This Washington, DC 'hound just returned from Vancouver and had a great time. Here is a brief report:
Guu with Garlic -- this "izakaya" restaurant (I was unfamiliar with the concept before I went to Vanc) was sort of a Japanese tapas-style place. I was impressed about how different it was from regular Japanese food (tempura, sushi, teriyaki, etc). Everything was fresh, had great flavor and was most of all, very interesting. Prices were very reasonable too...the small plates were $3-$8 a piece (where 2 to 4 could make a very good sized meal). This is on Robson just past the main area of West End shops.
Shiro -- a fabulous sushi spot on Cambie near Broadway (I forget what that area of town is called). Dinner for two with lots of sushi, some tempura, two large Asahi beers was $45 Canadian. Although Washington, DC has some good sushi places, I've never had such interesting and excellent sushi. This is worth a trip. The two men behind the sushi bar were super friendly and nice, as was the rest of the service. This is a place in a mini-strip mall -- but don't be put off by its un-fancy exterior.
Cru -- After seeing a few posts mention this spot, and Vancouver Magazine (I think) named it one of their best new restaurants, I figured why not try it. First, the service there was extremely friendly and pleasant. We tried the Grilled moroccan-spiced Lamb Chop with greek salad, a cheese plate, fresh Nova Scotia Scallop Duo that was ceviche and seared, and Baked Gnocchi with fresh peas, tarragon, mornay sauce and ermite cheese. Everything was fresh and well-prepared. The menu also had decently priced BC wines by the glass and bottle, as well as other interesting choices. The web site is www.cru.ca
Cupcakes -- This yummy cupcake shop over on Denman was great! The cupcakes weren't too overly sweet or buttery, and had a nice moist texture. Between three of us, we tried 10 different kinds in 2 or 3 days and loved all of them. Their website is www.cupcakesonline.com
Provence Marinaside -- This is a great place to go if you want to sit outside, enjoy the great weather, and have a nice glass of wine from their very large global wine list. While much of the menu concentrates on seafood, the best dish we ordered was a wild mushroom ravioli. Otherwise, we thought for the price, there were likely better seafood options in Vanc. The Bouillabaisse was perfectly fine, but nothing terribly special or memorable. Same with the Grilled Wild Salmon. I'd call this a very solid good meal, but nothing that stands out considerably from another good restaurant. However, while nothing knocked my socks off, the view and the patio were marvelous. Their web site is http://www.emenus.ca/provence/