Five Years Ago Today, One of Vancouver’s Best Restaurants Was Preparing to Launch

For this edition of #ThrowbackThursday we go back exactly 5 years to when the award-winning AnnaLena restaurant was gearing up for its first service at 1809 West First Ave.

The success of AnnaLena was unsurprisingly immediate. The characters involved and the talent assembled were just too good to really doubt. Their hard work out of the gate landed them a coveted Top 10 spot on Canada’s Best New Restaurants list in 2015 and steered them towards further applause in The New York Times, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications, both local and foreign. It has since been named one of Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants, its reputation cemented as one of Vancouver’s most consistently excellent places for a meal.

The photos above and below show its final stages of construction…

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  • Kevin Brownlee, Mike Robbins, Mark Singson, Jeff Parr
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Here’s an excerpt from what we published before the first plates went out in 2015:

The highly anticipated first restaurant from former Oakwood chef Mike Robbins and Jeff Parr is nearly finished, and is set to open to the public next Tuesday. Also on hand for my walk-through were barman Kevin Browlee, who has drafted a creative and playful cocktail list that flirts with the menu, and sous chef Mark Singson, who is reunited with Robbins in the kitchen after his run at Saint Crispin in Melbourne.

I spied the menu draft, which looks fantastic. Though I was told that all of it was subject to change come opening day, items that nevertheless got me especially excited included a pickle brine fried chicken with horseradish maple aioli; mussels in a garlic and fermented fennel broth with smoke essence; uni chowder with lobster tail and garlic butter mirepoix; and mashed potato chips with sweet and sour sauce. All very inventive, fun, and presumably delicious. Vintage Robbins.

In case you missed it, the restaurant will be hosting a 5th anniversary feast on March 13th with each course “overseen by a different chef from AnnaLena’s past and present.”

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