Seattle Essentials: Vancouver restaurants

One of my favorite things about Seattle is not even in Seattle. Vancouver is just a two hour drive north, across the border to Canada. Even though the U.S. dollar is not as strong versus the Canadian dollar as it was just a few years back, the ratio is still such that Vancouver is a better city for foodies than Seattle itself.


That's not to discount the restaurants in Vancouver. For Asian dining, Vancouver is both literally and figuratively north of Seattle. This weekend I took a last minute getaway up to Vancouver with Eric and Christina and feasted at every meal as if it was my last. Our first dinner was at Bin 941, cousin to Bin 942, both tapas parlours.
bin-941-flanksteakWe sat at the bar in front of the kitchen to watch the chefs at work. The food was heavenly, especially the cinnamon chili rub Texas Flank Steak, maple syrup chipotle sauce, charred baby bok choy, cucumber salsa, tobiko, served with Yukon Gold pepper pommes frites. It was so delicious we ordered it twice.
Other gems... confit, warm nugget potato, pancetta, goat cheese and truffled sping bean salad, cinzano fresh cherry vinaigrette
...Fresh Charlotte Island Halibut filet, lemon fleur de sel crust, smoked halibut croquettes, spiked tomato "cocktail sauce", watercress garnish.
...white chocolate cheesecake (I can't remember the full name anymore, but the flavor lives on)
We ate until we could barely walk anymore, and it still came out to under $30 a person with a full bottle of wine, dessert, and post-meal libations.
ramenToday, our eyes and appetites were so greedy we ate two lunches, one at Kintaro Ramen (why no gourmet ramen bars in Seattle?) and another at the Malaysian gem Banana Leaf (like Seattle's Malay Satay, but superior). If we had had time to stay until dinner, we would have hit one of the local izakaya like one of the three Guu locations (izakaya are Japanese pubs that serve pub food/tapas; sadly, I know of none in Seattle), and if we had another morning, we would have grabbed dim sum in nearby Richmond, the dim sum epicenter of North America. If we'd had a hankering for Thai, you would have found us at Montri, no question. Korean? Jang Mo Jib. Chinese? Green Village. Prix Fixe? Cru.
We did rent mopeds and ride around town on Saturday, but in hindsight, I must confess that I think we drove all the way up there just to eat. For Seattle foodies with a hankering for new culinary frontiers, there are few better ways to spend a weekend.