil and spices, broils it, and flash-sears it to seal in the juices. The Vancouver Sun called the steaks “superb” and “mouth-watering,” and Indulge magazine said the juicy slabs give diners “a reason to pause after every mouthful.” During dinner, servers complete the meal with suggestions of wine to match each entree’s texture and taste. Of his respect for the culinary process, Kovachevich said to an Indulge reporter, “Whether I am cooking for a prime minister or the dishwasher, it does not matter. You can’t cook well without love.”
Morning is breaking over Eh! Restaurant’s rooftop garden as a chef busies himself plucking ripe, organic produce out from the verdant plots. Armed with an arsenal of produce, he retreats to the kitchen where the morning’s bounty will be transformed into a fresh feast to feed the evening dinner rush. The rooftop beds––bolstered by nutrients from the kitchen’s composted food waste––exemplify Eh! Restaurant’s dedication to fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Firm believers in environmental sustainability, the staff works hard to set an example of eco-friendliness for their community, from packaging takeout orders in compostable containers to reading bedtime stories to area trees. Along with sprinkling dishes with veggies from the rooftop garden, the chefs make a point to architect dishes from ingredients found within 100 miles of the restaurant. Servers whisk plates forth from the kitchen piled high with dishes that boast international influences and flavours, such as Cajun spices, Mexican white corn kernels, and Brazilian-style chicken. Dappled with modern art and sleek, streamlined tables, the spacious dining room grants guests a peek into the open kitchen, where chefs and bartenders work their magic.
A raw bar packed with ice, oysters, and crab greets diners when they enter Cork & Fin, offering a glimpse at a menu of refined seafood and contemporary cuisine that Zagat rated "very good to excellent." In addition to spotlighting seafood by creating towers of oysters on the half shell, dungeness crab legs, and albacore tuna tartare, the chefs demonstrate their culinary skills by introducing new flavours. Saffron aioli adds a distinctive, Mediterranean spark to seafood fritters, barbecued mackerel arrives with the restrained zest of a beetroot vinaigrette, and wild mushrooms lend a savoury decadence to six-ounce cuts of grilled sirloin.
This commitment to simple yet refined cuisine complements the split-level dining area's clean, minimalist decor. Exposed brick walls supply a rustic vibe that acknowledges the building's historic Gastown roots, but the room also features modern accents, including track lighting and an electron microscope. Bordered by a stately white banister, the mezzanine level presents guests with a semiprivate dining option for parties or special events.
Nestled into the entertainment district near BC Place and False Creek, The Ticket Kitchen & Bar fills with sports fans, music aficionados, and steak lovers each night. The steakhouse's staff seats them at booths beside floor-to-ceiling windows or at the granite bar beneath a mammoth flat-screen TV. Servers spill out from the kitchen with 8-ounce CAB filet mignons and pulled-pork poutine and deliver them to diners perched at wood-grained tables with brown aged-leather seats. In the kitchen, chefs work from a menu stacked with such rich fare as prime rib and maple and walnut salmon. During warmer months, the eatery's crew recommends the tree-lined patio where diners can soak in city and stadium views while pointing out passing clouds shaped like bunnies or lumps of fluffy condensed vapour.
Gyu King Teppanyaki's seasoned chefs tap into a rich 200-year-old tradition with their stir-fry-slinging teppanyaki technique. Chefs sear, simmer, and slice main dishes on an expansive steel teppan grill that can seat up to 20 diners around its perimeter to watch shrimp execute backflips and chicken glide through a ballroom waltz at the hands of each talented chef.
Seafood, game, and vegetables cook one at a time at a leisurely pace while peppered with only basic seasonings such as soy sauce and vinegar, fostering a relaxed communal atmosphere among the audience of diners. Guests dine and enjoy the show ensconced in red walls, recessed lighting, and modern Japanese decor, free from the anti-open-flame regulations of traditional theatrical performances.