Doing ‘The Dishes’ With Shahnee Zaver

The General Manager of Caffe La Tana takes us on a whirlwind tour of her favourite places to eat and drink around Vancouver.
Launch Map

Doing ‘The Dishes’ With Shahnee Zaver

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 our latest edition of The Dishes we join Shahnee Zaver, General Manager of Caffe La Tana, on a culinary tour of Vancouver that’s tailored to her moods and cravings.

Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?

All my dining decisions are predicated on time, location, what I’m in the mood for and an assurance that it’s going to be exactly what I want! If it’s my first meal of the day, I’m looking to be satiated and for fuel. If I wanted something close to home and quick, I’d go to Birds and the Beets for either a Bircher Bowl or their Avocado and Slow Poached Egg Brioche Sandwich. Or Nelson the Seagull for their Muesli or Poached Egg and Avo on Toast — my favourite kind of breakfast comfort food. Both places do amazing bread. Otherwise I’d be at Aleph devouring one of their many scrumptious dishes. Whether I’m in the mood for something sweet like their Sweet Pancakes with rose syrup and housemade jam or savoury like their Medi Benny with turmeric hollandaise, I’m a big fan of their entire menu. The way they combine the flavours in their dishes is always delicately nuanced and unabashedly delicious. The owners, Fiona and Haitham, are such genuine, lovely people and know how to make you feel like a guest in their home. I always leave feeling happy and full. If you haven’t been, you must.

The Birds & The Beets 55 Powell St. Vancouver, BC MAP
Nelson The Seagull 315 Carrall St. MAP
Aleph Eatery 1889 Powell St. MAP

Where should we meet for coffee/tea?

If I’m still in Gastown, Milano or Iktsuarpok Coffee Stand. If I’m across the bridge, Small Victory. I love sitting at their big, beautiful bar — their custom espresso machine is a sight to behold; it’s gorgeous. For tea, definitely O5 Tea in Kits. The experience you’re given there – which is completely different to a coffee shop – is transportive, slow and artisanal — educational, even. They take so much pride in service and experience. It’s definitely a place to check out if you have a little extra time in your day. And speaking of transportive, Aleph does a cardamon coffee served with a date that’s delicious and I could drink it all day long. They will refill your cup too, so watch out!

Milano Coffee (Gastown) 36 Powell St. MAP
Iktsuarpok Coffee Stand 425 Carrall St. MAP
Small Victory (Granville) 3070 Granville St. MAP
O5 Rare Tea + Kombucha Bar 2208 West 4th Ave. MAP

Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?

Ask For Luigi. I love going there because it’s so quaint and intimate and I know it’s going to be really good. I would have either the Butter Lettuce, Walnuts and Gorgonzola Salad or the Crispy Polenta and Mushroom Trifoliate to start followed by the Rigatoni Bolognese, finishing off with the Olive Oil Cake and an espresso. I do love a good burger, so if I were in the mood and it was a Monday, DL Chicken; otherwise it’d be Hawksworth. For Thai food, which I also love, it would definitely be Kin Kao or Mali Thai on Main Street. If I were pressed for time and needed a quick fix, La Taqueria for tacos is always a sure bet.

Ask For Luigi 305 Alexander St. MAP
DL Chicken Shack 905 Commercial Drive MAP
Hawksworth Restaurant 801 West Georgia St. MAP
Kin Kao 903 Commercial Drive MAP
Mali Thai 2710 Main St. MAP
La Taqueria (Main St.) 2521 Main St. MAP

Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?

Most of the time Happy Hour for me means a shot of espresso, as I’m usually working; but I’d go to either Di Beppe (what’s better than an Aperol Spritz or a Lambrusco, especially in the summertime?) or Coquille. They do a Paper Plane cocktail; bourbon, aperol, amaro and lemon served in a coupe glass. It’s so befitting of the room, and those clam shell booths are my favourite.

Di Beppe 8 West Cordova St. MAP
Coquille Fine Seafood 181 Carrall Street MAP

What’s for dinner?

For dinner, that’s easy. Kissa Tanto for a beautiful and extensive meal and I would have my friend and wine director Layla Frances choose our wine. One of the best meals I’ve had in the past year was at Wagon Rouge and I would love to have a final meal there before they close their doors. For a classic Steak and Frites, Jules Bistro; and for the best Vietnamese food in the city, DD Mau in Chinatown . I go especially for their salad rolls and Com Gà – Damn Good Chicken And Rice. Kim and Kon, the brother and sister duo running the show there, are great and I love the vibe. It always reminds me of Wan Kar-Wai’s ‘In the Mood for Love’.

Kissa Tanto 263 East Pender St. MAP
Bistro Wagon Rouge (Closed) 1869 Powell St. MAP
Jules Bistro 216 Abbott St. MAP
DD Mau (Chinatown) 145 East Pender St. MAP

What’s for dessert?

The Chocolate Olive Oil Tart at Savio Volpe and the Tirimasu at Pepino’s are both to die for. They both epitomize the perfect dessert in every way. Enjoying them in their distinctive settings elevates the experience even more.

Osteria Savio Volpe 615 Kingsway MAP
Pepino's Spaghetti House 631 Commercial Drive MAP

Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?

There are so many venues doing amazing cocktails in this city. I’m more prone to picking a late night spot for it’s atmosphere and letting the company I’m with be the deciding factor. I do tend to favour places that are sexy, moody, cinematic and theatrical in some way. Places that allow one to fall into a different sense of time and place. There’s something I’ve always loved about bars. It’s always the first thing I notice when I walk into a restaurant. After a dinner at Kissa Tanto, I’d be happy to relocate to the bar for a night cap or head over to Keefer Bar or DD Mau, especially if there was live music. The bar and lounge at Botanist would also be an option, and for something completely different, the bars at Trans Am or The Diamond.

Kissa Tanto 263 East Pender St. MAP
Keefer Bar 135 Keefer St MAP
Botanist 1038 Canada Place MAP
Trans Am 1879 Powell St. MAP
The Diamond 6 Powell St. MAP

There are 2 comments

  1. I find this column can get a little watered down when then disher picks up to 6 places in each category! That kinda defeats the purpose. We already have the Scout 25!

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