I want to thank the board for some great recommendations during our week in Vancouver. I'm the one who wrote looking for "innovative" food. You guys have a great city with some great food - it also doesn't hurt that the weather this past week was perfect.
I would say that most places we went to had some "innovative" things on the menu - usually fusion inspired. One random lunch on robson involved a chicken sandwhich served on nan-bread with warm tomato compote and roasted red peppers. Don't remember the name of the place (something grill) but it was different and tasty! Another random indian restaurant in Gas Town (that actually had amazingly terrible service) did have a tasty goat marsala which i'd never seen on a menu before. And the pirogis at Granville Public Market were divine - don't often see those! Also had a great Ahi and Roasted Tomato salad at Cordova near Stanley Park one day. I think it's easy to get spoiled by your own city and forget what may be different to others (definitely happens to me in SF).
Here is a rundown of some of the more memorable meals
C-Restaurant - this was the anniversery dinner. A great recommendation both for innovative food and romantic setting. We split the "sticks" as an app which consisted of 2 sets of 6 skewers: A spot prawn, heirloom tomato, goat cheese wrapped with sopressata & fig jam, a white beet, smoked salmon wrapped around creme freche, albaore tuna. My favorite was the sopresseta, the wife the spot prawn and beet, but all were very good. For mains I had wild salmon with crispy skin with couscous & chorizo and fresh peas and pea puree. The wife had cumin sable fish with chick pea fritters (falafel) hummus, tzatziki and eggplant marmalade. the skin on both pieces of fish was perfectly crispy. I found the salmon a little bit flavorless - it was a white salmon which I'd never had before that the waitress commented is common this time of year. However the couscous and peas were wonderful. The sablefish was great (but sablefish always is to me!) and the sides were all extremely well done and creative - particularly the eggplant marmalade and i'm not an eggplant fan. We were quite full by the end and the dessert menu was uninspiring so we didnt order any. In all this met our expectations for "innovative" foods. The combination of flavors as well as the wimsy in the meal was definitely enjoyable.
Aki - varied selection of grilled foods. Particularly liked the tomago with eel, short ribs and soba noodles. The whole sardine while maybe not our favorite was definitely well done and interesting to eat.
Longs - Got there during the rush at 8pm on a saturday. Had drunken chicken, tan tan noodles, XLB, a fish soup which was recommended, and some sauteed vegetables that weren't on the menu. The XLB were great and we watched them being made in the corner. The fish soup had perfect balance of vineager spice and texture. The noodles were good but could have been a bit spicier. The drunken chicken was very refreshing and a great way to start the meal. It is very hard to find focused chinese resturants like this in the bay area
Miko - on the last night went somewhere local to the hotel for sushi. This was actually by myself as the wife had already left. I have to say all the screaming was a bit weird, but it was a very comfortable place to sit at the Sushi bar and be a solo dinner as the staff was very friendly. Great Bonito (sashimi) and Saba (I always judge a sushi restaurant by their saba). The aburi style nigiri was interesting as i'd never had it before and i felt added something to the fish even though i usually don't like cooked sushi. Overall it's probably a bit pricey but a good option for the downtown area.
Two more comments - I tried to drink a lot of the different local beers (mainly lagers and pale ales) and they were tasty but definitely seem a bit lighter and subtler than what you get in the the bay area (that is big on small breweries). Also, I would say eating out is quiet pricey. Maybe not as much on the high end, but definitely on the low end - oh well...
Anyway, thanks for the great tips - hope to get back to your city soon!