The Dishes is a repeating Scout column that asks Vancouverites to walk us through a map of their ideal day and night on the town. We’re talking breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night cocktails. Tax and tip included.
For this edition of The Dishes, we tag along on a whirlwind food and drink binge with Wentworth Hospitality’s new Executive Chef Jonathan Chovancek, who oversees the kitchens at Tableau Bar Bistro and Homer Street Cafe & Bar. (Top photo by Tracey Ayton.)
What’s for breakfast?
I generally don’t eat breakfast however if I need a quick protein hit after an early morning workout at All City Athletics, I will devour the delicious Barley Bowl at Birds & Beets along with multiple cups of coffee.
Where should we meet for coffee or tea?
It depends on the neighbourhood we are meeting in: Gastown is The Birds & The Beets; the West End would be Musette Café; Kits is definitely 49th Parallel (also a chocolate old fashioned doughnut snack will be had); and Commercial Drive is coffee in the sunshine on the bench outside of Prado Café.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?
For lunch we are definitely having one of the new rotisserie sandwiches at Homer Street Café! I know I am biased, but they are huge, crazy delicious and the staff is wonderful! For a gluten-free lunch fix my go-to is the incredibly tasty bowl of Hazelnut Noodles at Harvest Community Foods. This tiny kitchen has consistently cranked out some of the most delicious and creative noodle dishes for years and is one of my favourite places to eat in Vancouver. If I am in the car and running errands, 100% I will be popping into Sal y Limon for a giant Huevos and Chorizo burrito with an obscenely large mosaic of their hottest salsas. One leaves with an aura of fire and spice!
Who has you figured out for Happy Hour?
So much happy food and so little time in Vancouver! If I have the time I don’t mind lining up to score a bar seat at L’Abattoir. It is well worth it for their beautiful cuisine and a cocktail at Happy Hour prices! Tableau Bar Bistro has a new chef who is killing it and I don’t know about you but Steak Tartar with a side of roasted bone marrow with a glass of Rose sounds very happy to me!
What’s for dinner?
When Lauren and I want to impress friends from out of town we always hit Maenam — a showcase of spice and textures with local seafood prepared with laser-like focus. Speaking of focus, St Lawrence Restaurant is JC Poirier’s love letter to his mother’s Quebecois cooking and we are so lucky that he opened it here so we all can experience it.
Vij’s restaurant on Cambie has surreal cocktails, amazing wine, staff that make you feel like you are eating in their family living room and food that makes me so very happy with the spice and complexity of flavours. The goat. Omg. The goat!
For me, Bao Bei defines what makes a great Vancouver restaurant: food that reflects the city; a gorgeous, welcoming and timeless room; staff that are constantly professional and at the same time could be your long lost sister or brother; and breathlessly satisfying, consistent and crave-worthy food.
What’s for Dessert?
We head over to the newly opened Elisa Steakhouse to visit Katie Ingram and see what delicious spirits she has for us to taste. Katie makes some of the best cocktails in the city and when I sit at her bar, she is in charge!
Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?
Lobby Bar at the Fairmont Pac Rim is amazing for people watching and delicious cocktails. Boxcar Social is always fun for a late-night sip and some dancing next door. On the way back home, a stop at Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar is mandatory for an exceptional last cocktail of the evening.