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From pasta and poke to pot pies and pastries, here are seven solid reasons to cross the bridge and eat in West Vancouver
I’ll admit it: I don’t tend to leave downtown too often. Sometimes even going to Kits seems like a venture that could involve passports and paperwork. So when it comes to West Van, I mostly know that it looks awfully pretty from my West End apartment and that Car2Go doesn’t work there yet. However, I recently discovered the 250 bus (and its friends the 253 and 254), which will whisk you from West Georgia across to West Van in less than 30 minutes.
So, to celebrate, here are seven reasons to cross the Strait of Georgia and go eat in West Van…
With an open kitchen and a glass-and-wood interior, you might imagine that Terroir Kitchen is one of those uncompromisingly modernist spots where the food is plated with tweezers. But, no! Here, the food is joyful, bright and deceptively simple. Designed to share, chef Faizal Kassam (ex-chef at Cibo Trattoria) has created a terrific menu of Mediterranean-inspired small plates and you’re almost certainly going to want to eat them all. Don’t miss out on the pork belly if it’s on the menu—it is everything it should be—crunchy and sticky on the outside, and meaty and moist on the inside. Oh, and the tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad with ooey-gooey mozzarella, fresh-fried crispy garlic, and for a surprise, just a pop of chili and cool bite of mint. Yum! The fun wine list bounces from Europe to B.C. taking in Turkey, France and Italy along the way, and the cocktails are cool too—try the Negroni twist with cava and Triple Sec.
Is there anything more comforting than the thought of pie? Fruit pies, meat pies, pies as big as your head! That’s what’s on the menu at Savary Island, along with some excellent breads and jams too. And all the pies are handmade from scratch and all the fruit is organic. Along with favourites such as strawberry and rhubarb and chicken pot pie, they also make seasonal specialties such as tarte tatin. Rather wonderfully, they also deliver for $10 and the minimum order is $29 (and yes, those amazing pies freeze wonderfully well so stock up!).
Open for lunch, brunch and dinner with an excellent daily happy hour, this super-friendly casual spot in the heart of Dundarave Village has a menu that’s straight outta Gastown. Smoked olives, ahi tuna poke, crispy squid with tobiko (fish roe)—everything here is on point. But smart cookies will make sure there’s an order (or two) of chef Jason Sokulski’s fried chicken for the table ’cause that alone is worth crossing a bridge for.
It’s all about the pasta here at this family-friendly spot on Marine Drive at 17th thanks to Italian-born chef-owner Haymo Elzenbaumer. Seasonal, fresh and local ingredients are the stars on the Med-inspired menu. You can score some excellent deals with their family-style pasta platters to share, and there’s also a well-priced three-course prixe-fixe for $30 per person for three or more people to share. Definitely don’t miss out on the fried house-made gnocchi with a punchy spicy tomato sauce!
Open for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, and perched in Dundarave Park with a great summer patio and jaw-dropping view over Howe Sound, this is your spot for super-sustainable Ocean Wise seafood and Creekstone Farms Black Angus steaks. Field trip suggestion: hop on that bus and cruise on over the bridge to check out their twice-daily happy hour from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m. on Monday to Friday, and 9 p.m. until close on Sunday until Thursday, which features Baja-style tacos for $4, $4 beer and $6 wine.
West Van has some gorgeous sandy beaches and Ambleside is one of its best. There’s a cute pitch-and-putt golf course, tennis courts, a skatepark and there’s a designated swimming area monitored by lifeguards. Plan for a summer picnic and get takeout from the excellent concessions stand here which has a great line in wild-caught cod fish and chips, organic burgers,and free-range chicken. All that plus great coffee, juices and ice cream.
It’s tricky not to stroll in here, look around, coolly assess the gleaming cabinets and piled-high counter, and then confidently bellow, I’ll take the lot! But try and restrain yourself.* Chef-owner Steven Hodge and his team excel at delicate flaky pastries, rich smooth chocolates and creamy mouth-watering desserts. Get perfect buttery croissants to dunk in the velvety Stumptown Roaster coffee for takeout. Moan with pleasure as you dive into honey-lavender croissant-donuts. Pretend you’re buying them for someone else and treat yourself to a mixed box of chocolates. Remember that times are tough and there’s nothing that sugar, butter and chocolate can’t (temporarily) fix.
*Actually no. Don’t bother. Go nuts. This is delicious.