Photo of Amelie and Vincent by Mark Yammine
The Dishes 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.
We hope you’re super hungry because this edition is extra filling, as Amelie and Chef Vincent Nguyen – siblings and business partners at Anh and Chi restaurant – both weigh in on their favourite local spots for eating and drinking…
Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?
Amelie: Homemade Vietnamese coffee and sweetened condensed milk on the daily – it’s become a ritual. On a sunny occasion, I head to the Juice Truck for their Bestie Bowl (with extra coconut whip!) and stash away a few of Erin Ireland’s To Live For breakfast cookies for busy mornings.
Vincent: Between the Fricassée eggs, Liège style waffles and Robbie’s warm presence, brunch at Cafe Medina hits the spot. Delicious dined-in or delivered.
Where should we meet for coffee/tea?
A: Marché Mon Pitou, they have the best cold-pressed orange juice for my littles, flat white for “moi”, and a picture perfect backdrop that is thoughtfully decorated with the changing seasons.
V: I appreciate beautiful architecture and design, so a quick americano at nearby Nemesis on Great Northern Way is nice on the eyes and palate.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?
A: Dim sum! Dynasty does the classics well – steamed prawn dumplings, clam and white pepper congee, garlic pea shoots, deep fried squid tentacles, and steamed chicken feet. I love introducing my children to quintessential foods from around the world, and how better to teach them than with chef and lunch date, grandma Nguyễn.
When the day is too busy and lunch pushed to dinner, Saku is another family favourite. My daughters eat everything on their plate, from the cheese katsu, rice, soup, and salad. I order the chicken breast katsu but really go there for the salad dressing. I’m obsessed!
V: My mom, till this day, likes to drop off lunch at work for me. The team laughs, I eat it. I actually really enjoy the classics at Anh and Chi, especially our Bún Bò Huế (Spicy beef noodle), Cơm Gà Sườn (Number 37), Chả Cá Thăng Long (Turmeric dill cod). I embrace those brief moments with the team between rushes, meetings, and new features – tasting and tweaking.
Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?
A: Rodney’s Oyster Bar – Kusshis, low tide, wine, and chill vibes – makes for an easy start to the evening. I also get excited for their collection of like nine different sauces. (Yes, I love all kinds of sauce. You’ll have me figured out in no time!)
V: On the patio of La Taqueria for the $5 margaritas and a couple of carnitas tacos. Keeping it local.
What’s for dinner?
This is a tough one – we love so many places in town!
A: My latest crush is Terrence and Tang’s new project, Kin Kao Song, where the flavours are bold. I love my Thai food and adore their pad thai and vegetable stir fry. Legendary chef and team at AnnaLena delivers an exquisite tasting experience – their hand-peeled mussels and torn bread are unreal – so dinner here is a must.
V: Published is sophisticated and inspiring, and they are dear neighbours. I respect their fluid menu and fine attention to detail, and they have some of the most beautiful dishes in our city. Check out their Manitoba Pickerel and milk buns! Let’s not forget the legendary creatives and crew behind Savio and their sister restaurants that keep me coming back for their wood fired items.
What’s for dessert?
A: Nero Waffles on Robson for their Brésilienne with salted caramel sauce and roasted hazelnut on the Brussels light and crispy waffles. I take every visitor here. If it is a take home dessert, though, then it’s definitely a tie between Cadeaux Bakery’s lavender mocha cake or a pint of Earnest Ice cream’s whiskey hazelnut!
V: Liquid desserts are the best. Beautiful and intimate Kissa Tanto’s “Dark end of the street” cocktail pairs perfectly with their classic tiramisu!
Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?
A: Anh and Chi, baby. We have been blessed with a spectacular beverage program since conception, and we’re still going strong with canned cocktails and local beer collabs. There is a vibe in that candlelit room that staff and guests create that makes me feel sexy. I’ll start with something light and refreshing like the new “Saffron Spritz” (Fernet Branca, Sweet Vermouth, Mango Shrub, Lime, Fitz Crémant), go hard in between, and wrap up with a classic reimagined, the “Long An Grasshopper” (St. Rémy Signature Brandy, Branca Mentha, Pandan Coconut Cream, Taro Syrup, Nutmeg). Join me sometime.
V: Tocador, when I am up for some with live music on Sundays. I order “Tell the Bartender” from Guy for a good hit of English humour and perfectly tart and herbaceous cocktails.