Happy Springtime everyone! By now I think most of us have officially said goodbye to the snow and are reaping the benefits of spring's splendor. Depending on where you live you might be tempted to even say 'summer' has arrived. Lucky you!
One of the reasons I love Vancouver so much is because it's so green! Yes, I know it rains, A LOT, but spend a six month winter in various shades of grey and brown and you too, would put up with the rain. Okay, maybe not all of you, but you get my drift. On our most recent trip for a friend's birthday at the beginning of March, the city was just on the verge of awaking from its winter slumber and was kind enough to leave us with two glorious days of sunshine. Each visit I fall in love with the city a little bit more than the last and as always, it leaves me wanting more. Below is a quick run down of our trip this time around plus a few suggestions from previous visits.
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver 604.682.5566
I had been eyeing this hotel since it's debut in July 2011 so was so excited when I finally had an excuse to stay. The Rosewood group has some incredible properties and we are lucky to finally have one in Canada. Hotel Georgia is a great way to check out the hospitality of the Rosewood group without breaking the bank. What I loved: the classically cool 1927 Lobby Lounge, complimentary in-room Nespresso, turn down service with delicious shortbread cookies, an exquisite bathroom complete with rainfall shower and soaker tub, and the fabulous Bentley chauffer service provided by Mr.Jim Dudley.
1177 Melville Street, Vancouver 604.669.5060
Another one of my favorite places to stay in Vancouver, The Loden is a boutique hotel with a great location, comfortable luxury and very accommodating staff.
Vancouver's most iconic market located on the waterfront. You can buy everything you need here for a fabulous dinner at home or picnic on the beach. One of my favorites: Oyama Sausage Company.
3735 Capilano Rd, North Vancouver 604.985.7474
Vancouver's top tourist destination. Explore the serenity of the region's rain forest while you tour this nature park.
It's impossible for me to visit Vancouver without getting at least one good stroll around this beautiful green space. There are many beaches and wooded areas to enjoy as well as the Vancouver Aquarium which is located right in the middle of the park.
6400 Nancy Green Way, North Vancouver 604.980.9311
I did this hike so long ago now and remember it being really hard but so worth it. The view at the top is incredible and you can take the Skyride down (or up if you prefer not to hike) to save on time. Grouse Mountain also offers plenty of other activities to suit your taste including paragliding, ziplining, skiing/snowboarding, and heli tours. Last time we were there we really enjoyed the wildlife refuge where we were able to get up close and personal with some beautiful grey wolves.
12 minutes NW of Vancouver, 20 minutes by ferry to Horsehoe Bay
Bowen Island is a charming and very laid back place that is perfect for those who want to get out of the hustle and bustle of downtown but don't want to overnight anywhere. We took a shuttle out here from Coal Harbour and came back on the Ferry after a great dinner at Tuscany Pizza. For me, the shuttle and pizza alone was worth the trip! Beautiful rugged beaches too.
I have not personally done this hike but my sister has and her pictures were amazing. Definitely on the to-do list for another visit.
6393 N.W. Marine Drive, Vancouver 604.822.5087
I have not been for some time but I remember really enjoying this museum for the beautiful collection of art and totem pole carvings from several Northwest Coast Indian Nations. The museum is located in the lush grounds of UBC and is within walking distance to some lovely wooded trails to nearby beach parks.
Now on to food...
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver 604.673.7000
Staying in the Rosewood Hotel made it convenient to dine regularly at the very hip Bel Cafe. A fabulous little spot featuring fresh soups, sandwiches, salads, and a variety of breakfast items. My favorite was the open faced "toast" smoked salmon with herbed crème fraîche and capers. Casual enough for a coffee and a pastry or a great salad and glass of vino. Either goes.
1059 Alberni Street, Vancouver 604.608.6870
Already mentioned on my previous post on Vancouver, I cannot resist stopping by this French Patisserie at least once. The interior is beautifully done and has a very convincing Parisian flair. Stop in for a delicious chausson aux pommes (apple turnover) or croissant au jambon and the most delicious americano and sit out on the patio among the well dressed patrons.
3689 West 4th Street, Vancouver 604.676.1007
Named Restaurant of the Year 2011 by VanMag and most recently, best casual in the annual 2013 Restaurant Awards, this quaint and cozy Italian joint is not to be missed. We were lucky enough to be invited to a birthday dinner here and enjoyed sitting in their newly adjoining wine bar L'Ufficio. I loved the simplicity and authenticity of the dishes and will definitely be back for more on the next visit. Standout items included the agnolotti di Guido (veal, chard, ricotta) and braised lamb shoulder. Excellent!
1154 Robson Street, Vancouver 604.688.7338
Chef Andrew Richardson is a such a talent, I wouldn't have wanted to miss the opportunity to visit him at Cin Cin where he is Executive Chef. Had a wonderful Italian meal here on my second evening. Standout items included the grilled squid and feature burrata with a beautiful beet carpaccio, house-made olive tapenade, and the ricotta ravioli with freshly shaved truffle was exquisite! Great service. I was definitely impressed with this restaurant.
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver 604.673.7000 Ext. 1
The first night we arrived we came here for a drink before heading over to La Quercia. Meticulously crafted cocktails and a glamorous vibe made for a great start to our Friday night. I loved the energy of this place. On our last day we had breakfast in the restaurant and both the food and service were excellent. Will definitely try to go for dinner next time.
562 Beatty Street, Crosstown, Vancouver 604.879.7119
Chambar always guarantees a good night out. I love the vibe of this Belgian brasserie and their Moules Frites never disappoints. Although I wasn't able to get there this trip, I have been many times over the years and love going back time and time again.
1115 Alberni Street, 3rd Floor of Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver 604.695.1115
I have eaten here in the lounge on a few occasions and have always really enjoyed it. The black truffle & fontina pizza has been rated as one of the best things to eat in Vancouver and I agree! Beautiful food with clean flavours served in a chic modern setting.
986 Denman Street, Vancouver, 604.732.6887
Not a restaurant, but a beautiful specialty food shop, Ayoub's elegant arrangements of spices, nuts, and dried fruits will surely have you leaving with a small bag or two. I quite enjoyed buying a few snacks here to hold us over until dinner.
1505 W 1st Avenue, Vancouver (along the waterfront). 604.730.5040
This little fish stand on Granville island. is an absolute must - especially if you are living in a land locked city like myself. The freshness and quality of the fish is worth the line up, trust me! For those of you who don't care for fish, I urge you to try it here. No nonsense, far from fancy, and just plain awesome!