But Vancouver, the Canadian city less than 150 miles north of Seattle, is the northernmost point of the Pacific Northwest's Orion's Belt of standout food culture. It's a kindred metropolis to its U.S. sisters, a place obsessed with provenance and good eating.
Now is an especially great time to also explore Vancouver's new guard--a buzzy mix of good cocktails, new-wave diner classics, creative modern cuisine and boundless coffee.
Matchstick (above): One of Vancouver's newer coffee roasters is also one of its most serious, offering a rotating menu of single-origin beans, plus sandwiches piled with meat from Two Rivers Specialty Meats and house-baked goods made largely with British Columbia-grown produce.
Wildebeest (above): This Gastown restaurant is arguably Vancouver's most ambitious and innovative. Crunchy malt crumble tops an heirloom radish salad (pictured), caramelized buttermilk and mushroom vinaigrette accompany roasted sweetbreads and lowly turnips become revelatory when served roasted, or raw with arugula and leek-ash cream.
Revolver (above): This stylish and sophisticated coffee spot in the heart of trendy Gastown brews beans from roasters around the region. Flights of coffee are designed to highlight varietal differences or brewing techniques.
Save On Meats (above): This historic butcher shop was renovated and revived in 2011. It emerged with its retro charm intact--and a new adjacent diner (pictured). Follow a charcuterie-making class with a Reuben and a bourbon-and-bacon-spiked milkshake.
The Diamond (above): Sip a Tequila Martinez or a Buck Buck Mule made with gin, fino sherry, cucumber, cilantro and ginger beer at this charming Gastown cocktail bar with a stellar second-story view of Maple Tree Square.
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