By Mary Ann Bell
When you think about dining in the Vancouver area we all know about the hottest restaurants with the crazy reservation list, or even worse, the line-ups, but what about when you want an amazing, but more low-key meal? There are so many places to eat in the region that it’s daunting to know where to start, so we’ve done the research for you and are pleased to present the following “undiscovered” restaurants for your dining pleasure.
Historically known by many as a quick stop on the way to BC’s interior, the Blue Moose Coffee House in Hope has transformed this quick pit stop into a stop worthy of taking your time. Located on Wallace Street, in downtown Hope, the Blue Moose offers a warm, welcoming environment to enjoy a Canadian Maple Fog Latte or a cup of Ethical Bean coffee and a cinnamon bun from a local bakery (they’re so good, you’ll want to take some for the road) or a steaming bowl of soup and a sandwich.
The Carvery Sandwich Shop in Surrey claims to be “bringing the soup and sandwich game to a whole new level”, and that is exactly what they’re doing. Tucked away in an industrial area next to a car rental shop and a glass company, The Carvery is dedicated to making scratch meals using local ingredients and meats that are superbly seasoned, and these truly are next level sandwiches! Try the Cubano for juicy pork shoulder, smoky ham and the tang of a dill pickle and mustard. Or the Lambwich Panini, an intoxicating blend of pulled lamb, feta spread and chimichurri sauce on a Ciabatta bun. On weekends, get there early for the BBQ Beef Brisket and Porchetta sandwiches!
Located in Gibsons, on the Sunshine Coast, this BBQ joint is true to it’s name … Smoke on the Water. This small, but mighty shack is situated on the wharf, on the water, and they smoke all of their meat on-site. Owner Chris Van Nus travelled south to Arkansas to learn how to make a great BBQ from a world-champion pit master and it was a success, because the meat is drool-worthy. Choose from pulled pork, brisket or chicken … or share with friends and get a platter with all 3. And be sure to try the Cowboy Beans … you won’t regret it! It’s a tiny place, so there’s no inside seating, but they have a great covered patio.
The word Lelem’ means home in the language of the Kwantlen First Nations and home is exactly what the Lelem’ Arts & Cultural Café in Fort Langley feels like. The café is First Nations owned and operated and the owners are proud to be “offering locally sourced food with a First Nations twist”. Known for their amazing breakfasts, think bannock benny’s, they also have a fantastic lunch selection of soup and sandwiches. We’ve also heard that the Elk stew, alone, is worth a visit. Lelem’ also has a location within the walls at the Historic Fort Langley, and an express location at the Richmond Cultural Centre.
For fine dining in a more low-key, yet still elegant, environment, diners are heading to The Salted Vine Kitchen & Bar in Squamish. The restaurant is located in the oldest building in town, built in 1910, and the decor pays homage to the hardworking and pioneering spirit of the town. The menu consists of share plates with a focus on fresh, sustainable and seasonal ingredients and if on-line reviews are any indication, it’s a winning combination. In fact, the restaurant is up for an award from En Route Canada for best new restaurant in Canada, and was recently awarded Best New Restaurant in the Whistler area by Where Magazine.
This small town bistro in Maple Ridge with a trendy, urban atmosphere is a favourite of locals and definitely worth seeking out! On weekends, expect to wait for a table, but it’s worth it! Whenever possible they make their dishes with locally made, organic ingredients, even going so far as to try to source ingredients from within 100 miles of the restaurant. The Big Feast menu is extensive and delicious. Check out the 100-mile chicken sandwich featuring Fraser Valley chicken and Agassiz hazelnuts (in the bread), try the “Eat It or Beet It” salad, loaded with local veggies or dive into a bowl of raw spaghetti (zucchini noodles) topped with a raw tomato sauce. And, if you can’t get enough, they offer many of their menu items to take home, either frozen or refrigerated.
Published: October 19, 2017
As a tourism marketer and community manager for some of British Columbia’s most spectacular destinations, Mary Ann Bell spends her days writing, tweeting and posting! When she’s not online, Mary Ann can be found exploring Vancouver’s North Shore trails with her family and her camera, and trying new restaurants in the hunt for the best taco in Metro Vancouver.