by Andrew Morrison | You don’t have to be a restaurant critic or industry veteran to recognize that not all restaurant tables are created equal. Any diner can walk into a room, scan it, and tell you exactly where they want to enjoy their meal. It could be a cozy cloister close to the door where you can check out everyone who walks in the door, a romantic deuce with a view, or a Gangster Table at the back that no one knows exists until they have to go pee. They all have three things in common: they are uniquely positioned in their respective dining rooms; they make those lucky enough to sit in them feel a little special; and they’re almost always taken. I certainly have my favourites, and the number far exceeds that required for a typical Top Five, but I’ll start with these regardless. for your ranking consideration…
Chambar | 568 Beatty St. | Table #60 | The old location of Chambar had a pair of plush red leather booths that were equally good (#40 and #80), but one is better than the other at the new address because of their orientation. I prefer Table #60 in the southeast corner, as it affords a view of the entire length of the restaurant, all the way to the front door.
Finch’s | 353 West Pender St. | Stage Tables | This downtown lunch-time institution boasts a pair of deuces elevated on stages, one next to the Homer St. window and the other next to the Pender St. window (it’s a corner location). One might feel a little on display in either of these perches, but concentrating on a good sandwich, a good book, or good company solves that.
Bao Bei | 163 Keefer St. | Table #1 | This is the circular booth behind the service station, the best seat in the house if you don’t count the gigantic family table in the back. Depending on where you sit, you can have your back to the door watching the kitchen pass with a clear sightline down the dining room banquette, or the reverse with a clear view of the door and the bar.
Bestie | 105 East Pender St. | Table #5 | While any of the comfortable booths will do at Bestie, this one is elevated and removed from the rest, plus it has the late-night take-out window to spy the streets through. Its bright, colourful vinyl siding also lends it a fun-house feel, which makes me feel a fourth of my age (albeit with beer and sausages).
Pidgin | 350 Carrall St. | Table #70 | I’ve always been on the fence about chef’s tables, especially the ones put on display for the rest of the dining room to be jealous of. Pidgin’s is refreshingly different, and not the least bit ostentatious. I’d even go so far as to say it’s the most unique table in the city, sporting as it does a pop-up window pass and a lazy susan.
Did we miss your favourite? Let us know on Twitter. We’ll do another group of YVR’s top tables soon.