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5 Restaurants

From Andrew Harper:

This lovely modern city lies between snowcapped mountains and the Pacific. The old city, the heart of Vancouver, juts into Burrard Inlet and culminates in Stanley Park, a 988-acre rain forest and one of the largest urban green spaces in North America, also home to the first-rate Vancouver Aquarium. Gastown, the city's oldest neighborhood, has been reincarnated as a fashionable enclave where cobbled streets now wind past thriving restaurants and nightspots. Vancouver's dining scene is stellar and offerings are diverse, mirroring the city's rich ethnic variety, including a sizeable Chinese population. Robson Square is a trendy shopping and business district. Granville Island's large public market makes for pleasant morning meandering. Just two hours away, Whistler is a world-renowned snow sports destination, which hosted most of the ski events during the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

- Andrew Harper

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The stylish South Granville neighborhood is home to this congenial and sophisticated restaurant. Inventive starters might include lobster gnocchi — butter-poached lobster, potato gnocchi and a thyme emulsion. Look for main courses such as beef tenderloin with a potato pavé, cherry tomato salad and a blue cheese emulsion. The wine list is exceptional, and the knowledgeable staff is happy to make by-the-glass recommendations.

2881 Granville Street Vancouver US$75. Eight-course “Sea” tasting menu, $90; eight-course “Land” tasting menu, $95

This welcoming restaurant is located in a converted warehouse in the lively Yaletown neighborhood. Chef Frank Pabst is known for his skill with seafood. A great way to start is to choose from the raw bar or to opt for one of the “first” plates, such as Gulf Island swimming scallops with tomato-caper relish, lemon butter and thyme. Entrées might include sablefish in a miso-sake glaze with baby bok choy, edamame, quinoa and shiitake mushrooms; or Arctic char with braised leeks, fennel, wakame seaweed, Dungeness crab, vermouth and trout caviar. The wine list has an impressive selection from British Columbia.

1095 Hamilton Street Vancouver US$65

Chef David Hawksworth’s showcase moves from strength to strength. Four distinct but interconnected rooms help to create a visually compelling and sophisticated interior. The seasonal menu could include appetizers such as hamachi sashimi with passion fruit, jalapeño, coconut and white soy. Main courses might be charred beef sirloin with braised short rib, marrow-apple purée, morels and fava beans; or slow-cooked wild salmon with guanciale, salt-roasted beets and an escabeche broth.

801 West Georgia Street Vancouver US$70. Seasonal tasting menu, US$98

Since 1985, when John Bishop opened this charming restaurant, his focus has been on creating a menu that uses the best the area has to offer — a concept that was then way ahead of its time. The offerings change with the market, but look for starters such as Dungeness crab risotto with fennel, peas, poached quail egg and a crab bisque sauce; and main courses like assiette of beef with apple purée, carrots and a red wine sauce. Closed Mondays.

2183 West 4th Avenue Vancouver US$75

Chef Hidekazu Tojo’s big, open space has a display kitchen and a lively sushi bar. His sushi rolls put Tojo’s on the map and include the “Pacific Northwest Roll,” Dungeness crab, avocado and scallops topped with roe; and the “Tojo Roll,” his take on the California roll, with crab, spinach, egg and avocado. Expect main courses such as a wonderful preparation of halibut cheeks in a garlic-cream teriyaki sauce. Closed Sundays.

1133 West Broadway Vancouver US$65

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