A coastal menu in downtown Vancouver
For a coastal city, Vancouver has surprisingly few top-notch fish restaurants, particularly you're looking to sup your seafood in a stylish Northwest space with a solicitous, well-trained staff. Fortunately, Yew Seafood and Bar, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star dining room in Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, checks all these fish-forward, service-centered boxes. Whether you want to seal a deal or mark an occasion, it's a smart-casual downtown setting for first-rate fish.
Yew sets the Pacific coast scene with its soaring ceilings and natural wood and stone finishes. A tall stone fireplace divides the dining room from the lounge, where you can perch at the long bar or on a fireside sofa to enjoy cocktails, fresh juices and coffee or a light meal. A raw bar tempts oyster lovers with bivalves from the east and west coasts.
The creative barkeeps concoct signature tastes like the Black Walnut Manhattan (with rye and black walnut bitters) or the Highway 99 Highball (made from locally distilled Long Table gin, with cranberry, blueberry, and balsamic). Juice lovers have equally intriguing options, from the Heart Beet, blending beets, carrots, apples, celery, ginger and balsamic vinegar, to the Green with Envy, a mix of pear, honeydew melon, fennel, kale and lime.
The Sustainable Seafood and More
Yew executive chef Ned Bell is passionate about sustainable seafood — in 2014, he rode his bike more than 5,400 miles across Canada to raise awareness about conscious fish consuming — and his menus emphasize dishes from the lakes, rivers and seas. In fact, Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver was the first Canadian luxury hotel to become 100 percent Ocean Wise, serving only sustainable seafood species in all its food operations.
Bell and his team also mix regional ingredients with global flavors. You might start your meal with Dungeness crab tacos with red miso, maple and lime, or side stripe shrimp with harissa tofu and pickled carrots. The kitchen serves Okanagan-raised steelhead trout in a salad of baby kale, pears, and sweet and sour cranberries, while a straightforward Arctic char might come with potato gnocchi and Brussels sprouts.
Even if you're not a fish fan, Yew can accommodate. The menu includes a popular burger topped with Canadian bacon and portobello mushrooms and a Wagyu beef ribeye steak that comes with roasted artichokes and a classic béarnaise sauce.
Wines from British Columbia and around the globe complement both the surf and the turf dishes, with more than a dozen by-the-glass selections on offer.
The Dining Options
If you need to do some entertaining, a striking spot for a private dinner is the Vancouver restaurant's glass-enclosed wine room, an oasis in the middle of the main dining room lined with bottles of vino and illuminated by a skylight above.
The regular tables are spaced widely enough for private conversations, whether it’s the business meals that draw both local and visiting suits at breakfast, lunch and dinner, or the Vancouver couples and travelers who come in for a quiet evening. Social types should choose a perch at the long communal table in back that seats up to 28.
Yew is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch, so if you're a fish fan, you have ample time to work a fine Pacific Northwest meal into your Vancouver dining schedule.