It may seem hard to improve on the simple appeal of beer-battered fish, but consider 131 Water Kitchen & Bar's particularly artisanal approach: beer-battered haddock, hand-cut fries, and house-made tartar sauce. It's one of several ways the restaurant manages to work beer into its high-concept pub cuisine; the menu also sneaks beer into other signature dishes, including Guinness meatloaf and smoked-cheddar poutine made with stout-infused bacon.
When the kitchen can't physically blend a brew with a bite, a variety of local and craft beers facilitates easy pairing. Ales from breweries such as Parallel 49 are a natural fit with the burgers, especially the patty of house-made bratwurst topped with blue-cheese aioli and pear-and-onion relish.
But before you've settled on what you'd like in your sandwich, you'll have to decide where to eat it. The main dining room screens sports on its HD televisions, but the people-watching on Water Street?viewable from the gigantic front windows and the wraparound patio?can prove just as entertaining. There's also a courtyard patio, whose quiet allows dates to whisper sweet nothings over dinner and drinks.
For an even swankier vibe, the restaurant's mezzanine level beckons larger parties to settle into its low-lit booths. Don't schedule your book club meeting on a Wednesday night, however?that's when team trivia gets heated downstairs.
Weaving a tapestry of authentic subcontinental dishes, the chefs at Maurya Indian Cuisine incorporated ingredients from across India’s varied regions. The country’s street food vendors are represented by the toasted potato and pea-cake appetizers; Goa is represented by spicy chicken, lamb, or beef vindaloo; and the tastes of South India make an appearance in the coconut- and poppy seed–flavoured chettinad paste. The restaurant’s base sauce—a mix of five sauces— flavours hearty, shareable portions of lamb, chicken, fish, and goat. The bistro also keeps vegetarians sated with eats that include black lentils slow-cooked overnight and several styles of naan, including one that is equipped with WiFi.
Food arrives with a choice of ambiance. One is the well-lit dining room decked out with long drapes suspended from a high ceiling. The other is served on the eatery’s patio, complete with its own chef who tends to the outdoor tandoor oven. Whether indoors or out, the staff maintains a high standard of professionalism, earning an array of positive press mentions, including Dine Out Vancouver's Best Bite award for service in 2010.
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.
On his CTV News feature, La Belle Patate founder Mathieu Lott revealed he disdains the word "chef" and rather prefers his chosen title: Grease King. The name belies his and founder, as well as native Montrealer, Pascal Cormier's devotion to down-home cooking, a style that embraces the humble simmer of the deep-fryer over the fuss of candlelight, linens, and diamond-encrusted toothpicks. His poutine dishes inject three diner locations with classic Quebec flavour, layering hand-cut, double-cooked french fries with cheese curds and a ladle of vegetarian brown sauce.
At his original venue in Victoria, Mathieu and his staff put on a sensory show for guests at all stages of their poutine prep. Once the potatoes have tumbled in an antique peeler, they are sliced in view of the tables, then cooked twice in bubbling oil. Each of the three locations attests that its never-frozen cheese curds squeak when chewed, a noise that indicates their quality and desire to be heard. The poutine menu covers creative takes on the traditional curds-and-sauce staple, including an egg-laden breakfast poutine and a Meat Lover poutine with beef, bacon, and pepperoni. The kitchen also crafts handmade burgers, Montreal smoked-meat sandwiches, and steamed hot dogs to accompany the potato mainstay.
Subeez’s team of chefs—champions of contemporary fare infused with eclectic twists—whip up familiar-yet-unique noshes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Amid an open kitchen looking on to the warmly lit dining room, culinary gurus chop and stir for an audience of eaters as they architect dishes featuring mouthwatering ingredients such as watermelon-jalapeno coulis, house-cured duck leg, and foccacia bread fresh from the oven. Alongside hearty steak frites and lamb shanks, a host of meatless fare dapples the menu and exemplifies the kitchen’s dedication to pleasing the palates of vegans, vegetarians, and visiting apatosauruses. Dexterous bar tenders concoct artful libations before launching them down the sleek wooden bar, and baristas specializing in the art of bean brewing send mugs of perfectly percolated coffee out to tables.
Intent on fostering a welcoming atmosphere, attentive servers continually wend and soft-shoe through the dining room’s intimate booths and tables to ensure that each patron remains sated and free from stomach growls. To further enhance the restaurant’s sense of youthful, eclectic energy, a lineup of DJs holds court in-house on Thursday through Sunday evenings spinning sonic webs of R&B, funk, and dubstep.
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.