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.
Today Tara Davies – the talented, warm, and infinitely charming manager at Cantina 189 and Chupito – takes us on a whirlwind tour of her favourite places to eat and drink.
Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?
Growing up, my family went to dim sum for brunch every Sunday. I still try to keep that tradition alive and head to Cindy’s Palace for dumplings and the house pork buns whenever I can! If it’s not dim sum it has to be the omelette, pear danish and coffee at the exceptional Ubuntu Canteen. Also, the new head Chef at La Taqueria Yukon, Maria, recently created a new brunch program and her flavours are truly inspired. The cornbread with poblano cream is a standout on the menu. Other options, like the Huevos Divorciados, remind me of my time living in Mexico and all the beautiful dishes and products used in Mexican cuisine. It’s quickly become a new favourite stop.
Where should we meet for coffee/tea?
The team at Nemesis on Hastings single-handedly keeps me fuelled for my shifts with their delicious lattes and pastry selection. When I’ve got more time to sit down for a coffee break with a pal or a good book, I’m heading to our neighbours at Revolver for any of the pour-overs or an espresso flight.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?
If I’m in the mood for something quick but delicious, I’m heading up to Vennie’s Sub Shop to get the classic deli with extra mortadella and a side of street corn salad. When lunch calls for an extended sit-down and a chance to enjoy the atmosphere, few things beat the quaint Ask for Luigi. I always opt for meatballs, mushroom risotto, pannacotta and shot of espresso. If I’m in the mood for sushi, which is more often than not, I’m heading to Toshi. The quality of the product that they serve is second to none. Whatever sashimi is on feature, along with the eggplant, is always a sure bet.
Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?
If I’m lucky enough to have a sunny afternoon off, I’m strolling around Mount Pleasant and heading to Fabrique St. George for their unfiltered traditional method sparkling and some snacks. Second stop is 33 Acres to sit on the streetside patio and sip on a Fluffy Cloud IPA and/or Mezcal Gose. Rain or shine – I’m heading to Livia for a happy hour Negroni.
What’s for dinner?
We’re spoiled with so many good options and talented chefs in this city that it’s hard to choose! My go-to lately has been Como Taperia for their warm hospitality and the buzzing energy in the dining room. The honey eggplant and steak with anchovy butter are must-haves. The incredibly talented team in the kitchen has also been putting out innovative and focused specials that will truly blow your mind. I recently had a sweetbread dish and a parsnip ice cream that I’m still drooling over. Barbara is another example of the impressive quality of foods we have on offer in Vancouver. The tasting menu is a wonderful culinary experience that is focused on local products and seasonality. The service is warm and inviting. The whole experience, how it’s run and the innovation are par to none. I recently had a chicken liver mousse that I still find myself dreaming of.
What’s for dessert?
If we weren’t already there for dinner we are heading into Kissa Tanto for dessert and a cocktail. No questions asked. Chef Joel has always been a pioneer in the food scene in Vancouver. So it’s likely not a surprise when I recommend heading in for the Yuzu Cream. It is by far my favourite dessert. The tiramisu is a close second.
Where are you taking us for late night cocktails?
Grapes and Soda! The cocktail program there is flawlessly executed and the quality of drinks being put out is incredibly dialled in. I always leave it up to the amazing service staff to help guide me through the list after trying the daily bottled feature. It’s such a pleasure to sit at the bar and watch professionals like Satoshi in their creative space. If I’m not at Grapes and Soda, you can find me enjoying the outdoor patio at Juice Bar with a nice glass of wine (or two). If I’m lucky enough to sneak out of work in time, I’ll run down to Bao Bei for cocktails (and snacks). I’m usually sipping on a chino margarita or their new clarified milk punch while enjoying the beautiful room.
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