In 1999, Freshslice Pizza founder Ray Russell set out to combine the once-separate worlds of pizza-by-the-slice joints and speedy pie delivery. Each ready-made slice or delivery pie is created with a dough recipe that's seven years in the making, with a wholesome multigrain base with a crispy texture unheard of in run-of-the-mill pizzas made with boring white dough or pickled Frisbees. At each of the restaurant's 70 British Columbia and Ontario locations, customers can pop in for a few takeout slices, select a feast from the litany of suggested topping combos, or craft their own creation from three different sauces, more than 20 different toppings, and a variety of cheeses. In addition to savoury slices of pizza covered in combos such as pesto, spinach, ham, and mozzarella, customers can dine on morsels of baked lasagna, sweet cinnamon sticks, or other pizzeria fare.
Conveniently located in the heart of Vancouver, The Edge is equal parts modern and comfortable, fine dining and casual. A lounge area with cozy, but almost futuristic-looking silver chairs and black loveseats serves as comfy spot for an after-work cocktail. The dining area, though, feels like a stark contrast, with its retro decor straight from the golden age of diners. But the globally inspired menu, unlike any phone that came out earlier this year, is definitely of this time, with ingredients sourced locally and served at dinner, lunch, and brunch. Dinner means an array of signature dishes like flatbreads and burgers or hearty entrees such as roasted chicken breast, pan-seared salmon, and pastas. For brunch, both breakfast and lunch are equally represented, with skillets and french toast as well as mac-and-cheese and crispy chicken burgers.
Inside Beyond Restaurant & Lounge, wall-mounted lamps cast orange light over sleek modern tables, white chairs, and carefully plated entrees. A circular wall of glass beads refracts red light in the lower dining room, while in the lounge, plasma televisions glow on Zebra wood walls near a central bar made of chocolate-colored American walnut. A wall of transparent glass separates the dining area from the kitchen, giving patrons a free view of chefs splashing sauces over lobster or oysters.
Pizza Guys’ chefs bring the authentic flavours of Italian pizzas to Vancouver, preparing fresh dough inside a custom Italian oven. They top each disc with traditional tomato, basil-pesto, or creamy white garlic sauce, then hide it beneath a thick blanket of cheese and fresh meats and veggies. Their gourmet specialty pizzas allow guests to sample styles derived from New York, Greece, and Mexico, or create their own masterpiece with toppings such as jalapenos, feta cheese, and ground beef. After depositing pizzas in their imported oven—where dough bakes to a golden hue while practicing its Italian accent—chefs cook up a barrage of Italian and American favourites, including honey-garlic wings, lasagna, and meaty sub sandwiches.
At The Libra Room, if the bartender asks, "What's your sign?", it usually results in a cocktail, not a detailed presentation of your moon signs, relationship compatibility, and chances of dying in a coffee-grinding accident. The astrologically inspired restaurant creates martinis and cocktails designed specifically for each astrological sign—such as cognac and Grand Marnier for the sensitive and open Pisces and espresso vodka and white-chocolate martinis for discriminating Virgos. But The Libra Room is more than just a bar with cosmic libations. With live music seven nights a week, the music lounge and restaurant supports the local music scene, booking both budding musicians and Vancouver jazz greats such as John Korsrud, Wes Mackey, and Bruno Hubert. It also hosts major musical events, including the Vancouver Jazz Festival and New Music West festival.
Along with specialty cocktails and select wines, The Libra Room serves a menu packed with burgers, pizza, and other great bites for sharing, such as mussels and cheese platters. The colourful space combines the rustic charm of exposed-brick walls and wooden tables with the eclectic charm of large lava lamps and prismatic lights that illuminate the bar.
At Trilussa Pizza & Pane, it's all about the dough. Roman-born baker Alessandro Fonseca has been working on the recipe professionally since he was 18, and every day at Trilussa, he hand-stretches it and anoints it with 100% cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil. Once it rises, it's ready to be shaped into baguettes, buns, flatbread, and, of course, pizza crust.
True to the traditional food and square-wheeled cars of the streets of Rome, the pizzas arrive in oblong slabs—measured by length, not diameter. Served cold for an antipasto-like experience, specialty pizzas come topped with ingredient combos such as the caprese, with tomato, bocconcini, and organic salad, or the Vancouver, topped with salmon and organic salad. Hot options include pesto, potatoes, and a variety of Italian meats. In either case, waitstaff will gladly hand out forks and knives to tackle the unusually substantial piles of ingredients.
Trilussa is more than just a spot for dinner and lunch (when panini on the house-made bread make for a quick bite). "You'd do well to start the day here, too, with a coffee and the Buongiorno panino," Vancouver Magazine recommends; there are pastries and espresso drinks as well.