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Top 5 Restaurants in Vancouver: Barbecue Evangelist Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk's Guide

Photo by Tracy Kusiewicz, Foodie Photography

Rockin' Ronnie Shewchuk loves to cook outdoors, whether it's grilling, planking, or Southern-style barbecue. He's the author of three bestselling cookbooks, including his latest, Barbecue Secrets DELUXE! and was named one of America's greatest grillers by Food and Wine magazine.

Along with master sauce maker Denzel Sandberg, he co-founded Ronnie & Denzel's NATURAL CHAMPIONS BBQ, makers of award-winning gourmet barbecue sauces and Perfect Pulled Pork. Every summer Ronnie shares barbecue tips and recipes as a regular guest on CKNW and hosts his own show on the internet the Barbecue Secrets podcast. Ron operates out of his "Fortress of Smokitude" in North Vancouver. 

"Vancouver's North Shore has really blossomed in recent years when it comes to great restaurants," says Ronnie. "There are even a few that are worth crossing a bridge to get to and I've included them on my list of Faves."

Westview Oriental Restaurant, #108-2609 Westview Drive, North Vancouver

"With its anachronistic name and strip mall location, you wouldn't think Westview Oriental Restaurant would offer much more than average fare," says Ronnie, "but I think it's one of the finest Chinese kitchens in all of Vancouver." The menu includes some unusual Hong-Kong style dishes you don't find at other places and you can order sublime dim sum a la cart. Ronnie especially likes the Pumpkin with Golden Walnut and says "you've gotta try the Beef Brisket with Rice Roll Hot Pot."

Anatoli Souvlaki, 5 Lonsdale Ave., North Vancouver 
There are lots of great Greek restaurants in North Vancouver and Anatoli is among the best. Tender, succulent roast lamb shoulder, home-made spanakopita, creamy tzatzki and homous, lemony roast potatoes, perfect souvlaki -- it's all there, in a warm, comfortable atmosphere filled with great smells and populated with a friendly, helpful staff.  This is one of the places Ronnie takes out-of-town guests.

Tamarind Hill Malaysian Cuisine1440 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver
Ronnie loves Malaysian food for its big, bold flavours, fresh ingredients and cultural influences that draw on European and pan-Asian cuisines. "Tamarind Hill's menu is deliciously spicy and diverse, offering classic rotis and satays, delicious seafood dishes and super-statisfying, steamy aromatic bowls of laksa soup in a warm, intimate atmosphere".

Phnom Penh Restaurant, 244 E Georgia St. Vancouver
Photo by Allan H
"I mostly eat at the growing number of great restaurants on the North Shore, but Phnom Penh is worth a trip "overtown". The big, bold flavours and lively atmosphere make for a great dining experience. They're famous for butter beef, an Asian version of carpaccio, and the fried chicken wings, but the menu is expansive and exotic and I haven't had anything there I didn't like."

Rio Brazilian Steak House, 689 Denman Street

Ronnie's final choice is "heaven for meat lovers".  "There's a good menu", he says, "but I recommend the fixed price, all-you-can-eat Rodizio -- Brazilian-style barbecue that's presented on giant skewers by roaming gauchos who slice it right at your table." Ronnie is a fan of the "insanely delicious beef sirloin, pork shoulder, leg of lamb, chicken thighs and sausages, all grilled on a rotisserie and perfectly seasoned with sea salt. There's also a big fresh salad bar and hot food buffet that includes tasty traditional dishes like black bean stew and real pork cracklings. Come with an appetite. You'll leave in a meat coma!"

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