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Vancouver: a food lover's paradise

29th November 2012

By Cinda Chavich and Suzanne Morphett

A destination as active as Vancouver gives you plenty of ways to work up an appetite, which is a good thing given the city’s justifiably lauded dining scene. Vancouver’s chefs use the region’s best seasonal ingredients and combine them with traditional techniques and multicultural influence to delicious effect.

The seafood is especially outstanding – whether it’s a salmon barbecue or a sophisticated scallop ceviche, it’s not to be missed. Pair it all with international award winning British Columbian wines and micro-brewed beers to get a unique taste of the city. And don’t let the evening end when your plates are cleared; Vancouver has a vibrant cocktail scene worthy of exploration. Whether you prefer a jazz performance, dance clubs, catching a game at a sports bar, or a quiet nightcap, you won’t be disappointed.

Vancouver has embraced the LA/Portland/New York love of street food, with its own take on sidewalk-side dining. While you stroll the city’s walkable downtown this summer you will find approximately 40 operational food carts to nosh from, not including the ubiquitous hot dog carts. Most of the carts are clustered around the Vancouver Art Gallery and in the downtown financial district (Burrard and Dunsmuir streets). Some are in Yaletown, some down in Coal Harbour and even one in Gastown. For those inclined, take a multistop tour of mobile eats.

Chef-guided culinary walking tours and cooking classes give foodies plenty to do away from the table. For the true cook, a visit to Granville Island is a must. The centerpiece of the island experience is Granville Island Public Market which houses a diverse array of vendors, green grocers, butchers, backers, fishmongers, cheese specialists, sweet stands and many more including Canada’s only artisan Sake distillery.

However, for the ultimate way to combine cuisine and sightseeing, try a floatplane “fly and dine” tour. Take in aerial views of the mountains, fjords and ocean before docking on the water and enjoying an oceanfront seafood dinner.

Of course, a visit to Vancouver wouldn’t be complete without absorbing the relaxed spirit of the locals. The city’s beaches are favorite spots for contemplation – just grab a coffee and take a seat along one of the many logs or benches that line the waterfront to take in the unique view of sky-scraping buildings, flanked by mountains and water. And it’s right here that you’ll reflect on the great meals you have had, understanding why this city is regularly ranked Canada’s top dining city and as one of the most liveable places in the world. Vancouver is an easy place to visit, but a hard place to leave.

- Travel Associates