Sunday, July 26, 2009
Many airlines fly between Washington area airports and Vancouver, though nonstop flights are rare. Round-trip fares on one-stop flights from BWI start at about $630.
Vancouver has an efficient public transportation system. Buses, trains and ferries connect downtown with the outlying neighborhoods where some of the best sushi is found. Individual tickets cost about $2.30; packets of 10 are $16. Alternatively, at the airport you can rent a car from Budget (1-800-472-3325 http://www.budget.com) with unlimited mileage for about $70 a day, including taxes and fees.
WHERE TO STAY
Shangri-La Hotel (1128 W. Georgia St., 1-604-689-1120, http://www.shangri-la.com). Vancouver's newest five-star hotel offers contemporary Asian styling in the city's tallest building. Michelin three-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten runs the hotel's Market restaurant. Rates from $297.
Wedgewood Hotel (845 Hornby St., 1-800-663-0666, http://www.wedgewoodhotel.com). A family-owned boutique option. Request a room with a balcony overlooking Robson Square, the modernist heart of downtown. Rates from $199.
WHERE TO EAT
Tojo's (1133 W. Broadway, 1-604-872-8050, http://www.tojos.com). The destination for high-end sushi in Vancouver. Choose your price range, from $52-$95 a person, and chef Hidekazu Tojo will craft a customized tasting menu. Reservations are essential.
Toshi Sushi (181 E. 16th Ave., 1-604-874-5173). Artfully prepared and exceedingly fresh sushi at bargain prices. Expect a long wait to be seated, a cramped dining room and exceptional fish. Rolls and small plates $3-$8.
Hapa Izakaya (1479 Robson St., 1-604-689-4272, http://www.hapaizakaya.com). Represents the new wave of Japanese cuisine in Vancouver. Modeled after informal beer and snack bars in Japan, Hapa specializes in Japanese-style tapas such as saba -- mackerel sashimi seared with a butane torch at the table -- and has an extensive sake menu. Cold and hot tapas $3-$10.
Go Fish (1505 W. First Ave., 1-604-730-5040). If you need a break from sushi, this seafood shack on the wharf serves some of the better fish and chips in the city for about $10.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
Fisherman's Wharf (1505 W. First Ave., adjacent to the Granville Island market complex). An old-world anomaly near the heart of downtown Vancouver. Throughout the day, small fishing boats pull up and sell fresh tuna, prawns and scallops to restaurants and the public.
Chinatown Night Market (Main and Keefer streets, http://www.vcma.shawbiz.ca). Friday-Sunday, 6:30 to 11 p.m., through Sept. 6. The same neighborhoods along Main Street that offer cheap sushi are also home to a diverse population from China, India and other countries. One of the highlights is this market, where vendors hawk fish balls and Hello Kitty purses until the wee hours to the strains of Chinese karaoke.
Vancouver Aquarium (845 Avison Way, 1-604-659-3521, http://www.visitvanaqua.org). Leave the chopsticks at home and see 70,000 sea creatures in their pre-sushi states. Apart from hosting sleepovers -- arrive early to bed down in front of the baby beluga tank -- the aquarium also runs the Ocean Wise program, which helps restaurants incorporate sustainable seafood into their menus. Admission is about $25 for adults.