Hip - Vancouver Restaurants

 

Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante (Downtown)

Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante (map, website, menu, 970 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-408-0808) offers Italian pizzas and pastas in a sophisticated and airy modern atmosphere. The candle-lit dining room with double-height ceiling and balcony is a popular spot for a gourmet pizza before or after a movie. It’s located right next to the Scotiabank Movie Theatre in downtown Vancouver (near Burrard and Smithe).

Formerly a pizza place called Lombardo’s (which still has a location on Commercial Drive near 1st ave), Pacifico continues Lombardo’s practice of serving pizzas with inventive and complementary ingredients. We tried the “Salmone” ($25 for large, pictured below), made with smoked salmon, capers, and red onion. A delightfully chewy crust was brushed with extra virgin olive oil, and topped with lots of cheese.

We also tried their desserts. The Mud Pie ($6.00, pictured below) was fairly run-of-the-mill (still frozen solid) but the restaurant’s house specialty Tiramisu ($7.00, also pictured below) was heavenly.

Some higher-end restaurants have picked up a trend of serving “deconstructed” Tiramisu – a mix of mascarpone cheese, custard, coffee, and some liquor in a cocktail glass, with maybe a few biscuits hidden at the bottom. This mode of presentation may be satisfying in a different way from a slice of cake on a plate – consuming the cocktail glass version is sans fuss and trendy too.

Irashai Grill, an Asian fusion restaurant in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour, serves their Tiramisu in a sleek porcelain tray, dusted with a dangerously thick layer of powdered chocolate. Both Irashai’s and Pacifico’s realizations of Tiramisu are worthy of a sweet discovery!

Large smoked salmon pizza ($25) from Pacifico Pizzeria Restorante, a great pizza restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Large smoked salmon pizza ($25) from Pacifico Pizzeria Restorante, a great pizza restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Mud Pie dessert ($6.00) from Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Mud Pie dessert ($6.00) from Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Tiramisu dessert ($7.00) from Pacifico Pizza Restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Tiramisu dessert ($7.00) from Pacifico Pizza Restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Pacifico Pizzeria Ristorante on Urbanspoon

15,785 views - Posted Saturday, October 17th, 2009

 

Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro (Denman)

Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro (web site, map, 735 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-685-9399) is yet another excellent Japanese Izakaya (tapas) restaurant in Vancouver; this one is run by the same family who previously operated the superb (but now closed) Shiru Bay Chopstick Cafe in Yaletown.

At Toratatsu the Uno family has created a space that looks like a cozy New York bistro, but with a definite Japanese vibe that they say “would fit downtown Tokyo perfectly.” Chef Kodai Uno, 26, trained at the Pacific Institute of Culinary arts and at French restaurant L’Emotion, and is the youngest in a family of professional chefs. He brings a great deal of creativity and skill to his kitchen, crafting modern Japanese tapas with a fusion twist.

itadakimasu, a reviewer on DineHere.ca writes (click here to read review):

I was getting a little tired of Gyoza King and Hapa (which I both still like) so had to try this place. The decor is cool and comfy. The service friendly (always smiling) and the food was great! familiar dishes like Agedashi Tofu but with a twist (yama imo potato on top with tasty sauce). We also had the daikon salad (those are little fish sprinkled on top) which was so good, had to order a second.

My friends and I were quite hungry so we sampled a lot of delicious dishes (some pictured below).

For an order of chef’s special sashimi ($15.80) we chose the saba (mackerel), scallops, and salmon. The mackerel and scallops were seared with a blow torch right at our table, which made for quite the fiery entertainment!

The crab avocado salad ($8.80) was delicate and light, combining two of my favorite ingredients in a most favorable way.

The Ebi Chili Mayo ($8.00, deep fried prawn with Japanese mayonnaise and hot chili sauces) was gigantic and disappeared in a flash.

The Cheese Tofu ($6.80) looked like a fancy dessert cheese with strawberries, slivered almonds, and a sweet glaze, but tasted like a combination of custard, tofu, and a soft brie cheese. We also tried the Ishiyaki Risotto ($8.30) which was a nice sticky rice mixed with some succulent seafood.

My friends also ordered the Smoke Kissed Duck ($8.80), the Tarako Kimchi Udon ($7.80), and the Sashimi salad ($8.80), which looked amazing but I didn’t get a chance to try them. Hopefully next time!

Sashimi Salad from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in downtown Vancouver ($8.80)

Sashimi Salad from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in downtown Vancouver ($8.80)

Crab Avocado salad ($8.80) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas restaurant in the West End of Vancouver (Denman).

Crab Avocado salad ($8.80) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas restaurant in the West End of Vancouver (Denman).

Chefs special Sashimi ($15.80) from Toratatsu in Vancouver (being seared with a blow torch!)

Chef's special Sashimi ($15.80) from Toratatsu in Vancouver (being seared with a blow torch!)

Another shot of the Chefs special sashimi from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver.

Another shot of the Chef's special sashimi from Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver.

Smoke kissed duck ($8.80) from Toratatsu on Denman Street in Vancouver.

Smoke kissed duck ($8.80) from Toratatsu on Denman Street in Vancouver.

Ebi Chili Mayo (deep fried prawn, $8.00) - wonderful!! from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro in Vancouver

Ebi Chili Mayo (deep fried prawn, $8.00) - wonderful!! from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas Bistro in Vancouver

Ishiyaki Seafood Risotto ($8.30) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas in Vancouver.

Ishiyaki Seafood Risotto ($8.30) from Toratatsu Japanese Tapas in Vancouver.

Cheese Tofu ($6.80, a nice sweet dessert or appetizer) - with strawberries and slivered almonds. From Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver BC Canada.

Cheese Tofu ($6.80, a nice sweet dessert or appetizer) - with strawberries and slivered almonds. From Toratatsu Japanese restaurant in Vancouver BC Canada.

Toratatsu on Urbanspoon

12,859 views - Posted Thursday, May 7th, 2009

 

Cassis Bistro (Downtown, French)

I made a visit to Cassis Bistro (map, web site, visitor reviews, 420 West Pender St. Vancouver, BC, Canada, phone: 604-605-0420) and was really impressed. Cassis Bistro is a French tapas bistro hidden away in a somewhat seedier area of downtown Vancouver on the edge of Gastown (about two blocks from the Granville Skytrain station).

Ron Brill of Martiniboys (click here to read review) writes of “…elegantly simple, modern tapas fare…alluring French flavours…” and I concur. Cassis Bistro is definitely deserving of the positive buzz it has been getting recently.

Pictured below are some of the items we ordered. First was the complimentary amuse bouche, which was olives and antipasto served with French bread. The olives and antipasto were served in an interesting narrow tray and whetted the appetite perfectly. For an appetizer, we ordered a crepe with Brie cheese (around $10), which tasted great. Looking at the photo brings back fond memories! For the main course I ordered the Duck a l’Orange ($17.50). The menu describes this item as:

Duck and oranges: a combination popular in many countries. This dish consists of Muscovy duck braised with oranges.

Let me say, the Duck a l’Orange was fantastic (or should I say merveilleux “en Francais”). I am a huge fan of orange juice and oranges in general, and duck is always a special treat for me since I don’t cook it at home. So this was a match made in heaven.

We also ordered a side dish of some vegetables: beets and zucchini (also pictured below, around $5). This went very well with a side of bechamel sauce.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Amuse bouche (olives and antipasto) with French bread at Cassis Bistro in downtown Vancouver.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Crepe with Brie Cheese from Cassis French Bistro restaurant in Downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a lorange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Duck a l'orange (Duck and Oranges), $17.50 from Cassis Bistro, a French restaurant in downtown Vancouver BC Canada.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Side order of market fresh vegetables from Cassis Bistro in Vancouver (beets and zucchini) - around $5.00.

Cassis on Urbanspoon

10,687 views - Posted Thursday, March 19th, 2009