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Vancouver's Essential 38 Restaurants, October 2013

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It's time to unveil Vancouver's first Eater 38, the answer to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This group covers the entire city, spans a myriad of cuisines and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs. Every quarter, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be at least six months old - and the list is in no particular order), or have stepped up their game.

Got beef with the list? State your case in the comments or on the tipline. Oh, don't forget to take a look at the Vancouver Heatmap - maybe that's where your much-loved newly-opened restaurant is? .


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Raincity Grill

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1193 Denman St., Vancouver
British Columbia V6G 2N1, Canada
(604) 685-7337
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The original 100-mile-diet restaurant which launched the B.C. holy trinity of 'seasonal, local and sustainable' which Vancouverites faithfully worship. Their take-out summer fish and chips window is probably the best bargain to be had in the West End.

2. Kingyo Izakaya

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871 Denman St, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L9, Canada
(604) 608-1677
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The essential Vancouver Izakaya experience. Get there at lunch to score one of the Deluxe Bento Boxes (only 10 made each day) to try a whole heap of absolutely everything. At night time, prepare to queue: soak up the noisy atmosphere, over-order. Stay late.

3. La Belle Patate

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1215 Davie Street, Vancouver
BC V6E 1N4, Canada
(604) 569-1215
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Before any Montrealers protest yes, of course, the only authentic poutine is your poutine. That said, the Montreal smoked meat sandwiches here are a good second choice to getting on a plane to Schwartz's and really - the poutine is fantastic. Open till 3am Fri and Sat. Unmissable hangover-avoidance fodder.

4. Forage

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120-1300 Robson, Vancouver
BC V6E 1C5, Canada
(604) 661-1400
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Chef Chris Whittaker probably walks the sustainable walk more than any other Vancouver chef, obsessing over all things foraged, locally-farmed and seasonal. With an award-winning restaurant packed with energy-efficient gizmos and a seriously-impressive zero-landfill waste record since they opened last November this is absolutely the place to bring your eco-friends.

5. Tableau Bar Bistro

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1181 Melville St., Vancouver
BC V6E 0A3, Canada
(604) 669-5060
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One of those places that effortlessly seems able to be the idea brunch, lunch, date dinner or hanging-with-friends destination. Chef Marc-Andre Choquette’s (ex-of the much-mourned Lumière) deft work in the kitchen translates French bistro standards into Vancouver classics.

6. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

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777 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Canada V6E 3V5, Canada
(604) 669-1940
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Top-notch, friendly service added to outstanding value (the daily $9.95 Blue Plate specials and Appy Hours are a serious end-of-the-month tip) make this one of the city's best choices for entertaining out-of-town visitors or just treating yourself to a damn good unpretentious meal.

7. The Roof, Black + Blue

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1032 Alberni St., Vancouver
BC V6E 1A3, Canada
(604) 637-0777
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A year-round West Coast treat. On good days bask in the sunshine, when the rain comes, cosy up and watch the flames of the wood-fire grill as it cooks up steaks and skewers with all-essential Vancouver sides of kale and quinoa.

8. Meat & Bread

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1033 West Pender, Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 566-9003
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Yes, they may do daily specials, but good luck going there and resisting the lure of their insanely good Porchetta sandwich. Juicy tender pork and crunchy skin spangled with house-made salsa verde and stuffed into a fresh-baked ciabatta roll. [Photo Credit]

9. Hy's Steakhouse

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637 Hornby St., Vancouver
BC V6C 2G2, Canada
(604) 683-7671
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A gloriously old-school subterranean window-less lair that Don Draper would absolutely love. Order up steak and martinis, get a caesar salad made table-side and admire the city's only open-flame charcoal-grill.

10. Hawksworth Restaurant

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801 W. Georgia St., Vancouver
BC V6P 1C7, Canada
(604) 673-7000
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The city's love of all things casual stops at the door here: nowhere in Vancouver has such an beautiful room to enjoy truly fine dining. No Lululemon, please. Chef David Hawksworth's elegant creations pair perfectly with the surroundings.

11. The Mexican

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1049 Granville St., Vancouver
BC BC V6Z, Canada
(604) 569-0955
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In a swirling sea of hipster taco joints the Mexican is a reliable, affordable and downright delicious choice. Worth a visit for the chicharrón de queso alone. [Photo Credit]

12. Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca

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1133 Hamilton St., Vancouver
BC V6B 5P6, Canada
(604) 688-7466
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If you want to be treated to some of the very best Italian food in Canada then have Pino Posteraro's Chefs Menu and don't even think about the expense. Yes, it's 'Occasion Dining' but Cioppino's is exactly what birthdays, anniversaries and credit cards were invented for. [Photo Credit]

13. Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

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1095 Hamilton St., Vancouver
BC V6B 5T4, Canada
(604) 688-8078
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With a joint team of executive chef Frank Pabst leading the way in the kitchen and Yoshiya Maruyama heading up the sushi bar; raw or cooked, the fish is the star. A little pricey but worth every cent.

14. Chambar

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562 Beatty St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2L3, Canada
(604) 879-7119
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The restaurant that spawned almost every other great opening in town from Bao Bei to Meat and Bread. Chef Nico Schuermans has created the archetypal Vancouver 'casual fine dining' restaurant with a relaxed room and a menu that effortlessly hops from BC-flavoured French classics to Belgian moules-frites. Also known for serving the city's best tajine.

15. Wildebeest

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120 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
BC V6B 1G8, Canada
(604) 687-6880
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Yes, they have vegetarian options on the menu, but Chef Wesley Young's meat-centric menu will mostly delight carnivores. And there is plenty to be delighted by: bison tartare, Angus short ribs, dry-aged ribeyes... up the stakes: order the roasted bone marrow and luge it with sherry to savour every last meaty drop. [Photo Credit]

16. Salt Tasting Room

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45 Blood Alley, Vancouver
BC Canada, Canada
(604) 633-1912
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As an introduction to West Coast flavours this can't be beaten. Mix and match the B.C. platter; cheese, charcuterie and wine paired with house-made or locally-supplied condiments.

17. L'Abattoir

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217 Carrall St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2J2, Canada
(604) 568-1701
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You may come for Shaun Layton's exceptional cocktails (the Gastown Swizzle is a must for newcomers), but you'll probably want to stay for chef and co-owner Lee Cooper's French-inspired simple cooking. Ultra-cool but not try-hard.

18. The Irish Heather

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212 Carrall St, Vancouver
BC Canada, Canada
(604) 688-9779
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The ideal combination of Anglo-Irish pub-grub and vibe with locally-sourced and lovingly prepared B.C. ingredients. The bangers and mash are excellent, nothing beats the pies on a cold day and definitely pop into the hidden Shebeen Whisky house at the back for a small-but-perfect treat.

19. Pidgin

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350 Carrall Street, Vancouver
BC V6B2J3, Canada
(604) 620-9400
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Instead of focussing on, say, tax-dodging conglomerates or mega-chain, union-busting corporations, the DTES anti-gentrification protesters have decide to set up camp outside PiDGiN, a small restaurant from Canadian Culinary Championships Gold Medal Plates winner, Makoto Ono. Go figure. Brave the placards and see why food-lovers are in an uproar over this menu which blurs the lines between fine dining/casual and Asian/European cooking styles. Pleasingly affordable, open late and a 'shall-we-try-them-all?' cocktail programme.

20. Nicli Antica Pizzeria

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62 E Cordova St., Vancouver
BC V6A 1K2, Canada
(604) 669-6985
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If you've never been to Naples at least you can close your eyes and imagine that you're there at Vancouver's first VPN-certified Neapolitan pizza restaurant. The Chef David Tozer's Bianca is a garlic-lover's dream.

21. Bao Bei

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163 Keefer St, Vancouver
Canada, Canada
(604) 688-0876
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Listen out for the tell-tale sound of woks crashing in the kitchen; the decor may be modern but the technique is traditional at Tannis Ling's popular Chinatown brasserie. Excellent cocktails, generously-proportioned sharing plates and "Kick Ass House-Fried Rice".

22. Phnom Penh

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244 East Georgia Street, Vancouver
BC V6A 1Z7, Canada
(604) 682-5777
Go with friends and order large at this well-priced hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese-Cambodian. You'll definitely want the deep-fried crunchy chicken wings (it's the dipping sauce that make it amazing). The beef luc lac with egg and rice and garlic squid are particularly fine too. [Photo Credit]

23. Campagnolo

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1020 Main St., Vancouver
BC V6A 2W1, Canada
(604) 484-6018
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Rustic Italian comfort food so damn comforting elastic-waisted apparel is recommended. Must-try item: the pork ragu tagliatelle. More heart-warming than a Frank Capra marathon. [Photo Credit]

24. Sula

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1128 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
BC V5L 3X2, Canada
Possibly the only place in B.C. to serve authentic British-style balti curry. Previously known as Palki, this is a solid Commercial Drive neighbourhood choice. [Photo Credit]

25. Pelican Seafood Restaurant

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1891 E Hastings St, Vancouver
BC V5L 1T3, Canada
(604) 251-3395
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It's 1am, you want beer and dim sum but where to go? There is only one place: that rare Vancouver bird, the Pelican. You'll probably bump into all the staff from your favourite Gastown restaurant here. Open till 2am, it's not gourmet but it's still pretty damn good. Photo Credit]

26. The Red Wagon

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2296 East Hastings St, Vancouver
BC V5L 1V4, Canada
(604) 568-4565
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Tucked away in an as yet un-developed corner of Hastings-Sunrise, Red Wagon is one of the city’s best and most affordable places for an uncomplicated and flat-out delicious breakfast, brunch or dinner. Diner-style dishes done without any artsy frills - JD-spiked maple syrup is probably as fancy as it gets - and you really need to have that hosed over your pulled pork pancakes. [Photo Credit]

27. Les Faux Bourgeois Bistro

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663 E. 15th Ave, Vancouver
BC V5T 2R6, Canada
(604) 873-9733
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Probably one of the toughest reservations to score in town thanks to its loyal local clientele. Great prices and an impressive take on French bistro cookery make the Fo'Bo a solid choice for a 'No Cash But Want to Impress' date night pick.

28. The Acorn

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3995 Main St, Vancouver
BC V5V 3P3, Canada
(604) 566-9001
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Beloved by vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. You won't pout over the lack of quivering protein on your plate when you have treats like the raw zucchini tagliatelle to enjoy. [Photo Credit]

29. Zakkushi Charcoal Grill

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4075 Main St., Vancouver
BC V5V 3P6, Canada
(604) 874-9455
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It’s all about the charcoal grill at this Main Street favourite. Make a reservation (and prepare to wait anyway) and definitely take a group because you’ll want to eat everything. Especially the US kobe tsukune & cheese tsukune. Organic protein options make this a guilt-free pick- all-too-rare in the Asian dining community.

30. Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant

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4589 Main St, Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 873-3345
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The signature Pho Bo Satay at this cash-only Main Street Pho-lovers delight is fabulous. End squabbling over where in town has the best Pho by coming here. The crunchy-spicy-juicy shrimp cake is also a must-have.

31. Long's Noodle House

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4853 Main St, Vancouver
Canada, Canada
(604) 879-7879
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Server Sandy is a force of nature at this Shanghainese standard: be guided by her, heck, she'll tell you what to have anyway. The XLB 'soup' dumplings are particularly good as is the 'drunken chicken' which is served a little warm rather than chilled.

32. Au Petit Cafe

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4851 Main Street, Vancouver
Canada V5V 3R9, Canada
(604) 873-3328
The queue outside tells you that you're in the right place as the slightly unassuming signage could make you think otherwise. Delicious and cheap bánh mì just like mama made it - if mama came from Vietnam that is. [Photo Credit]

33. Vij's Rangoli

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1480 W 11th Ave., Vancouver
BC V6H 1L1, Canada
(604) 736-6664
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AKA Vij's Without the Queue or Vij's at Half the Price. No, you’ll not get the famous lamb popsicles but you will get the same beautifully-balanced Indian food but with more of a casual take than a fine dining experience. [Photo Credit]

34. Maenam

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1938 West 4th Ave, Vancouver
British Columbia V6J 1M7, Canada
(604) 730-5579
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Chef Angus An's deft flavour-balancing act of sweet, aromatic, citrus, heat and spice creates plate-lickingly great Thai dishes with a BC-twist. Absurdly cheap; the $10 fermented Thai sausage and curried rice puff salad is your new favourite thing.

35. Fable

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1944 W. 4th Ave., Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 732-1322
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Living the locavore dream on West 4th, the hype around chef Trevor Bird’s farm to table cooking is deserved. Excellent service and decent price points make this a genuine neighbourhood favourite. Booking is essential for the Boozy Brunch sessions (last Sunday of the month) which always sell out. [Photo Credit]

36. La Quercia

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3689 W 4th Ave., Vancouver
BC V6R 1P2, Canada
(604) 676-1007
Northern Italian done absolutely right by Adam Pegg - the first chef in Canada to do a Slow Food Masters in Italy - and oh, how it shows. Order alla famiglia - let them decide what you want - whatever’s fresh and available that day. But make a point of requesting their legendary agnolotti di Guido.

37. Ajisai Sushi Bar

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2081 W 42nd Ave., Vancouver
BC V6M 2B4, Canada
(604) 266-1428
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Excellent selection of unusual vegetarian sushi and the city’s most delicious chopped scallop. One of the best ‘hole in the wall’ neighbourhood sushi joints turning out spectacularly fresh and well-priced food. [Photo Credit]

38. Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood Restaurant

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8171 Westminster Hwy, Richmond
BC, Canada
(604) 276-9229
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Jump on the Canada Line to Brighouse to try this authentic Hong Kong dining club experience - reservations are essential. Veteran chef Yuitong Leung is over 70 years old, cooking for the sheer pleasure of it for an adoring room of regulars. The clientele of bedazzled, high-powered ex-Hong Kong elite is as much the draw as the food for fascinated people-watchers. [Photo Credit]

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1. Raincity Grill

1193 Denman St., Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 2N1, Canada
The original 100-mile-diet restaurant which launched the B.C. holy trinity of 'seasonal, local and sustainable' which Vancouverites faithfully worship. Their take-out summer fish and chips window is probably the best bargain to be had in the West End.
1193 Denman St., Vancouver
British Columbia V6G 2N1, Canada

2. Kingyo Izakaya

871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L9, Canada
The essential Vancouver Izakaya experience. Get there at lunch to score one of the Deluxe Bento Boxes (only 10 made each day) to try a whole heap of absolutely everything. At night time, prepare to queue: soak up the noisy atmosphere, over-order. Stay late.
871 Denman St, Vancouver
BC V6G 2L9, Canada

3. La Belle Patate

1215 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N4, Canada
Before any Montrealers protest yes, of course, the only authentic poutine is your poutine. That said, the Montreal smoked meat sandwiches here are a good second choice to getting on a plane to Schwartz's and really - the poutine is fantastic. Open till 3am Fri and Sat. Unmissable hangover-avoidance fodder.
1215 Davie Street, Vancouver
BC V6E 1N4, Canada

4. Forage

120-1300 Robson, Vancouver, BC V6E 1C5, Canada
Chef Chris Whittaker probably walks the sustainable walk more than any other Vancouver chef, obsessing over all things foraged, locally-farmed and seasonal. With an award-winning restaurant packed with energy-efficient gizmos and a seriously-impressive zero-landfill waste record since they opened last November this is absolutely the place to bring your eco-friends.
120-1300 Robson, Vancouver
BC V6E 1C5, Canada

5. Tableau Bar Bistro

1181 Melville St., Vancouver, BC V6E 0A3, Canada
One of those places that effortlessly seems able to be the idea brunch, lunch, date dinner or hanging-with-friends destination. Chef Marc-Andre Choquette’s (ex-of the much-mourned Lumière) deft work in the kitchen translates French bistro standards into Vancouver classics.
1181 Melville St., Vancouver
BC V6E 0A3, Canada

6. Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

777 Thurlow St, Vancouver, Canada V6E 3V5, Canada
Top-notch, friendly service added to outstanding value (the daily $9.95 Blue Plate specials and Appy Hours are a serious end-of-the-month tip) make this one of the city's best choices for entertaining out-of-town visitors or just treating yourself to a damn good unpretentious meal.
777 Thurlow St, Vancouver
Canada V6E 3V5, Canada

7. The Roof, Black + Blue

1032 Alberni St., Vancouver, BC V6E 1A3, Canada
A year-round West Coast treat. On good days bask in the sunshine, when the rain comes, cosy up and watch the flames of the wood-fire grill as it cooks up steaks and skewers with all-essential Vancouver sides of kale and quinoa.
1032 Alberni St., Vancouver
BC V6E 1A3, Canada

8. Meat & Bread

1033 West Pender, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Yes, they may do daily specials, but good luck going there and resisting the lure of their insanely good Porchetta sandwich. Juicy tender pork and crunchy skin spangled with house-made salsa verde and stuffed into a fresh-baked ciabatta roll. [Photo Credit]
1033 West Pender, Vancouver
BC, Canada

9. Hy's Steakhouse

637 Hornby St., Vancouver, BC V6C 2G2, Canada