Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie

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Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie has been around for many years now and has won many awards. I’ve hear many good things about the restaurant, but for some reason, I was hesitant to try it because I knew it wasn’t authentic Chinese food. Bao Bei is situated in the heart of Chinatown and is known for their modern Chinese dishes and cocktails. I had my hesitations going in, but honestly came out loving the food.

 

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The restaurant is good for small groups of 2 to 3. They do not take reservations, so be prepared to wait or come right at opening. We arrived at 6:30pm on a weekday thinking the wait wouldn’t be long, but we still waited around 45 mins to one hour. Luckily, the Keefer Bar is nearby so we could go enjoy some drinks. They take down your name and number and will call you when the table is ready. The interior is modern but has the traditional Chinese vibes.

 

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Dominion Cider

I ended up going with the Dominion Cider from Summerland, BC and this was refreshing and light. I will definitely come back to try some of their cocktails though!

 

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Beef Tartare
The menu consists of sharing style plates, so I’d suggest having 2-3 dishes per person. We started off with the Beef Tartare which was absolutely delicious! The tartare featured Cache Creek petite tender, preserved mustard root, crispy shallot, ginger, a quail egg, watercress, burnt scallion oil, and taro chips to scoop the tartare.

 

 

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Steamed Prawn, Scallop, Rockfish and Chive Dumplings
They have a variety of homemade dumplings on their menu, but I suggested to try something a bit more unique. The Steamed Prawn, Scallop, Rockfish and Chive Dumplings caught my eyes as we usually won’t find scallop or rockfish in our traditional dumplings. The filling was delicious and elevated to a more fine dining experience but I felt the wrappers were a little too thick. Unfortunately, these didn’t wow me.

 

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King Pea Tips
Time to get some veggies in so of course we all suggested to get the King Pea Tips. Pea tips are usually a favourite among the table and these did not disappoint. Simply flavoured with garlic and shoxing cooking wine, these were fresh and had a nice crsip. Portion was actually decent for $9 too given a lot of their other dishes were on the smaller end.

 

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Seasonal Vegetables – Squash and Fried Lotus

We chose another veggie dish and this was one of their Seasonal Vegetables. The Squash and Fried Lotus was flavoured with a curried black bean and salted duck egg yolk sauce. Lotus root is commonly used in Chinese dishes, but I have never had lotus root that looked like this! I believe these are called lotus rootlets and they are like baby lotus roots! Narrow cylinders compared to the usually ones we see, but just as crunchy. They paired nicely with the squash and asian flavoured sauces. Highly recommend ordering this!

 

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Sablefish in Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice

Moving on to some larger dishes, we had the Sablefish in Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice. To be honest, when I saw the dish arrive, all I could think of was how small this lotus leaf wrapped sticky rice was for thirty something dollars! But once I started digging in, I fell in love with this dish! The sablefish was so buttery and moist and the Japanese oyster mushrooms added a nice texture. This is definitely a next level lotus leaf sticky rice with the sablefish and well worth the high price!

 

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Crispy Pork Belly
Last but not least, we had the Crispy Pork Belly which features radish, cucumbers, pickled ginger, mint, and crispy potatoes. This is topped with a  Vietnamese cilantro root dressing. The pork belly had a nice portion of fat to meat and was very moist.
Overall, I was extremely happy with my meal at Bao Bei and would highly recommend it. Just keep an open mind that you are not coming here for traditional Chinese food, but the food actually tastes good and the fusion works! Despite the high prices, the quality is great here and I’d suggest coming here with a few friends so you can try a variety of dishes.

Pros:
– Well executed modern Chinese dishes
– Good selection of cocktails and drinks

Cons:
– Be prepared to wait even on the weekdays
– Seating is a bit cramped

Price Range: $40-60 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid street parking or paid parking lots Overall: 4

 

Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Faubourg Paris

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media tasting, but all opinions are my own.

For a limited time, you will be able to get a taste of the lavvender field of Provence France at Faubourg.

 

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Faubourg has launched their summer lavender menu which features products including lavender earl grey macarons, lavender and strawberry pastries, lavender mixed berry smoothies, lavender lattes, lavender tea lattes, blueberry and lavender chaussons, and more. The menu is already available now and will be available until early to mid September.

 

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These desserts were sample sizes of the actual for the media tasting, so the actual dessert is much larger. My favourite had to be the Lavender and Strawberry Pastry (the circular one). This dessert features a lavender honey and sage mousse paired with a sweet strawberry gelee and a lavender vanilla sponge cake. I especially loved the sugar crystals on the rims! Not overly sweet but very strong in lavender flavour.

 

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All items at Faubourg are handcrafted and prepared fresh daily using traditional French recipes and high quality ingredients with no preservatives added. To demonstrate their commitment for quality, the pastries are prepared every morning and the viennoiseries are baked throughout the day ensuring the freshest products for the customers.

 

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Products are available starting June 4th, in the following locations:

Downtown: 769 Hornby Street Vancouver, BC V6Z 1S2
Kerrisdale: 2156 W 41st Ave Vancouver, BC V6M 1Z1
Park Royal: 792 Main Street, Park Royal S West Vancouver, BC V7T 1A2
Le Café: 175-628 East Kent South avenue Vancouver, BC V5X 0B2

 

Faubourg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Copper Chimney

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media event, but all opinions are my own.

Last week, I was invited to check out the happy hour menu which has relaunched at Copper Chimney. The Indian restaurant is located inside Hotel Le Soleil.

 

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The happy hour menu has a variety of appetizers and drinks on special. Most of the appetizers are around $7 and drinks at around $5-$8. The happy hour menu is available everyday from 3pm-6pm.

 

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Gin and Tonics

We got to try some Gin and Tonics. The restaurant carries gin from the local distillery, Long Table Distillery.

 

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Garlic Naan and Cheddar Cheese Kulcha Stuffed Bread

Not part of the happy hour menu, but who can say no to naan bread at an Indian restaurant? We were able to try both the Garlic Naan (left) and the Cheddar Cheese Kulcha Stuffed Bread (right). The naan are made fresh in their clay ovens to order. You can choose to have them with some chutney toppings such as mango, tamarind, mint-cilantro, or cucumber raita. I absolutely loved the cheese stuffed bread. The melted cheese was so stringy! I couldn’t stop eating this!

 

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Spiced Chips and Dip

Moving along to a happy hour item were the Spiced Chips and Dip. The chips are thick cut with a crispy exterior and served with a jalapeno and cumin raita dip. A great sharing dish!

 

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Minced Lamb Kebabs
I love skewers, so the Minced Lamb Kebabs were perfect for me! They had a nice char and were well seasoned.

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Tandoori Salmon

 

One of my favourites was the Tandoori Salmon. The salmon was extremely moist in the inside and the tandoori flavour was not overpowering. Highly recommend this!

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Vegetable Flatbread

For vegetarians, they have the Vegetable Flatbread which is topped with basil, goat cheese, and balsamic.

 

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Tiger Prawn Tandoori
Probably my favourite dish of the night was the Tiger Prawn Tandoori! Wow, these prawns were large and bouncy and seasoned with sambal, garlic, lemon juice, cilantro, sea salt. Extremely flavourful!

 

 

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Manchurian Cauliflower

Another item on the happy hour menu is the Manchurian Cauliflower. The cauliflower has a crispy batter and comes with a sweet and sour sauce.

 

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Non Vegetable Thali
They also have both vegetable and non-vegetable thali on their regular menu. The non-vegetable thali comes with indian pickles, courgette curry, lamb curry, butter chicken, Manchurian cauliflower, saffron basmati rice, and papadum.

 

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Tiffin Box Meal
During weekdays, they also offer Tiffin Box Meals. The initial tiffin box is $15, but after that, each meal is $9. Each day, there is a different curry and the box also includes rice, naan, and a kachumber slaw. This is a great deal for those working around the area!

 

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After trying some of the food, we got to take a tour in the kitchen. Here, we were shown how the naan is made. They have two tandoor ovens which are extremely high heat. Therefore, making the naan only takes a few minutes before it’s full of these air pockets. The chef gave us the freshly made naan and wow, that was good! I don’t think I have ever had such fresh naan before. So light and fluffy!

 

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The restaurant has both lower and upper level seating. It also has a small patio on the ground level just outside of the restaurant. But if you want to throw a private party, you can also book a dining area upstairs which connects to this outdoor patio! I love how intimate and secluded this area is while getting the patio feel because it’s not covered. Super cool design!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Copper Chimney. I’m no expert with Indian food so I can’t comment on authenticity, but the food tastes great! Will definitely be back for happy hour as it is so close to work!

 

Copper Chimney Restaurant - Indian Grill & Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Teahouse in Stanley Park

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Lamb Lollipops

Another late post, but we decided to celebrate Valentines Day later this year to avoid the expensive set menus and restrictive dining hours. S decided to take me to the Teahouse in Stanley Park which was a nice surprise as I had never been and the restaurant had stunning views of the city. Definitely a very romantic restaurant with the interior having a rustic feel to it.

To start, we shared the Lamb Lollipops which were topped with tomatoes and a salsa verde. The lamb was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and had a nice char.

 

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Mussels

For my main, I chose to have the Mussels which was in a tomato based broth, topped with artichokes, garlic, chorizo, corn, and a white wine sauce. I found the mussels were slightly on the tinier side but I didn’t have any closed mussels. There were slightly too many artichokes for my liking, but the tomato broth itself was good. We had complimentary bread to start and the waitress made sure I had enough to soak up the broth so brought over even more bread.

 

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BC Halibut

S got the BC Halibut which was oven roasted, and served with blistered tomatoes, roasted fingerling potatoes, broccolini, and salsa verde. The fish had a nice crispy on the outside while remaining moist inside.

 

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To end the night, the waitress provided us with complimentary chocolate dipped strawberries which was a nice surprise! She had asked what the occasion was for our dinner while clearing our table, so it was very kind of her to throw in a little something.

Overall, I highly recommend coming here for a special occasion. The ambiance is beautiful and although the views are slightly harder to see at night, it still makes a wonderful spot for a romantic night out. Portions of food were actually pretty good considering the price and venue. I was happily full by the end of the night. Would love to come back during lunch to enjoy the daytime views!

Pros:
– Romantic setting with scenic views of the city
– Friendly and professional service

Cons:
– Not transit friendly. You’ll definitely need to drive or catch a cab here.

Price Range: $35-50 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 5 Ambiance: 5 Parking: Free parking right outside the restaurant Overall: 4

 

The Teahouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smart n Save Cafe

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Smart N Save Cafe has been around for quite a few years now, but I didn’t learn about this until recently because the cafe is situated in such a random location in Richmond. It’s on River Road on the second floor of a office complex and does not have too much signage you would notice while driving. The cafe is actually connected to the Smart N Save grocery store in Lansdowne Mall. If you’re craving Hong Kong style cafe food and snacks, then this is the spot for you.

 

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Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup

I love Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup and I always get this at the night market, so it was no surprise that I had to try it here. The consistency was thick and gooey with a good amount of chicken and vegetables. Pretty good and red vinegar was provided to add a splash of acidity.

 

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Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich

I heard that the Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich were a huge hit here, and it definitely did not disappoint. Such a simple dish, but the beef was extremely tender and the eggs were fluffy. I liked how they also toasted the white bread a bit. And yes, white bread definitely brings back childhood memories. And no crusts please!

 

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Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast

Another dish they are famous for is the Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast. This is such a classic HK style dish which we can’t usually find here. The prawn paste was bouncy and the toast itself was covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. The mayo paired the dish very well.

 

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Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball

Another street food favourite is the Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball. The rice roll was surprisingly thin and smooth and the sweet sauce was delicious paired with the plain rice rolls. To add, the curry fish balls were a delicious complement. Loved the spicy sauce! Highly recommend getting this.

 

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Fish Paste Siu Mai

Last but not least, we had the Fish Paste Siu Mai which comes with 12 pieces and a side of soy sauce. I actually prefer eating the fish paste style siu mai rather than the ones you get at dim sum. Yes, these are the cheaper version, but they are so bouncy!

 

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Overall, I highly recommend checking this hidden gem if you’re craving HK style snacks. You won’t find much service here but it’s pretty cool since they have a QR system in place. Once you sit down, they give you a QR code for your table. Just scan it, and you’ll be taken to their website where you can order your dishes. When you click on a dish, it automatically transfers to the kitchen and you’ll hear a little ring. Then they will bring you your food when it’s ready. Water and utensils are self serve. The interior is actually better than I expected being bright and clean.

Pros:
– Great spot if you’re craving HK snacks
– Items are way cheaper and better than the night market

Cons:
– Don’t expect much service, but QR code system works

Price Range: $10 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in the complex Overall: 3.5

 

Smart n Save Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Parklane Chinese Restaurant

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Chiu Chow Fried Oyster Omelette

Parklane Chinese Restaurant is located on the same floor as London Drugs in Richmond on Westminster and No. 3. They offer Chiu Chow style cuisine and also dim sum during the daytime. We visited during dinner time and the restaurant was quite packed. To start, we actually had the Pepper Pork Stomach Soup which I have never tried before. I am not a fan of intestines, so the stomach threw me off a bit, but the soup itself was very peppery. Not bad, but I thought it was a bit too spicy after a while. For appetizers, we started off with the Chiu Chow Fried Oyster Omelette which I really enjoyed. The sides were super crispy and there was a decent amount of oyster. Highly recommend getting this.

 

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Chiu Chow Style Deep Fried Prawn Balls

Next up were the Chiu Chow Style Deep Fried Prawn Balls. These were served with some crispy seaweed in the center. The prawns were bouncy and had tons of filling.

 

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Dried Oyster with Vegetables

Of course we needed some vegetables, so the Dried Oyster with Vegetables were a good choice. It came with a medium consistency broth and paired well with the Chinese vegetables.

 

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BBQ Ribs with Plum Sauce

A favourite at the table was the BBQ Ribs with Plum Sauce. The sauce had a nice sweet and sour flavoured with some acidity. The ribs had a nice crunch from frying and a decent amount of meat on the bones.

 

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Pan Fried Fish

I can’t quite remember the type of fish this was, but it was pan fried with green onions and soy sauce. My only issue with this dish was the fish had quite a lot of bones still in it. I’m not good with picking out the bones, so not really a dish for me.

 

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Sticky Rice

Of course we need some carbs, so the Sticky Rice was perfect to wrap up the meal. The preserved pork sausage with Chinese mushrooms, egg, and green onions made the dish very flavourful.

 

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Steamed Duo Crystal Dumplings

Of course a Chiu Chow style dinner has to end with the Steamed Duo Crystal Dumplings. Be sure to order these in advance as it takes a long time to make. For some reason, we had ordered two orders at the beginning of dinner, but when we told them to bring out the desserts, they told us only one was left. Not sure why they sold our other order… Anyways, the crystal skin was nice and chewy and the red bean and lotus paste filling was not overly sweet.

Overall, Parklane is a great spot if you’re looking for Chiu Chow food. Service was decent and the prices were reasonable. Will be back for more!

Pros:
– Great Chiu Chow eats

Cons:
– Would stick to the Chiu Chow style dishes. Some of the other dishes are just average

Price Range: $20 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Free parking in London Drugs lot Overall: 4

 

Parklane Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Choco Coo Cafe (Richmond)

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I’ve been wanting to try Choco Coo Cafe for some time now, but because their first store was all the way in Coquitlam, it was quite out of the way for me. But now that they opened their second store in Richmond, I was super excited to check it out!

 

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The menu has a variety of coffee and teas available. And of course, a selection of cakes. When we opened during their soft opening, there was an extra 25% off but the number of cakes were quite limited. I think they do have more cakes now that they have settled in.

 

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They put one of each of their cakes on display and you order and pay up front. They will bring you your order to your seat once ready. You can also order to go. The interior is actually quite asthetically pleasing with brown and white wooden decor and white marble cups and saucers. There are a large number of seats so a great spot to chat or get some work done.

 

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London Fog Cake

The first cake I tried was the London Fog Cake which was my favourite. The cake was a light sponge cake with layers of london fog cream and toasted almonds on top. The cream was strong in tea flavour and not overly sweet.

 

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Matcha Mousse

The Matcha Mousse had a chocolate crust on the bottom and layers of mousse. It was more of a Japanese style mousse with a bit of tart flavour to it. I personally didn’t enjoy this as much as others had raved about. The portion was also quite small compared to the rest of the cakes, even though it was priced the same.

 

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Green Tea Latte

What really drew me to Choco Coo Cafe was the latte art! I mean, how cute is this bear? If the cafe is not too busy, you can request to have latte art done and I think they are able to do quite a lot of art. The Green Tea Latte itself was rich in tea flavour and smooth drink. I don’t drink coffee often, but I personally enjoyed this.

 

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Overall, I’m glad to have this new addition to Richmond as we don’t have too many hipster cake and coffee spots in town. The cakes range from $4- $6 so in line with some other Western cake shops like Diplomat. There is also plenty of free parking below the condo for guests which is always a plus.

On a second visit, we arrived at the cafe at 9pm when the cafe was supposed to close at 10pm. We were told that we could only order take out because last call was at 9:30pm. We found this extremely odd because we arrived at 9pm. Why could we not order and sit in then? We weren’t going to stay past 10pm anyways and their cakes were already pre-made… Quite odd and a bit annoying when their hours are supposed to be until 10pm.

Pros:
– Latte art is beautiful and cakes are decent
– Decor is aesthetically pleasing

Cons:
– Odd service/ hours during closing

Price Range: $5 – $15 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Plenty of free parking below Overall: 3.5

 

Choco Coo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards 2018

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary, as part of a media invitation. However, all opinions are my own.

Last week, I was invited to the 2018 Vancouver Magazine’s Restaurant Awards. I attended the reception at Sheraton Hotel just before the awards ceremony so I could get a taste of some of the nominee’s dishes and sample some local wine. The reception event is now open to the public with a ticket purchase which is new this year. If you’re looking to try Vancouver’s best food and wine, then this is the event for you!

 

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The results are out now so a quick recap of some of the top awards are as follows:

Restaurant of the Year and Best New Restaurant both wen to St. Lawrence!

Alex Chan from Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar won Chef of the Year.

 

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Of course, Best New Design went to the Botanist. I mean who could resist the beautiful garden inspired decor?

 

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Best Brunch went to Burdock and Co. which is now on my to-dine list!

Masayoshi won Best Japanese and Mr. Red Cafe won Best Vietnamese.

 

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Marutama won Best Ramen and Dynasty Seafood won Best Chinese.

 

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At the reception, we also got to sample wine from various wineries from all over BC. There were also Spanish Iberian ham which I love!

 

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To finish off, we attended the after party hosted by Joey (who won second for best chain). The Sour Plum was pretty and delicious to drink! What a great way to end the night and celebrate the achievements of all the chefs and restaurateurs in BC!