Main Street has always been the epicentre of Vancouver’s Chinatown, with traditional herbal shops, grocers and Hong Kong-inspired lunch counters like The Boss. But it’s also the harbinger of neighbourhood change – more often than not a contentious case of gentrification and shiny new flats. Now, a new kid on the block called Virtuous Pie nicely straddles the old Chinatown and the new hipster-ridden one that has seen the area rebranded as foodie central.
Right across the street from The Boss, the restaurant, owned by chef Jim Vesal, embodies a new world lunch counter with an old world Roman vibe, serving delicious all veggie pizzas that are rich, hearty and flavoursome.
The Med is a crowd pleaser; smokey baba ganoush, thoughtful house-made falafel, tofu based feta, roasted red peppers, kalamata and mint chutney. This is best complemented with a seasonal salad (try the Brussels sprout and squash) and washed down with a fresh spicy apple and pepper juice, and of course, finished off with a coconut-based mint and chocolate ice cream.
Like the cuisine, the decor by local design agency House of Bohn is a harmonious layering of elements: West Coast wood and Italian travertine counters with yellowy veins to match custom brass lighting that frame the open kitchen’s pizza oven. Clean contemporary custom benches flank long communal tables, creating the perfect space for Mandarin and Cantonese speaking locals to rub shoulders with young artists and entrepreneurs.