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My “Best Mid-Priced” Restaurant List

2 Dec

This year’s Georgia Straight’s Golden Plate awards results got my ire up, although that is nothing new. Almost every year I’m left grumbling and ranting about the winners in at least a handful of the categories (and for the record, yes I vote). For those unfamiliar with the awards they are the result of an online survey by a free local newspaper called the “Georgia Straight”. Every year they ask readers to vote on the city’s best options in a range of categories, such as “Best Italian” or “Best Fine Dining Restaurant”. I take these results with a grain of salt as I don’t always think the “best” wins. I was particularly disappointed with this year’s results of the “Best Mid-Price Restaurant” category.

Foodies all over the city must have shed a tear when the three winners of this category were ALL chain restaurants. It’s nothing against chain restaurants but with such a large amount of incredible independent mid-range restaurants in our city, how are there no independents on this list?

I had a thought that perhaps there are readers that are uncertain of what other options there are for mid-price restaurants in Vancouver. That’s cool – I get it. Firstly, let me start by saying that I know it can be scary to try new restaurants. There are so many minefields to deal with; Will I like the menu? Is this place too posh/too hipster/too serious for me? What if I don’t understand what some of the ingredients are? What if I waste my money on a dish I don’t like? I know there is a lot to contend with when trying a new place which is why I want to help.

I’ve eaten at quite a few (some might say too many) restaurants in this city; some fancy, some less fancy, and so I’ve done a lot of the dirty, and expensive, work for you. And I’d like to share my favourite “best mid-priced restaurants” with you. I classify mid-priced restaurants as those with mains for between $15 to $25 (the same cost as a main at a Cactus Club).

Nook (West End)

Nook fills the West End void of affordable and unpretentious Italian food. Think generous portions of scrumptious pizza and pasta for under $15. A casual, but intimate restaurant. Great value for money. One my favourite restaurants in the city.

Nook’s Rigatoni Boscaiola

p1040264 Nook’s Burrata and Proscuitto Plate

Maenam (Kitsilano)

A popular Kitsilano-based restaurant that offers well-executed, modern Thai food. Maenam is friendly on the wallet, without sacrificing quality or ambiance. Menu items include traditional Thai dishes such as pad Thai, curries, hot and sour soups, as well as innovative cocktails.

Maenam’s Pad Thai

Jules Bistro (Gastown)

A quintessential French bistro in the heart of Gastown, serving up traditional French fare, such as duck confit, moules frites, and escargots. The bistro interior is painfully cute, with rustic brick walls, a black and white tiled floor, and dimly lit chandeliers. It is a definite date-spot that will win you big points.

Jules Bistro’s Duck Confit, Frisee Salad with Bacon and Roasted Pine nuts

La Quercia (Kitsilano/Point Grey)

A small, intimate neighbourhood restaurant located on the corner of Alma and West 4th, La Quercia offers exceptional Italian food and wine at reasonable prices. The 7 course alla famiglia (a chef’s menu that everyone at the table shares) for $45 is great value for money, however, dishes can be individually ordered at a cheaper cost. Book well ahead.

Lamb Ragu Gnocchi from La Quercia

Bao Bei (Chinatown)

A funky, Chinatown-based restaurant offering non-traditional Chinese fare in tapas style. Bao Bei appeals to those who aren’t necessarily looking for an authentic Chinese experience but more of a modern, up-market version of that experience. Really cool interior, interesting cocktails. The food is a modern, almost fusion, take on some old dishes. It is also tapas-style so they do encourage you to order a number of dishes and share them with your table.

Shao Bing from Bao Bei

The Acorn (Main Street)

A recent newcomer to the Vancouver food scene, The Acorn is a completely vegetarian restaurant that comes to us from Brian Skinner, a chef who has done a 6 month stint at world-famous noma. Food is seasonal and excellent, in taste and in presentation. The atmosphere is casual and inviting. Note that reservations aren’t accepted and this place is busy!

Beer Battered Halloumi, served on Zucchini Pancakes, Smashed Peas, and Yogurt from The Acorn

The Acorn’s Walnut & Portobello Pate, served with pickled shimeji mushrooms and juniper crisps.

Campagnolo (Main Street)

A casual, rustic restaurant that focuses on affordable seasonal cuisine from the Piedmont and Emigila-Romagna regions of Italy. Comfortably understated and simple, the menu is unpretentious and tries to remain loyal to its well-researched Northern Italian roots with a strong focus on pastas, pizzas, and characuterie plates. You may, however, need to ask your server for an explanation of some of the dishes as the menu can be slightly difficult to understand.

Pork ragu tagliatelle from Campagnolo

Kingyo (West End)

If Japanese is more your flavour but you are looking for something a little more special than a cheap sushi restaurant, then pop into Kingyo in the West End. There are sushi options, noodles and rice dishes, and plenty of seafood. The atmosphere is less “crazy, loud izakaya house” (Guu), more casual restaurant feel. Back in the day, the interior was quite impressive but the last time I was in, I couldn’t help feel it needed a bit of a re-vamp.

Rodney’s Oyster House (Yaletown)

I’m putting Rodney’s on the list, but with the caveat to be mindful of the price of dishes. The smaller plates, like the heavenly Scallop Galette are about $15 (from memory) but add on a round of oysters and a few drinks and the bill increases quite quickly. Rodney’s is a fun place to indulge in delicious, fresh seafood, such as fresh oysters, chowder, and steamed mussels.

Scallop Galette from Rodney’s

So there you have it, my list of favourite mid-priced restaurants. Between these, the high-end restaurants, and more affordable dining options, we really do have it covered here in Vancouver. Let’s get out there and support our independent restaurants!


My favourite pizza spots in Vancouver

1 Nov

It has been almost six years since I moved to Vancouver and, in that time, one of the biggest changes in the food scene that I’ve noticed is with the city’s pizza options. When I moved here, the pizza offerings were Megabite, Panago, Dominos, and Pizza Hut. Yes, they all still exist, but thankfully we have seen an introduction of, dare I say, far superior pizza offerings. Don’t get me wrong, after copious amounts of booze and hours of throat-destroying karaoke, a slice of Megabite pizza will hit the spot. But if you are looking for a place were you will actually sit down and enjoy your pizza, slice after slice, and anticipate returning, then I have a list for you!

Pizzeria Farina
915 Main Street,
Strathcona, Vancouver

This blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pizzeria, located at Main Street and Prior Street, serves up Neapolitan-style pizza, without pomp and circumstance. They only make a certain amount of dough for the day and when it’s done, it’s done. Pizza, and the occasional fresh loaf of bread, are all that are available and that is enough. Make sure to get there early as they are usually sold out by about 9pm. Because of the relaxed atmosphere and the perfect-every-time pizza, I am going to declare Pizzeria Farina as my favourite pizza restaurant in the city. Yeah, I said it.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria
62 East Cordova Street
Gastown, Vancouver

Nicli is Gastown’s upscale Neapolitan pizza restaurant. Exposed brick meets gleaming, crisp white features, such as the floor-to-ceiling oven, to create a stylish and modern restaurant. The menu is mostly pizza (duh!) but the pizza is complimented by a few salads and antipasti. My one complaint? It can be very difficult to cut your own pizza on their slippery plates/tables. I highly recommend Nicli but be prepared to wait; this place is popular, particularly on weekends.

Pizzeria Barbarella
654 East Broadway
Mt. Pleasant/Main Street, Vancouver

Pizzeria Barbarella’s pizzas are delicious and their menu has quite a lot of variety in regards to toppings (for example, the funghi is finished with white truffle oil – yum!). They also have a few salads and some antipasti, if you’d prefer some veggies on the side of your pizza. With such a big, almost bare-bones space, the ambiance is slightly lacking so they could make some improvements there, but they are definitely filling a void in an area with limited good food options.

Via Tevere
1190 Victoria Drive
Commercial Drive/Grandview area, Vancouver

Via Tevere arrived on the scene with quite a bang and it has certainly proven itself to be very popular, with rumours of hour-long waits at the door. It comes as no surprise that when you are serving up delicious, slightly charred, Neapolitan pizza, people will line-up. The menu also offers a daily pasta special, a few salads, and some antipasti. Via Tevere has a friendly, relaxed neighborhood vibe going on.

781 Denman Street
West End, Vancouver

I’ve made it no secret that Nook is one of my favourite restaurants in the city. The ambiance, the menu, the food quality, the service – it all just works at Nook. Unlike the other pizzas on my list, Nook’s pizza is not Neapolitan but I think that is part of the reason why I like it. Yes, I love the flame-licked base of a Neapolitan pizza that has few toppings and is delicious in its minimalist approach, but Nook’s thicker crust and heavy toppings are still wonderful in a different way. As an added bonus, Nook offers many other dishes, including crostini, pasta, salads, and antipasti. My only complaint about my beloved Nook is that it can be difficult to secure a table for four people or more.

Other notable restaurants where I’ve eaten decent pizza:

Campagnolo – Strathcona

Verace Pizzeria – Chinatown

Novo Pizzeria – Kitsilano

My Gastown Favourites

26 Jun

In an effort to make good places easier to find for those who aren’t overly familiar with the dining scene in Vancouver, I am aiming to make a list of places that I recommend in each area of the city. My aim is to provide readers with a list of tried and true restaurants in different price brackets so that most of the guess-work is done. Here are my price definitions:

High End: Prices in this category are typically above $25 per main course. These are higher-end places so a bit of effort with dress is required, reservations are likely, and these restaurants can be relied on for a special occasion or to impress a date or family members. A little hoity-toity but not in a you-aren’t-good-enough-to-be-here kinda place.

Mid Range: Prices in this category are generally around the $15 to $20 mark for main courses. The atmosphere is welcoming and slightly more formal than the lower-end places so you could likely still get away with jeans, but not your Lululemons. Perfect for situations where you want a comfortable setting, like date-night, catch up with the girls, or just a good meal at a decent price.

Affordable: Prices in this category are around $10 to $15 for a main course. Not always a restaurant but can be as simple as a coffee shop, or a pop-up donut shop. The atmosphere is usually more laid-back so there really isn’t a dress standard. Perfect for weekends, affordable alternative to cooking,

Gastown is easily my favourite area of town to eat out in so gathering my list of favourite food destinations for this area wasn’t difficult. What will be difficult is keeping this list current. Gastown is constantly evolving and adding new bars, restaurants and coffee shops. It can be hard to keep up! You can be assured that Gastown has something for everyone, and every price range.

High End Choices in Gastown:

L’Abattoir: A chic, semi-formal restaurant that dishes up French-inspired West Coast cuisine. The food is well-executed, the space is elegant, and the crafted cocktails are exceptional. Bring the credit card!

Boneless quail and crispy chicken sausage roll – L’Abattoir

Loin of Rabbit – L’Abattoir

Pourhouse: This restaurant-meets-bar packs a punch with quality food and strong, well-mixed drinks served up with a generous portion of charming ambience. Some people go for the drinks, others for the food. Prices are considerably higher than they used to be which is why I have it in the high-end choice. It gets loud on the weekends so not a great choice for a special occasion or romantic dinner.

Mid Range Choices in Gastown:

Nicli Antica Pizzeria: This popular pizzeria brings Vancouverites authentic Neapolitan pizza in a modern, stylish space. Prices aren’t cheap for pizza ($12 to $20) but they are delicious. Great for date night or a girl’s night as it isn’t too formal, yet is slightly more upmarket than other places. It gets busy so plan ahead.

Pizza – Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Salt Tasting Room: If you like charcuterie plates and wine, then Salt is made for you! Salt allows diners to assemble their own charcuterie plate from a menu of artisanal cheeses, cured specialty meats, and condiments, such as honey or olives. The helpful staff will offer food and wine pairing suggestions based on your preferences. The space is stylish and rustic. Prices for the tasting plates are under $20, making Salt a perfect choice for an affordable informal gathering, or a few after-work drinks.

Affordable Choices in Gastown:

The Sardine Can: A small, intimate Gastown bar that offers affordable small plates of familiar Spanish tapas. Prices start at $5, with no dish currently priced over $10. Also sells Spanish beers and wines.

Selection of dishes from The Sardine Can

Nelson the Seagull:A charming no-frills café that offers simple, honest food and some of the best coffee in Vancouver. Prices are exceptionally fair. A casual, welcoming spot for breakfast, lunch, or just a coffee.

Breakfast – Nelson The Seagull

Dirty Apron Deli: Dirty Apron is a cute deli that offers gourmet sandwiches, hot meals, and baked goods. The deli also acts as a small market for high-end cooking ingredients, equipment, and produce. The long table allows for communal seating during the lunch rush, or you can get to-go. They also cater.

Beef and Ale Stew – Dirty Apron Deli

Meat & Bread:This extremely popular sandwich shop offers tender roasted-meat sandwiches for under $10. The warm porchetta sandwich is what people line-up for. Plan ahead for this one as there is usually a line.

Porchetta Sandwich – Meat & Bread

Cartems Donuterie: From its small, downtown eastside location, this pop-up donuterie has made a big splash onto the Vancouver food scene. Cartems creates freshly made old-fashioned donuts in a variety of interesting flavours, such as Earl Grey, Maple Bacon Bourbon, and Carrot Cake. All donuts are $3 each.

Donuts – Cartems

Cadeaux Bakery: The Gastown baking experts, Cadeaux offers freshly baked flaky pastries, cookies, scones, brownies, and cakes. The pretty bakery also has limited seating. Prices are affordable considering the quality of the goods. Their peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, croissants, and lime coconut macaroons are favourites of mine.

Revolver:Revolver is a trendy, coffee-obsessed Gastown café. The funky café has some seating in its stylishly rustic belly but due to popularity, I generally have to get coffee to go. Prices are around $4 for espresso drinks.

Latte – Revolver

Nuba: This casual Lebanese restaurant caters to those looking for healthy, yet tasty, options at affordable prices. Lebanese dishes such as falafel, grilled meats, and salads are available and are delicious.

Falafel Plate – Nuba

Cheap Eats – Robson Street Area – Seymour to Beatty

4 Jun

There is no denying that living in Vancouver is rough on the wallet but the good news is that tasty food doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are plenty of impressive mid-range restaurants in the city that offer value for money (I’ll be doing a post on that topic soon). But what if you are after something cheaper than that? Say you’ve only got $10 but you don’t want to eat at the usual suspects (Tim Horton’s, A&W, etc). Well, thankfully, Vancouver has you covered. Yes, you have to search for the cheap eats, but they are there.

I work close to BC Place Stadium and have done so for more than two years so I can tell you that that area doesn’t exactly have a bustling food scene but that hasn’t stopped me looking. I’ve done my research and have come up with a list of cheap eats (mostly under $10) that can be found at the far end of Robson Street (from Seymour to Beatty).

Viet Sub
Where? 520 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
What to order? Bành mì sandwiches.

Viet Sub is a small, no-frills café that specializes in Vietnamese food. Service is fast and friendly. The attraction for me is the bành mì sandwiches. My favourite is the veggie sub – a warm, crispy baguette stuffed full of fried tofu, veggies, cilantro, and finished with a slightly spicy sriracha chilli sauce. The best part? The veggie sub is $4.20, including tax. I know – what a bargain!!

Veggie Sub from Viet Sub

Where? 530 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
What to order? A Japanese-style hot dog of course!

JAPADOG needs little introduction. A local success story, JAPADOG sells Japanese style hotdogs (think toppings of seaweed, Japanese mayo, grated daikon, bonito flakes). Favourites would depend on your tastes but I like the Terimayo and the Oroshi. They are a little more expensive than other hot dog stands but still well under the $10 mark.

Terimayo Dogs from JAPADOG

Dunn’s Famous BC
Where? 827 Seymour Street (at Robson), Vancouver, BC
What to order? The 6oz Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

Dunn’s is a Montreal smoked meat chain restaurant on Seymour Street. Personally, I hate the restaurant-chain-vibe they have going on (TVs, a cavernous room, large menus) but they still do a decent smoked meat sandwich. I order the regular 6oz smoked beef brisket sandwich to-go and for just $8.95 (including taxes) it’s a pretty good deal. You get a choice of lean, medium or fat meat.

Smoked Montreal Meat Sandwich from Dunn’s

Grounds for Appeal
Where? 845 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
What to order? Large servings of authentic Indian curry.

Hidden away in the lobby of the Law Society of BC it can be a little difficult to find but once you find the long, snaking line you’ll know you’ve found it. The people in the line are all waiting for the large servings of authentic meat and vegetable Indian curries. The butter chicken is the crowd pleaser and is only $7.95 for a large serving of curry, rice, and naan (which is more like a pita bread). Other curries include lamb, chicken, palak paneer, and lentil, to name but a few. Prices are even cheaper (about $5) if you order a half serving – often this is enough for me. The meat curries are slightly more expensive (around $8.95).

Butter Chicken from Grounds for Appeal

Fresh Sushi
Where? 909 Expo Boulevard, Vancouver, BC
What to order? The House roll and the Alaska roll are my favourites.

Fresh Sushi is a bit off the Robson map but still close enough and worth the slight detour. The name doesn’t lie – the sushi is truly fresh! I’ve been visiting Fresh about once a week for two years and have no complaints. The service is good and whilst this isn’t exactly a cheap eat (there are items on the menu over $10), I have included it because you can order a whole meal for under $10 depending on what you order.

Ramen Jinya
Where? 270 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
What to order? Personally, I prefer the chicken based ramen over the pork ramen.

If a bowling of steaming ramen is more what you are craving, then look no further than Ramen Jinya. Arguably, this is not the best ramen in town but it will suffice when Denman street is just too far away. What I like is that they offer variations of ramen, not just pork. That means those that prefer chicken (me) and even vegetarians are catered for. A bowl squeaks in just above the $10 mark (with taxes $10.02) so with tip it is slightly over our $10 budget. I tried.

Chicken Wonton Ramen from Ramen Jinya

Beard Papa’s
Where? 548 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC
What to order? I’m a big fan of simplicity, so I like the original cream puffs.

If you happen to have a toonie left over after you’ve bought your cheap eat and you are craving something sweet, drop into Beard Papa’s and get yourself a freshly made cream puff. So. Damn. Good.

Do you know of other good cheap eats in this area? Let me know if you have any other suggestions in this area!

My Kitsilano favourites

27 May

In an effort to make good places easier to find for those who aren’t overly familiar with the dining scene in Vancouver, I am aiming to make a list of places that I recommend in each area of the city. My aim is to provide readers with a list of tried and true restaurants in different price brackets so that most of the guess-work is done. Here are my price definitions:

High End: Prices in this category are typically above $25 per main course. These are higher-end places so a bit of effort with dress is required, reservations are likely, and these restaurants can be relied on for a special occasion or to impress a date or family members. A little hoity-toity but not in a you-aren’t-good-enough-to-be-here kinda place.

Mid Range: Prices in this category are generally around the $15 to $20 mark for main courses. The atmosphere is welcoming and slightly more formal than the lower-end places so you could likely still get away with jeans, but not your Lululemons. Perfect for situations where you want a comfortable setting, like date-night, catch up with the girls, or just a good meal at a decent price.

Affordable: Prices in this category are around $10 to $15 for a main course. The atmosphere is usually more laid-back so there really isn’t a dress standard. Perfect for weekends, affordable alternative to cooking,

I will start with an area of the city that I know well, Kitsilano, and I hope to soon have a similar list for other areas of the city. Note: obviously I haven’t eaten at every single place in Kits so this list will continue to change.

High End Choices in Kitsilano:

  • Bishop’s – A local high-end favourite, Bishop’s has been in business for 25 years doing what they do best; local, (mostly) organic food with a definite West Coast influence. Perfect for special occasions.

Mid Range Choices in Kitsilano:

  • Maenam – A popular West 4th-based restaurant that offers well-executed, modern Thai food. Maenam is friendly on the wallet, without sacrificing quality or ambiance.
  • La Quercia – A small, intimate restaurant located on the corner of Alma and West 4th. Offers exceptional Italian food and wine at reasonable prices. Book well in advance.

Rabbit Duo from La Quercia

Affordable in Kitsilano:

  • Thomas Haas – A patisserie and chocolate store, owned and operated by renowned pastry chef, Thomas Haas. Delicious sandwiches are available for lunch. Not open in the evenings, Sundays or Mondays.
  • Burgoo – Recently opened on 4th, Burgoo offers comfort food. Some of the dishes are bland but I can never say no to the Gooey Cheese Grillers – which I think are the best grilled cheese in town!
  • The Eatery – There are so many things to dislike about The Eatery. It’s loud and dark, there is always a line-up, and the service is very hit-and-miss, but it is a fun place to go for not-your-typical sushi. Sushi connoisseurs likely hate this place but I think it has an appeal. Don’t pass up the Tuna Tempura.

Meatball and Gruyere Panini from La Ghianda

Gooey Cheese Grillers from Burgoo

My top coffee shop picks in Vancouver

28 Mar

Since I moved to Vancouver, there have been many changes in the Vancouver food scene. The most noticeable change that I’ve seen is the gradual improvement of the coffee scene. In the past few years we have seen the introduction of many new coffee shops in Vancouver and I am now far more impressed with the coffee scene than when I first arrived in the city, more than 7 years ago.

I wanted to make it easy for you to find good coffee in Vancouver so I put together this list of coffee shops that I recommend (these are in no particular order):


Greenhorn Coffee

The West End finally has a good neighbourhood coffee shop in Greenhorn Espresso Bar, which opened recently on the corner of Nelson and Nicola. A cute space with quite a bit of seating, but very popular so can be busy at times.

Another addition to the Gastown coffee scene is Timbertrain Coffee Roasters. I’m excited about this place as not only is their coffee done well, they are also open on Sundays.

Timbertrain Latte

I have recently been made aware of South Granville‘s Dose Espresso Bar at 1517 West Broadway (at Granville). This tiny coffee shop does a great brew. They have limited baked goods to compliment your coffee.

The new Matchstick in Chinatown (East Georgia Street) is a comfortable, large space to linger over a delicious cup of house-roasted coffee and some pretty good baked goods or toast. They are also licensed, although, I’m more keen for the coffee than a beer.

If you are in Kits and looking for a decent coffee hit, Momento Coffee House at 2766 West 4th (at MacDonald) has you sorted. Not open on Sundays.

JJ Bean, various locations: Good coffee to be had at JJ although the quality can be inconsistent. Their baked goods are made in-house daily and their muffins are absolutely huge! JJ cafes try to adapt to their location so the Alberni Street store is more chic for the downtown crowd, whereas the Commercial Street store feels more comfy.

Nelson the Seagull, Gastown: Any café in Vancouver that sells flat whites is alright by me! Nelson offers good coffee (although I’ve had a few sour ones recently) and I, personally, am a big fan of their lattes. They bake daily so you can grab yourself a muffin or a bacon and egg cup, or you can sit in and have something more substantial, like a sandwich. Nelson has the feel of a friend’s lounge room, with easy-going tunes, comfy couches and communal tables.

Breakfast at Nelson the Seagull

Revolver, Gastown: So hipster it hurts but these guys know their coffee. The space is well-decorated with lots of wood and exposed brick. I am almost intimidated with all of the coffee paraphernalia that covers the counters here. Limited snacks such as coffee cake and muffins are also available.

Revolver Latte

Matchstick, Mt Pleasant: Matchstick is reliable and consistent. Large windows, wooden commune tables, and a chic look encourage you to linger. The problem is can you get a seat? Matchstick has a loyal following and successfully fills a void in an area with few options. Pastries, sandwiches, and muffins are also available.

Matchstick Coffee

What are your favourite coffee shops? Send me some suggestions if you feel I’ve overlooked some good ones!

5 Romantic Restaurants That Will Earn You Brownie Points

10 Feb

So…“that” day is coming up soon. Yes, Valentine’s Day. You know; the day where you are damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. I’m not here to add any more unnecessary drama to what is already (in my opinion) a day fraught with unnecessary pressure. However, if on Valentine’s Day (or any other day) you are looking for a place to wine and dine your sweetheart then I have made it easy for you.

Here are five of my favourite romantic Vancouver restaurants, in no particular order. Needless to say, there are certainly more in the city than just these five but these are ones that, regardless of price and pomp and circumstance, have left me feeling all warm and tingly.

My top 5 romantic restaurants (in no particular order):

1/ The courtyard at Brix – When making your reservation, ensure that you request a table in the outdoor courtyard. Twinkling fairy lights and rustic exposed brick create an ambience that is so romantic it hurts. In my experience, the food is a little on the average side but the atmosphere is what you really go for. This one will score high on the brownie point scale.

2/ Jules Bistro – Jules Bistro is a quintessential French bistro, right in the heart of Gastown. Looking out from the warmth of the restaurant to the cobbled-stone streets and listening to the tinkering of the sometimes live music, you would have to have a heart of stone not to be in the mood for amour. The food is good and the prices are not too damaging to the wallet. The 3 course set menu for $25 lessens the blow even more. Very French and very romantic.

3/ Les Faux Bourgeois – Nothing screams romance like flickering candles in a dimly lit restaurant, gentle French music humming in the background, and waiters purring the daily specials to you in thick French accents. The food is classic French and extremely good value for money, and whilst it is not the best in town, I certainly had no complaints. I would recommend Les Faux Bourgeois for the younger crowd who are looking to enjoy an intimate dinner without having to smash open the piggy-bank in order to do so.

4/ Bishop’s – This is high-end, indulgent romance and it comes at a price. Bishop’s, known as one of Vancouver’s finest restaurants, has been dishing up seasonal and local food for 25 years. The service is impeccable, the room is elegantly sophisticated, and the tables are far enough apart that conversation can be kept private. Be prepared to drop some serious coin but rest assured it is worth it.

5/ La Quercia – Sharing good food with a loved one (or a potential loved one) is considered to be a bonding experience. Some even say it is a sensual bonding experience. La Quercia makes sharing easy with their “Alla Famiglia” menu; the chef will make 5 or 9 courses (depending on your budget) intended for you and your companion to share. It is difficult to get a reservation at this small and intimate Italian restaurant in Kitsilano but if you manage to secure one, be prepared to be showered with praise.

Where do you take your special someone when you are planning a romantic dinner, or hoping to earn some extra brownie points? I would love to hear your suggestions!