Oakwood Bistro: Seasonal, Sustainable and Classy Canadiana

A new bistro has opened in Kitsilano, and it's a sure-fire success.

Credit: Oakwood Canadian Bistro

Oakwood Canadian Bistro brings seasonal, sustainable cuisine to Kits


Marlon Brando once told Johnny Depp, “We only have so many faces in our pockets.”


That’s how I feel about rave reviews, and yet I must give one to Kitsilano’s Oakwood Canadian Bistro.

The new West Fourth Ave restaurant just held its official launch party, although doors opened softly this summer.


Oakwood Canadian Bistro’s Elevated Canadian Fare

Oakwood Canadian Bistro describes their cuisine as honest Canadian fare. I think that description is too humble for menu items like the thick AAA burger, made with house-ground AAA beef shoulder that’s flanked by a crispy buttermilk fried onion and smoked cheddar, in a plump, house-made sesame bun.

Every time owner Mike Shea or bistro General Manager Amy Wheatley emerged with a tray of slider tasters, the launch party crowd pounced.

From left: Owner Mike Shea, General Manager Amy Wheatley and executive chef Mike Robbins. (Image: Oakwood Canadian Bistro)

A good burger is a comfort food menu staple. But not all burger joints can boast a delicate Dungeness crab tortellini in an apple, fennel and brown butter emulsion or salty sweet maple pork belly, with cracklings and a jicama salad.

AAA burger with sesame bun, buttermilk fried onion and smoked cheddar. (Image: Oakwood Canadian Bistro)

There’s a thin line between comfortable seasonal cuisine and fine dining. It’s comparable to dating: we want a partner who is easy to hang out with and just as easy on the eyes, but without being high maintenance. With price points ranging from $5 for a starter to $20 for the most expensive main, the Oakwood surfs that crest with skill.

Wunderkind Executive Chef Mike Robbins, who is only 27, creates the seasonal menus using only organic, hormone and antibiotic-free, Ocean Wise and sustainable ingredients. You can count on the fact that everything on the menu, from the pasta to the condiments and salt on your Caeser glass, is made in-house.

The New Kitsilano Bistro

Seared scallops with pork stuffed rotolo, carrot foam, beat and watercress. (Image: Oakwood Canadian Bistro)

Decor is important too. From the bar, the view of the 85-seat room with elements made from reclaimed fir, oak and cedar is unpretentiously attractive.

But how can I mention the bar without talking booze? I’d belly up to the Oakwood bar for the 11 local craft beers on tap. Nothing goes better with a burger than Driftwood’s Fat Tug. You’ll also spot plenty of pretty skinny minnies sipping on the Oakwood Margarita—El Jimador with plenty of fresh lime, simple syrup and a float of Grand Marnier—good because it’s simple and mixer-free.

Kitsilano has a special knack for attracting award-winning restaurants and it’s likely that Oakwood Canadian Bistro, with its classy Canadiana theme, is on its way to leading the pack. If you’ve ever been put off by Refuel’s prices, walk down a few blocks and try out the new kid.

Oakwood Bistro

2741 West 4th Ave, Vancouver