Thursday, February 4, 2010

Granville Island Public Market - Part 2

Welcome back to my two part special on Granville Island Public Market! In Part 1 I covered several restaurants and shops that I’ve been meaning to try. Why haven’t I tried them yet? Well, several reasons… but mostly because I’m too busy going back to the places I already know and love!

Thus, for Part 2, I’ll be covering my favorites, the restaurants and shops that keep me coming back again and again. Let’s get started!

Gourmet Wok
This is probably my favorite place to eat lunch on Granville Island, bar none. Despite being just a “fast food” Chinese restaurant, the food is really fresh, tasty and well prepared. I have several friends who swear up and down that their fried rice is the best in the city, while I have a mad and passionate love for their Shanghai fried noodle and honey garlic pork. As per most fast food Chinese places, you can assemble your own combo, with rice or noodles + 3 entrees for $7.

Market Grill

Whenever I’m on Granville Island and in the mood for a burger, this is where I come; it’s also the best place for a savory breakfast, with breakfast sandwiches, scrambled eggs and so on. Great hash browns as well! As for their burgers, I am particularly fond of their Hawaiian burger, which features teriyaki sauce and a slice of pineapple. Note that the Market Grill is not in the main food court but rather across the outdoor courtyard.

Muffin Granny

As the name would suggest, this place offers plenty of baked goods such as muffins and cookies, but that’s not what I come here for. No, I come for the delicious crepes, made fresh while you wait. I particularly love their strawberry crepe with whipped cream; it’s a great breakfast or sweet dessert. Be warned, however, that the lineup for crepes can be quite long, and it takes a while to make the crepes.

A La Mode

A La Mode specializes in pie, be it savory pot pies or dessert pies.  Actually, pot pie is a bit of a misnomer, as the taste and presentation is often more like an incredibly thick and creamy soup in a bowl, covered with freshly baked pastry. Either way, it’s absolutely delicious. Like many other restaurants in Granville Island Public Market, A La Mode also offers frozen versions of their dishes to take home and cook; you can look through three freezers full of different pot pies and desserts. Note that, like the Market Grill, A La Mode is in a separate area than the main food court.

A pleasant little café at the end of the food court, Blue Parrot Espresso Bar offers one of the nicest indoor seating areas, with picture windows on all sides overlooking False Creek and the beautiful views of downtown. The food and drinks themselves are also very nice, with fluffy muffins and good coffee. I particularly like their steamed milk with vanilla.

Nons Drinks to Go

Another café, this one near A La Mode and Market Grill. It offers the usual round of espresso, cappuccino and so on, but what I really like are their Italian sodas. Customers can select and mix several fruit flavored sodas to their liking, resulting in a fizzy drink that’s far less sweet than regular pop. I am partial to a mix of orange and vanilla, but next time I intend to try strawberry and vanilla instead.

Nestled deeper in the market, Granville Island Tea Company is the perfect place to go if you are a tea aficionado, or just feel like trying some unusual organic teas. Boasting pots of every kind of tea leaf imaginable, this place has a timeless, classic quality to it. If a tea exists, chances are they serve it. Bonus points go to them for their incredibly authentic matcha blend.

Stuart’s Bakery

Moving away from restaurants and cafes into actual shops, I’m a big fan of Stuart’s Bakery. It is, unfortunately, a bit expensive, but the desserts, breads and pastries on offer here are fantastic. I am a particular fan of their cinnamon bun loaf, an entire loaf of bread smothered with icing and baked with a cinnamon spiral inside. Their cookies are tasty and their other breads are always fresh and satisfying. But mostly I just love them for creating one of the best things ever: apple caramel cheesecake. That alone keeps me coming back again and again and again…

Candy Kitchen

If your sweet tooth tends more to the chocolate and candy side, the Candy Kitchen is a great place to visit. It has a lot of rare candies (not to mention collector Pez dispensers) so you may find some old childhood favorites here and nowhere else.

Olde World Fudge

More chocolate! This is a lovely little fudge producer that offers some really nice flavors, like cookies and cream or maple fudge. The best part is that you can buy samplers of fudge as well as entire slices.

If you are looking for some culinary souvenirs of your Olympic visit but don’t want to go with overpriced or touristy packaged salmon, why not give this place a visit? Edible British Columbia’s main purview is selling any and all foods, drinks and snacks produced in British Columbia. This means you can find anything from marinades to syrups to chocolate and back again. Also, if you’re really interested in indulging in culinary pursuits during your stay, EBC also runs tours of Granville Island Public Market to help budding chefs get the most out of their visit.

Dussa’s Ham and Cheese
Everyone I know raves about Oyama Sausage, but for some reason I prefer to go here for my meat. I’m not sure why… force of habit? Faster service? Whatever the reason, their pancetta is really good, and they do some of the best honey garlic pepperoni I’ve ever tasted. If you’re looking to save money, pick up one of their assorted meat packs; they’re great for sandwiches.

La Baguette  et L’Echalote Bakery

Technically I’m cheating by including this, as it’s not in the market itself; rather, it’s directly outside one of the main entrances. I like it enough to make mention of it, though, as it offers some really nice bread at more reasonable prices than Stuart’s.  A bakery with a distinct French vibe both in the service and the food, La Baguette offers tons of different options for bread and pastries. My personal favorite is the bag of half-baked French rolls; they’re cheap, and when you bake them at home, they fill the whole place with a mouthwatering aroma. Also, check out the little courtyard in front, as there are often buskers and musicians performing here.

Lee’s Donuts

Ah, Lee’s Donuts. I’ve saved the best for last. Lee’s does fantastic donuts in general, including some unusual flavors like mango or marble chocolate. They also allow you to buy frozen donuts to stash in your freezer for a later date. But really, they deserve fame and fortune for one really, really good reason.

They make the largest apple fritters in the universe.

I’m dead serious. I cannot fully convey to you how freakishly, awesomely huge their apple fritters are. These things can be used as flotation devices.

To give you an idea, here’s a picture of one, with a pencil beside it for comparison. Also, the plate in this picture is a dinner plate.

Not only is it absolutely huge, but it’s also ridiculously tasty, with a crispy sugary outer skin and real apple filling. Oh, and did I mention this monster of a donut is only $4?

I love Lee’s Donuts. 

Thanks for reading, and remember to check out the Granville Island directory for more info on these restaurants and on the island itself.

Market Grill on UrbanspoonGourmet Wok on UrbanspoonMuffin Granny on Urbanspoon
A La Mode on UrbanspoonBlue Parrot Espresso Bar on UrbanspoonGranville Island Tea Company on Urbanspoon
Stuart's Bakery on UrbanspoonDussa's Ham and Cheese on UrbanspoonLa Baguette et l'Echalote on Urbanspoon
Lee's Donuts on Urbanspoon


Tia said...

wow what a thorough and comprehensive review! thanks! I live in Vanoucer and didn't even know 1/2 these little stores.

ameri back said...

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