Top Stops For Eating Your Way Down Yew Street
Located in the heart of Kitsilano is picturesque Yew Street. With eateries galore, there is something to satisfy everyone's craving.
October 26, 2016
The two blocks of Yew Street between Cornwall and West 1st avenues should, theoretically, be among the most foolproof in Kitsilano—if not the city—for dining and drinking establishments. Nestled amid hundreds of houses and rental apartments, and a stone’s throw from the beach, its eateries stand to profit handsomely year-round from local residents and, in the summer months, thousands of fair-weather sunbathers. Yet the charming little enclave has proven surprisingly volatile: otherwise successful restaurateurs have faltered here, especially of late. But every failure begets a new opportunity, and so Yew is again in a state of significant transition. What will still be standing in another year’s time is anyone’s guess.
Brand New Yew Street Restaurants to Try
Gooseneck Hospitality principals James Iranzad and Josh Pape have reaped critical accolades and customer loyalty in Kerrisdale and Gastown with, respectively, Bufala and Wildebeest. But following mixed reviews and too many underpopulated nights, their seafood venture, Supermarine, shuttered in July after little more than a year. Acknowledging that the concept, not the location, was to blame—after all, Abigail’s Party (another Iranzad brainchild) had flourished there for more than a decade—the duo recently transformed the space into Lucky Taco (1685 Yew St., 604‑739‑4677). Now throbbing daily to a classic-rock soundtrack, the kitchen frantically turns out a tight card of seven tacos and an equal number of “snackos,” while the bar respects the concept with a variety of margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails. Two doors north, where Thai Star burned out after an ignoble kick at the can, Pidgin alumni Amanda Cheng and Makoto Ono hope their outsized talents will have room to manoeuvre inside the cramped quarters of what is now Mak N Ming (1629 Yew St.). It had yet to open as we were going to press, but the duo’s aim is to combine Japanese and French influences while remaining casual enough to become both a destination and a local go-to. Likewise, Blue Martini Jazz Cafe (1516 Yew St., 604-428‑2691) hopes to persevere where Hapa Izakaya couldn’t, albeit with a very different concept.
A sibling of downtown’s long-running Francesco’s Ristorante Italia, its sprawling menu—pastas, small plates, Cajun-inspired mains, and 10 (count ’em!) varieties of stuffed baked potatoes—complements live music and a date-night ambiance. Those with kids in tow and/or a tighter budget can cross the street to the perennially bustling Nook (1525 Yew St., 604‑734‑3381), where pastas and pizzas (none over $20) fly out by the dozen to grateful families. Evidently, its owners could not have chosen a better location. Speaking of which…
Classic Yew Street Foodie Destinations
Among those whose adherence to the “Location! Location! Location!” mantra has served them well here, we tip our communal hat to Kibune Sushi (1508 Yew St., 604‑731‑4482), open since 1982, and Viva Fine Foods and Bakery (1555 Yew St., 604-738-8482), open since 2002—the latter’s claim to offering the “best banana bread in the city” is hard to refute. But especially impressive is Local Public Eatery (2210 Cornwall Ave., 604-734-3589), a surrogate for those who consider Cactus Club too highfalutin. Out of this original location has sprung a nationwide chainlet of eight (plus a ninth in Seattle). The menu pushes every crowd-pleasing button (burgers, wings, nachos, so much beer), and when its garage-door storefront opens onto a view of the beach, there are few rooms in the city that seem more in their element. Just up the hill, the proprietors of Chewies Steam and Oyster Bar (2201 W 1st Ave., 604‑558‑4448) and new arrival The Kitchen Table (1618 Yew St., 604‑738‑6966)—which took over from the Kings Head Inn after its 30-year run—are no doubt praying for similar success. As always, the masses will decide.