I can’t think of a better way to spend a Monday afternoon than drinking delicious wine and beer, eating scrumptious food, and mingling with food-obsessed industry professionals. No, not obsessed with calorie intake (with the exception of a few), but rather the quality, creativity and presentation of the food. And to clarify, the edible creations were not the subject matter for the duration of the event, as the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards are a time for Chefs, restauranteurs and media to step away from the kitchen table and reconnect.
In late April guests convened for the annual affair at the Sheraton Wall Centre to eat, drink and be entertained by award speeches and the eccentric emcees, Michael Eckford and Fiona Forbes of Urban Rush.
One highlight (there were many) was Michael showing us his new look as a beer drinking slob before transforming into a beer drinking man in a suit.
Restaurant awards wouldn’t be complete without something to nosh on, right?
Food before the awards was aplenty and varied from Chef Starri Chow’s bison loin, to a roasted beet and Okanagan goat cheese roulade on rye toast.
Ample “nutrition” was the reason for some of the guests attending, evident by a few jetting at the beginning or in the middle of the awards, after they had their share of libations and small bites. I guess they know that through Twitter (#vanmagawards), blogs and newspapers, the winners are promptly shared with the world; even if not in attendance no one will be left out of the loop.
Dessert was as diverse as the savoury options, ranging from sour cream filled mini donuts and PB & J macarons, to La Régalade’s chocolate sandwich with olive oil and sea salt.
While I could chat about the food and wine served for hours I’ll cut to the chase and tell you who won.
Best Coffee House – Revolver
Best Seafood – Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
Best Pizzeria – Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Best of the Americas – La Taqueria
Best Steakhouse – Hy’s Encore
Best Casual Chain – Cactus Club Cafe
Best North Shore – La Regalade
Best Casual Italian – La Quercia
Best Upscale Italian – Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca
Best Casual French – Tableau Bar Bistro
Best Upscale French – Le Crocodile
Best Thai – Maenam
Best Indian – Vij’s
Best Vietnamese – Phnom Penh
Best Korean – Sura
Best Dim Sum – Dynasty Seafood
Best Noodle House – Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Best Casual Japanese – Kingyo Izakaya
Best Upscale Japanese – Tojo’s
Best Casual Chinese – Alvin Garden
Best Upscale Chinese – Hoi Tong
Best Other Asian – Spice Islands
OUTSIDE OF LOWER MAINLAND
Best Other Vancouver Island – The Pointe at the Wickaninnish Inn
Best Okanagan – Waterfront Restaurant & Wine Bar
Best Victoria – Ulla
Best Winery / Vineyard Dining – Miradoro at Tinhorn Creek
Best Whistler – Araxi
Mentorship Award – John Bishop
Lifetime Achievement – Alain Raye
Premier Crew – Romano Costillo from L’Abattoir, Miki Ellis from Minami, Jamie Lauder from CinCin,and Ike Seaman from The Pointe at the Wickaninnish Inn [photos]
Producer / Supplier of the Year – Jonathan Chovancek and Lauren Mote from Kale & Nori Culinary Arts
Bartender of the Year – Robert “H” Holl-Allen
Sommelier of the Year – Samantha Rahn, Araxi
Chef of the Year – David Hawksworth
Pastry Chef of the Year – Thomas Haas
RANDOM, BUT IMPORTANT
Best Design – Wildebeest
Green Award – Forage
THE ONES YOU WERE WAITING FOR
Best New Restaurant – Wildebeest
Best Food Cart – Tacofino
Best Casual – La Quercia
Best Upscale – Hawksworth
Restaurant of the Year – Hawksworth
The winners of the awards were selected by a special group of judges who endured weeks (maybe months) of tasting and critiquing Vancouver’s finest restaurants (sounds terrible, I know).
For more photos, check out the complete Van Mag Restaurant Awards gallery.