The Oakwood has all the ingredients of a perfect Vancouver night: a roaring fire, woodsy interior and north-western-style comfort food like five-spice pork crackling with dill and watercress aioli and all-Canadian poutine with smoked brisket.
Follow the fash pack to the groovy Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie, where they turn out delectable petits plats cinois like shao bing, a sesame flatbread with cumin lamb sirloin, picked red onion and salted chilies. The meat is local and everything is MSG free.
Japanese exchange students hang, lending their approval, at Hapa Izakaya, where cracking a Kirin at the sushi bar is a recipe for a good night.
Headed up by Michelin-trained chef Nico Schuermans, who’s cooked for the likes of Mick Jagger and Bill Clinton, Belgian resto Chambar‘s food is as delicious as it is unpretentious. From beet carpaccio with raita, mint pistou, yam and ginger hay to perfect moules frites, you can’t go wrong.
Shop ’til you drop
Head to Gastown for the best in homegrown talent. Check out the brilliantly curated One of a Few, fashion-forward Roden Gray and the whimsical girlie the Block. Even the fitting room of the latest addition, LynnSteven, is a talking point: It’s made entirely of stacked paperback books. For home inspiration, don’t miss Inform Interiors and Örling & Wu (pictured below). On Kistilano’s charming West 4th Avenue Moulé has a standout mix of home, accessories and fashion. For glamour brands, Burrard Street and surrounding area has it all: Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Holt Renfrew and Leone, the place for European brands.
Hop on the Aquabus to Granville Island — more than just a farmer’s market, it’s a locavore’s theme park. Play spot the celeb chefs in the market where they go to find unusual treasures like elk pepperoni at the Oyama Sausage Company. Grab takeout at Go Fish! —the tacos are superlative. Don’t miss Stanley Park, known for its totem poles, 9-km seawall and 150,000 trees; make like the locals and head to Second Beach with a picnic to watch the sunset.
Posh modern: To experience the awe-inspiring convergence of sea and mountains that gives Vancouver its drama, make the Fairmont Pacific Rim home base. One of the city’s newest hotels, perched on Coal Harbour, it’s sleek, stylish and cutting edge. Sip cocktails by the fire and snack delectable sushi in the Lobby Lounge. Rooms from $259. 1038 Canada Place.
Retro glamour: The centrally located Rosewood Hotel Georgia (pictured below) opened in 1927 and played host to the era’s biggest names, including Katharine Hepburn and Elvis. Today it’s fresh off a $100-million restoration, its halls lined with almost $1 million in modern Canadian art (names like Douglas Coupland and Jack Shadbolt). It’s also home to renowned chef David Hawksworth’s eponymous upscale restaurant, which won 17 awards in its first year. Watch this space for a Michelin star. Rooms from $365. 801 W. Georgia St.
Artisanal doughnuts are all the rage, from sugar buns filled with vanilla cream at Giovane Cafe + Winebar, 1038 Canada Place, to Cartems Donuterie, where the organic handmade flavours like Maker’s Bourbon Bacon and Mexican Mole have fanatics queuing around the block. 408 Carrall St.