Try these ‘bang for your buck’ Vancouver restaurants that have earned Michelin recognition as ‘Bib Gourmand’ picks
Tasting menus, wine pairings and scrambling months in advance for coveted reservations at fancy restaurants may not be what Vancouver locals and visitors are hungry for.
Even as the vaunted Michelin guide just offered its inaugural ratings for Vancouver — the second Canadian city on its list — and selected eight restaurants deserving of a single star, the publication (yes, from the tire manufacturer) also got down to business. highlighting places to eat that reflect huge bang for your buck.
What is a Michelin Guide “Bib Gourmand” restaurant?
“Restaurants recommended in Michelin guides are not just about expensive ‘good food,'” the publication explains. “Since 1997, our restaurants with the best price/performance ratio – offering a three-course meal at a reasonable price – have been awarded a special award: Bib Gourmand.” The price varies from country to country, but for Canada, the cap has been set at two-course meals plus wine or dessert under $60.
“Our teams of inspectors really enjoyed their culinary experiences in Vancouver,” said Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the Michelin Guides, in a media release regarding the award announcement on October 27.
That “dynamism” is certainly reflected in the list of “Bib Gourmand” honors, which includes everything from a seasonal shipping container bar and back alley patio serving up regional Mexican cuisine (that’s Chupito) to an all-vegetarian upstart in upscale Yaletown (Nightshade ) to one of the most enduring Cambodian-Vietnamese staples in Vancouver (Phnom Penh).
If a reservation at any or all of Vancouver’s eight one-star restaurants isn’t in your budget, check out Vancouver’s 12 Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand spots.
Bib Gourmand Restaurant, Vancouver 2022
Anh and Chi
Amélie and Vincent Nguyễn built Anh and Chi with the idea of passing on their family recipes and traditions to the next generation, creating a gathering place where everyone is welcome at the table. Their parents operated Pho Hoang at the same location (3388 Main St) for over 30 years. Although their father Hoang passed away in 2010, their mother Ly still has a lot of responsibility for the food at Anh and Chi. “The menu is a love letter to Vietnam,” says the Michelin guide. “Chạo tôm bánh hội is prepared in the classic way, with a grilled prawn mousse served with a variety of fresh herbs and of course pho.”
Launched in summer 2021, Chupito is a seasonal terrace bar just down the alley behind La Taqueria on Hastings Street. Chupito, a small container ship bar, produces a fresh range of cocktails inspired by the sights, sounds and most importantly the flavors of Mexico, to be enjoyed under the sky (or umbrellas) on an evening city escape to a distant seashore. south of the border. “Come for the cocktail and the aguachile, but stay for the other winning dishes, like red pozole bouncing with carnitas and plump hominy,” urges the Michelin guide. This is the one Bib Gourmand spot where you’ll need to stick a pin for warmer weather; Chupito ended the 2022 season.
Fairy tale kitchen
Fable Kitchen is a bit of a dark horse on the list; it’s the third-oldest venue in Vancouver’s inaugural Bib Gourmand selection, having opened ten years ago in Kits s Canada’s Best Chef contestant Trevor Bird by the stove. Not long ago, Bird left the business and the life of a chef in general, and currently heads the kitchen at Fable Max Straczek, who not only helped open Poland’s first Michelin-starred restaurant, but also worked in many roles. in Fable and its sibling the Fable Diner. “During daytime hours, the team makes Dutch eggs Benedict (and variations), Johnny cakes with pulled pork and tomato marmalade, and thick-cut challah French toast with caramelized apples and whipped mascarpone,” praises the Michelin Guide, adding that Diner also offers a cozy and comforting farm to table food.
Fiorino is set to open in late 2021. Located in a former Chinatown pub-style restaurant, the modern Italian restaurant offers daily service—including aperitifs full of snacks and drinks, or happy hour—and a fun little patio. space in the front that puts you in the middle of the colorful district. Here, they serve approachable, thoughtful Italian dishes, including a few that feature ingredients and preparations you’re unlikely to find on the menu at other local Italian restaurants. “For lunch, focaccia and schiacciata sandwiches are hot, like the stuffed guanciale, drizzled with honey and spread with walnut crema. At dinner, it’s all about the pasta,” notes Michelin.
Song by Kin Kao
The sibling location to popular Commercial Drive restaurant Kin Kao opened just a year ago. Kin Kao Song’s Terrence Feng says diners can expect a different menu than the original Kin Kao on The Drive “with a strong emphasis on approachable yet uniquely Vancouver Thai food.” And Michelin says: “The Kin Kao Song ride is fueled by the creative spirit and generosity of the region. The lemongrass wings are a special surprise.” (Also: get the Pad Thai, it’s “best in class” here.)
Little Bird Dim Sum
Call them rebels against tradition—with some serious faith. Little Bird is a Kitsilano restaurant that serves dim sum on weekdays as well as all day and into the night on weekends. They pair it with craft beer and even do vegan dim sum. By the way, the aptly named Little Bird is a descendant of Vancouver’s veteran Chinese restaurant Flamingo. “Of course, the dumplings are a must, and Little Bird’s ranges from the traditional (ha gow) to the surprising, with sweet corn, cilantro and shrimp,” points out the Michelin Guide.
“Like a grandmother preparing a feast for her family, chef Nguyen Thi Thanh radiates a warm, loving presence as she looks out over her bustling dining room,” the Michelin guide begins. The modern Vietnamese food business really has deep roots with a humble food stall in Vietnam made famous by a celebrity chef and travelogue. Here you’ll find deeply flavored bowls of noodle soup (go for the slow-simmered duck soup on Sundays), luc lac steak and crispy salted chilli prawns.
Yaletown’s Nightshade has impressive roots, growing up one province in Alberta; this debut Vancouver effort is from the same folks behind acclaimed vegetarian spots The Coup and The Dandelion in Calgary and Nourish in Banff. The inaugural menu was designed by acclaimed chef Chanthy Yen, who trained in Vancouver and has spent time in kitchens across the country and the world. “Diners will discover a full list of well-crafted cocktails, local beers and a respectable wine list, along with a menu that roams the globe,” notes Michelin. On your way to eat, you can tear off pieces of fenugreek and garam masala-filled roti and scoop up a creamy spread that combines raita with vegan butter and golden balls of roasted garlic, then drizzle palm sugar sauce on a crispy fried taro roll paired with fresh basil, mint and butter salad.
The restaurant is the brainchild of a pair who are both long-time friends and restaurant vets in Vancouver, including from acclaimed Italian spot La Quercia. Oca Pastificio bills itself as “a cozy, no-chichi place that serves honest, fresh, handmade pasta based on local and seasonal ingredients.” Of this little spot on The Drive, Michelin says, “this simple pastificio invites diners to pull up a chair and sample authentic, well-prepared pasta. The tagliatelle with rabbit ragu braised in wine and rosemary is particularly satisfying.”
What hasn’t been said about this modest – but very popular Chinatown restaurant serving Cambodian-Vietnamese dishes – since it opened in the early 1980s? It is also the oldest restaurant on the Bib GOumand list. The tables are tightly packed, the din is non-stop, but the dishes are massive and permanent draws. “The menu is extensive, offering almost 100 rices, noodles and soups, but everyone knows to stick to the classics. You can make a meal of #71, thin slices of almost raw beef dipped in a spicy puree mixture.” pineapple and fish sauce,” praises the Michelin Guide.
Food at Say Mercy! reflects the harmonious fusion of Italian cuisine and American barbecue with pastas, entrees, salads and some deliciously buttery Parker House rolls served in their bright, cozy dining room. “Don’t even think about skipping the BBQ Bolo – it’s non-negotiable. Short for ‘bolognese,’ it’s a signature dish of homemade spaghetti with pancetta, smoked pork butt and Grana Padana,” the Michelin guide gushes. (We agree!)
Founded by ex-husbands Vikram Vij and Meera Dhalwala, a veteran Indian restaurant in Vancouver has changed locations, started taking reservations and is even doing takeout (the latter two were unheard of before the pandemic). “When it opened in 1994, this local staple was North America’s premier Indian culinary art and continues to be a compelling testament to the subcontinent’s gastronomic wealth,” says the Michelin Guide. And yes: Always order the “lamb popsicles” (don’t worry, they’re not frozen).
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