Dine out to shake up the quarantine vibes

Posted on behalf of Elaine Shi, Student Communications Services

If there are any benefits to the COVID-19 life, it made me realize why fine-dining restaurants exist. Even though a box of caesar salad and two pizza pops are technically food, they don’t motivate you through the day, make you dress up fancy, or linger on your mind as a special memory.

If you think it’s crazy to dine out during COVID-19, here are some reasons to convince you otherwise:

  1. One year of home cooking may have helped you save up a bit more than usual.
  2. Most fine-dining restaurants take COVID seriously and follow the safety guidelines.
  3. It’s important to remind yourself that there is a life beyond Zoom meetings!

Convinced you that you could use a special night out with people in your social bubble? Here are some Vancouver-based, Asian-inspired restaurants that offer a memorable experience.

Sushi on platters

Miku Waterfront

One of the most popular fine-dining restaurants in Vancouver, Miku is known for its gourmet sushi and seafood dishes that combine traditional Japanese flavours and techniques with local, West Coast elements.

Location: 200 Granville St #70
Dine-in hours: 11:30am – 9pm with small variations on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
Suitable for: Special occasions for its beautiful water views

Recommended menu items (on the current menu)

    • Aburi Oshi Sushi: Salmon, Ebi (prawn), and Saba (cured mackerel)
    • Green Tea Opera – the longstanding signature dessert at Miku
    • Kaiseki Coursed Menu – let the experts choose for you!

Macaron on plate

Minami Yaletown

As the sister restaurant of Miku, Minami combines Japanese-fusion cuisine with seasonal features. For the month of April, they introduced Sakura features and Easter Zen lunch, available exclusively by season.

Location: 1118 Mainland St
Dine-in hours: 11:30am – 9pm with small variations on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays
Suitable for: Those looking for a unique and memorable dining experience

Recommended menu items (on the current menu)

    • Tuna and Kaiso Seaweed Tartare – my personal favourite!
    • Shokai Set Menu – let the experts choose for you 🙂
    • Seasonal desserts – check out their seasonal menu

Utensils on a dinner table

Mak N Ming

Mak N Ming is a minimalist local restaurant that features a French and Japanese-inspired menu. Seasonality and originality are the focus of their food, and visitors often find their menu constantly changing.

Location: 1629 Yew St
Dine-in hours: Thursday to Sunday, 5 – 10pm
Suitable for: A surprising and intimate experience with food

Recommended menu items (on the current menu)

    • Starter: kanpachi sashimi, radish, grapefruit, avocado
    • Main: scallops, squid, ink rice, shishito, chili
    • Dessert: coconut pudding, tropical fruits, almond, sesame

Car outside of Pidgin restaurant

PiDGiN Restaurant

Located in Gastown, PiDGiN is known for its creative, French-influenced takes on Asian cuisine. Their food pays homage to the diverse culture in Vancouver, combining the modern techniques with Asian and Pacific Northwest ingredients. Their tasting menu is always evolving, and their craft cocktails are a must-try as well.

Location: 350 Carrall St
Dine-in hours: 5 – 9:45pm with small variations on Fridays and Saturdays
Suitable for: Cocktail lovers and people seeking for creative dishes

Recommended menu items (on the current menu)

    • Foie gras rice bowl – the dish that comes up in ALL of commentaries
    • Carrot cake: yuzu curd, hazelnut crumble, candied carrots
    • One eyed samurai – a non-alcoholic cocktail

Pasta on table

Kissa Tanto

Kissa Tanto is a place of style and story. They combine the delicate flavours of Japan and the warmth of ltalian cooking in a chic space inspired by 1960s Tokyo jazz cafés. Open to small groups of guests, Kissa Tanto offers an intimate dining experience and also a great spot for your Instagram posts!

Location: 263 E Pender St
Dine-in hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 5:30 – 10pm (Deposit required for bookings)
Suitable for: Those looking for a great dining experience and a good spot of photos

Recommended menu items (on the current menu)

    • Carne Cruda – essentially Wagyu beef tartare
    • Udon “Carbonara” – the perfect marriage of Japanese and Italian cuisine
    • Yuzu Cream – a highly praised dessert, seems to be an off-menu secret