The very first MICHELIN Guide Vancouver is launching with 12 Bib Gourmands spread across the city, from tacos and aguachile in Gastown to fragrant lemongrass wings in Mount Pleasant. Read on to find out who's joining the guide. Bon appétit!
Anh and ChiCuisine: Vietnamese
Sibs Lý and Vincent Nguyễn have crafted a clean, cool space outfitted with midcentury modern furnishings while nodding to the past—a blue neon sign by the bar is a relic from the former restaurant. For more than 30 years, their parents' restaurant occupied this spot. The menu is a love letter to Vietnam. Chạo tôm bánh hỏi is prepared in a classic way, with grilled prawn mousse served with an array of fresh herbs, and there is pho, of course.
You'll need to walk to the alley located behind La Taqueria to find this hidden gem. The beach may be missing at this fully covered outdoor taqueria where pebbles crunch underfoot and a shipping container subs in for a bar, but the flavors transport guests to Mexico just the same. Come for a cocktail and the aguachile, but stay for the other winning dishes like a red pozole bobbing with carnitas and plump hominy.
Fable KitchenCuisine: Contemporary
This popular farm-to-table cafe has been drawing crowds to Kitsilano for over a decade. During daytime hours, the team turns out hollandaise-slicked eggs Benedict (and variations), Johnny cakes topped with pulled pork and tomato jam and thickly sliced challah French toast plated with caramelized apples and whipped mascarpone. Dinnertime eats are equally hearty and satisfying, as in a short rib with polenta and grilled leeks.
Fiorino, Italian Street FoodCuisine: Italian
Giovanni "Gio" Mascagni presides over this serious Italian place where the bread-making skills he learned in Tuscany are on full display. At lunch, focaccia sandwiches and schiacciata, like the one stuffed with guanciale, drizzled with honey and spread with walnut crema, are the hot ticket. At dinner, it's all about pasta.
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Kin Kao SongCuisine: Thai
Kin Kao Song's fare is driven by a creative spirit and the region's bounty. The lemongrass wings are a special surprise. These bite-sized beauties are deep fried and tossed in a fragrant lemongrass coating for a flavorful punch that delights. Pad Thai may seem like an obligatory order, but this savory version vies for best in class.
Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft BeerCuisine: Chinese
Longtime local restaurateur Jonathan Lee's vision of pairing classic dim sum with local B.C. craft beer was the impetus behind Little Bird. Of course, there must be dumplings, and Little Bird's run the gamut from traditional (ha gow) to surprising, with sweet corn, cilantro and shrimp. As promised, beer is king here.
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Lunch LadyCuisine: Vietnamese
Much like a grandmother who has prepared a feast for her family, chef Nguyen Thi Thanh exudes a warm, loving presence as she looks over her bustling dining room. She is a long way from Saigon, where she ran a successful food stall, and with her she has brought her charismatic cooking to East Vancouver. At the meal’s end, admirers are quick to approach and thank her like the local celebrity she is.
Here, diners will discover a full list of well-crafted cocktails, local beers and a respectable wine list, along with a menu that roams the world. Executive chef Chanthy Yen brings his unique spin to dishes such as a highly original, East-meets-West congee—creamy and fragrant, it is topped with tender braised fennel and puffed rice.
Oca PastificioCuisine: Contemporary
Although there may be a number of Italian-leaning restaurants and pizza spots scattered around Vancouver, this simple pastificio invites diners to pull up a chair and savor authentic, well-prepared pasta dishes. Tagliatelle with a wine-rosemary braised rabbit ragu is especially satisfying. There is just one dessert, but you'll be pleasantly full already.
Phnom PenhCuisine: Vietnamese/Cambodian
Since 1985, this family-run institution in the heart of Chinatown has dazzled crowds with both Vietnamese and Cambodian dishes. The menu is massive, offering nearly 100 rice, noodle and soup preparations, but everyone knows to lean on the classics. You could almost make a meal out of #71, thin slivers of nearly-raw beef soaking in a tangy mix of pureed pineapple and fish sauce. It’s a deliciously original effort.
Say Mercy!Cuisine: Contemporary
The food here is a mash-up of Italian cooking with a BBQ nudge. Crudo kicks appetites into gear with sweet slices of amberjack in a caper-dill dressing, olive-serrano pepper relish, and wafer-thin fingerling potato chips. Don't even think about passing over the BBQ Bolo—it's nonnegotiable. Short for "bolognese," it's a distinctive dish of house-made spaghetti tossed with pancetta, smoked pork butt and Grana Padana.
When it opened back in 1994, this local staple was at the vanguard of Indian fine dining in North America, and it continues to make a compelling case for the gastronomic riches of the subcontinent. Consider a signature dish of wine-marinated “lamb popsicles” with a fragrant fenugreek sauce, or opt for one of the vegetarian dishes, like a curry made with red bell pepper, portobello mushroom and paneer. A list of unique cocktails offers a perfect foil for the well-spiced cuisine.
Hero image: Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer
© Anthony Pratico/Little Bird Dim Sum + Craft Beer