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Where to Eat Ramps Right Now in Vancouver

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Keeping things seasonal, Globe and Mail restaurant critic Alexandra Gill takes a look at one of the city's most popular spring offerings.
RampsMap.jpg

If it's spring, you should be eating ramps. Also known as wild leeks, the leafy bulb is the one of the first green edibles to pop up in the woods of Eastern Canada and the United States. They taste like mild green onions, but smell so strongly of garlic that a single plant could scare off an entire vampire coven.
Vancouver kitchens source their sustainably harvested ramps from Mikuni Wild Harvest, a local company that procures foraged foods for the crème de la crème of celebrity chefs, including Mario Batali, Daniel Boulud and Thomas Keller.

Mikuni's Tyler Gray told us that he gets his "beautiful" ramps from a forager named Crazy Harry in West Virginia, where the plant grows abundantly. "He treats them like babies. The diggers can crush the leaves, giving them a very short shelf life. But Crazy Harry is very careful in how he handles them."

Beware: ramps can be polarizing. In the words of award-winning food writer Jane Snow, they're redolent of "fried green onions with a dash of funky feet". The only way to figure out if you're a fan or not is to try them. In no particular order, here are the restaurants currently serving them.
Have we missed one of your ramp favourites? Tell us about the dish in the comments or on the tipline


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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Campagnolo

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1020 Main St, Vancouver
BC V6A 2W1, Canada
(604) 484-6018
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This rustic Italian trattoria on the rough edges of the East End is pureeing their ramp leaves and making pasta dough out of it. It’s usually served with fennel sausage, fava beans, pecorino and butter.

2. Secret Location

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1 Water St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2H9, Canada
(604) 685-0090
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“Creativity never sleeps” is the chef’s motto at this chic laboratory inspired by avant-garde Spanish cuisine. And like most dishes on his three, five and ten-course tasting menus, these ramps are far from ordinary. They’re extracted into oil and blended with tobacco tea and Dijon mustard for salsa verde served aside bison steak.

3. Giovane Café + Wine Bar

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1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver
BC V6C 0B9, Canada
(604) 695-5300
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Ramps will be going into a different dish every day of the season at this modern Italian hotel wine bar. So far, the kitchen has made spelt gnocchi with pickled ramps, agnolotti with ramp romesco sauce and flatbread with tallegio and pickled ramps.

4. Mosaic Bar & Grille

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655 Burrard St, Vancouver
BC V6C 2R7, Canada
(604) 639-4770
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Adventurous palates can double their pleasure at this forward-thinking downtown hotel restaurant by ordering charred ramps sautéed with gooseneck barnacles.

5. Hawksworth Restaurant

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801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
BC V6P 1C7, Canada
(604) 673-7000
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Vancouver’s preeminent upscale restaurant goes through a ton of ramps each year. How? Let us count the ways: pickled bulbs in potato and jalapeno soup; as a garnish on terrine; and pureed leaves served with pan-seared striped bass.

6. España Restaurant

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1118 Denman St., Vancouver
BC V6G 2M8, Canada
(604) 558-4040
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Ramps are used to perfume the daily paella at this happening West End tapas joint. Chef Neil Taylor adds the bulbs for the last five minutes, infusing the rice with a sweet, garlicky kick.

7. The Farmer’s Apprentice

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1529 W 6th Ave, Vancouver
BC V6J 1R1, Canada
(604) 620-2070
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Expect the unexpected at this small, Nordic-style room that recently swept the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Here, the bulbs are pickled in vermouth and apricot beer. The leaves are used for pesto or as an herb on the daily changing menu, dictated by whatever the farmers and foragers provide.

8. Fable

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1944 W 4th Ave, Vancouver
BC, Canada
(604) 732-1322
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Owner Trevor Bird, a former Top Chef Canada finalist, is always up to a challenge. He uses several ways – grilled, pureed, roasted and pickled – to pump up his gnocchi-like gnudi with multiple textures.

9. Ufficio

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3687 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
BC V6R 1P2, Canada
At this drool-worthy Kitsilano enoteca, the ramps are lightly blanched and dipped in balsamic – just like the Italians do with cipollini onions. You’ll also find them pickled on the wildly popular antipasti boards.

1. Campagnolo

1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2W1, Canada
This rustic Italian trattoria on the rough edges of the East End is pureeing their ramp leaves and making pasta dough out of it. It’s usually served with fennel sausage, fava beans, pecorino and butter.
1020 Main St, Vancouver
BC V6A 2W1, Canada

2. Secret Location

1 Water St., Vancouver, BC V6B 2H9, Canada
“Creativity never sleeps” is the chef’s motto at this chic laboratory inspired by avant-garde Spanish cuisine. And like most dishes on his three, five and ten-course tasting menus, these ramps are far from ordinary. They’re extracted into oil and blended with tobacco tea and Dijon mustard for salsa verde served aside bison steak.
1 Water St., Vancouver
BC V6B 2H9, Canada

3. Giovane Café + Wine Bar

1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B9, Canada
Ramps will be going into a different dish every day of the season at this modern Italian hotel wine bar. So far, the kitchen has made spelt gnocchi with pickled ramps, agnolotti with ramp romesco sauce and flatbread with tallegio and pickled ramps.
1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver
BC V6C 0B9, Canada

4. Mosaic Bar & Grille

655 Burrard St, Vancouver, BC V6C 2R7, Canada
Adventurous palates can double their pleasure at this forward-thinking downtown hotel restaurant by ordering charred ramps sautéed with gooseneck barnacles.
655 Burrard St, Vancouver
BC V6C 2R7, Canada

5. Hawksworth Restaurant

801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6P 1C7, Canada
Vancouver’s preeminent upscale restaurant goes through a ton of ramps each year. How? Let us count the ways: pickled bulbs in potato and jalapeno soup; as a garnish on terrine; and pureed leaves served with pan-seared striped bass.
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
BC V6P 1C7, Canada

6. España Restaurant

1118 Denman St., Vancouver, BC V6G 2M8, Canada
Ramps are used to perfume the daily paella at this happening West End tapas joint. Chef Neil Taylor adds the bulbs for the last five minutes, infusing the rice with a sweet, garlicky kick.
1118 Denman St., Vancouver
BC V6G 2M8, Canada

7. The Farmer’s Apprentice

1529 W 6th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1R1, Canada
Expect the unexpected at this small, Nordic-style room that recently swept the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. Here, the bulbs are pickled in vermouth and apricot beer. The leaves are used for pesto or as an herb on the daily changing menu, dictated by whatever the farmers and foragers provide.
1529 W 6th Ave, Vancouver
BC V6J 1R1, Canada

8. Fable

1944 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC, Canada
Owner Trevor Bird, a former Top Chef Canada finalist, is always up to a challenge. He uses several ways – grilled, pureed, roasted and pickled – to pump up his gnocchi-like gnudi with multiple textures.
1944 W 4th Ave, Vancouver
BC, Canada

9. Ufficio

3687 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6R 1P2, Canada
At this drool-worthy Kitsilano enoteca, the ramps are lightly blanched and dipped in balsamic – just like the Italians do with cipollini onions. You’ll also find them pickled on the wildly popular antipasti boards.
3687 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
BC V6R 1P2, Canada