Scout has been keeping track of restaurant openings for a very long time. We try to focus on and follow the construction arcs of the eateries we believe are going to be especially good or interesting on account of their concepts, locations and the professional pedigrees of the owners and/or hired guns. Of course, the nature of the industry is such that not all of them will be able to live up to their pre-opening hype — a hard thing to forecast with the bloom still on the rose! Today we isolate six bright and sparkling newcomers that look to be riding in the right direction.
We begin with the small, highly finessed fine dining charmer that is Kitsilano’s Mak N Ming, a good looking, already well-reviewed labour of love that nightly turns out 3 and 6 course tasting menus of sumptuous Japanese/French/West Coast invention.
Nearby is chef Jefferson Alvarez’ Cacao, which concentrates on modern, “progressive” Latin cuisine expressed via complex technique and deft, artistic hands in an unassuming dining room.
Also on the Latin front is Fayuca, a highly idiosyncratic expression of North Pacific Mexican traditions co-owned by famed Mexican chef Jair Tellez (possibly the most interesting restaurant to land in Yaletown in the last decade).
Smoothly blowing the Pacific Northwest trumpet is Botanist, a spare-no-expense, Ste. Marie-designed stunner just launched in the Fairmont Pacific Rim with a dream team at the helm (chef Hector Laguna runs the kitchen while bartenders Grant Sceney and David Wolowidnyk wow the wood).
On the more casual front, The Arbor (3941 Main St., 604-620-3256) has quickly hit its burgers and fries stride just down the block from its also-vegetarian sister eatery, The Acorn, and has recently launched a 20 seat hideaway patio out back.
Finally, consider Nemesis Coffee (302 West Hastings St.). Though the third waver off Victory Square primary functions as a victualling station for the caffeine-deprived, the kitchen clearly knows a trick or three as we’ve yet to fork a dish that hasn’t surprised by virtue of its quality — a rarity in the coffee-first game!
All six are worthy of your patronage. Here they are again, presented for your ranking consideration…
Did we miss your favourite new spot? Let us know via @scoutmagazine