The GOODS from Ophelia
Vancouver, BC | The bold flavours of Mexico have arrived in Vancouver with the opening of Ophelia, a new upscale Latin cocina specializing in authentic south-of-the-border cuisine prepared with a refined, elevated approach.
The fresh dining concept is the latest venture from business partners from the team behind The Flying Pig restaurant group (with locations in Yaletown, Gastown, Olympic Village and Victoria) and Yaletown’s WildTale. Executive Chef Francisco Higareda will helm the kitchen at Ophelia, a restaurant that pays homage in name and in spirit to Higareda’s Spanish-born mother, who inspired his passion for cooking and lifelong love of food. Front-of-house operations will be overseen by General Manager David Sandoval Castillo, a 13-year hospitality veteran with experience managing flagship dining rooms in prestigious resort properties in Los Cabos, Mexico and Paradise Island, Nassau, Bahamas.
Originally hailing from Veracruz, Mexico, Higareda trained at culinary schools in Mexico City and Buenos Aires before relocating to Europe to work on the line in Michelin-star restaurants in Spain and France. He went on to open two restaurants in Chihuahua, Mexico and then came to Vancouver in 2016 to join the team at The Flying Pig and WildTale. Earlier this year, Higareda demonstrated his mastery of Latin American cuisine while cooking alongside celebrated Mexican chef Guillermo Gonzáles Beristáin as part of a World Chef Exchange Dinner during the Dine Out Vancouver Festival.
Located at 165 West 2nd Avenue in Olympic Village, Ophelia is now open Tuesday to Thursday from 4 to 11 p.m. and Friday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight. The chef-driven dinner menu features a tantalizing array of authentic Mexican appetizers, entrees, tacos and sides. Drawing on his Latin American roots, Higareda’s menu includes house-made specialty dishes such as Sopa de Tortilla, Pulpo en Mole Blanco (corn-crusted octopus with chorizo and white mole), Enchiladas Grantinadas with braised chicken, and Costilla de Cerdo (roasted pork chop with chicharron cheddar mashed potatoes and pipian verde sauce).
Ophelia will also host Happy Hour on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 4 to 5:30 p.m., during which guests can enjoy a selection of featured bebidas (drinks) and comida (snacks) like Prawn Ceviche Tostada, Aguachile Rojo and Queso con Chorizo.
At the bar, Beverage Manager Tim Cole has drawn on his years of international experience to develop a free-spirited program, reimaging classic cocktails with a distinct Mexican flair. Hand-crafted citrus-forward libations are the perfect complement to Higareda’s cuisine, unique mezcal and tequila tasting flights allow guests to sample premium spirits from south-of-the-border, and housemade margaritas are offered in a variety of signature flavours. A tightly curated wine list offers international selections from B.C. favourites available in bottles and by-the-glass, while the lineup of cervezas includes local craft beers and imported brews from around the world.
Ophelia’s immersive interior reveals a colourful, candle-lit dining room adorned with hand-painted Alebrijesare, decorative Mexican folk-art wooden sculptures that depict whimsical and mystical creatures. Another striking design element is a large-scale wall mural of Ophelia painted by renowned Mexican visual artist Saicker (César Alegría).
“My mother Ophelia inspired my enduring love of food, and I am so proud to honour her and her recipes at this exciting new restaurant.” says Higareda. “We are truly looking forward to welcoming diners to Ophelia and sharing the spirit of Mexico with our guests while giving them an opportunity to enjoy a true taste of authentic Latin cuisine.”
Ophelia is now accepting reservations for parties of up to six guests. For more information, visit https://opheliakitchen.ca.