5 Best New Restaurants In Vancouver, BC

Bordered by the Pacific Ocean and Coast Mountain Range, Vancouver is able to supply local chefs with an abundance of pristine and unusual seafood, produce and game. It has also been said that its residents dine out more than in any other North American city. So it's safe to say that Vancouverites might know a thing or two about good eats. Here are five buzzy newcomers that are well worth a visit.

1. La Pentola at OPUS Hotel

The Chefs: Adam Pegg and Lucais Syme of local favorite Quercia. The Vibe: Light-filled and airy. The tiled floors, with a white and brown palette, and copper light fixtures spell Italian kitchen. It's conveniently located inside Yaletown's OPUS Hotel, too (if you're seeking a cool place to rest your head, look no further). The Food: While the Northern Italian menu ranges from standards to the unexpected (smoked veal tongue charcuterie), it's the housemade, artisanal pastas that take top billing. Vegetarians and carnivores alike will swoon over the hearty kale and walnut pansotti finished with walnut sauce. 350 Davie Street, 604-642-0557, lapentola.ca

2. Hawksworth at Rosewood Hotel Georgia

The Chef: David Hawksworth (formerly at West and Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, L'Escargot and The Square). The Vibe: Swanky and sophisticated, yet warm. The dining areas drip with marble, crystal chandeliers and artwork by the likes of Damien Hirst, Rodney Graham and Brian Boulton. And in true friendly Canadian fashion, there's no dress code: suits and sweats are equally welcome. The Food: Contemporary Canadian. Hawksworth's deep appreciation for regional ingredients translates into elegantly composed plates and exceptional seafood. Standouts include the caramelized squid, hamachi crudo and sunflower seed crusted sturgeon (fresh, not smoked). 801 West Georgia Street, 604-673-7000, hawksworthrestaurant.com

3. Wildebeest

The Chef: Wesley Young (formerly at C Restaurant and West). The Vibe: It's industrial meets rustic with the long space's high ceilings, weathered brick, reclaimed wood floors and iron accents. Expect a wait at this very popular Gastown eatery. The Food: As the name implies, the menu here is meat-centric. The kitchen turns out thoughtful and sometimes surprising preparations (popcorn chicken hearts), while celebrating nose-to-tail eating. Roll up your sleeves and dig into the roasted bone marrow, sweetbreads, and of course, poutine (this over-the-top version is topped with foie gras). 120 West Hastings Street, 604-687-6880, wildebeest.ca

4. Fable

The Chefs: Trevor Bird and Curtis Luk, both from Top Chef Canada. The Vibe: Lively, warm and casual. Bypass the banquettes and grab a seat at the bar, where you can take in all the action of the open kitchen and banter with the friendly chefs. The Food: Canadian farm-to-table food that's simple, packed with flavor and tells a story. Locals are humming over a house specialty, "canned tuna." Local albacore is cooked sous vide in fruity olive oil, rendering an impossibly luscious flavor and texture. 1944 West 4th Avenue, 604-732-1322, fablekitchen.ca

5. Minami

The Chefs: Kazuki Uchigoshi and Hideto Moriki (both from sister restaurant Miku). The Vibe: A sleek Zen hideaway in the trendy Yaletown neighborhood. White walls are splashed with colorful, vibrant murals by Kyoto-based artist Hideki Kimura. The Food: Aburi-style sushi is the house specialty. Fresh fish is pressed into traditional sushi rice, then blowtorched with Japanese charcoal (binchotan). It may look gimmicky, but you'll appreciate the pyrotechnics after one bite. The quick blast of heat imparts a subtle smokiness, while coaxing the most concentrated flavors out of the rice, fish and sauce. 1118 Mainland Street, 604-685-8080, minamirestaurant.com

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