10:20am Denman and Pendrell
My West End favourite for late brunches, lunches and dinner is Acacia Fillo Bar (1103 Denman Street). This hidden gem serves up eats from Bulgaria including the classic Banitza, which is a Fillo pie made with a variety of stuffings ranging from meat to completely vegetarian. This is the Spinach and Feta Banitza with a side of roasted sweet and regular potatoes. Delicious!
2:05pm Bidwell and Robson
In case you didn’t already know, the West End is one of the best neighbourhoods in the city to indulge in a hot bowl of ramen, Japanese noodle soup that’s taken Vancouver’s foodie culture by storm. One of my favourite ramen shops in the West End is Marutama Ramen (780 Bidwell Street).
This is the classic bowl is called the Tomago Ramen. It has pork chashu, sea lettuce, green onions and their special marinated soft boiled egg all in a chicken broth.
If you want to go all out at Marutama Ramen get the Zenbu Ramen aka “The Works”: It has extra chashu, braised pork belly called Kakuni and that delicious marinated soft boiled egg. Yum!
If your not looking to have pork in your ramen, has Tan Men which is loaded with cabbage, greens, snap peas and mushrooms. To kick up your ramen you can add toasted garlic chips, sesame seeds and Japanese chili pepper – and of course I add a egg!
7:15pm Denman and Haro
Let’s head over to Kingyo Izakaya (871 Denman Street) for dinner this evening. Kingyo has been a West End institution since opening over 10 years ago and was one of the first Japanese Izakaya restaurants to make the neighbourhood home.
The vibe is laid back with a urban interior incorporating natural materials and textures. Once inside, you feel like you’re in an oasis from the hustle and bustle of Denman Street.
While you can get sushi at Kingyo Izakaya, it’s not your average rolled type. This is the pressed Snow Crab sushi with ikura salmon roe, ponzu jelly, radish sprouts, tobiko, shiso and wasabi mayo.
One of my favourite dishes and something I order on every visit to Kingyo Izakaya is the Japanese Izakaya classic Ebi Mayo! How can you go wrong with plump tiger prawns battered and deep fried till golden brown then filled with a delicious chili mayo and garnished with chili threads and paprika.
Another Kingyo Izakaya favourite of mine even though it’s blazing hot outside is the Kanazawa Pork Cutlet Curry. This Japanese curry is spicy but has a slight sweetness to the curry unlike Indian curry, they fry the pork cutlet up so it nice and crispy but still really nice and juicy and serve it with a traditional shredded cabbage salad and housemate pickles.