LoLo North Vancouver
100 East 2nd Street,
North Vancouver, BC.
Ph: (778) 340-6655
It has been a long time since I visited the area around Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver, and I had heard there were some excellent new restaurants in that area.
I was meeting a friend from West Vancouver for a long over-due, catch-up-on-our-news supper, and we decided to try LoLo Wine bar and Restaurant. LoLo stands for Lower Lonsdale, and when I checked the location on the map I realized it was only a couple of blocks up from the Seabus terminal.
I think the last time I took the Seabus was probably over 30 years ago when I lived on the North Shore. The present catamaran passenger ferries were introduced around 1977 and at that time we took our kids on a ride for an adventure.
This time I thought I would do the whole trip from Yaletown to the restaurant and back using public transit just to compare times with my usual system of driving across to theatre and dances on the North Shore.
Lupo Restaurant and Vinoteca 869 Hamilton Street, Vancouver. BC Ph: (604) 569-2535 or Reserve Online
I have now enjoyed two excellent meals at the revamped Lupo Restaurant and this review reports on both of them.
The last time I had dined at that location was before there was a change in ownership last July. Julio Gonzalez Perini who ran Villa Del Lupo in the Heritage house on Hamilton Street for many years, sold it in 2005. I had a nice dinner at Villa del Lupo more than a year ago, before Perini bought back the space. At that time the food was good though not outstanding and we had some amusing moments as you can read in my review of that visit.
Since then this lovely building has been reborn as Lupo Restaurant and Vinoteca once again under the ownership of Executive Chef Perini, together with Michael Mameli, wine director and co-owner. The Chef de Cuisine is Takeo Hiro and Jeff Salzauler is pastry and dessert chef. The intent of the new management was to carve a niche, so to speak, as a neighbourhood restaurant featuring exellent food at reasonable prices. It appears that they have succeeded.
In March, for our pre-show dinner before heading to The Playhouse to see The Love List, we decided to visit the new incarnation of Lupo Restaurant. Although when we arrived, early as usual, there were only a few tables occupied, the place filled up really quickly. The service was attentive and timely.
We enjoyed the pre-show menu served from 5 to 6 pm which offered a choice of 4 starters, 4 entrees and a dessert . You could chose to have a two or three course meal which I really appreciated as I often find that three courses are just too much. My companion at that meal loved the lentil and sausage soup while I enjoyed a beautifully presented carpaccio. Then I had a sinfully tender lamb version of osso bucco while he had the beef short ribs.
The service was impeccable, the food excellent and we vowed we would come back soon.
My second visit was last week just before going to see Vancouver Opera's wonderful production of The Marriage of Figaro at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Yuji's Japanese Tapas
2059 West 4th Ave.,
Ph: 604) 734-4990
We were going to see Paradise Garden at the Stanley Theatre and decided to check out Yuji's about a ten minute drive from theatre. Although it was just before 6 PM, we managed to get a parking spot almost outside the restaurant. It helps if your companion has great parking karma - which he does!
I was not sure what to expect - the words Japanese and Tapas are not usually associated in my mind but I anticipated a sort of fusion of Spanish style small plates with sushi.The menu listed many items under the tapas heading including the usual Japanese dishes like miso soup and sunomono salad but also included items like grilled duck breast and fried Halibut cheek.
When I first moved into the Yaletown area four years ago, La Terrazza was literally a two minute walk from my rented apartment and I enjoyed several meals there. But I had not been back for more than a year, since I moved to my new home a few blocks further away. Each time I drove up Cambie on my way to dance class, I would make a mental note that it was time to check out La Terrazza again - but my mental notes seemed to get misfiled!
Then one rainy Vancouver night I had tickets for a performance at GM Place and it occurred to me that this would be the perfect time for a pre-show dinner at La Terrazza. From there it would be a quick walk to The Garage.
Shanghai River Restaurant
#110-7831 Westminster Highway,
Ph: (604) 233-8885
With its large diverse Chinese community, Vancouver celebrates Chinese New Year in style. This year a group of us, 12 in all, took the Canada Line out to Richmond, for a Chinese New Year banquet at the Shanghai River Restaurant. Arranged by Susan, whose petite frame belies her formidable social organizational skills, the evening promised to be a veritable feast and it was.
As we were led to our table which seated 12 quite comfortably, we passed by the pastry area where the dumplings and noodles are freshly made. We sipped on our hot tea while Susan and Nick decided what needed to be added to the standard banquet menu for 10 people. The rest of us debated whether to order beer or wine. Five of us settled on a bottle of Mission Hill white wine of unknown varietal. The menu did not specify. We guessed it was a Pinot Blanc or Pinot Gris but we got so involved with the various dishes that we forgot to ask them to bring back the bottle so we could check. The others ordered beers.
Maenam Thai Restaurant 1938 West 4th Avenue Vancouver. Ph: (604) 730-5579 or Reserve Online
The last time I visited this location at its previous incarnation as Gastropod I enjoyed an excellent meal. Since chef Angus An renamed it Maenam and changed the focus to Thai specialities in May last year, I have not had an opportunity to revisit. But heading off to the Jericho Arts Centre to see The Vic, we decided to test our taste buds against some spicy Thai dishes.
The Wine Bar at The Cultch
1895 Venables Street, Vancouver
Tucked away on the corner of Venables Street and Victorian Drive, a block east of buzzing Commercial Drive, the creaky old Vancouver East Cultural Theatre had a quaint charm for theatre lovers despite its uncomfortable seats and awkwardly located washrooms. Originally an old abandoned church that was developed into a theatre space some thirty-seven years ago, the facility suffered from structural and technical limitations and uncomfortable working conditions for casts and crews and has now been extensively renovated.
4397 W. 10th Avenue
Ph: (604) 222-6881
Being South African by birth, I was naturally intrigued when Enigma was suggested as a before-theatre dinner spot. The proprietors are from South Africa and my dinner companion suggested that the menu featured several dishes of African origin. We were on our way to see Ivanov at the Jericho Arts Centre so the location of Enigma at 10th and Trimble, just up the hill from the Centre, was perfect.
As well as "foodie" I am very much a "wordie" so naturally I wondered about the name. Enigma is an unusual name for a restaurant. But the Buchmans explain - "how could such delicious food possibly be so affordable?" Hmmm.... That's setting my expectations high.