(Marty) #1

From top: The Museum of
Anthropology at the University of
British Columbia; beet salad with
avocado, pistachios, and Robiola
cheese at Oddfish. Opposite: The
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese
Garden, in Chinatown.


aesthetic was painfully on-trend, it still felt like
a neighborhood restaurant, with gray-haired
couples lingering alongside boisterous groups
of young people.
Across town, on an unassuming stretch of the
Kingsway road, Osteria Savio Volpe felt almost
improvisational, as if your most creative friends
had thrown together a restaurant. Yet our food
was rigorous and pared-down. The kale was
shredded, made aromatic with lemon and garlic,
slicked with oil, and given an angelically crunchy
texture with a coating of bread crumbs. House-
made pasta with duck, pork, and squab was
divinely mushy, like a tuna casserole that had
taken a vacation in Puglia.
In the historic Gastown neighborhood, we ate
at two spots owned by restaurateur and chef Lee
Cooper. We started at L’Abattoir, where the
breakfast burgers almost made my son cry with
happiness. On a bustling corner across the way sat
the window-lined room of Coquille. Spot prawn
season had just begun, and the restaurant was
abuzz with excitement. Coquille’s menu crows
about the restaurant’s tight connection to the
Salish Sea, and these prawns had been pulled
from the water, just down the road, a few hours
before they were set in front of us. The chef gave
them a quick dunk in a hot bath and served them
on a plate with no adornment. Mine wriggled
when I pierced it with a knife. There were cries of
horror and wonder at our table. As I took a bite,
my mouth flooded with brine.
We were excited to stay at the Loden, a
small hotel on one of the quieter streets
downtown. The warm styling—all wood and
mossy velvet—and hospitable staff add up to a
pleasantly old-fashioned experience.
It makes an earthy contrast with many of
Vancouver’s other hotels. At the international
Fairmont Pacific Rim, we gigglingly partook of the
over-the-top confections at the cocktail bar. The
menu mentions “pageantry,” a word that made me
laugh until I saw our drinks. Tumblers hid mist-
filled, moss-lined birdcages; handblown fishbowls
nestled in pieces of driftwood. It was one part

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