1193 Denman Street
T: 604 685 7337
Brief Description: Raincity Grill is one of Vancouver’s first restaurants to really embrace using local produce and has since helped shape what is now known as Pacific Northwest cuisine. A great location and professional staff make it a safe bet.
Denman Street doesn’t always fill me with optimism of a positive dining-out experience so I was particularly bummed when always-evading Nook turned out to be closed on Saturdays for lunch. I can never seem to get the hours for this place right! So, B, my sis and I were standing out the front of Nook unsure of what our back-up plan should be. I was racking my brain, running through my mental foodie rolodex but I still couldn’t come up with much. B didn’t feel like Kintaro Ramen (one of my Denman favourites) and we didn’t really want to go back to Don Guacamole’s after our previous experience. Suddenly I was hit with a great idea – Raincity Grill! I always overlook the fact that it is actually a diamond in the rough on the end of Denman that is crammed with kebab shops, burger joints, Starbucks and a lone Milestones. With our tummies already rumbling, we hastily made our way there and were greeted at the door by a friendly hostess who sat us immediately by the window, in the sun. By the way, that wasn’t a typo there really was sun!
The restaurant has a wonderful location, situated in the heart of English Bay and as a result, some of the tables have a view over the Bay. There is also a patio which would be worth clawing your way onto on a beautiful summers day. Inside, the decor is looking like it could use a touch-up however the restaurant is still tastefully decorated. I would describe the decor as mature – meaning that it isn’t trying to be overly modern or design focused. White table clothes, even at brunch, add an elegant touch.
Service is professional and polite. On our most recent visit, our server saw that we were snapping pictures and proudly brought over the restaurants own cook book to show us some of the artful pictures of their food. I thought that was a nice touch.
The thing that really sticks in my mind about Raincity Grill is how they are one of the local pioneers for Pacific Northwest cuisine. The menu screams loud and proud of ingredients and produce sourced from the Pacific Northwest. Having not yet eaten dinner at Raincity Grill, I was surprised when I went online and saw how large (and appealing) their menu is. There is something for everyone on the menu. Poultry, game and organic vegetables are all on offer but seafood lovers will be particularly well satiated. Sardines, scallops, tuna, halibut and salmon are all featured on the dinner menu. However, not to be outdone by the sea, the land is represented by bison sirloin, rabbit, cornish game hen, beef ribeye and slow roasted lamb. Dinner prices are a little on the high side, with main courses priced from $26 and up.
The brunch menu is vast and is equally divided between the very breakfast-y or the very lunch-y. Breakfast-y choices include Dungeness crab and herb Benedict, Smoked Salmon on Brioche or a Sausage Omelette. Lunch choices include the more substantial Halibut and Chips, Slow Roasted Northern B.C. Lamb and a Seared Rare Albacore Tuna Sandwich.
We were each offered a complimentary Butter Crossiant and Apple and Cinnamon Hot Drink to start our brunch. The crossiant was delightfully buttery and melted in the mouth.
I thoroughly enjoyed my simple but extremely tasty linguine with wild mushrooms. The presentation was especially interesting. It was almost as though it was deconstructed and I had to combine the ingredients together. The mushrooms were deliciously meaty and varied, and the cheese added a deep flavour. Overall, I was impressed. And it was only $13!
My sister had the English Bay Breakfast which is quite a traditional breakfast of pork sausage, smoked bacon, fried eggs, potatoes and finished with toasted sourdough. The menu said that it came with tomatoes and mushrooms, which she didn’t get but the potatoes were so flavourful that they well and truly made up for the misplaced tomatoes and mushies. At $16 it is a little pricier than most places for a fry-up but often pork sausages and potatoes are not included.
In traditional B-style, he ordered (and devoured) the Braised Peace River Lamb Sandwich, which was full of fall-apart lamb, grilled onions, romaine lettuce and anchovy vinaigrette. He loved it, of course. The fries were also particularly good.
Final Thoughts: Overall, I found the quality of the food very good for brunch. I’d definitely return for brunch again and I’d also be interested in going for dinner one night or grabbing some of their Halibut and Chips to go on a warm summers day.