Ensemble, which opened in Vancouver a couple of months ago, was on my "must visit" list and finally, before going to see Anything Goes at Theatre under the Stars, I managed to organize a pre-show dinner visit.
Like many of my local foodie friends I had followed the ups and downs of Chef Dale Mackay's television journey to the title of Top Chef Canada, and we were all curious to see what concept he would bring to his own new establishment.
When we arrived shortly before 6 PM the place was not just bustling- it was packed and in the 75 minutes we were there, several of the tables turned over.
So Ensemble has obviously captured the attention of local diners. We soon found out why.
The tables were reasonably spaced so that although the animated conversation of happy diners was at a moderately high decibel level, we could comfortably enjoy a private conversation. We also liked the little touches such as the silver bolts that held cutlery, and the in-house bottled carbonated water.
We picked Le Bistro for our pre-show meal before heading into Stanley Park to see the Theatre Under the Stars production of Bye Bye Birdie in Malkin Bowl. This was my first visit to this restaurant although it has been around for a long time.
1685 Yew Street Vancouver Phone (604) 739-4677 or Reserve Online
Before heading back to see Bard on the Beach's Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, I thought that we would try Abigail's Party for supper. The restaurant name sounds intriguing. It was named for Mike Leigh's 1977 stage play and television comedy.
Salade de Fruits Cafe
1551 W 7th Ave
Ph: (604) 714-5987
I have been to several plays at Studio 16 at the French Cultural Centre on West 7th and knew that there was also a place to eat there. Somehow I assumed it was a coffee shop rather than the French Bistro style restaurant that it turned out to be. A group of us went to Salade de Fruits for an "au revoir" dinner for 2 friends who are heading off to France for the summer and had a great time.
2-1600 Howe Street,
Vancouver Ph: (604) 681-1164 or Reserve Online
I was invited to lunch by an out-of-town friend, and thought that the patio at C Restaurant would be a perfect place to take him to. It is several years since my last meal at C, which was a recruitment dinner for a potential new hire. I was keen to see what changes had occurred.
1037 Alberni Street,
Ph: (604) 687-2858 or Reserve Online
We were going to be treated to a Mother's Day brunch at Italian Kitchen but at the last minute, had to cancel due to illness. So we were very happy to be able to reschedule to a later date. There were five of us who arrived for the Sunday lunch.
Diva Restaurant and Bar at the Metropolitan Hotel,
645 Howe Street, Vancouver
Phone (604) 602-7788 or Reserve Online
For our pre-show dinner, before seeing Bridge Mix 2011, a site specific theatre production at the Metro Parkade on West Pender, we went to Diva at the Met Restaurant.
It was a pleasant twenty minute walk to Granville and Howe, and we noticed that on a few of the boards covering broken windows from the previous evening's mayhem, people had written comments expressing the anger at the rioters and support for the city and our Canucks.
Dockside Restaurant at the Granville Island Hotel
1253 Johnston Street, Granville Island.
Ph: 604-685-7070 or Reserve Online
We were going to see a play, Strickland's A Guide to Mourning at Performance Works, a few steps away from the Granville Island Hotel. Last year I had bought a ticket in the GVPTA's fundraising Ticketpalooza. And darned if I did not get a dinner voucher to Dockside. It would have expired in July so this was a perfect time to use it.
I have enjoyed several good meals at Dockside previously but my guests had not been there so I was looking forward to a good dinner for all of us.
Whet Kitchen.Bar.Patio 1517 Anderson Road, on Granville Island Vancouver
Ph: (604) 696-0739 or Reserve Online
As a very regular theatre reviewer of productions at the eight or so theatre venues on Granville Island, who also writes about my pre-show meals, I am always being asked for pre-show dining recommendations. So I keep a lookout for new places to eat on Granville island - especially those that I have not recently reviewed.
Culinaria Restaurant - at the Art Institute of Vancouver
100 - 609 Granville Street, Vancouver, B.C.
Ph: (604) 639.2055 or Reserve Online
We enjoyed a delightful dining experience at Culinaria before strolling down Dunsmuir Street to The Queen Elizabeth Theatre to see Vancouver Opera's La Traviata.
Culinaria is a fine dining restaurant that showcases the skills of students at the International Culinary School of the Art Institute of Vancouver. Among the programs offered are Culinary Arts, Baking and Pastry Arts, Restaurant Management and Sommelier training.