After dropping my bags in a land unknown to me, the aspect of my culture that I miss the most remains French cuisine. Suddenly I find myself dreaming of grandmother’s recipes, of St-Marcellin cheese from my cousin’s farm, the market stalls of my neighbourhood or of lemon tarts from my favourite bakery… A host of flavours and souvenirs follow me in my travels.
I arrived in Vancouver a year and a half ago with a few michokos in my pocket (soft round caramel candies wrapped in dark chocolate). I had a lot on my plate and would require a lot of energy to explore a new city. I strode through the neighbourhoods and let my eyes soak in the jagged coastal scenery before sitting down to discover Canadian food: poutine, caesar cocktails, maple sausages, bison burgers, muffins with their clusters of blueberries…
In two shakes of a lamb’s tail I was hungry again and left with the impression that I had covered all the bases. But it’s not my style to travel abroad to cook and eat French food, might as well stay home. So in time I faced the facts: there were as many Japanese restaurants in Vancouver as bakeries in France, an Indian restaurant was among the top five Lonely Planet recommendations for the city, my new friends dined out in Albanian, Nepalese and Thai restaurants…Was this the miracle recipe: use the city’s multiculturalism to widen my taste palette? And so it was that I set out to discover Vancouver’s exotic restaurants. In my own way I dived into the cultural diversity of the City of Vancouver and I wasn’t disappointed. A year and a half later I have a full address book and delicious memories. The eastern part of town has been and remains my main playground. Let me share my experiences and unveil seven of my favourite restaurants.
If you’re feeling like spicy food I recommend Los Cuervos or the Lion’s Den. Los Cuervos offers up succulent tacos with homemade sauces that will make you sweat. The Lion’s Den is a restaurant that merges Japanese and Caribbean cuisine, the owner will serve you original dishes along with a generous helping of stories. It’s up to you to split the difference! Sushi Yama is not much to look at but the ambiance is friendly and relaxed and the sushi melts in your mouth; don’t miss out on the caterpillar roll. If you prefer seafood I suggest the Sandbar. Their mussels in Provençale sauce are divine and the view out over the Bay is fabulous. For fans of sweets Marché is a little café with a European ambiance. You could easily spend the afternoon devouring a good novel while savouring a Nutella crêpe. For a savoury crêpe head over to House of Dosas, a divine Indian restaurant offering up crêpes 18 inches across stuffed with exquisite dishes such as their famous lamb tikka, beef masala and butter chicken. As for those market stalls you can always visit the renowned farmer’s markets. Vancouver’s multiculturalism has enabled me to discover many cuisines, nevertheless I don’t forget to concoct some good homemade dishes from time to time!
Translated by Barry Brisebois