Aim to arrive at Ancora around sunset, when the bright, white space becomes saturated with light reflected off Vancouver’s False Creek. Only then can you fully appreciate the effect of the room’s ethereal linen-white décor and the glint of chandeliers draped to mimic fishing nets. Complete with a Juliette balcony primed for romantic dinners for two, the ambiance of Ancora’s 100-seat dining room is exquisite and well suited to special occasions. For those who prefer dining al fresco by the sea, a forty-seat patio awaits.
The kitchen is overseen by Blue Water Café alumni Ricardo Valverde and raw bar master Yoshi Tabo, producing predominantly seafood dishes touched by flavours from Valverde’s native Peru. Nova Scotia lobster risotto and Haida Gwaii pan seared halibut emphasize their ingredients’ freshness with light-handed accompaniments, while the Ancora glacier—the restaurant’s version of the more traditional seafood tower—is a true showstopper. Oysters, sashimi, Peruvian ceviche, tuna tartar and poached prawns are arranged beautifully on ice alongside crab causa: a light crab meat salad served on a golden puff of cloud-textured potato and topped with a quail egg. Also featured in the glacier are mussels escabeche, a dish in which the meaty bivalves are spiced with aji amarillo (fruity and vibrant) and aji panca (smoky-sweet) Peruvian peppers, which Valverde describes roguishly as a “naughty combination.”
Order the spiced picarones for dessert; these crispy-soft little pumpkin doughnuts with dulce de leche are wonderful with a glass of Pender Island’s Sea Star Vineyard Prose Riesling, which tastes of bright green apples.
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