The Grant House, among the oldest and most storied home of Vancouver's Officers Row, boasts a history that dates back to the late 1800s and takes its name from President Ulysses Grant. Its upscale dinner menu suits its stately habitat, with an array of appetizers such as seafood cakes and fennel slaw and beef short ribs accompanied by fried wontons and simmered wakame. Entrees, enjoyed indoors, on a spacious veranda, atop a sunny outdoor patio, or inside a hollowed-out tree trunk, include sliced bavette steak, which drapes itself across sautéed wild mushrooms and garlic-herb fries, and duck breast hides behind wild greens, celeriac puree, and a pomegranate-balsamic reduction. Meals can conclude with creamy chai-spice crème brûlée and baked profiteroles drizzled with homemade honey.
When the instructors at Design Metals School aren’t crafting alloy masterpieces—such as the intricate rail that encircles the pendulum at the University of Alaska’s library—around the country, they impart the skills of their trade to groups of torch-wielding students. The teachers pull from 25 years of experience in metal fabrication for their classes, demonstrating and critiquing pupils’ techniques for welding, cold bending, and making cool showers of sparks.
El Presidente exemplifies a classic Mexican restaurant, with a colorfully decorated dining room, a bar stocked with frosty cervezas, and a menu of authentic dishes. Follow the aroma of sizzling carnitas and roasting peppers into the kitchen, where you'll find chefs whipping up enchiladas, burritos, and Mexican specialties—such as tender steak picado and sweet and spicy chicken mole. They also extend their culinary expertise towards variety of seafood dishes, smothering jumbo shrimp in house-made ranchero sauce and packing burritos with crab, shrimp, and chicken.
Guests await meals at tabletops and booths out in the expansive dining room, where Mexican artwork speckles the walls. Crystal-clear speakers create a festive atmosphere by playing lively tunes in lieu of stuffy muzack or recordings of the word "sorrow" repeated over and over again.
Traveling thousands of miles for a great meal might seem extreme to some, but it makes sense to members of the Zhen family. As a group who's passionate about good food, they understand why some people travel just to taste delicacies from around the world. Fortunately, local diners need only travel as far as Taste of China—the Zhen family's second restaurant—to find fresh Chinese food that made the Chinese Restaurant News' Top 100 Chinese Restaurants in the USA list for three consecutive years.
Inside the restaurant, aromas waft from the semi-open kitchen, carrying the promise of dishes such as tender beef in spicy Szechuan sauce or shredded mu shu pork with wood ear mushrooms and savory pancakes. For a taste of something truly unique, diners can ask to to eat from the test-kitchen menu of seasonal dishes made from rare and elusive ingredients.
The chefs at Tommy O's Pacific Rim Bistro might be wizards. With local produce, wild-caught fish, and other ingredients culled from Vancouver's farmers’ markets, they conjure meals straight from Hawaiian tables. Their menu combines sake-wasabi oyster shooters from the raw bar with tropical dishes of slow-roasted kalua pork and calamari steak sandwiches doused in housemade tartar sauce. Bartenders stock their taps with beers from around the Northwest and shake specialty cocktails such as the FBI, whose blend of vanilla vodka, coconut rum, and pineapple juice was specially designed to look amazing in the hand of anyone wearing wraparound sunglasses. While diners take their taste buds surfing, their eyes soak up tropical decorations such as surfboards, palm fronds, and murals of surfers, all nestled comfortably in a dining room that hosts happy hours and jazz performances throughout the week.