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Exclusive | A Taste of Vancouver

Exclusive | A Taste of Vancouver

If you're hungry for a delicious destination, few places taste better than Vancouver, British Columbia. Thousands of restaurants, an ever-increasing number of martini lairs and cocktail dens and other such enticing options make the West Coast wonder a truly tasty town.

The city's gorgeous location on the hem of the Pacific accounts for some of the distinctive ingredients you'll find on your plate, from geoduck clam and alder-grilled salmon to Dungeness crab and the freshest oysters. To the east, the Okanagan produces bounties of berries and a thrilling array of wine.

The fact that 40 percent of the city's population are Asian or of Asian heritage means that Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and East Indian influences abound. Whether you breeze in for breakfast, lunch and dinner or spend days dallying at the table, you're sure to find Vancouver to your taste.

New kids on the (chopping) block
2007 saw more than 100 new Vancouver restaurants throw open their doors. Particularly pleasing to the palate were Cobre, Jules and the Flying Tiger. Cobre (52 Powell St.; 604-669-2396; www.cobrerestaurant.com; small plates CDN$8-$13) rustles up a sexy slew of Nuevo Latino tapas for a hip, mixed set. French bistro Jules (216 Abbott St.; 604-669-0033; www.julesbistro.ca; CDN$14-$26) is a relaxed neighborhood bistro in a red-brick room with an excellent fixed price lunch menu and an eclectic crowd. The menu at the swanky Flying Tiger (2958 W. 4th Ave.; 604-737-7529; www.theflyingtiger.ca; CDN$6-$17) in Kitsilano offers a mouthwatering array of Asian street food, from Mumbai to Manila.

Despite the plethora of new palate-pleasers, culinary connoisseurs shouldn't leave Vancouver without eating at seafood mecca C Restaurant, (2-1600 Howe St; 604-681-1164; www.crestaurant.com; CDN$31-$50), just across False Creek from Granville Island. C's wine list is one of the best in the city. The other essential eats are at South Granville's West (2881 Granville St.; 604-738-8938; www.westrestaurant.com; CDN$39-$48), Vancouver's long-reigning top restaurant, a temple of West Coast culinary excellence that inspires devotion in its diners.

Raising the bar
Master muddlers and savvy sommeliers rule Vancouver's crop of cool rooms. For cocktails and eye candy on both sides of the bar, squeeze into chic modernist gay bar 1181 (1181 Davie St.; 604-687-3991; www.tightlounge.com). For something cool and stylish and a parade of cute creative types checking in, lounge on the cushy couches in the lobby bar of boutique hotel Opus (322 Davie St; 604-642-6787, 866-642-6787; www.opushotel.com). A mixed crowd of 20- and 30-something bohemian fashionistas lurk in low-lit booths and at the bar while amiable English mixologist Nick Devine creates traditional and cutting edge concoctions at The Cascade Room (2616 Main St., 604-709-8456; www.thecascade.ca) in hip 'hood Main.

Home run
Take a taste of Vancouver home with some Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris or Quail's Gate Pinot Noir from the Okanagan Valley from Marquis Wines (1034 Davie St.; 604-684-8445; www.marquis-wines.com), an excellent wine shop on the gay strip. Although you can't take them across the border, saunter into Granville Island Public Market and snack on sweet Indian Salmon Candy, artisan cheeses and Okanagan berries.

Full flavors
To delve deeper into what tastes good in Vancouver, contact Edible Vancouver (604-812-9660; www.edible-britishcolumbia.com). They run tours of the market, Chinatown and Commercial Drive, as well as offering a Culinary Concierge service that takes care of all your restaurant needs.

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