Friday, January 22, 2010

Top 5 Budget “Food with a View” Places on Granville Island

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics are drawing closer, and with them a host of international visitors. While there are obviously plenty of events and attractions for people to see, I hope they will also take a moment to see the beauty of our city, both in its modern architecture and in its natural backdrop. So, why not have a bite to eat while taking in the view? While there are plenty of high-class restaurants with stunning views,  there are also plenty of cheap cafes and restaurants with million-dollar vistas and nice food to boot.

So, here are the top 5 places on Granville Island for gorgeous views at a discount price. Why Granville Island? Well, I’m a local, so I’m a bit biased… but I also think it’s perfectly situated to show both city and nature in harmony.

5. Bridges

The place: While Bridges does strain the definition of budget (it’s at the higher end of casual dining), its lovely setting and appealing menu make it a favorite with many locals. It will soon attract some international attention too as it will become The House of Switzerland during the Olympics. The regular menu will be combined with many traditional Swiss dishes, and between the various events and television broadcasts, it promises to be quite a party!

The view:

4: Sammy J Peppers’ patio

The place: I’ve already covered Sammy J Peppers’ in greater detail, but in summary, it serves great steaks, seafood and BBQ entrees, with a relaxed lounge atmosphere and reasonable prices. It’s a great place to catch the games or just hang out with friends. Sammy J’s also has heated patio dining, often enclosed during the winter, so you can take a look at…

The view: 

3. Pablo’s Organic Coffee

The place: Unlike the other places I’ve recommended, Pablo’s is not on the waterfront facing the city; rather, it backs onto a beautiful park area, complete with pond, that acts as an oasis of calm. Pablo’s itself is a mom-and-pop café with homebaked muffins, sandwiches and other desserts. The coffee and smoothies are a little pricey, but high quality, and it’s a great alternative to people looking to escape Starbucks and other franchise coffee shops.

The view: 

2. Go Fish
The place: Technically, Go Fish isn’t on Granville Island but on the nearby seawall; walk along the waterfront towards Burrard Bridge until you get to Fisherman’s Wharf. I’ll be doing a more indepth review of this place later, but in short, Go Fish is a small but extremely popular fish-and-chip stand right on the docks, where they are able to get fish right off the boats. Of course, the results are incredibly fresh and tasty. Expect lineups, especially on a sunny day, and come prepared to sit and watch the boats go by on False Creek.

The view: 

1. Granville Island Public Market food court
The place: I may be cheating by assigning first place to a collection of places, but I think it deserves it. The food court at Granville Island is another place I intend to review in full, as the food is above and beyond what you would ever find at a mall food court, and the price is right too. Pick your favorite ethnic or Western cuisine, then stroll out onto the outside terrace for what is, in my opinion, one of the best views in the entire city.

The view:

Honorable mentions also go to GI Gelato and Coffee House (which was just squeezed out by having the bridge pylons in the way) and, on a non budget note, The Sandbar.


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