Luxury shopping has been pretty much defined by Canada’s Holt Renfrew since 1837, and with the downtown Vancouver store’s recent expansion it only seems fitting that a new restaurant is part of the plan. Holts Café is open during store hours, meaning stopping in for a break during your shopping or work day for a swishy lunch, casual dinner or cozy weekend brunch is a must. Post-power-shopping cocktails at the sleek bar isn’t a bad idea either, especially after you’ve given your credit card a bit of work out in the newly expanded departments including David Yurman, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and the handsome new Mens Store.
The café and bar ‘s modern take on the west coast look is what first made the biggest impression on me. Designed by Canadian design group Yabu Pushelberg, the 1,750 square foot space has a soft, natural, coastal vibe, in a palette of dove grey, pearl, palest blue and sand with dreamy lighting that seems carefully chosen. A custom, hand-painted mural by Canadian art studio Moss and Lam on the Café’s façade evokes a serene seascape. Rope details on the walls give a nod to the nautical, without being too over the top in sailor-style. Wraparound banquettes in deep navy blue leather bookend curved walls, with the iconic ABI chair in wheat-toned leather, by French designer Christophe Delcourt sharing real estate in this ethereal space.
However, most importantly in any restaurant? The food of course. Executive Chef Nicolas Hipperson focuses on regional ingredients, and with an impressive resume that includes stints at C Restaurant and Raincity Grill, I knew we were in good hands at dinner. Start with the Potato & Black Pepper Soup, with its slow-cooked egg, crème fraîche, and sea asparagus – perfection. Salt Spring Island Mussels, the Roasted Chicken with warm figs and parsnips, and the Wagyu Burger are signature dishes. Gluten-free options plus a good cocktail and wine list also made for an “I’m going back soon’ take away.
Reservations call 604.678.0316 or holtrenfrew.com or via Open Table.