October 5, 2022
Ça Marche Crêperie in Vancouver on Feb. 16.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail Ça Marche Crêperie

Ça Marche Crêperie in Vancouver on Feb. 16.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

Ça Marche Crêperie

1471 Continental St., Vancouver

604-292-6917

Autostrada Osteria Vancouver Home

1481 Continental St., Vancouver

604-258-9988

Linh Café

1428 Granville St., Vancouver

604-564-9668

I want there had been a Breton crêpe-and-cider home as candy as Ça Marche Crêperie again after I lived a couple of block away from what’s now Vancouver Home. Heck, I want there had been something in that unhappy concrete stretch of no man’s land between the waterfront and Yaletown.

Once I moved out, nearly a decade in the past, the Bjarke Ingels-designed tower hadn’t but begun twisting its distinctive spiral above the Granville Bridge ramps. However the plans for a bustling group at floor degree have been already in place and I suggested my ex to hold onto his condominium till it was realized.

He, who was then nonetheless mourning his beloved, long-departed Carlos ‘n Bud’s (the lone native watering gap) had bother envisioning a “Seashore District” (because the neighbourhood has now been tweely coined) wedged into such a darkish, awkward area. Sadly, I don’t know if he nonetheless lives within the space. However he’s Québécois and if he does, I’ll wager he simply loves having the ability to amble over to Ça Marche for a slice of exquisitely seared foie gras with buckwheat blinis. Or perhaps he doesn’t care and nonetheless desires of smoked-chicken nachos. He’s an ex for good motive.

No matter ailing will you may harbour for Westbank Corp. and its tone-deaf set up of a $4.8-million spinning chandelier in an underpass the place homeless folks usually sleep, the property developer has completed a superb job of curating a sensible trio of independently owned eating places alongside a grocery retailer, pharmacy, gymnasium and personal college campus on the base of its flashy residential tower.

There was purported to be a fourth restaurant – a a lot ballyhooed outpost of David Chang’s Momofuku empire. The lengthy delay has made most individuals assume that it’s by no means coming, however the deal’s not lifeless but.

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“We’re nonetheless having ongoing discussions,” says Emilie Lok, who works in Westbank’s industrial leasing crew, including that the success of the opposite eating places offers her hope.

Autostrada Osteria Vancouver Home

Autostrada was first previous the beginning line when it opened its third cheerful pasta joint at Vancouver Home final spring, shortly earlier than indoor eating was ordered closed. When doorways reopened just a few months later, it was the primary place I went to rejoice.

Who wouldn’t need to dig right into a comforting plate of tender meatballs – as delicate as your mama makes, swaddled in an exquisitely balanced San Marzano sauce – when rising from isolation in a world that also felt scary and unsure?

Autostrada has nailed the pleasant neighbourhood restaurant formulation. It’s one which by no means disappoints within the kitchen, with high quality components and memorable consistency. Over many visits to all of its places, the one dish I didn’t love was the roast rooster, which wasn’t actually roasted and barely browned after I tried it downtown, however nonetheless juicy and scrumptious.

The Vancouver Home menu was initially going to be extra elevated, however the pandemic wasn’t the correct time to stray from the tried-and-true. There are just a few new dishes, together with hearty pappardelle with thick, luscious slices of braised guanciale, which is giving the beloved duck-anchovy ragu and vitello tonnato stiff competitors for fan favorite.

The bar, as at all times, provides intriguing, value-priced wine discoveries. I’ll wager it had just a few requests for pecorino – a crisp, straw-yellow, full-bodied white varietal from Abruzzo – which I wrote about after that spring dinner, puzzling many cheese-loving readers who e-mailed me to demand a proof.

The bartender will seemingly open any bottle for those who solely need to attempt a few glasses. Desire a substitute from the menu? No drawback. And the servers don’t clench their enamel while you request a half-order of risotto.

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Autostrada is simply that sort of place – relaxed, heat, welcoming and instantly at residence in Vancouver Home. The restaurant was so common, it was really very arduous to get a reservation … till Linh Café opened in September.

Linh Café

Of the three Vancouver Home eating places, Linh Café is (surprisingly) the most important and showiest, with its hovering ceilings, white-marble bar and curvy banquettes all wrapped up in an Artwork Nouveau bow.

It additionally has essentially the most heartwarming backstory. Chef-owner Tai Nguyen got here to Canada from a small city in North Vietnam in 2001, not talking a phrase of English, and commenced washing dishes at Jean-Yves Benoit’s L’Emotion, an upscale French restaurant in West Vancouver. He moved up and onward, honing his expertise in most of the metropolis’s best French kitchens – Mistral, Chez Thierry, La Régalade and eventually Café La Régalade, which he finally purchased and was Linh Café, in Kitsilano.

The unique neighbourhood bistro served Vietnamese staples alongside French nation classics and was perennially common. “It was probably the most underrated eating places in Vancouver,” Westbank’s Ms. Lok says, including that many individuals in her workplace have been besotted regulars, which is partly why they approached the household.

I wasn’t fairly as enamoured after I reviewed the restaurant in 2015. The menu on the new location is far the identical as the unique (now closed and on the market). And I nonetheless assume Mr. Nguyen’s rustic French dishes – hand-chopped steak tartare, richly decreased beef bourguignon; fudgy, herb-kissed nation terrines wrapped in bacon – are higher than his Vietnamese spring rolls (barely greasy) and (blandish) stir-fried beef.

However now I’m married into the Régalade household (my husband, by the best way, is not any fan of nachos). It will be a conflict-of-interest to say far more than the place is packed (even on a Sunday night time), prospects nonetheless adore it and It’s extraordinarily uplifting to see a deserving household given a a lot bigger platform when Westbank might very simply have crammed this prime property with a sequence.

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Ça Marche Crêperie

The award for many unique Vancouver Home restaurant goes to Ça Marche Crêperie.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

The award for many unique Vancouver Home restaurant goes to Ça Marche Crêperie, a distinct segment idea suavely squeezed right into a slim area with a good concentrate on buckwheat crêpes and native cider.

Properly, you may also order foie gras and caviar, however the galettes de sarrasin are the principle draw – skinny, bubbly and crispy-edged, wrapped round savoury fillings.

Purists will stick with the normal jambon blanc (with a soft-yolk fried egg over a melted mattress of tangy gruyere as its centrepiece). However proprietor Maxime Bettili, who infuses this ode to his Britanny-born mom with the identical Gallic appeal that his prospects at Au Comptoir have come to like, provides just a few North American twists to the repertoire.

The saucisse is rolled like an haute scorching canine with pea shoots and pepper relish. The boeuf showcases tender tarragon brisket garnished with fried potatoes thinly sliced into cash. And the candy crêpes, made with a white-flour batter, function enjoyable house-churned ice lotions flavoured with croissants, orange zest and licorice sweet.

French ciders can be found by the bottle and served in conventional porcelain bowls. However Mr. Bettili reserves his faucets for native varieties and treats them wine or craft beer, served by the glass, half-litre and litre, to encourage prospects to attempt them.

The costs, starting from $17 to $24 for savoury crepes, are quite a bit steeper than you’d discover them in Brittany. And I don’t fairly purchase it when Ms. Lok says Ça Marche is an approachable hangout for the native college college students. (I wager they’ll extra seemingly gravitate to the excellent sandwich bar at Contemporary St. Market.)

However there’s no denying that this various assortment of native eating places has created a vibrant sense of group in an unlikely area.

Jambon blanc buckwheat crêpe at Ça Marche Crêperie.DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

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