Ancora Glacier

On a recent, cold rainy winter night, we dined at Vancouver’s Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio which opened this year in the former C Restaurant, where the Ocean Wise movement began.

Ancora Waterfront Dining sashimi

It was in this very room that Robert Clark’s staff served me my first oyster years back, so it was only fitting that we’d begin our meal with Chef Ricardo Valverde’s Glacier for two, a sumptuous cold seafood feast with oysters, ceviche, Crab Causa, Salt Spring Island mussel peruvian escabeche, poached prawns along with a selection of sashimi prepared by Sushi Chef Yoshi Tabo.

Ancora Dungeness Crab Causa
[Roasted cancha, Dungeness crab causa]

All were delightful indulgences (paired with a glass of Cedar Creek Riesling) however the salmon sashimi was about as fresh as we’ve yet tasted in this city. Lima, Peru-born Valverde’s got over 10 years of culinary experience; with Ancora, he’s chosen a menu that combines flavours and cuisines of Peru and Japan.

Ancora Salt Spring Island Mussel Peruvian Escabeche
[Salt Spring Island Mussel Peruvian Escabeche]

We savoured the seafood while munching away at roasted cancha, a puffed Peruvian cross between pumpkin seeds and popcorn in flavour (and well-paired with ceviche). Ask for some if you’re enjoying a drink at the bar.

Prior to the Glacier, we were greeted with a lovely amuse: a warming root vegetable veloute with vanilla essence and almond crumble.

The large, square dish sits atop a frame that mimics Ancora’s sleek, modern interior. The upstairs seats several more guests and includes a private dining room.

Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio-1

A circular light fixture descends from the ceiling, imparting a graceful element between both levels and the main bar towards the front entrance.

Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio-6

The tables here are spaced apart to avoid that cramped feeling sometimes experienced when dining out. We were lucky to catch the final night of the Carol Ships as they slowly made their way along False Creek towards Science World.

Toasting amongst friends

Ancora’s offering two New Year’s Eve seating options, one from 5-7 (a la carte), the second, a six-course chef pairing from 7:30 until closing with live music featuring Soul 2 Life Duo. You’ll also be able to saber your own bottle of champagne at their champagne-sabering station.

Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio-9

A glass of Screaming Frenzy 2013 Pinot Noir (an impressive, medium-bodied new discovery) accompanied our mains: Pacific Lingcod served alongside black ‘forbidden’ rice paella, baby Humbolt squid, seasonal veggies and a pimento emulsion.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of squid, however the tender morsels, especially when combined with the slightly spicy emulsion rounded out the textured rice and lingcod flavours beautifully.

Ancora Pacific Lingcod

Two decadent desires, served with a glass of Prospect Winery’s Vidal Icewine, followed. Pastry Chef Amy Lee creates small, delicate and at times rich bites that aren’t too heavy yet perfectly cap off chef Valverde’s concoctions.

Ancora Spiced Picarones, spiced almonds, dulce de leche

We sampled the spiced picarones (a fried Peruvian dessert using squash and sweet potato) with spiced almonds, ice cream and dulce de leche as well as Ancora’s signature chocolate bar, a skinny slice of chocolate heaven surrounded by bits of honeycomb, rum gel, caramel and salted caramel ice cream.

Ancora Chocolate Bar

Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio is located at 1600 Howe Street (down by the water) in Vancouver. They’re open from 3 to 5 pm, Tuesday to Sunday for small plates, 5 to 11 pm for dinner and from 3 pm to midnight for bar service (closed on Mondays). Visit the website for bookings, New Year’s Eve reservations and other special events.

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