Top 5 Restaurants in Vancouver: Julia Smith's Guide

Vancouver is home to some of the very best “farm-to-table” restaurants sourcing from small-scale, local farms employing sustainable and ethical farming practices.

Julia has never considered herself a foodie but after a mid-life career change took her from coding html to raising heirloom tomatoes and heritage pigs she finds that her taste buds have changed even more dramatically than the view from her office.

As the co-owner of Burnaby’s Urban Digs Farm, Julia is passionate about sustainable agriculture and animal welfare and considers herself tremendously fortunate to be able to work closely with “some of the best chefs in the world”.

With fresh vegetables and pastured meat available in her kitchen year-round, this farm girl has some high culinary standards.

Thankfully, Vancouver is home to some of the very best “farm-to-table” restaurants sourcing from small-scale, local farms employing sustainable and ethical farming practices.

Here are Julia's Five Faves:

Fable Kitchen, 1944 West 4th Avenue

Julia never misses an excuse to stay for brunch, lunch or dinner when dropping off a delivery to Chef Trevor Bird, her very first restaurant customer. “I love eating at Fable because I know they’re as excited about the produce I grow and the meat I raise as I am,” says Julia. "This passion for local food really shines through in every aspect of a meal at Fable, from the atmosphere, to the service, and of course, in the outstanding food."

Burdock & Co, 2702 Main Street

It had been years since Julia had tasted fried chicken because of the often dire conditions that many of those animals are raised in. She was delighted to discover that the fried chicken on Chef Andrea Carlson's menu at Burdock & Co. is ethically sourced and, according to Julia, is “out of this world!” Julia also loves how wild, foraged foods like the nettles that grow around the perimeter of her farm are incorporated into the dishes.

Cibo Trattoria, 900 Seymour Street

Julia was thrilled to learn that Cibo Trattoria is as passionate about sustainable, local sourcing as they are about Italian cuisine. "Chef Faizal Kassam is committed to the highest quality ingredients, which happily also tend to be the most sustainably and ethically produced." Julia recommends the polenta!

Kessel & March, 1701 Powell Street

This new restaurant is "well worth the trip up to the tiptop of Commercial Drive. Chef Tony Marzo has a real knack for taking traditional comfort food and giving it a surprising twist, resulting in a truly creative and seasonally focused menu guided by local farmers like Julia." Julia’s tip? “Their family-style suppers are an excellent way to get a feel for the place and will keep you coming back for more.”

The Acorn, 3995 Main Street

Julia has tremendous respect for Chef Brian Skinner who has proven that his vegetarian cuisine can “beat the pants off of many traditionally meat-heavy dishes.” Julia believes that we need to eat a LOT less meat, so a restaurant that can produce vegetable-based dishes that make your tastebuds sing is a real blessing. “The plating is always spectacular and inspires creativity with our too oft-underappreciated veggies!” 

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