Archive for July, 2006

To rent or to buy a home?

Monday, July 24th, 2006

The stakes get higher as prices continue to soar


Renting can free funds for other investments

TORONTO — Staking a claim in the Canadian housing market has never been this expensive, and it’s enough to make some prospective buyers consider renting a long-term home — but is renting going to save money or is buying still worth the investment?

Financial planners say both are viable options, depending on your lifestyle choice and personal discipline.

Today’s hot housing market has challenges that, while always present, are especially prominent, says Adrian Mastracci, investment counsel at KCM Wealth Management in Vancouver.

He said common struggles include finding an appealing home and then getting it at an affordable price.

“Today there’s more pressure to make your best offer first, and you don’t get the chance to come back with a counteroffer, usually,” Mastracci said.

“The danger is always that the market gets away on you. If it gets away and prices rise dramatically, as they have in certain locales across Canada, it really hurts when you go and plunk your money down on the table for your first purchase.”

According to a recent housing-affordability report by RBC Economics, home prices continued rising faster than incomes during the second quarter.

B.C. remained the least affordable province, but Alberta’s energy boom sent its prices up about 25 per cent, with the cost of a two-storey home jumping $28,000 in just three months.

However, even in a torrid market “you shouldn’t think this is really going to be the end-all and be-all, your best investment,” Mastracci cautions.

“It may not be — especially if you buy at a high time.”

Over 20 to 30 years, most homeowners might get an annualized return of four to six per cent, he estimates.

“If you buy today and, lo and behold, real-estate values roll back, you’re not going to look like such a great investment manager for a while.”

But with the right approach, renting can benefit Canadians working on a strict budget.

Typically these are younger professionals establishing their lives, says Joel Natareno, a regional sales manager for the Bank of Montreal.

Without home ownership tying them down, they’re free to travel wherever jobs are, don’t have to worry about maintaining a house and can concentrate on financial investments such as stocks and bonds.

“From a renter’s point of view, you’ll be able to sock away a little more if you’re looking at putting away a down payment on a house — or just enjoy living a little better as well.”

But Natareno adds: “We’re finding people aren’t saving that much more; they’re probably just spending more.”

That can put renters under financial stress, especially as they age toward retirement.

A poor investment could put a tenant’s future at risk, even with a substantial savings rate.

Natareno warns that most retirement-age Canadians couldn’t live comfortably while paying rent if they were simply depending on their pensions.

It would be hard to pay the rent and maintain the “heightened lifestyle” that many are accustomed to, he says.

Natareno doubts that the rate of home price increases in recent years can be sustained, but suggests now would be “a good time to buy if you were thinking of holding on to your home for a longer period of time.”

He advises sitting down to examine your finances and set out a plan. That means looking at your budget and cash flow, assessing the direction of your career and considering your family, travel and other aspirations.

“The best thing you could do is go and see a financial planner to talk a little bit about how you can budget to save for a house, if that’s what you’re going to do in the next five to 10 years.”

© The Vancouver Province 2006


One button = total control

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Touch screen is not quite the stuff of Click, but integration of home electronics is in demand

Allison Lampert

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Transforming city’s first-ring suburbs a priority

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Design will need to trump residents’ fears and perceptions of change

Bob Ransford

Retiring city planner Larry Beasley along the sea wall on the old Expo Lands. He was instrumental in creating these new neighbourhoods. Photograph by : Steve Bosch, Vancouver Sun

Work on the new convention centre in Coal Harbour is well underway and will change the face of the waterfront. Photograph by : Mark van Manen, Vancouver Sun

Recreating Vancouver’s downtown is one part of the puzzle in creating a new urban reality in the region.

Two back-to-back residential building booms over the last 15 years have certainly gone a long way to completing that important part of the puzzle.

But now the real heavy lifting starts for planners, developers, politicians and ordinary citizens.

The new challenges are many in securing our superb quality of life and ensuring that urban growth does not strangle our natural environment.

But they are different challenges than those that were tackled over the last few decades. Growth is changing and so is the canvas on which the picture of the metropolitan region is painted.

Vancouver’s two departing senior planners, Ann McAfee and Larry Beasley, listed up a few of them recently at a public forum where they recounted their thirty years plus helping shape Vancouver from their lofty positions at city hall.

Both agreed that the challenge of transforming the city’s first-ring suburbs will be a priority challenge for their successor heading Vancouver’s planning department.

Rather than focusing on the glamorous challenge associated with high-rise signature projects on empty parking lots and old commercial properties in the downtown core, the future focus will be to the south in Vancouver’s first-ring suburbs.

Much time will be spent on smaller infill projects, painstakingly consulting neighbourhood residents who fear change in any form–whether a conversion of a single-family lot to a duplex site or the entire re-development of a once sleepy local shopping plaza into a mixed-use centre.

Neighbourhoods like Oakridge, Kerrisdale, Hastings Sunrise, Main Street, Marpole and many others have the capacity to absorb more growth while becoming complete communities.

But how complete will those communities become?

The real challenge will be one of design. Design will need to trump residents’ fears and perceptions of change.

McAfee sagely pointed out that change in these neighbourhoods will need to bring not just new forms of housing, but a whole range of community amenities so that residents will be able to calculate the net community gain brought by change.

Contrast these challenges with the work of transforming Vancouver’s downtown. Remaking the downtown seems easy in comparison.

The transformation of Vancouver’s downtown peninsula over the last two decades likely represents one of the most significant achievements in re-making a North American inner-city.

We doubled our downtown population from about 40,000 to more than 80,000 people while most other North American cities are still struggling to stop the flight to the suburbs.

It was made easier in Vancouver because of the scale of a few big projects, their location and their past uses.

The north shore of False Creek would never have become the Yaletown inner-city residential neighbourhood that it is today if the provincial government hadn’t acquired a huge chunk of the land from the CPR and assembled other smaller parcels from a patch-work of industrial land owners prior to Expo 86 and then sold it as one huge site to Li Ka Shing.

Coal Harbour was also a brownfield re-development site with CPR’s Marathon Realty completing the master plan for the transformation of the old port-side rail yard into a spectacular high density waterfront neighbourhood.

Vancouver also had a beautiful shoreline with untapped potential, a huge wilderness oasis at the edge of the downtown–Stanley Park–and the Downtown Eastside as, unfortunately, a dumping ground for what’s left of the gritty industries and those forms of housing many other neighbourhoods won’t accept.

Larry Beasley rightly pointed to the Downtown Eastside as one of a few failures during his watch, albeit a huge failure.

We don’t often think of the contributing role this district played, to the detriment of the people who live in it, as the rest of Vancouver’s downtown became shiny and polished.

Tackling the tough challenges of this special district–challenges mainly man-made as most are–also must remain a top priority as Vancouver looks ahead to the next two decades of the new urbanism.

Bob Ransford is a public affairs consultant with COUNTERPOINT Communications Inc. He is a former real estate developer who specializes in urban land use issues. Contact him at [email protected]

© The Vancouver Sun 2006


Is CMHC driving buyers to poor house?

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Mortgage insurance on interest-only loans may do more harm than good and leave taxpayers on the hook

Ray Turchansky

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. recently announced moves that critics say will drive many home buyers to the poor house, as it were, and could leave Canadian taxpayers on the hook.

CMHC is offering mortgage insurance for interest-only loans and on amortizations up to 35 years, while also scrapping the typical $165 application fee on high-ratio loan products for people with less than 25-per-cent down payment.

With an interest-only loan, a borrower can pay interest only for the first 10 years, then pay both interest and principal.

Payments are initially low, but since the entire loan must still be paid off within the original amortization period, payments balloon as the principal starts being paid down, and again if interest rates rise.

The first issue is whether a government agency like CMHC should be competing with private companies like Genworth Financial in the business of offering mortgage insurance on interest-only loans.

If CMHC has to pay out a rash of defaults, the money will come out of Canadian taxpayers’ pockets. The argument has also been made that mortgage insurance protects the money lender, not the homeowner.

A recent report by CIBC World Markets noted that outstanding residential mortgages rose by 10.9 per cent during the year ending this past April, adding that “the current wave of growth in mortgage outstanding is of a higher risk,” and that the moves by CMHC imply that “we will see increased default risk in the mortgage market.”

The second issue is the wisdom of making mortgages easier to get by Canadians who are already in a massive hole of debt, with a savings rate that has fallen from 16 per cent in 1985 to negative 0.5 per cent in 2005, meaning they are now spending more money than their current disposable income.

Many people have pooh-poohed that concern, saying much of the money being spent is on mortgages, and that Canadians are actually building up equity in their homes, which is a form of savings. Indeed, borrowing money to buy an appreciating asset is generally “good debt,” as opposed to paying rent with no return.

But a survey released this month by BMO Financial Group showed that while 80 per cent of baby boomers own homes and 19 per cent have a second house, only 30 per cent intend to sell their assets to fund retirement.

Furthermore, the concept of good debt doesn’t necessarily hold in the case of interest-only mortgages.

If a person spends 10 years paying down only interest, they save nothing if the value of their house doesn’t appreciate during that period.

In fact, many people are now buying at the top of a housing boom, particularly in Western Canada, and face the likelihood of selling after the market has cooled off.

Said the Edmonton firm Hendrickson Financial in a recent commentary: “When home prices begin declining, homeowners who have recently purchased with 100-per-cent financing will have to come to terms with owing more than their home is worth. Debtors are always punished more severely in a declining economy since they are less able to service their debt and the value of the assets they have collateralized are also falling.”

That’s when you get people walking away from their homes — when they have no equity to lose and can start all over with a cheaper house that will require smaller payments.

“I understand the government is trying to encourage people to get into the housing market and that, in rising housing markets, this may be of assistance for them,” said Ottawa bankruptcy lawyer Stanley Kershman, author of Put Your Debt on a Diet. “But I think that encouraging people to do this only works if they have planned this whole process out.”

For example, with a $190,000 mortgage at six per cent over 25 years, a person paying interest only the first 10 years will spend $222,000 on interest ($410,400 overall), while a person paying principal and interest will spend $177,300 on interest ($367,300 overall).

Kershman said we’re seeing people declare bankruptcy for the second, third, fourth and fifth time, and cites a judge who over the years has had a father, son and now a grandson appear before him facing bankruptcy.

“They’re getting in too deeply, with too much debt, and as people go to either renew their mortgages or consolidate mortgages, they’re going to end up paying higher and higher interest rates.

“We are a society of minimum-down-payment people. Once they’ve got themselves four or five or six of these minimum-down-payment things, and all of a sudden the rates rise, they’re saying ‘I can’t afford the minimums anymore.’ “

As happened in the early 1970s and late 1980s, people will walk away from their homes.

Ray Turchansky is a freelance writer and income tax preparer. He may be contacted at [email protected]

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

Sapphire meets urban cravings

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

Residents will enjoy a boutique hotel type of environment with downtown’s attractions close at hand

Rebecca Osler

Artist’s impression of how The Sapphire will rise above Coal Harbour.

VANCOUVER SUN PHOTOS Everything about the Sapphire is designed for luxury living, with counter space and closets giving ample room for easy living.

VANCOUVER SUN PHOTOS Truly the best of both worlds, The Sapphire has a fabulous location (see map) with interiors that meet the requirements of residents who expect the best.

As odd and anatomical as it sounds, think of The Sapphire as a tongue.

No, it isn’t a particularly bizarre foray into experimental architecture — Pinnacle International’s latest Coal Harbour highrise is only akin to the tongue in that it enables its residents to savour a multitude of “urban cravings.”

Located on Pender Street, it is equidistant from both the Robson Street shopping hub and the waterfront.

Grace Kwok, who is marketing the project for Pinnacle, says this “best of both worlds” situation indulges the many desires of the quintessential downtown dweller.

“Last minute, if somebody has a pair of hockey tickets, if you feel like going out, that craving could be satisfied,” Kwok suggests.

Likewise for chilling out by the water, spontaneous dining and impulse shopping.

And Kwok should know. Not only is she turning a piece of Coal (Harbour) into a Sapphire, she has been responsible for marketing seven other developments in the neighbourhood, including Classico and Vantage at Pinnacle on Pender Street and The Ritz.

Another thing she can say with certainty is that three bedroom condos, which are available on floors 27 through 33 by combining two one bedroom units, are “a very rare find in any project.” And they result in more owner-occupiers seeking to establish a permanent home.

All apartments are north-facing, and many have excellent “view corridors”.

Like a boutique hotel, The Sapphire thrives on exclusivity and luxury, starting with a concierge on duty 16 hours a day. And the structure’s slim stature means intimate floors, each hosting but three or four units.

Kwok anticipates that the concierge will be on a first-name basis with the tenants in no time.

Familiarity also means heightened safety. Kwok says that several self-sufficient, high-income female executives have purchased at The Sapphire for just that reason.

“People just feel very secure because there are fewer people on the floor. They lock up and they know their neighbours,” says Kwok.

Another buying trend Kwok has seen at The Sapphire is parents buying a two bedroom unit for themselves and an additional one bedroom next door for a grown-up child.

“So basically someone could live there with the parents next door, and you could go home for dinner,” laughs Kwok.

For much younger children, a city daycare on the ground level will be a convenient service.

The boutique feel is also apparent in the contemporary classic interior features. There are two colour schemes: sapphire (beachy blues, designer laminate cabinets) and opal (warm oranges, wood-tone cabinets).

In the presentation centre at 1366 West Pender Street, potential buyers can stroll through a 610 square foot, one bedroom display suite.

Highlights include:

– Additional storage space that can be converted into a home office.

– Granite countertops, glass tile back splashes and Bosch appliances in the kitchen.

– Electric fireplaces

– Frosted glass sliding doors leading to the bedroom and mirrors flanking the corridor to the semi-ensuite bathroom.

As for the name, borrowed from the pure, deep blue stone, Kwok says it resonates with the project.

“A jewel is usually a rare commodity, and we just felt that it’s a gem of a piece in Coal Harbour,” she says.

“A Sapphire represents style and elegance.”


Location: 1188 West Pender Street

Hours: Noon to 6 pm daily

Telephone: 604-683-1328


Project size: 108 units

Residence size: 608 to 1225 square feet

Prices: $439,900 to $649,900 (one to two bedrooms)

$1,199,900 (penthouses)

Developer: Pinnacle International

Architect: IBI Hancock Bruckner

Interior design: False Creek Design

Warranty: St. Paul’s Warranty 2/5/10

Tentative occupancy: Fall, 2007 to Spring, 2008.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006


Canon printer offers advantages

Saturday, July 22nd, 2006


1) Canon Pixma ip6700D photo printer, $380, available in October.

If you own a Canon digital camera (and that’s a lot of Canadians) then this top-of-the-line photo printer has some advantages. The upcoming six-colour ip6700D’s Canon-to-Canon connection allows users to brighten faces, print shooting information on the print or even print a 35-image (or less) contact sheet direct from the camera controls, without a PC. The printer has a 3.5-inch colour LCD screen, smart LED equipped ink tanks and an advanced paper handling system. Other new printers in the line are the ip6320D ($230); the ip1700 ($100) and the ip300 ($80).

2) Sony Micro Vault Tiny four gigabyte storage medium, $290, available in September.

Just a half-inch wide and an inch in length, the various Sony Micro Vault Tinys — ranging in size from 256 megabytes up to the latest one at four gigabytes — are a remarkably portable way of carrying your data. A major advantage is that the Tiny uses a program called Virtual Expander that uses compression (and automatic decompression) to allow storage of up to three times as much data as drives of the same size. The drives — the lower capacity ones are available now — come with a clip-on carry case.

3) Griffin TuneCenter, $149 US.

Complete with a 14-button remote, the TuneCenter allows users to turn their iPod into a home media centre. All you have to do is doc your iPod into the TuneCenter and it lets you use your TV and stereo for viewing photos, watching video and listening to either the tunes in your library or to Internet radio. You can display iPod playlists on your TV screen. And, hey, if you have an iPod that stores your photos or plays videos then you can watch them on your TV screen as well.

4) Xerox WorkCentre 4118 multifunction device, starts at $1,000.

If you’ve got small office, and you’re looking for a way of doing copying, printing, scanning and faxing then the WorkCentre 4118 might just meet your needs. It prints at 18 pages a minute and has two configurations, the 4118P copies and prints, while the 4118X also has faxing and colour scanning. Both machines have copying features like ID Card Copy that allow copying of both sides of a document on to a single side of the page. The WorkCentre 4118 also comes with Ominipage SE 4.0 software, which converts copied items into editable electronic documents.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

The city’s newly appointed director of city planning, Brent Toderian, says Listening comes first for planning

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Heather Travis, with files from Emily Chung

VANCOUVER – The city’s newly appointed director of city planning, Brent Toderian, says planning for the Olympics looms prominently in his future. But first, he will be attending to the city’s more immediate problems of homelessness and affordable housing.

Toderian, whose appointment was announced Thursday, said he had no specific plans to deal with those issues, but wants to talk with city residents and city council before formulating them.

“I suppose I would worry about anyone coming from outside of Vancouver suggesting they already know the answers,” he said in an interview. “To me, I’m really more interested in a really creative and open-minded dialogue before we come to any conclusions.”

Toderian, 37, has been a city planner for Calgary since 2001, and will begin his work in Vancouver on Sept. 14.

“I am really excited to come to Vancouver,” said Toderian. “I’ll be moving to an urban mindset that more matches my ethic.”

Toderian said he is inheriting a strong planning team that is capable of making the mayor’s vision of Vancouver a reality. He said his first job will be to listen to Vancouver residents and city council to find out the city’s priorities.

“I think focusing on the issues that are important to Vancouverites now is going to be job No. 1,” he said.

In Calgary, Toderian said he made a name for himself by making suburbs more “urban” — encouraging services and small businesses in neighbourhoods so residents wouldn’t have to travel downtown for all their needs. He also pushed for higher density and more walking, cycling and public transit use.

In the downtown core, Toderian said he used a holistic approach to ensure social health by including enough social housing and elements that make a place fun to live in, such as parks, community pools, well-designed streets, community centres and schools.

He said a holistic planning approach to the city’s architecture encourages the growth of arts and culture through the creation of more public squares, more festivals, and ensuring public infrastructure such as bridges, lamp posts and benches are themselves works of art.

“Calgary is at a very interesting point in its history where it can move rapidly towards greatness or rapidly in the other direction,” he said. “It has been really exciting being here right now, helping tip it in the right direction.”

Larry Beasley, one of the city planners Toderian will succeed, said: “He is an excellent candidate.

“He is a very sophisticated urbanist … [and] is very committed to public consultation.”

Beasley has co-chaired city planning with Ann MacAfee for 12 years, bringing many changes to Vancouver’s inner city.

Beasley said Toderian’s most difficult challenge will be implementing Mayor Sam Sullivan’s eco-density plan to develop Vancouver, without encroaching on the natural environment.

Beasley said Toderian will also have to adjust to the geographical and social differences between Calgary and Vancouver.

“This city has a very different attitude about its neighbourhoods and downtown,” he said.

Gordon Price, director of the city program at Simon Fraser University, said the new city planner needs to have an understanding of the Greater Vancouver area, not just Vancouver proper.

He said Toderian has completed SFU’s urban design certificate program and is well experienced in suburb development.

Sullivan said Toderian’s qualifications, as well as his youth make him a welcome addition to the city.

“[Toderian] recognizes how powerful planning can be in making high-quality communities,” said Sullivan. “He is just the person we need to move Vancouver into its next stage of development.”

© The Vancouver Sun 2006

CMHC’s ‘interest-only’ mortgage, risks outweigh benefits

Friday, July 21st, 2006

Home ownership: Life on the edge

Harvey Enchin

Buy now, don’t pay until 2016! It’s the kind of pitch you’d expect from a low-brow retailer, not a federal Crown corporation. But Canada Housing and Mortgage Corp. appears to have expanded its role as a conduit for government social policy to shill for the real estate industry.

How else to explain its introduction of the “interest-only homeowner mortgage insurance product” that allows a borrower to pay only the interest on the loan for the first 10 years with as little as a 10 per cent downpayment. CMHC has sweetened the deal even more by extending amortization periods from 25 to 30 years and waiving its high-ratio mortgage insurance application fees.

I don’t doubt CMHC’s good intentions to make home ownership more affordable and accessible but the risks may outweigh the benefits to buyers in such a highly-leveraged arrangement. Home ownership should lead to security and stability, not life on the edge.

CMHC maintains that it must respond to consumer demand with new products in order to remain competitive with rival mortgage insurance providers. But if the private sector is already offering these products — and it is — why does a government agency need to compete? Established 60 years ago to help returning war vets find housing, CMHC has evolved into Canada’s largest provider of mortgage loan insurance. It also guarantees Canada Mortgage Bonds, advises on federal housing policy and delivers programs, including administration of Granville Island.

So CMHC has a full plate without battling for market share against Genworth Financial Canada and GMAC Residential Funding of Canada, two of the largest private companies in the mortgage insurance business, and which, by the way, will insure a mortgage up to 95 per cent of the value of the purchase price. If private companies want to risk their shareholders money lending to borrowers who don’t meet standard debt service ratios, that’s their business. If a Crown agency wants to similarly risk taxpayers’ money, that’s our business.

In any case, the real risk is borne by the borrower, who could wind up homeless if expectations of price appreciation, interest rate levels or cash flow turn out to be too optimistic. After a decade, with little money down and no payments on principal, the buyer could end up with almost no equity in the property, which seems to defeat the object of home ownership.

Even Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge, who knows a thing or two about interest rates, criticized CMHC for backing interest-only mortgages. He argued that they could fuel inflation by raising housing prices, making home ownership less, rather than more, accessible and affordable.

CMHC says the interest-only option will give borrowers “with a proven history of managing their credit responsibly” a lower monthly payment, which will increase short-term cash flow. The key word is short-term. On a $190,000 mortgage at six per cent with a 25 year amortization, a borrower who only pays interest over 10 years will pay $115,700 in interest, compared with $100,600 for a conventional mortgage, according the CMHC figures. When the interest-only period ends, the borrower will then pay a higher monthly payment than would otherwise have been the case because the amount of the blended principal and interest payment must be sufficient to retire the loan within the 25-year period.

CMHC counters that most borrowers who choose the interest-only option will likely pre-pay principal at some point over the 10-years.

This rosy view seems at odds with a Statistics Canada study that showed nearly half of all Canadian households spent more of their pre-tax income in 2001, and that the proportion doing so had risen from 39 per cent in 1982. It added that households that spent more than their pre-tax income were likely to be renters and homeowners with a mortgage.

By the end of 2005, Canadians owed an eye-popping $992-billion, of which 60 per cent was mortgage debt. According to StatsCan, Canadian households carry about $1.08 in debt for every dollar of disposable income. A contributing factor to the increase in debt-financing, it said, was a dramatic drop in interest rates, creating an “easy credit” environment. No money down and no interest to pay for 10 years is a no-brainer when house prices are climbing 50 per cent a year. But what if prices drop? It’s been known to happen. Will the drop become a plunge as thousands of homeowners try to sell properties in which they have no equity?

In the United States, where interest-only loans have been on the market for several years, they have captured up to 15 per cent the residential mortgage business. Of course, Americans can deduct mortgage interest from income tax, which makes it a different ball game.

Jack Guttentag, professor of finance emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, warns in an online tutorial that “interest-only mortgages are for borrowers who have a valid use for a lower initial required payment, and are prepared to deal with the consequences.”

In other words, they are not for the average home buyer. Paying down mortgage debt is the surest way for most people to amass wealth. But paying interest without building equity sounds like a financial plan built on a flimsy foundation.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006


Mia Stainsby: Spotlight on talent

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

A skillet or paintbrush. A guitar or a pair of scissors. Ordinary items but, in the hands of the people you see here and on the following page, they are tools to reckon with. Keep an eye on the artists and artisans on these pages; we think you’ll be hear

Mia Stainsby


Poyan Danesh
Apprentice chef
Showcase Restaurant, Marriott Pinnacle Hotel

Poyan Danesh is on the ferry from Victoria, where he’s just finished taping Canada’s Next Great Chef, an 11-part televised junior cooking competition. He was one of the chefs competing but he’s not allowed to tell who’s won until the show goes to air early next year on Global.

He shows all the signs of someone to watch in our culinary scene. At 25, he’s “a star,” says Tobias MacDonald, chef de cuisine at La Belle Auberge in Delta. As a member of Team Canada last year, MacDonald has seen Danesh’s drive, ambition, energy and talent. The apprentice chef went as a support member to the World Culinary Masters in Basil, Switzerland last year. “When he leaves his current job, he’s got virtually any job he wants in this province,” MacDonald says. “Wherever we need him, whenever we need him, he’s there and that’s on top of his demanding work schedule.”

Danesh is cooking at Showcase at Marriott Pinnacle Hotel where his ambitions are being nurtured. In the three years since graduating from Vancouver Community College’s culinary program, he’s won several regional cooking competitions. In November, he’ll be a competitor in the Luxembourg Euro Expo.

“I hope to travel, see the world and cook with people who have a passion for food,” he says. “The future is kind of open,” he says. “It’s always open for chefs.”

Stephanie Noel
Sous chef, West

She came to Vancouver intending to stay a year to learn English and return to Quebec. Three years later, the 25-year-old Stephanie Noel finds herself sous chef to chef David Hawksworth at the much-acclaimed West restaurant.

She started at the lowest of cooking positions and her English, at the time, didn’t go much beyond “Where’s the bus station?” and “What’s your name?” Now she speaks fluently and she takes over the kitchen when Hawksworth is away.

“She’s very, very, very talented and I have absolute confidence in her,” he says. “She’s got leadership, drive and dedication and she could handle anything from doing this up to a 250-seat restaurant.” He has no doubt she could go to Europe and work in a three-star Michelin restaurant.

Noel is part of the creative process at West, says Hawksworth. “When spot prawns are in season, we’ll bounce ideas off each other, what’s been done before, what’s new and what we should be looking for, what goes on the menu. We’ll talk while we’re working and decide as a team. She contributes a lot.”

Noel plans to work at West for the next while but will eventually travel like every good chef should and ultimately, run her own place.

Laura Sharpe
Apprentice chef
Diva at the Met

While Poyan Danesh (in previous write-up) is a contender for Next Great Chef, Laura Sharpe currently holds the title. The 23-year-old won the national competition for junior chefs earlier this year against nine provincial finalists and last month, she was featured in Reader’s Digest as part of a “The Best of Canada” feature.

“It took a lot of determination,” she says, to win the competition, moving through two provincial competitions and then the national. It was very stressful and takes a toll on life.” She was working 40-hour weeks and planning and preparing and practising her moves. “There weren’t a lot of days off.”

Currently an apprentice at Diva At The Met, her boss Ray Henry applauds her dedication. “It took a lot of time and effort to do the competition and perform at that level,” he says. “We practised 12 full runs. It shows commitment. Her above-average talent, ability to learn, drive and commitment I think, is a perfect recipe for success.” In the kitchen, he calls her Laura Sharpe, Next Great Chef.

Sharpe, on the other hand, likes the idea of at some point in her career, teaching at a culinary school to give back a little of what she’s gotten from her mentors.

© The Vancouver Sun 2006


Restaurant listings For July 20,2006

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Critic’s Picks

Mia Stainsby

A list of restaurants recommended and anonymously visited by Sun restaurant critic Mia Stainsby.

Prices are per couple for three courses, with a glass of wine each, before tip and taxes.

$ means $50 or less

$$ means $50 to $100

$$$ means more than $100

– – –


Aurora Bistro The first fine dining room on Main St. Inventive food, hip spot. 2420 Main St., 604-873-9944. $$

Bishop’s Consistently one of the city’s best. Almost 100 per cent organic foods. 2183 West Fourth Ave., 604-738-2025. $$$

Bin 941 Tapas bar in tiny eclectic space. 941 Davie St., 604-683-1246. $$/$$$

Bin 942 Creative, delectable tapas dishes. 1521 West Broadway, 604-734-9421. $$/$$$

Bridges For fine dining, head upstairs, and for casual, try the downstairs bistro. 1696 Duranleau, 604-687-4400. $$/$$$

Brix Large tapas selection, 60 wines by the glass. 1138 Homer St., 604-915-9463. $$/$$$

Chartwell Beautiful food, wonderful service. Four Seasons Hotel, 791 West Georgia St. 604-689-9333. $$$

Cru Blurs the lines of fine dining, lounge and bistro. Lovely “small plates” or a four-course prix fixe. 1459 West Broadway, 604-677-4111. $$

Diner Great comfort food in contemporary setting. 1269 Hamilton St., 604-444-4855. $/$$

Diva at the Met High-end food, gorgeously presented. Metropolitan Hotel, 645 Howe St., 604-602-7788. $$$

Feenie’s Comfort food with a modern tweak and quality ingredients. 2563 West Broadway, 604-739-7115. $/$$

Fiction Young crowd, great tapas dishes. 3162 West Broadway, 604-736-7576. $$

Glowbal Grill and Satay Bar Hip, happening destination. Creative chef. 1079 Mainland St., 604-602-0835. $$

Lift Bar and Grill Gorgeously perched over Coal Harbour. Sibling to Monk McQueen’s. 333 Menchions Mews, 604-689-5438. $$$

Lucy Mae Brown Intimate space, assertive dishes. 862 Richards St., 604-899-9199. $$

Lumiere Tasting Bar The casual sidekick to famous sibling, Lumiere, next door. 2551 West Broadway, 604-739-8185. $$/$$$

Nu A sophisticated version of casual dining. Beautiful flavours, great atmosphere. 1661 Granville St., 604-646-4668. $$

Parkside Handsome room in residential West End, richly flavoured food. Great spot. 1906 Haro, 604-683-6912. $$/$$$

Raincity Grill A Vancouver moment by English Bay. Regional food. 1193 Denman St., 604-685-7337. $$$

Rare An impressive, unique menu. There’s passion here. 1355 Hornby St., 604-669-1256. $$$

Show Case West Coast menu that doesn’t shy from adventure. Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, 1128 West Hastings St., 604-639-4040. $$$

Watermark Stunning Kits Beach view, sexy architecture, casual food. 1305 Arbutus St., 604-738-5487. $$

West Vies for best restaurant in the city. 2881 Granville St., 604-738-8938. $$$


Amarcord Food from the Bologna and Emilia Romagna area of Italy, elegantly presented. Clear, natural flavours. 1168 Hamilton St., 604-681-6500. $$

Borgo Antico Tuscan looks. Fine Italian food. 321 Water St., 604-683-8376. $$/$$$

CinCin Restaurant and Bar Seasonal menu with wood-fired dishes. Notable desserts. 1154 Robson St., 604-688-7338. $$/$$$

Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Fine Italian cuisine with a light touch. 1133 Hamilton St., 604-688-7466. $$$

Don Francesco Ristorante Romantic, classic Italian restaurant with heart. 860 Burrard St., 604-685-7770. $$$

Il Giardino “New Italian” food, light with exotic elements. Big on game. 1382 Hornby St., 604-669-2422. $$$.

Incendio Great wood-oven pizzas, robust lineup of pastas. 103 Columbia St., 604-688-8694. $/$$

Incendio West Same as above, but in modern digs. 2118 Burrard St., 604-736-2220. $/$$

La Terrazza Knock-out looks, intelligent and friendly staff, traditional Italian food. 1088 Cambie St., 604-899-4449. $$$

Lombardo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant Serving pizza lovers for years. 1641 Commercial Dr., 604-251-2240. $

Quattro on Fourth An Italian restaurant with flair. 2611 West Fourth Ave., 604-734-4444. $$/$$$


Hon’s Wun-Tun House Slurp noodles and chomp on delicious potstickers. Huge menu. 1339 Robson St., 604-685-0871. $

Imperial Seafood Fine Cantonese food, (expensive) in the lovely Marine Building. 355 Burrard St., 604-688-8191. $$$

Kirin Seafood Exquisite Cantonese food. City Square, 555 West 12th Ave., 604-879-8038. $$$

Pink Pearl It’s been around forever and is still a going concern. 1132 East Hastings St., 604-253-4316. $

Sun Sui Wah Cantonese cuisine with light, finely tuned flavours. 3888 Main St., 604-872-8822. $$

Szechuan Chongqing An institution for those who love the incendiary fare. 2808 Commercial Dr., 604-254-7434. $$

Wild Rice Modern Chinese food in a sophisticated, hip setting. 117 West Pender St., 604-642-2882. $$


1215 Japanese tapas. Experimentation rules in the kitchen. 1215 Davie St., 604-633-1215. $/$$

Ajisai Sushi Bar Small neighbourhood spot with sushi that sings. 2081West 42nd Ave., 604-266-1428. $

Bistro Sakana Exciting Japanese food with French and Italian curve balls. 1123 Mainland St., 604-633-1280. $$

Black Tuna Tapas style Japanese dishes, sushi, lovingly cooked. 202 — 1184 Denman St., 604-408-7557. $$

Chopstick Cafe/Shiru-Bay Great atmosphere, intriguing izakaya food, budget prices. 1193 Hamilton St., 604-408-9315. $$

En Japanese Restaurant Bucks the usual conformity of Japanese restaurants. Splendid food. 2686 Granville St., 604-730-0330. $$

Gyoza King Gyozas reign supreme. Open late. 1508 Robson St., 604-669-8278. $

Hapa Izakaya Young and stylish; great izakaya-style Japanese food. 1479 Robson St., 604-689-4272. $/$$

Japone Wonderfully inventive dishes on the ‘chef’s specials’ menu. 8269 Oak St., 604-263-6708. $$

Sushi Wabi Sabi Exciting contemporary Japanese food. 4422 West 10th Ave., 604-222-8188. $$

Tojo’s Restaurant The topper in this category. Japanese food at its best. 202 — 777 West Broadway, 604-872-8050. $$$

Toshi Sushi Tiny place always packed for the fresh, tasty sushi. 181 East 16th Ave., 604-847-5173. $/$$

Yuji’s Expect the unexpected. Food takes some creative turns. 2059 West Fourth Ave., 604-734-4990. $$

Zest Japanese Cuisine Grazing style modern Japanese menu in cool modern room. 2775 West 16th Ave., 604-731-9378. $$


Bacchus Restaurant Some classics, some nouveau. Expect the best. Wedgewood Hotel, 845 Hornby St., 604-689-7777. $$$

Cafe de Paris Traditional French bistro. Lots of character. 751 Denman St., 604-687-1418. $$

Cassis Bistro Low budget but mod interior. Delicious traditional French bistro fare. Good value. 420 West Pender St., 604-605-0420. $$

Chambar Modern Belgian food. Hot hipster scene. Chef has cooked in a three-star Michelin restaurant. 562 Beatty St., 604-879-7119. $$

Elixir French brasserie in Yaletown; bistro food, haute quality. 322 Davie St., 604-642-0557. $$/$$$

Le Crocodile Refined French with incredible wines to boot. 909 Burrard St., 604-669-4298. $$$

Le Gavroche French food in a charming old house. 1616 Alberni St., 604-685-3924. $$$

The Hermitage Beautifully controlled classic French cooking. Quiet atmosphere. 1025 Robson St., 604-689-3237. $$$

Lumiere Chef Rob Feenie redefines restaurants in Vancouver. Tasting menus. 2551 West Broadway, 604-739-8185. $$$

Mistral Authentic Provencal food cooked by former Michelin chef. 2585 West Broadway, 604-733-0046. $$

Pastis French bistro with a lightness of being. 2153 West Fourth Ave., 604-731-5020. $$/$$$

Salade de Fruits Very good value French country bistro. 1551 West Seventh, 604-714-5987. $$

The William Tell A Swiss-French restaurant. Service excels. Georgian Court Hotel, 773 Beatty St., 604-688-3504. $$$


Apollonia Well-prepared Greek food and very good pizzas. 1830 Fir St., 604-736-9559. $/$$

Bouzyos Greek Taverna Lively atmosphere, better than average Greek food. 1815 Commercial Dr., 604-254-2533. $$

Kalamata Greek Taverna A popular souvlaki stop dressed in the familiar white and blue. 478 West Broadway, 604-872-7050. $$

The Main Friendly, funky spot. Wonderful roast lamb. 4210 Main St., 604-709-8555. $$

Maria’s Taverna Friendly service. 2324 West Fourth Ave., 604-731-4722. $$

Simpatico Thirty-plus years old; traditional Greek restaurant with the addition of good pizzas. 2222 West Fourth Ave., 604733-6824. $/$$

Stepho’s Nightly lineups because of low prices. 1124 Davie St., 604-683-2555. $


Akbar’s Own Mogul-style Indian cuisine. 1905 West Broadway, 604-736-8180. $$

Chutney Villa South Indian cuisine, with dosas, idli and vadas. 147 East Broadway, 604-872-2228. $/$$

Clove An alternative Indian restaurant, funky, cheap beyond belief. 2054 Commercial Dr., 604-255-5550. $

Clove Upscale sibling to Clove on Commercial. Modern Indian cuisine. 735 Denman St., 604-669-2421. $/$$

Indica Indian dishes with western tweaks. Charming. 1795 Pendrell St., 604-609-3530. $

Maurya Fine Indian food in glam surroundings. 1643 West Broadway, 604-742-0622. $$$

Rangoli Vij’s casual and take-out next-door sidekick. Impressive. 1488 West 11th Ave., 604-736-5711. $

Samosa Garden Smooth sauces, lovely food, good service. 3502 Kingsway, 604-437-3502. $$

Tamarind A hip spin-off from the traditional Rubina Tandoori restaurant with modern elements. 1626 West Broadway, 604-733-5335. $$

Vij’s Dishes are a symphony of wondrous flavours. 1480 West 11th Ave., 604-736-6664. $$

Yogi’s Hip, contemporary Indian food, perfect for The Drive. 1408 Commercial Dr., 604-251-9644. $


Banana Leaf Homestyle Malaysian food. 820 West Broadway, 604-731-6333 and 1096 Denman St., 604-683-3333. $$

Chi Modern take on Malaysian and Thai cuisines. 1796 Nanaimo St., 604-215-0078. $$

Kedah House Halal Restaurant Malaysian food with a light, nimble touch. 5750 Fraser St., 604-325-9771. $

Monsoon An “East-West” brasserie with tropical Asian dishes, loads of atmosphere. 2526 Main St., 604-879-4001. $$

Montri Thai Restaurant Some of the best Thai food in the city. 3629 West Broadway, 604-738-9888. $$

Phnom Penh Largely Cambodian but includes Chinese and Vietnamese flavours. 244 East Georgia St., 682-5777. $

Pondok Authentic Indonesian dishes, freshly cooked. 2781 Commercial Dr., 604-872-8718. $$

Salathai Thai Dishes are freshly prepared and consistent. 3364 Cambie St., 604-875-6999. $$

Sawasdee Thai Gracious service keeps the regulars hooked. 4250 Main St., 604-876-4030. $$

Simply Thai On the A-list for Thai food. 1211 Hamilton St., 604-642-0123. $$


Bluewater Cafe and Raw Bar Handsome spot. Impressive seafood, impressive wine list. 1095 Hamilton St., 604-688-8078. $$$

C Chef Robert Clark takes seafood to a new level. 1600 Howe St., 604-681-1164. $$$

Cannery Seafood Fine dining in rustic nautical decor on working waterfront. 2205 Commissioner St., 604-254-9606 $$$

Coast Restaurant Yaletown chic, shares kinship with Glowbal Grill and Satay. Seafood emphasis. 1157 Hamilton St., 604-685-5010. $$$

Fish Cafe Unpretentious, straight-ahead seafood at bargain prices. 2053 West 41st Ave., 604-267-3474. $

Fish House in Stanley Park Bold and imaginative seafood dishes by the creative Karen Barnaby. 8901 Stanley Park Dr., 604-681-7275. $$$

Go Fish Fab fish and chips and much more, dished out of a catering truck, made with fish from the adjacent Fisherman’s Wharf. 1505 West First Ave., 604-730-5040. $

Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House Fresh shucked oysters, cedar plank salmon, grilled chops. High energy. 777 Thurlow St., 604-669-1940. $$$

Rodney’s Oyster House Specializes in very fresh shellfish and oysters. 1228 Hamilton St., 604-609-0080. $$


Memphis Blues Barbecue House Slow-cooked, southern style BBQ. Delish. 1465 West Broadway, 604-738-6806; 1342 Commercial Dr., 604-215-2599. $


Bo Kong Buddhist-based menu using very fresh ingredients. Mild flavours. 3068 Main St., 604-876-3088. $

Greens and Gourmet Meals priced by weight. Flavours from around the world. 2582 West Broadway, 604-737-7373. $

Habibi’s Lebanese food. Not the same old, same old. 1128 West Broadway, 604-732-7487. $

The Naam Wide variety of vegetarian fare. Quiet patio in summer. 2724 West Fourth Ave., 604-738-7151. $

Om Vegetarian Flavourful, fresh Buddhist-based vegetarian food. 3466 Cambie St., 604-873-6878. $

Raw Raw veggie and fruit dishes (preserves enzymes) as well as cooked. Food is 80 to 90 per cent organic. 1849 West First Ave., 604-737-0420. $


Banano’s No-frills Venezuelan/Colombian cafe. Delicious arepas. 1223 Pacific Boulevard, 604-408-4228. $

Baru Casually chic South American food for discerning diners. 2535 Alma St., 604-222-9171. $$

Century Restaurant and Bar Modern Latin food, the best in town. Great space. 432 Richards St., 604-687-1280. $$/$$$

Havana Cuban food, tweaked for Commercial Drive. 1212 Commercial Dr., 604-253-9119. $

Latin Quarter Mexican and Mediterranean tapas dishes as well as music in the evenings. 1305 Commercial Dr., 604-251-1144. $$

Lolita’s South of the Border Cantina Casual Mexican food with sparkle. Lots of buzz in the room. 1326 Davie St., 604-696-9996. $$

Mexico Rico A slice of Mexico. Very inexpensive, authentic Mexican cafe. 309 West Pender St., 604-688-7426. $

Rinconcito Salvadorean Restaurant Fresh Salvadorean cuisine. Lovely pupusas. 2062 Commercial Dr., 604-879-2600. $

Tio Pepe’s Yucatan food, nicely prepared. 1134 Commercial Dr., 604-254-8999. $


Circolo Italian, French, and a little bit of New York. Awesome wine list. 1116 Mainland, 604-687-1116. $$$

Provence Mediterranean Grill The menu is a marriage of French and Italian. Lovely flavours. 4473 West 10th Ave., 604-222-1980 and 1177 Marinaside Cres., 604-681-4144. $$


Accent Eastern European, French, Russian accents on a continental theme. 1967 West Broadway, 604-734-6660. $$

The Budapest Big doses of Hungarian comfort. Smouldering goulash soup. 3250 Main St. 604-877-1949. $

Rasputin Large selection of vodkas, wonderful live music and dishes such as grilled Georgian cornish game hen. 457 West Broadway, 604-879-6675.$$


Beach House at Dundarave Pier Spectacular setting for brunch by Dundarave Beach. West Coast cuisine. 150 25th St., West Van, 604-922-1414. $$$

Beach Side Cafe Elegant room, summer patio, fine Italian cuisine. 1362 Marine Dr., West Van, 604-925-1945. $$$

Bistro 1734 Traditional French bistro food in warm, friendly setting. 1734 Marine Dr., West Van, 604-922-8198. $$

Bravo Cucina Traditional Italian, cooked with care. 1209 Lonsdale Ave., North Van, 604-985-3006. $$

Brown’s Restaurant and Bar Casually chic and bustling bistro with burgers, rice bowls, entrees. 1764 Lonsdale Ave., North Van, 604-929-5401. $/$$

Dundarave Fish Market Charming spot; fabulous seafood from the adjoining fish market. 2419 Marine Dr., West Van, 604-922-1155. $

Gusto Di Quattro Cosy, warm. Italian food. 1 Lonsdale Ave., North Van, 604-924-4444 . $$/$$$

La Regalade A truly, deeply French bistro. Wonderful atmosphere. 2232 Marine Dr., West Van, 604-921-2228. $$/$$$

Mythos Whitewashed walls, azure blue trim say “sun-drenched Greece.” 1811 Lonsdale Ave., North Van, 604-984-7411. $$

Nobu Tiny, with just enough room to make the lovely sushi. 3197 Edgemont Blvd.,North Van., 604-988-4553. $

Ocean Club Chic Yaletown-style lounge and restaurant. Food is imaginative and yummy. 100 Park Royal South, West Van, 604-926-2326. $$

Palki An Indian restaurant with a good grip on the spices. Fresh ingredients. 116 East 15th St., North Van, 604-986-7555. $$

Saltaire Gorgeous roof patio. Good value West Coast food. 2nd floor – 235 15th St., West Van, 604-913-8439. $$

Zen Japanese Restaurant Creative kitchen, quality ingredients. Good sake list. 2232 Marine Dr., West Van, 604-925-0667. $$/$$$


Anton’s Gargantuan portions of pasta. No reservations. 4260 Hastings St., Burnaby, 604-299-6636. $$

Boat House Conservative seafood menu. Restaurant overlooks Fraser River. 900 Quayside, New Westminster, 604-525-3474. $$

Bombay Bhel Lovely Indian food. Menu features Mumbai-style snacks. 4266 Hastings St., 604-299-2500. $/$$

The Hart House In Tudor mansion. Exacting West Coast fare. 6664 Deer Lake Ave., Burnaby, 604-298-4278. $$$

Orange Room Casual tapas. International flavours. 620 Sixth Ave., New Westminster, 604-520-6464. $$

Pear Tree Small menu, sublime continental food. 4120 Hastings St., Burnaby, 604-299-2772. $$$

Taverna Greka Greek cuisine. View of Fraser River. 326 Columbia, New Westminster, 604-526-6651. $$

Vassili Souvlaki Greek Taverna Traditional Greek foods with no reticence when it comes to portions. 6558 Kingsway, Burnaby, 604-434-0626. $$


Joey Tomato’s Mediterranean Grill Casual family retaurant. 550 Lougheed Hwy., Coquitlam, 604-939-3077

John B Pub Above-average pub food. 1000 Austin Ave., Coquitlam, 604-931-5115. $$

Kirin Seafood Restaurant Chinese food for the discriminating palate. 2nd floor, Henderson Place, 1163 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam, 604-944-8833. $$/$$$

Pasta Polo Organic wheat pastas, pizzas. Family restaurant. 2754 Barnet Highway, Coquitlam, 604-464-7656. $/$$


Also Lounge and Restaurant A blend of Italian/French with Asian accents and high-end presentation. 4200 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-303-9906. $$

Big River Brewing Co. Pub, serving casual food. 14200 Entertainment Blvd., Richmond, 604-271-2739. $/$$

Bo Kong Restaurant Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. No alcohol. 8100 Ackroyd Rd., Richmond, 604-278-1992. $

The Flying Beaver Bar Funky bar overlooking the Fraser River. 4760 Inglis Dr., Richmond, 604-273-0278. $/$$

Globe at YVR Impressive food, sleek contemporary decor with view of U.S. arrivals terminal. Fairmont Hotel, Vancouver Airport, Richmond, 604-248-3281. $$$

Hon’s Wun-Tun House Noodles and delicious pot stickers, panfried or steamed. 4600 No. 3 Road, Richmond, 604-273-0871. $

Quilon Restaurant Southern Indian cuisine with notably delicious dosas. 6030 No. 3 Road, Richmond, 604-303-0011. $$

The Rainbow Vegetarian Restaurant Deliciously prepared vegan and vegetarian Buddhist Chinese food. 8095 Park Road, Richmond, 604-273-7311. $

Shanghai River Shanghai style cuisine. Dumplings and noodles made in open kitchen. 7831 Westminster Highway, 604-233-8885. $$

Shiang Garden Part of a successful Taiwanese restaurant chain. Impressive seafood. 2200 — 4540 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-273-8858. $$

Sun Sui Wah Impressive way with seafood. 4940 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-273-8208. $$

Zen Fine Chinese Cuisine Multi-coursed tasting menus and personalized dinners. Excellent. 2015 — 8580 Alexandra Rd., Richmond, 604-233-0077. $$$


Big Ridge Brewing Co. A Mark James restaurant and brew-pub. Families welcome. 15133 Hwy. 10, Surrey, 604-574-2739. $$

Crescent Beach Bistro Rustic country spot. Straight ahead food. 12251 Beecher St., 604-531-1882. $$

Giraffe Charming place, eclectic West Coast menu. 15053 Marine Dr., White Rock, 604-538-6878. $$/$$$

Hazelmere Golf and Tennis Club West Coast cuisine. Hazelmere Golf and Tennis Club, 18150 — Eighth Ave., Surrey, 604-538-1212 $$/$$

La Belle Auberge In a heritage house in Ladner. Sublime French food. 4856 48th Ave., Ladner, 604-946-7717. $$$

Northview Golf and Country Club High-end dining, nestled amid acres of golf fairways. 6857 168th St., Surrey, 604-574-0324. $$$

Pearl on the Rock Modern Pacific Northwest cuisine with emphasis on seafood. Delicious fare. 14955 Marine Dr., White rock. 604-542-1064. $$$

Uli’s Restaurant Continental cuisine on busy restaurant strip. Water view. 15021 Marine Dr., White Rock, 604-538-9373. $$


Bacchus Bistro At Domain de Chaberton Estate Winery. Limited hours. Mediterranean food. 1064 — 216th St., Langley. 604-530-9694. $$

Bravo Bistro Swish little bistro, run by former Delilah’s restaurant veterans. 46224 Yale Rd., Chilliwack. 1-604-792-7721. $$

G.M. Restaurant Modest melodic with Indian food. 20726 Lougheed Highway, Maple Ridge, 604-463-7877. $

Paliotti’s Ristorante Italiano Cosy, old-fashioned Italian restaurant. Kids’ menu too. 12018 Edge St. (at Dewdney Trunk Rd.), Maple Ridge, 604-463-8926. $$

The Seasonal Experience Adrian Beaty runs an ambitious kitchen with a Throw Away the menu option. 20226 Fraser Highway, Langley, 604-514-1311. $$


Araxi Restaurant & Bar Handsome Tuscan looks, regional cuisine. Outstanding wine list. 4222 Village Square, Whistler, 604-932-4540. $$/$$$

© The Vancouver Sun 2006