While a dinner out is lovely, there is something about lunch–whether with colleagues or friends/family–that feels restorative. That midday pause over good food sets the tone for the rest of the day (although it is sometimes hard to return back to work!).
It’s that time of year when restaurants in town are resetting their menus and offering new lunch items and experiences. Whether you want a fairly quick refined bite, or a leisurely three-course meal, you’re in good hands with these Vancouver establishments.
Cibo Trattoria (900 Seymour Street) has really upped their food program ever since Curtis Luk (formerly of Mission Kitsilano) took the helm as Executive Chef. The menu stays true to authentic Italian cooking while also committing itself to the kind of sourcing that Luk believes in: local, seasonal, and ethical.
The new lunch menu, launched March 4, offers a variety of different items, including lighter salad options, sandwiches, and more substantial pasta mains. There’s also dessert if you save room.
Start with refreshing starters of spice-cured melon with prosciutto and prosecco jelly; as well as burrata with grilled sourdough, seasonal salad, winter squash, and pumpkin seed crumble.
The salads at Cibo are far beyond the Tupperware of mixed greens that you might bring to work. These showcase fresh local ingredients, with attentive balancing of flavours (tangy, salty, sweet) and of textures. A particular highlight is the insalata di barbarbietola, a salad consisting of roasted red beet, fontina cheese, preserved lemon dressing, and panissa (crisp chickpea fritters). Basically, you’ll be fighting over who gets to eat the last panissa.
The pastas have a rustic freshness to them, relying on Luk’s “from scratch” culinary bent (most of the noodles are made in-house). If the weather is on the cooler side, the tagliatelle with spiced duck ragu and parmigiano reggiano is a hearty and deeply flavourful dish. Spaghetti alle vongole is beautifully executed, with slight heat from Calabrian chilis.
Those in the mood for an elevated sandwich can opt for the grilled panino with capocollo, provolone, pear, almond pesto, and seasonal salad; or vegetarians might enjoy the grilled panino with caponata (a Sicilian eggplant dish), sheep’s cheese, and seasonal salad.
End the meal with tiramisu or panna cotta and you will definitely leave the restaurant satisfied.
Seasons in the Park
If you’re looking for a more leisurely lunch, Seasons in the Park (Queen Elizabeth Park) is offering a $39 three-course lunch menu from Monday to Friday. The selections are classic and delicious. With the unbeatable view as your amuse bouche, you can choose between mushroom caps stuffed with crab, shrimp and cream cheese; Manhattan clam chowder, Caesar salad; and market greens with fig balsamic vinaigrette, pickled vegetables, and candied pecans.
Main options are a 6 oz NY striploin with peppercorn demi glace, roasted fingerling potatoes, and market vegetables; a mushroom campanelle (ruffled pasta) with walnuts, mission figs, arugula, and white wine; grilled BC salmon with maple butter sauce, wild rice, and market vegetables; and duck confit with poached fig, cabernet demi glace, roasted fingerling potatoes, and market vegetables.
Dessert is a difficult choice between a sunburnt lemon tart, chocolate truffle cake, and crème brulée.
The Teahouse (Ferguson Point, Stanley Park) continues their much deserved 40th anniversary celebration. Fittingly, they’re offering a $40 three-course lunch (also available for dinner) Monday to Friday. Start with stuffed mushroom caps with crab, shrimp, and cream cheese; carrot soup with coriander crème fraîche; or a salad with egg mimosa, cheese, croutons, tomato, carrots, capers, tarragon vinaigrette, and sliced almonds.
For your entrée, choose between Lois Lake steelhead with tarragon butter sauce; a 6 oz NY striploin au poivre; or a fisherman’s stew with scallops, fish, shrimp, anise, and pernod broth.
Dessert is either crème brulée, chocolate mousse with candied pecan brittle, or baked Alaska with meringue, strawberry ice cream, and chocolate cake.