29 Apr

2881 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC
V6H 3J4

T: 604 738 8938

Brief Description: One of the gems of the Vancouver restaurant crown. West is where local West Coast ingredients meet fine dining. Prices are high but for the service and the quality, it is not unjustified.

I love meeting other foodies. It is so refreshing to find that I am not the only person out there that lives and breathes for food. During a work lunch with some of the women from my office, I discovered that there were two other passionate foodies in the group. An immediate foodie bond was formed and it was decided that we would have to go out for another meal together. The destination? West!! (All photo credits go to Vancity Allie).

For those that read my 2010 Wish List post, you may remember that West has been on my list for quite some time. B and I have almost gone many times but something has always held us up (too many restaurants, too little time!) so when West was chosen as the destination, I became very excited. Not only would I be able to appreciate one of Vancouver’s most revered restaurants but I’d finally get to check it off the list!

West is actually very well concealed amongst all the ritzy stores that line South Granville. You could quite easily stroll past and not notice the unassuming door and “West” sign. Inside, the décor is very elegant and classic in style. Think crisp white table linens, warm wood furniture and a wall-to-wall wine rack. The dining room was quite a bit smaller than I had anticipated but that wasn’t a bad thing. In fact, it gave the room a more intimate feel. From the door greeter, to the bartender, to the waiter, the service providers were all extremely professional and friendly and they were what I would classify as “career service providers”. They took their roles seriously and were intent on providing us with a great dining experience. They effortlessly floated from the kitchen, plates in hand, and  descended on the dining room to deliver their bounties. In summary, the service was flawless.

West prides itself on offering contemporary, regional cuisine made from local ingredients. The menu changes with the season so you will always find West Coast influenced dishes that represent what is currently being grown on the land, or swimming in the sea, or grazing in the fields. To get an idea of the type of food that you can expect, some of the dishes that are making up the current spring menu are the Queen Charlotte Halibut with a Read Island Clam Chowder, accompanied by braised gem lettuce and cauliflower florets and puree, as well as a Peace River Lamb Loin, with natural jus and sweet pepper puree, red quinoa and wilted Freisen farm greens. For the main dinner courses, most meals are priced at over $30, so it’s definitely not going to be a cheap visit but I think that West is the kind of place that you reserve for a special occasion or to splurge. Truthfully, the food is a little more ostentatious than what I prefer. I’m not someone who is overly impressed by food that looks like an art piece. Of course, I appreciate the amount of work that goes into making the dishes just right, but, to me, it is unnecessary. A good looking plate is essential but taste is of the utmost importance.

Our visit to West was a lunch visit and so the restaurant was steady but not crazy busy. That meant that we were able to score the highly sought after “Chef’s Table”, where we could watch all of the action taking place in the kitchen. With all the gawking that we were doing we looked like a pack of groupies! Our meal started off with delicious exotic cocktails. I happily slurped on my Blood Orange Fizz, which was sweet and tangy and extremely easy to drink. Complimentary home-made bread and organic butter and olive oil were offered as tasters before we moved on to sharing the Qualicum Bay Scallops.

The perfectly golden scallops were served a top a tower of tender fingerling potatoes and alongside a colourful swirl of parsley puree and a delicately soft poached quail egg. Visually, the dish was stunning. Taste-wise it was incredibly delicate and all of the flavours worked well to complement each other.

With the recommendation of one of my co-diners Allie, who is a West enthusiast, I ordered the mushroom risotto, which wasn’t on the new lunch menu but they cooked it up for us anyway. I’m glad that I trusted in Allie as the risotto was delightful in its simplicity. The rice still had a slight bite to it but not too much and I could taste just a dash of truffle oil. Overall, risotto isn’t one of the fanciest dishes on their menu but it certainly kept me happy. One of our other diners ordered the Hecate Strait Ling Cod, served with caramelized onion puree, asparagus and finished with a mild madras curry sauce. Again, visually it was gorgeous but I didn’t try it so I can’t vouch for taste.

We passed on dessert and, to be honest, most of it was a bit too elaborate for me. When it comes to dessert, I am a simple gal. Even though we didn’t order, we were given lovely bite-sized servings of chocolate truffle and a rhubarb vanilla cookie dessert, which were more than enough to satisfy my sweet tooth. All up, the lunch cost us $50 each, including tax and tip. Obviously, that is a bit much for lunch but I think it was worth it for the experience.

Final Thoughts: I had a great visit to West. I was impressed and it is easy to see why it is one of the most well-regarded restaurants in Vancouver. Personally, it was a little too showy for me but I appreciate that there are people that feel at home in that kind of environment. I’m just not one of them. I would, however, definitely return for a special occasion.

West Restaurant on Urbanspoon


3 Responses to “West”

  1. VancityAllie April 29, 2010 at 6:36 pm #

    Great review Amy! To be honest, I don’t think I could ever return to West (unless it’s for drinks because David W is awesome) while they have their temporary chef. I found the food was not prepared with the same precision and technique that I have been going there for many years now.

    I was SO disappointed by the risotto compared to Warren’s recipe. Ahhhhhh. My heart breaks that I no longer have a “go to” restaurant.

    Still, I am glad you enjoyed it and I’ve realized I’ve become a huge food snob 😦


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    […] a very popular Whistler restaurant and a sister restaurant to Vancouver’s West, CinCin and Blue Water Cafe. The spacious dining room is classically simple with terracotta tiles, […]

  2. Dine Out Vancouver 2011 « The Culinary Adventures of a Greedy Guts - January 6, 2011

    […] sometimes the quality of the food can be disappointing), B and I just made our reservation for West. I figure $38 for a 3 course meal at one of Vancouver’s best restaurants is money […]

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