Raincity Grill

This Thanksgiving, my husband and I decided to forgo preparing a traditional turkey dinner in favour of dining at one of the many fine establishments that awaited us on a rainy Vancouver evening. Raincity Grill chooses locally sourced ingredients for its menus and this appealed to us, so we reserved.

When we arrived, we were seated at a corner window table with a view of both Denman Street and English Bay (albeit it a dark one).

The Raincity Grill’s supplier list includes Farm House Cheese (Agassiz), North Arm Farm (Whistler/Pemberton Valley), Sloping Hill Farm (near Qualicum Beach), and Helmer’s Organic Farm (Pemberton Meadows). As well, the fish served is Oceanwise-approved. Raincity was one of the first Vancouver restaurants to promote using local ingredients and opened in 1992, followed by C and later NU (all owned by Harry Kambolis).

Our first dish was one of their spoons (Amuse-bouche) with a seared Baynes Sound Scallop, served with Sloping Hills Farm bacon. My husband chose an Okanagan Gewurztraminer from Pentâge Winery to go with both the spoon dish and the appetizer to follow.

The juicy scallop had a light crust on the outside and its soft texture and flavour went very well with the bacon, found underneath the scallop. The colourful streak of beet purée added a complementary flavour to both the scallop and the bacon.

We ordered two appetizers next:

Seared Baynes Sound Scallops with green lentils enhanced with pork jus, watercress emulsion, and topped with carrot foam, and a Ham and Parsley Terrine featuring North Arm Farm radishes, Tuscan toast, pickles, and mustard creme fraîche.

Seared Baynes Sound Scallops with green lentils

My seared scallops were perfectly complemented by the carrot foam, adding a tasty secondary flavour that married well with the soft green lentils, hinting at the pork jus.

The Ham and Parsley Terrine seemed inspired by Scandinavian cuisine by way of the dill and mildly-cured ham. Both the greens and mustard worked really well together with this appetizer.

As was to be expected, the Gewurztraminer held up nicely to both appetizers.

My entrée choice was the Eco-Tagged line caught BC Ling Cod complimented with sidestripe prawn risotto, garlic scape butter, baby carrots, and North Arm Farm rainbow chard. The plate contained a welcoming variety of colourful seasonal food. I found the cod so delicate and flavorful, the vegetables crisp and the sauce perfect for enjoying all of the bites on the dish. The splash of watercress purée at the edge of the plate made my beans sing.

Eco-Tagged line caught BC Ling Cod

My husband ordered the Fraser Valley Farms Pork with pomme purée, kale, hazelnut and cranberry Gremolata (well suited Thanksgiving ingredients), and red wine jus. This was paired with a glass of Pétales d’Osoyoos Bordeaux blend. He too was satisfied with the pork and the delicious, crisp white carrot sticks sitting atop the pomme purée. The pork was well-seasoned, a bit salty, and tender all in the same bite.

Fraser Valley Farms Pork with pomme purée

A dessert menu followed; we chose to share the Babes Farm Honey Creme Brûlée, served with Fraser Valley berries and brown sugar shortbread with creme fraîche on top. The subtle honey flavour underneath the crunchy top crust was well paired with the local berries and shortbread. A few lines of homemade berry jam both heightened the taste and added to the lovely presentation.

Babes Farm Honey Creme Brûlée

We topped off our holiday meal with an espresso.

All in all, we found this restaurant’s menu sophisticated with a welcoming ambiance. After our meal, we felt satisfied and well-fed, without the feeling of having had a rich, heavy dinner. We agreed that this was a result of eating locally-sourced, healthful ingredients. The servers were knowledgeable and very helpful with menu suggestions. The Raincity Grill is located at 1193 Denman Street, near the intersection of Davie Street.


  • Comment by Tracey R. — October 12, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    We dined here a few years ago during Dine Out. Fabulous meals, I agree. Thanks for the gorgeous photos. We’re all stuffed from the turkey!!

  • Comment by Stephen — October 12, 2010 @ 12:42 pm

    Mmmm, those photos are making me hungry. Nice story. So many fabulous Vancouver restaurants – hard to choose.

  • Comment by Thomas Wall — October 12, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    My family is coming from overseas next month for holidays. Now I have a great idea where to take them. Thank you for posting this.

  • Comment by Rhonda — October 14, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

    Gorgeous, what a great idea. Next year 😉

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