Would appreciate your critiquing our preliminary agenda and thank you profusely in advance for reading my very long post below. We are a couple in our early and late 40s visiting Vancouver 5/24/09 to 5/31/09. This will be my husband's first trip to Canada. I did a 5-day Victoria Clipper tour package in March 2002 (Seattle-Victoria-Vancouver).
We're flying from San Francisco to Seattle, picking up our rental car at the airport, and driving straight to Vancouver. Our tentative itinerary is as follows:
Day 1 (Sunday): Arrive in Seattle 2pm, depart from airport 3pm, drive to Vancouver. Check into condo in Coal Harbor then later head out to Richmond Summer Night Market or Izakaya crawl (thanks for the great map, FMEID!) from Hapa, Kingyo, Gyoza King, and/or Guu's. Any thoughts about Night Market versus Izakaya? Izakaya looks nice since we can walk to dinner.
Day 2 (Monday): Explore downtown via foot and ferry (i.e, Aquabus/Granville Island ferries). Start with dimsum at Sun Sui Wah (recommended by Yimster who is a personal friend), Kirin or Floata, snacks throughout the day at Japadog, crepes, Irish Heather (husband is or Irish descent and loves his Guinness) and/or Salt House. What's the best place for sweet crepes? Bretagne?
Day 3 (Tuesday): Rent bikes and tour Stanley Park, explore Granville Island and continue exploring downtown. Food that day might include Go Fish (have read mixed reports about this place), Lobster Man (we're huge fans of shellfish of any kind) and anything else we see at Granville Island. We're huge salt fiends, so excited about shopping at BC. Thinking about special spot prawn dishes at C or Fuel for dinner that evening. What are your thoughts?
Day 4 (Wednesday): Day trip to Whistler or drive rental car to Richmond for dimsum outing, Grouse Mountain and a suspension bridge TBD. Both my husband and I are very familiar with the Lake Tahoe area in California. We've also traveled extensively up and down the California coast. Given these facts, do you think it's worth traveling to Whistler for a day trip even with the possible construction delays along the way? Is the area around Grouse Mountain too much like Tahoe? Dinner that evening will be a spot prawn crawl or maybe an omakase at Octopus' Garden. Is an omakase worth the splurge???
Day 5 (Thursday): Continue exploring downtown and take ferry to Lonsdale Quay to eat at Screaming Mimi's. Is King crab still in season? Dinner TBD. This may be our "splurge" dinner night.
Day 6 (Friday): Travel to Victoria via Seaplane, arrive Victoria Harbor 7:30am, eat breakfast in Victoria (have any recs?), travel via CVS Cruise Victoria to Butchart Garden, afternoon tea at garden, depart Butchart around 1:30 or 3pm for Victoria, rent mopeds and tour island or tour Victoria by foot, return to Vancouver by seaplane, helicopter or PCL ferry (will decide that afternoon). Other than Blue, what else should we try to hit in Victoria? Since we'll probably return to Vancouver fairly late on Friday, dinner may be another izakaya crawl.
Day 7 (Saturday): Local Zipline, kayak or whale-watching outing. Dinner TBD.
Day 8 (Sunday): Depart for Seattle at time TBD. Returning flight to San Francisco departs 8:35pm.
We love any kind of seafood (especially shell fish), XLBs and open to almost any kind of food but would prefer to eat what we can't get easily at home. Husband detests Indian or anything resembling that flavor profile and isn't a huge fan of Thai/Vietnamese, although he'll tolerate them (we both like Champa Garden in Oakland).
We'd like to do one or two big "blow-out" meals, but we generally prefer good food/atmosphere to loud trendy "scenes." We appreciate good value which doesn't necessarily equate to "cheap eats," but if it's cheap and good eats, all the better! Since we're not familiar with the area and have heard horror stories about local traffic, we'd prefer to walk or take public transit unless it's really worth the drive.
Yimster suggested the King Crab at Empire Seafood, xlb's and hand pulled noodles at Shaghai River dimsum at Fisherman's Terrace in Richmond, hand pulled noodles at Peaceful Restaurant and crab at Sun Sui Wah (husband and I love the S&P crab at R&G Lounge in S/F).
I'm trying to balance my desire for a totally "foodie" vacation with my husband's desire for a nice, relaxing vacation. Much like Greywolf's recent vacation to the SF Bay Area which I followed with great interest, I have a huge list of food items/restaurants I'd like to try and feel quite overwhelmed with the available choices. Any tips/suggestions/comments regarding our proposed itinerary would be greatly appreciated as we literally booked our trip less than 4 days ago.
Thanks so much for your help!