Local Ingredients Shine at O’Doul’s in Vancouver

Saturday night we went for dinner at O’Doul’s Restaurant and Bar in the Listel Hotel on Robson. We had made a reservation as the space is quite small and were greeted warmly by the host and seated right away at a great table looking onto the action of the street. The room is divided into a small dining area and a wine bar and the dark colors and wood make it quite cozy. Our server was friendly and knowledgeable about the menu and explained the week’s fresh sheet. With both our sever and an assistant servicing our table we had water and bread immediately and the great service continued throughout dinner.

While the entire menu features many West Coast dishes sourced from the Fraser Valley and the Pacific, the weekly specials menu arranges BC dishes into a three course meal and suggests wine pairings for each. Executive Chef Chris Whittaker is committed to sustainability and sources local, organic and ethically produced supplies whenever possible. With so many great options I chose the three course meal, with wine pairings of course, and Jeff ordered al a carte. Of the three appetizers I chose the Pemberton Oxtail and BC Pine Mushroom Ravioli which was paired with a glass of Tinhorn Creek Pinto Noir. While I tend to shy away from all meat in general the dish sounded great on paper and ultimately was delicious. It was served on top of a nice broth and with some extra mushrooms. Even though the ravioli had more meat than mushrooms, and I would have preferred the other way around, it was terrific. Jeff ordered Dungeness Crab and Pacific Shrimp Cakes to start. The lemon aioli sauce was great and the portion of two significant size cakes was large enough for sharing.

For my main course I chose the Queen Charlotte Island Halibut wrapped in Oyama Prosciutto. The dish was served on a tomato ragout with spinach and herb gnocchi. Again, the flavors were great and the dish was delicious but after tasting Jeff’s Sablefish choice I was a bit jealous, as Sablefish is my favorite, especially when well cooked. The BC Sablefish was served in a wild mushroom broth also with herb gnocchi. The fish was cured in citrus and maple giving it a distinct flavor. It is hard to say which dish was better because both were so good. The Halibut was paired with a glass of Burrowing Owl Chardonnay while Jeff chose a Blue Mountain Pinot Noir. For desert the three course menu came with Okanagan pears in a crispy tortilla topped with vanilla gelato and cinnamon which was paired with a glass of Mission Hill Late Harvest Riesling. And yes we finished it all.

The live Jazz started at just after 9:00 and was a bit loud to continue a quite table conversation. At this point while finishing off our wine and listening to the band, we both agreed that this was one of the best all around dining experiences we have had in a while. The food was superb, as was the service and the atmosphere.

Food – EXCELLENT A+, Service – EXCELLENT, Atmosphere – GOOD