Top 5 Restaurants in Vancouver: Paul Mon-Kau's Guide

Paul Mon-Kau is a rare breed. In an age of ever-increasing specialization, his experiences cross what many regard as uncrossable lines.

Paul Mon-Kau is a rare breed. In an age of ever-increasing specialization, his experiences cross what many regard as uncrossable lines in the hospitality industry. Mon-Kau is a Red Seal Certified Chef and a builder. He owns and operates three restaurants (North Vancouver's The District Brasserie, El Matador Spanish Tapas and The Little District Roadhouse) and a respected designer of commercial and residential real estate projects. He has been published in several cookbooks and is working an another. Somehow, he also finds the time to eat out.

Here are Chef Mon-Kau's favourite five restaurants in Vancouver.

Suika, 1626 West Broadway

"I'm pretty confident in my ability to cook most foods - but I don't mess with real Japanese food" says Chef Mon-Kau. "I love going to Izakayas because it's my kind of eating, using all the parts of all types of different animals and fish". He enjoys Suika's "bold yet refined flavours and an overall dope atmosphere".

La Terraza, 1088 Cambie Street

Yaletown's often overlooked La Terraza is Chef Mon-Kau's "family choice for special occasions". He loves "the old world sensibility of this place. You feel like you're with people who really know what they are doing and enjoy doing so". Chef Mon-Kau praises the "great food, great wine, great dessert and great coffee", adding that "I always feel very well taken care of and I appreciate that a lot when dining out. I love it".

Bon's Off Broadway, 2451 Nanaimo Street (no web site)

"This place is the real deal of egg cookery in the city as far as I'm concerned", Chef Mon-Kau says. "Those guys in the back are cooking over 2000 eggs on a weekday, much more on weekends". Chef Mon-Kau appreciates simple food, done well, admitting that "I've had breakfast everywhere from fast food to five star, and I've often been disappointed. I think that's why I love short order for breakfast. The pros don't make mistakes". 

Zest, 2775 West 16th Avenue

The gold medal winner of Vancouver Magazine's Best Formal Japanese Restaurant Award reminds Chef Mon-Kau "of how dining out in restaurants can be in Japan. Classy. Tasteful. Seemingly effortless. You just sit back everything that is placed respectfully in front of you looks and tastes great". He recommends that you save room for the black sesame ice cream. "I could eat a gallon of it"!

Mamie Taylor's, 251 East Georgia Street

Chef Mon-Kau says Maime Taylor's in Chinatown "hit's the mark for me as a place to go for the evening. I always enjoy the food". He adds that "they have a strong cocktail program and I think the coolest room downtown". Chef Mon-Kau suggest that it's "great for people watching" and has "no cell service so you have to talk to people"!

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