On a girls’ roadtrip to Vancouver this month, we took in the sights with a city tour, got our share of culture at the Museum of Anthropology, and immersed ourselves in Vancouver character and charm via Airbnb. By the end of the weekend, we both agreed the food was the highlight of our brief getaway!
As always, I like to share my gluten-free finds for the benefit of other travelers – even though Vancouver, like all the other west cost metropolises, was a piece of cake in terms of finding restaurants that serve fresh, real-food cuisine. Nevertheless, I hope a few recommendations from me to you help you have a relaxed and enjoyable trip to the great city of Vancouver, Canada.
where? trendy Gastown
what? tapas and small plates incorporating PNW and traditional Spanish tastes
why? lots of fresh veggies like the zucchini carpachio with artichoke hearts and a tasty tomato sauce or the beet, orange and goat cheese salad
would I go back? Yes, best paella I’ve had in a long time!
2. The Belgard Kitchen inside the Urban Winery
where? Railtown, just east of Gastown
what? hipster PNW brunch all the way
why? the perfect poached egg
would I go back? definitely, a fun space and a lot of interesting menu choices for grain-free, vegetarian, low-carb, etc.
where? tourist central, Granville Island
what? Large indoor farmers market where you can find just about anything your little heart desires
why? we picked up some fruit and fresh made gluten-free granola for breakfast in our airbnb apartment
would I go back? Yea, although it has a tourist trap vibe, the prices were actually decent (ok, except for the imported exotic fruits) and it was a convenient place to pick up fresh produce without driving out to the suburbs and finding a supermarket.
where? preppy Yaletown marina
what? the busiest of many waterfront cafes open for Sunday brunch
why? Large selection of healthy brunch choices to fit every dietary wishlist
would I go back? No, although I appreciated the health factor (and felt satisfied and energetic through an afternoon at a museum), they kind of missed an opportunity for flavor. For example, my dish of poached eggs, smoked salmon, tomato, avocado and fresh fruit would have benefited from a spicy chili sauce or a fresh green herb sauce to tie everything together and provide some kick.
On the way home to Seattle we stopped at my favorite gluten-free pizza joint: the Skagit Valley Brewery in Mt. Vernon. With a gf crust so convincing that I can share with a regular pizza lover, I wasn’t too upset to be passing by around dinner time for the fourth time this year! My favorite pizza is the Padilla Bay, topped with prosciutto, rosemary, feta and big slices of fresh tomato. (Note of caution: although I am a big fan of their pizza, I have gotten sick from their bbq sauce in the past and several yelp reviews mention that severs have seem unsure about gluten-free-ness. Stick with the pizza. )
Next time around
I don’t usually have a “next time” section, but I got so many recommendations that I think I’ll have to go back and check out these places:
Chill Winston – Locavore, sustainable, organic, etc gastropub in GasTown – recommended by our tour guide as one his fan favorites. The tuna tartar with puffed rice crackers looks delicious!
SMAK Fast – Not sure how we missed this one, it wasn’t far from our Airbnb place, but apparently SMAK is a dedicated gluten-free, health conscious, “sustainable” fast food restaurant (hopefully someday a chain that migrates down to Seattle). With reasonable prices and menu items like the Salmon SMAK box (House-Cured Wild Salmon Lox, avocado, spinach, seeds mix, pickled kelp noodles, Thai slaw, a salmon nori wrap, with sesame dressing), I am going to make a point to go here next time I am in Vancouver.
Samuri Sushi – Recommended by a friend – we just didn’t make it in this area, but sushi is usually an ok bet (if I avoid anything fried or suspiciously soy sauce looking) and this place has sort of a fun menu for your more adventurous dining companions.
Do you have a favorite Vancouver restaurant that you think I will love? Share it in the comments below and help a girl out 🙂