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The Armoury District doesn't only do fashion. Check out these adventurous eateries the next time you're in the neighbourhood
The Armoury District, Vancouver’s de facto design district, may be best known for its smattering of design studios, chic boutiques and dream-car dealers such as McLaren, Ferrari and Lamborghini. But the patchwork of tree-lined streets located in the light-industrial area framed by Granville Island, West Fourth Avenue and Burrard Street is also a hotspot to taste some of the diverse cuisine served up at the area’s colourful eateries. Here are our five fave lunch spots.
Anyone that appreciates Europe’s cafe culture will soon be a devotee to this artisanal spot that strikes the right balance between modern and rustic. Bica is the Portuguese word for strong coffee and they take their brew seriously here, along with the home-made dishes. Chow-down on a decadent sandwich of roasted pork or a veg-friendly quinoa wrap while sitting at the communal farmhouse table, or hide at the corner banquette with a good book. It’s a taste of Lisbon, without the flight.
Euro specialty: Sample the rich pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tart), flavoured with just a hint of cinnamon.
Location: 1809 Fir Street
When you have a hankering for West Coast–style fish ’n chips fried up just steps from fishing boats bobbing in False Creek, this sea shack can’t be beat. Choose from fresh cod, halibut or salmon coated in batter (made with Granville Island beer, of course), paired with crispy pomme frites and a side of slaw. Arrive early or late – especially in summer – to avoid long lineups snaking through the parking lot. Outdoor seating only; closed Mondays.
A non-classic crowd pleaser: Order up the fish tacones: grilled salmon, topped with chipotle crema and spicy salsa tucked in a flour tortilla.
Location: 1505 West First Avenue
This sweet spot is undeniably one of Vancouver’s best-kept secrets. Yes, you can order a sandwich with turkey breast or Brie for lunch. But you’d be missing the point of this delightful Belgian bakery and cafe: waffles. Purists can choose from the original Liege waffle (Gaufre de Liege), which are typically sold street side in Belgium. Here, they’re drizzled with chocolate, flecked with coconut or filled with fruit. Also on offer: light and crispy Belgian waffles, topped with fresh fruit, or butter and maple syrup. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Savoury indulgence: Get the best of both worlds with a Brussels waffle that’s flavoured with green onion and cheese.
Location: 1728 West Second Avenue
Your lunch just got a little more elegant at this cafe that doubles as a culinary school. Bistro fare such as soup-and-salad combos (get the prosciutto chips on top) and inventive items, such as the Fraser Valley cinnamon duck satay, are made with top-notch care, using B.C.’s finest ingredients. And yes, you can buy quince jelly in the Quince Shop, plus a number of heat-and-serve dishes to take home.
A taste of the West Coast: Check the blog for the daily menu, but when it’s available, order the delicious Dungeness crab ravioli.
Location: 1780 West Third Avenue
When the rain is unrelenting, there are few things better than gorging on a soothing bowl of pho – Vietnamese rice noodles drowned in a delicate broth, topped with bean sprouts and basil. This new addition to the Armoury District has a few street front seats inside, but the best place to scoff at the weather is facing the inner courtyard of the Waterfall Building.
Daring dish: Fill up on the pho Tai Nam Gan Sach with all the succulent bits: rare beef, beef brisket, tendon and tripe.
Location: 1542 West Second Avenue