The Observatory at Grouse Mountain is one of Vancouver’s highly regarded upscale restaurants. For Vancouver, it would be considered “fine dining,” but it’s by no means pretentious.
It offers spacious seating and more or less floor to ceiling views overlooking Vancouver. It’s ideal for special occasions, but not limited to them, and the experience is more than the stunning view and ambiance.
Chef Dino L. Gazzola was born and raised in Vancouver and offers Italian inspired West Coast cuisine. He uses local and seasonal ingredients (mostly within B.C.) and proudly states where they are from on his menu.
From Okanagan venison to Chilliwack corn and Fraser Valley duck, he supports local farmers and producers.
The concepts behind his dishes are as refined as his presentation, and after years of experience cooking at upscale Vancouver restaurants, he gets it. He knows the palates of Vancouver, but is not afraid to introduce them to something new and inventive.
The food is approachable, but creative and he adds a bit of modern cooking to traditional dishes. An Heirloom Tomato Consommé is not just any “tomato soup,” but he pairs it with avocado, parmesan sorbet and olive oil powder.
It’s not all about “molecular gastronomy” either, although he adds a touch of it where appropriate.
His ideas are modern and flavours inspired by the diverse cultures and ingredients of Vancouver. Hints of Asian ingredients such as tobiko and sushi rice make their way on the menu, but in a sophisticated manner. His personal Italian tastes such as gnocchi and ricotta come into play too, but he approaches every dish with thought and consideration so it’s not confusing or “fusion,” but culturally inspired.
If you want the full experience, consider the 5 Course Price Fixe Tasting Menu for $125 (includes five wine pairings). The current menu features Chicken Terrine with crisp sweetbreads, pickled vegetables, and arugula, and Chilliwack Corn Ravioli with shaved summer truffles, chanterelles, and mascarpone cheese. Allergies and dietary restrictions are accommodated and advanced notice is appreciated.
The Observatory is also Ocean Wise and part of The Green Table Network, which is in tune with Vancouver’s mentality. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol for seafood or highlighted sustainable meats if it’s a priority.
The restaurant is open seven nights a week from 5 to 10 p.m.
Address: 6400 Nancy Greene Way, North Vancouver
Note: An Alpine Experience admission ticket to Grouse Mountain for each member of your dinner party is complimentary on the day of your dinner with advance reservations and includes access to the Skyride and mountaintop activities.
Written by Mijune Pak of Follow Me Foodie, one of the most popular and well respected food and travel blogs in Vancouver with international recognition. Mijune is the founder and was named “Must Follow by Industry” at The Social Media Awards. She writes a weekly food column, “Follow Me Foodie,” for WE Vancouver and has appeared on Food Network, Breakfast Television, CBC TV and many other media outlets.
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