You’ve Gotta Try This in April

This is your indispensable companion to all that is fresh and delicious in Vancouver right now

This is your indispensable companion to all that is fresh and delicious in Vancouver right now

Ugh. Who could have imagined it’d still be this damn messy more than a year later?

In the chaos of the latest last-minute public health orders, restaurants across the city are doing yet another mad pivot to try and stay afloat. Chambar is closed for the next few weeks. Hats off to the crew at Lucky Taco who whipped up a curbside patio in just three hours, and love to the crew at Forage who has had to close all dine-in operations and switch to takeout (they have some especially good whole turkey dinner options on offer right now, give ’em a call!). Even if a restaurant has a patio, don’t forget, seating there is limited, so it’s still gonna be incredibly hard to scrape by.

I know I keep saying it, but if you can afford takeout right now, please spend your dollars with independent restaurants. And go pick it up yourself! But, if you’re ordering delivery, for god’s sake, ditch all other apps except FromTo which takes no commission from the restaurants or drivers and is run by the restaurant community for the community. 

Grab napkins, people, brush the crumbs from your stretchy pants and go feast…


1. Make like you’re on vacay with wines of Argentina

Since no one’s getting on a plane any time soon, take a fakecation at home this month and celebrate World Malbec Day on April 17th. My advice? Grab some empanandas from the Panaderia Latina Bakery, get a really great steak from Two Rivers Meats on the North Shore, or maybe just some blue cheese and crackers from Les Amis du Fromages and have yourself a little Malbec tasting fun in the spring sun.

Check out the La Riojana Tilimuqui Organic Malbec (such a gorgeous colour!) and packed with bags of silky black fruit, fragrant violets and sweet red cherries. The Luigi Bosca La Linda Private Selection Old Vines Malbec is such a treat with notes of chocolate-dipped cherries, vanilla and spiced blackcurrants. And the super-affordable (and still extra-gluggable) Alamos Malbec, just $14 and popping with ripe blackcurrants and pepper, baking spices and violets. Yum. The awesome folks at Marquis Wine Cellars on Davie Street in the West End will be donating $1 from every bottle of Argentine wine sold in April to the BC Hospitality Foundation, so maybe stock up for BBQ season too.


2. Head to Lyon with St. Lawrence

You know who’s ace and doesn’t have a patio? That’s right. The mighty St Lawrence, who has a very cool Lyon-influenced month planned. So… call ’em for takeout. They’ll be showcasing the cuisine of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and offering some incredible bottles of wine sourced from vineyards and estates of Bourgogne, Beaujolais, Jura, Savoie, Auvergne and Rhône Valley, plus offering a cheese course from Lyon too! Order through their website to pick-up at the restaurant to Tuesday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.


3. Say yes please to Yuwa

I didn’t discover the delights of Yuwa till recently but man! They’re all kinds of amazing. Allow yourself to go a little nuts on ordering (they’re open for takeout and delivery, by their own staff, and they also have a cute little heated patio) because everything is really too, too good. I love that they offer seasonal specialities, such as their Asari Dobinmushi (clam soup) which is served in an adorable mini clay teapot with canola flowers and lily bulbs, and I am told (alas, my mushroom allergy prevents me trying it) that their chawanmushi with chicken thigh, prawn and lily bulb is one of the best in the city.


4. Get GOAT at AnnaLena

No, not the horned, trash-eating kind… the Greatest of All Time varietya tasty romp through chef Mikey Robbins’ best hits to celebrate six years open on West 1st. This is such a steal of a deal: five courses for $59 to go. But—this is just until April 4th so call that dinner in now! After that, well, who knows what’s after next week? The only thing that’s certain is that if it’s coming out of AnnaLena’s kitchen, it will be delicious AF.

5. Sip sake at Dachi

Everything’s tasting good in the neighbourhood at Dachi, who has a kick-ass takeout dining program along with some amazing sakis (of course, Miki Ellis, one of the owners, was the world’s youngest certified sake professional) funky ciders, wines and thoughtfully created cocktails. The menu changes often, but I loved the sound of kale buds and rapini with a spring allium sauce, and really, if a tonkatsu fried pork cutlet is on the menu, can you ever say no to it? Open Thursday to Monday, offering takeout and dining on their patio, check out their online store or go visit them to browse their wildly tempting bottle shop.


6. Order all-day breakfast ramen at Kinton

I’ve been hella sceptical of ramen being in any way successful as a takeout option for a while, but thanks to a friend sending me the good stuff from Marutama all the way from Vancouver to the Okanagan, turns out I was joyfully wrong. Please take this as a sign to immediately get ramen to go from your favourite patio-less ramen spot. Need inspiration? I adore the idea of this all-day breakfast ramen from Kinton Ramen: thick noodles in a vegetarian miso broth topped with pork belly, onsen tamago, kakiage, sweet corn, scallions, nori, chili pepper, chili oil, butter and a blow-torched tomato with swiss cheese.


7. Set sail with Noteworthy Naval Strength Gin

I tried Noteworthy Gin Navy Strength a couple of weeks ago and can’t stop thinking about how wonderful it was. Packed with floral citrus notes, I tried it with tonic water and adored how the extra booze seemed to jack up the flavour. As a distilling term, navy strength means that it’s at 57 percent alcoholbut what that means for you as a drinker is that you can (ideally) use less of the gin in a cocktail or with tonic or soda water and you won’t be compromising on flavour. Give it a try!