- Last name: The Stable House Bistro
- Location: 1520 W. 13th Ave., Vancouver
- Call: 604-736-1520
- Website: thestablehouse.ca
- Cooked: Wine bar, casual bistro
- Prices: Charcuterie boards, $ 10 to $ 30; small plates, $ 7 to $ 14, medium and main, $ 16 to $ 29
- Further information: Open every day until 10 p.m. (open noon most of the time, 11 a.m. on weekends, 3 p.m. on Mondays); no reservations; take-away cold cuts (exploretock.com); terrace depending on the weather.
Vancouver’s temporary patio program has been a sensational success – and it’s even more exciting now that the province has agreed to make these pandemic pop-ups permanent.
There are hundreds of them in the city, thousands across the province and I love them all. Give me a sidewalk, a bench, a cold drink and I’m there.
But let’s be honest. Not all new patios are created equal.
The Stable House Bistro in South Granville has one of the best.
This laid-back neighborhood wine bar is fortunate to be located in one of the city’s Slow Streets pilot projects, adjacent to a pop-up public plaza and closed to cars.
It is also blessed with large bones, including the cool green shade of a canopy of old trees that line the sidewalk.
Five years ago Managing Partner Peter McGee started a neighborhood mural program with the South Granville Business Improvement Association.
So now the new street patio is spiced up (and patrons can better appreciate) an equestrian-inspired dream piece from local art star Ola Volo, which swirls across the restaurant’s exterior wall and Williams-Sonoma. beside.
And that’s just the periphery.
Inside the wooden lattice fence, General Manager Kim Busch went above and beyond to make this cozy patio feel like a private deck.
Folding tables are widely spaced and mixed with lounge style seating areas. Outdoor rugs cover the sidewalk. The plants are potted in wicker. There are woven wire chairs with bursts of turquoise, rattan ottomans, low low tables, and twinkling lights.
The furniture is from HomeSense. Ms Busch had to replace everything this year after wear and tear from last summer. And it has to be carried in and out every day.
But it absolutely transforms a pleasant street into an intimate slice of paradise.
The Stable House Bistro is like the little engine that could. It’s been blowing and blowing quietly since the start of the pandemic with a walk-in window selling wine, groceries and takeout, producing UBC Farm packs, and an absolutely hilarious series of Instagram videos featuring the former sommelier Matt Landry (a Second City Improv Lab Alumni), in costume, giving wacky wine tutorials to anyone who’s bought a restaurant gift certificate and have pressing questions (Which wine pairs best with the spam?)
The bistro has been around for ages. Well, since 2013. And although I have many friends who consider it their favorite watering hole in the neighborhood, it took a pandemic – and a search for remarkable patios – to draw me in.
At first, the kitchen didn’t offer much to review. The charcuterie was just there to soak up the wine. And the wine selection only got interesting when Mr. Landry, recently crowned CAPS 2019 BC Sommelier of the Year, came on board.
But under the current leadership of Carmen Holtby, the menu has evolved, broadened, and become quite intriguing.
Meat and cheese planks are always your best bet. They’re topped with honey seeds, vibrant pickles, and sliced apples.
Homemade duck pastrami, salt cod brandade, and pickled labneh enhance the standard selection of French cheeses and Italian salami.
The planks can be complemented with small platters including addictively spiced nuts, hot olives, weekly changing donuts, and farm-fresh specialties such as charred snow peas with creamy ricotta and cheese. spicy mint oil.
The large, frequently changing plates are beautifully composed. The pan-seared sablefish was served with wilted Swiss chard, smoked white butter and a neat block of potato steak topped with layers of kelp.
That said, the industry could be tighter. My sablefish was undercooked and firm in the center. The pork ribs were coated with crunchy cumin seed shells that would have been less rough in the throat if they had been crushed more finely.
But I would definitely go back for the small plates – and the wine.
This is honestly one of the most vibrant and underrated wine lists in town. By the glass you’ll find all kinds of idiosyncratic small-batch projects (A Black Swan in Tangoland Ancestrale Method Chardonnay) alongside obscure flights (from the Spanish Canary Islands!) And more affordable Chardonnays and Syrah.
The reserve wine list – written by Mr. Landry, who is now an educator for the Wine Scholar Guild and a consultant for the restaurant – is fun.
I would have liked to have had the pleasure of visiting him when he was working on the floor. But he left the restaurant – inside and out – in excellent hands.
The Stable House Bistro doesn’t just have a large patio. It is a little gem.
Best new pop-up patios
Vancouver is full of hundreds of new patios. To celebrate, Vancouver’s Business Improvement Areas recently launched an Instagram search engine – @patiovancouver. Here are some of the stars that go beyond a fenced-in concrete expanse.
More than just a patio, this expansive Chinatown hub is a brand new bar with mini-putts, live music, graffiti murals, wood decks, fire pits, dim sum delivery, and tropical slushies.
Say Mercy’s surf-themed street patio! has been a community shelter for Fraserhood families. The adjacent public plaza is now officially transformed into a toy-equipped kids’ zone with new libraries of books and garden seeds, murals, and upcoming games.
Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar
Vancouver’s premier seafood restaurant seamlessly slipped its first-class service and award-winning tasting menus into an elegant oasis under a high-roofed canopy in the aisle of the Sutton Place hotel. Closed on August 1st, after which only the permanent patio will be available.
Commercial Drive’s sweetest Italian bakery and cafe has transformed its sidewalk and streetside patio into a relaxed slice of Europe with striped umbrellas, window panes, and potted plants. Daytime hours only.
Japanese cuisine Yuwa
Sample sublime sushi and rare sake in a chic Kerrisdale parking lot landscaped with white tablecloths, red umbrellas, lush green shrubs and heaters.
The downtown courtyard, always a hidden gem, was recently expanded into an alleyway and beautifully made up of chic seating, neat landscaping, and a live DJ during happy hour.
Fairmont pacific rim
Newly revitalized through a partnership with Oakridge Park, the swish hotel’s outdoor plaza offers casual food truck fare, live music, and chilled cocktails on an expanse of terraced greenery inspired by South Asian rice paddies. .
Vancouver’s largest patio district is in full swing with nearly 40 outdoor dining spaces, variously rocked by a free pop-up music series taking place at multiple venues on Thursday nights.
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