Restaurant, under the direction of European-
trained chef David Hawksworth, who also
helms the luxe but more relaxed Nightingale.
The new Parq Vancouver complex— the
largest private development in the province,
complete with a casino and a 30,000-square-
foot rooftop garden — houses seven restaurants,
with options ranging from regional comfort
food to Singaporean classics.
As the local craft beer industry has
exploded — there are close to 30 small breweries in the region and counting — so has the
food truck scene. Dozens of mobile eateries
abound in the city, serving everything from
Japanese hot dogs to kefir drinks. Tacofino,
one of the most popular, started out of a
school bus in Tofino on Vancouver Island’s
western coast before expanding to multiple
brick-and-mortar locations. (Try the duck
taco with shiitake mushrooms, dried apricots,
roasted corn and black-chili mayo.)
Vancouver also enjoys a thriving arts and
culture scene. It’s the home base of Ballet
BC, several strong theaters and festivals of
all kinds, like the annual Bard on the Beach.
Striking public art appears in spectacular
places; look for Douglas Coupland’s pixelated
Digital Orca sculpture downtown, fronting
Burrard Inlet, and Chinese contemporary
artist Yue Minjun’s A-maze-ing Laughter,
an installation of smiling Buddhas, in English
Bay. (Billionaire resident Chip Wilson, who
founded Lululemon, and his wife donated
$1.5 million to purchase the exhibit.)
Housing the Institute of Asian Art and the largest group of works by the
modernist painter Emily Carr, the Vancouver Art Gallery in the heart of
downtown pays homage to indigenous art. Historical works by Haida, Nisga’a
and other groups, as well as contemporary pieces by the likes of Bill Reid and
Robert Davidson, shine a light on the history of the region, all the more vital
after the municipal government’s 2014 declaration that the city was founded
on unceded Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations territories.
Indigenous carvings, monumental totem poles, house posts and other
objects preside in the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British
Columbia, as well. The building alone is worth a visit; the iconic concrete-and-glass structure was designed by renowned late architect Arthur Erickson
and is set atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific.
Often described as a living museum, Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical
Chinese Garden is the first authentic representation of a Ming Dynasty– era
scholar’s garden to be built outside of China. With rock formations, pagodas,
winding paths and a pond covered in water lilies, it’s a place for peace and
quiet in the center of the city.
But then, as John Fluevog put it, it’s easy to slip into nature in Vancouver —
which is exactly why he’ll never leave. [
More than half the residents speak a language other than English at home,
including Punjabi, Cantonese, Mandarin and Farsi.
Vikram Vij came to Vancouver in 1992. After cooking at some of the
Known as much for his charm as for his food, Vij says what initially
city’s top restaurants, including Bishop’s, he opened his eponymous place
with the aim of introducing the flavors of his native India to Canadians.
He has gone on to do that and more, becoming a celebrity chef with TV
appearances, four restaurants, a food truck and a line of packaged foods.
struck him was Vancouver’s ethnic diversity.
“I felt that this was a city that was going to embrace me and my culture,”
he says. “This was a community that was going to welcome me for who
I was. I still think we live in the best city in the world ... And it has all
the common denominators that any city needs to be a culinary destination.”
Those attributes, he says, are access to sustainable seafood, an
abundance of fresh produce from nearby farms, and a robust and ever-
evolving wine region. (A four-hour drive away, the Okanagan has hot
summers, the only desert in Canada and more than 250 wineries.)
ith Vij’s restaurant being one dining room to indulge in, the
best way to get a taste of Vancouver’s multicultural character
is by dining out. Thanks to its large Asian presence, the city
offers countless places for pho, ramen and sushi, and it’s also
home to Canada’s largest Chinatown. However, the historic
neighborhood offers more than traditional dim sum, dump-
lings and buns. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie makes modern
Chinese share plates, while Kissa Tanto specializes in Japanese-
Italian fusion (the Tajarin, for instance, is a carbonara-like dish
with roasted mushrooms and miso-cured egg yolk).
There are many other cuisines, from Lebanese and Ethiopian to
Persian and Korean. Fine dining can be found at Bauhaus, a minimalist room featuring exquisite German-inspired dishes, and Hawksworth