Vancouver is home to a lot of restaurants and bars, but there are tons of hidden gems that the majority of Vancouverites aren't unearthing. To help guide us to these potential discoveries, we've enlisted some of our city's food players to share their recommendations for a feature dubbed Dining Confidential. Know a chef who wants to share some top dining spots? The tipline is open.
Where do you like to go to eat?
Gorilla; it's a couple of blocks away from the hotel, it's just a little tiny place, kind of underground, it's a raw, vegan/veg place. They're about to move into a second location about a block from Cuchillo too with a larger commissary.
How did you find out about it?
I've started to hang out with people who are in that world of health and wellness and it's a go-to place for them. It's all about wholesome food that makes you feel good.
What is it about it that you like?
I love that style of food; nutrient-dense, plant-based cooking, it's so unique, everything they do is raw, vegan or vegetarian. It doesn't use traditional food stuff, so if they have a nut garnish they dehydrate the nuts, have it with a date paste so it's a sweet and salty and delicious. They make their own bread, but it's a sunflower sprouted one that's incredible. It's not a bread that's leavened - not like yeast - it's a raw flatbread. So, say you have a sandwich, it's not a traditional one, like at Meat & Bread, it's a raw flatbread with a bunch of different spreads and sprouts.
What do you order when you go there?
It's really a lunch-time spot, they don't open for dinner, so they are famous for their sandwiches and incredible soups and salads which have 15 or 16 ingredients in them. I go and have their daily feature, which is usually a ragù or bean or legume dish. It's become my staple, healthy middle-of-the day meal which I want after a run around Stanley Park.
You're basically renouncing butter, aren't you?
No! Not at all, I had a big bowl of buttered popcorn last night, but the fastest thing for us chefs to eat is what's at our fingertips - which may not always be the healthiest thing - day after day. I used to be a lot heavier and decided that I didn't want to be the fat chef, I wanted to be the fit chef. You have to balance your diet with all that indulgence; say I have a burger and fries - what I really want! - I'll have a lull afterwards and I need to get energy before a busy service, so it makes sense to eat easily digestible food which you can draw nutrients from quickly and turn that fuel into energy. And it's delicious!