Here's where to eat, stay, and explore in this cosmopolitan Northwest city
8 hot spots to get a taste of the globe in Vancouver, B.C.:
Market by Jean-Georges, (below left) in the Shangri-La Hotel, is just what you’d expect from star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Like the perfect sauce, the restaurant balances Asian and European flavors to delicious effect (try the rice cracker–crusted tuna). $$$; 604/695-1115.
La Quercia serves Northern Italian dishes that are so good, they might make you weep. The delicate agnolotti is a must. $$$; closed Mon; 604/676-1007.
Vij’s Vikran Vij is an icon here for his brilliantly modernized renditions of traditional Indian food. Don’t miss the “lamb popsicles”―French-cut chops with an addictive fenugreek-cream sauce. $$$; 604/736-6664.
Try the sour orange mussel curry or fiery fermented sausage at Maenam―you’ll never look at Thai food the same way again. $$; 604/730-5579.
C Restaurant buys its catch straight from the docks. Expect thrilling seafood exotica like sablefish collar with elephant heart plums and a “tip to tail” king salmon. $$$$; 604/681-1164.
Lumière is not new, but with French master chef Daniel Boulud now involved, it’s mind-bogglingly good, with regular and vegetarian tasting menus. $$$$; closed Mon; 604/739-8185.
The fried chicken at Refuel is the best we’ve ever had. Period. $$; 604/288-7905.
Vancouver’s Chinese food is legendary: At Sun Sui Wah, you pick a live king crab and it arrives minutes later, steamed, cracked, and piled with green onions. $$; 604/872-8822.
Granville Island and Where to Stay
Formerly a gritty warehouse district, has been transformed into a tiny cobblestone world of galleries, shops, and artisan food vendors.
The Public Market is the mother ship of all things delicious. Our favorites from its 50-plus vendors include Oyama Sausage Company for the homemade charcuterie (including a standout elk-juniper salami); Granville Island Tea Company for spicy chai; and Edible British Columbia, which sells local goodies like birch syrup and black sesame sea salt.
It’s easy to overlook what lies beyond the market’s walls, but trust us―don’t. The streets are lined with one-of-a-kind shops like Paper-Ya, where gorgeous stationery and wrapping papers hang on dowels like curtains, and Maiwa Handprints, which sells textiles from India, all hand-woven and naturally dyed.
At Artisan SakeMaker, you can watch the Japanese owner brew small-batch sake.
Getting there: From downtown, hop aboard the (from $3 U.S.) or one of the chubby blue (from $3 U.S.), which take you to the island in 7 minutes.
Where to Stay
The vibe: The first Shangri-La in North America has a breathtaking two-story lobby and courtyard art display.
What to order: A 75-minute massage ($148 U.S.) or the West Coast Path package ($443 U.S.), a half-day of seaweed-based treatments in a private suite.
Book it: From $252 U.S.
The vibe: Modern design meets luxe details like deep tubs, floor-to-ceiling windows, and stag- gering mountain views in many rooms.
What to order: Seared tuna sliders and cocktails at Voya restaurant’s see-and-be-seen bar. Lead bartender Simon Ogden also dishes out local theater tips.
Book it: From $208 U.S.
The vibe: Located in the trendy Yaletown district, the Opus’s rooms are styled after outsize personalities: rock star, millionaire CEO …
What to order: Cocktails created by the mixologist from adjacent Elixir Bistro.
Book it: From $255 U.S.
The vibe: A new, sculpted glass hotel with a rooftop pool and patios with firepits. It faces the Marine Building, an art deco masterpiece.
What to order: A massage ($113 U.S.) and cup of tea by the fireplace in the spa lounge.
Book it: From $228 U.S.