4222 Village Square
Executive Chef: James Walt
Date Visited: Wednesday May 27, 2009 for lunch
Sandwiches/burgers $10-14; mains $17-26; dessert $12 (lunch prices; view website for dinner prices)
Beautiful place, huge patio, very kind and friendly service. Great menu note for lunch: "If you need to be somewhere by a certain time, please let us know and we will guarantee you a meal within 45 minutes." I only had an hour for lunch and it was a superbly timed meal. I didn't feel rushed at all but service was still quick.
Had an amazing glass of white wine from Sumac Ridge in BC (only $8 too!). Perfectly chilled, aroma and taste of berries, clean finish. For main, BC wild salmon with local Pemberton farms asparagus and arugula. Salmon was excellently grilled -- a plump, happy pink, moist and flaky with the skin left on for a little texture and extra flavour. Greens tasted like I was eating from the side of Whistler Mountain -- crisp and bursting with flavour. Dressed in a balsamic and mustard seed glaze for a little tart sweetness.
Before I got to Vancouver, I had a check-up with my doctor, and my blood test said I was low on iron, which I already suspected because I'm often tired. My doctor gave me a pamphlet about how to increase my iron intake. Apparently caffeine prevents your body from absorbing all the iron from your meal when you drink a coffee or tea with it. You should wait an hour before or after eating to drink coffee or tea so your body absorbs all nutrients properly. But I was willing to make an exception since I was on vacation and enjoying a fabulous meal.
I was only willing to make the exception for really good coffee though, so I asked the server what kind of coffee beans the restaurant uses. Lo and behold, my local meal continued all the way through because the beans were from BC! Had no idea coffee beans could even grow in Canada. So I had the most amazing Americano of my life. The beans were roasted Italian-style. The coffee tasted buttery, savoury and a little sweet. Better than Illy.
And for dessert, North Arm farms rhubarb soaked in a vanilla bean sauce with panna cotta and a raspberry foam -- a perfect cap to the meal; rhubarb was slightly sweet and tasted like the countryside; panna cotta was the perfect consistency of gel-like creaminess; and raspberry foam added just the right contrast for brightness.
The company that owns Araxi, also owns Blue Water Cafe and West in Vancouver. All three are ranked as top dining spots in Vancouver magazine, and after visiting Araxi, I can easily see why. By far, this is one of the best meals I've ever had before... and it was only lunch too!
Rating (out of five stars): ****