Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
LF23

Vancouver Arrival, Hampton Inn Robson

Recommended Posts

Hi, we arrive at YVR ~7:30 pm on the Thursday before our cruise departing Saturday this July. We are staying at the Hampton on Robson. We’ll be tired and hungry after a full day of travel and time change from the east coast US, flying through DFW, so we have a couple of questions on how we should plan that evening: 

 

1. Assuming we cab it from airport to hotel, about what time should we expect to arrive at the hotel?  

 

2. We’re thinking check-in, drop bags and head out for a walk and food. We like pretty much everything from pizza and burgers to steak and seafood, Italian, Asian...  Given we will be running on the minimum we can get away with of airport food, looking for suggestions for dinner convenient to the hotel, within a 10-15 minute walk, casual, with relatively quick service due to the tired and hungry part, but relaxing as in we won’t necessarily want to rush.  

If we’re feeling energetic (doubtful but adrenaline, food, first night of vacation, you never know) we’d be up for perhaps another short stroll and some fresh air on the way back to the hotel, so would also appreciate any recommended walking routes to/from dinner. 

 

Thank you!  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The taxi to the hotel part has low variability - you're well outside any rush hour issues, so 45mins should cover from joining the walkup cab queue at YVR all the way to getting out at the Hampton. Getting off your plane the real issue is Other Planes - nobody else lands within a half-hour or so before you do and you should waltz through in a few minutes, while if a couple of widebodies arrive (as they are wont to do in the evenings) you could be talking up to an hour before you clear immigration. So unfortunately our hotel arrival could be realistically anything from 1 hour from touchdown up to almost double that.

 

Food - personally I'm not a fan of Bogarts, the on-site Hampton resto, but overall it gets decent enough reviews that you should be able to find perfectly edible options if it's been a really exhausting day. Yaletown offers you maybe half-a-bajillion dining options - even at a leisurely pace, pretty much all of those are within 10-15mins walk! With the additional criteria that they should have seats available for walkups and get your food to you quickly, that still leaves a reasonable range of options but I'm going to point you toward Homer Street Cafe for three main reasons: they have lots of tables so it's easy to get sat except at peak dining times Fri/Sat; their house specialty of rotisserie chicken is served up fast as they are all rotating away in the huge fancy oven with some ready to go at all times; they take resos up to 9:30pm on Thursdays so the kitchen will definitely be operating until at least 10pm in case you are running late (plus, we've never been disappointed with the food or cocktails!). Tip - sit at the bar for even prompter service, plus their Happy Hour menu reappears at 9:30pm nightly. Plus, if you are mentally done on arrival, for $49 per person they will just bring you a bunch of nice food with no other decisions required! If you do feel up to a bit more picking and choosing yourself, we never leave without ordering the pork belly.

 

Walking home - just continue all the way down Homer to David Lam park, which abuts the Seawall. Hang a left and walk back along the Seawall and that would work out to a ~1.75 mile/35min saunter if you skirt the water the whole way to Beatty (but you can shave off lots of corners here and there, cut straight across the park instead of skirting around it etc. to cut that back by 5-10 mins). Too short? Instead follow Seymour from the resto over Cambie Bridge then loop around the end of False Creek, ~2.25 miles/45mins

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, martincath said:

I'm going to point you toward Homer Street Cafe 

 

3 hours ago, martincath said:

Walking home -

 

Martincath, you’re amazing!  Homer St looks perfect, reminds me of a place we loved in Portland, Maine.  And the range of options for meandering - depending on that hour variable in actually getting to the hotel and back out again - are exactly what we were looking for.  Since you’ve read our minds...

 

What about decent coffee handy to the Hampton, and breakfast?  I’ve read a lot about Jam but looks like it might be a madhouse.  Our main goal for Friday is to rent bikes and spend the majority of the day in Stanley Park and riding the seawall.  Is there a particular spot we should consider for lunch?  Either a beautiful spot to stop with decent food, or food worth the diversion from the beauty.  Can you tell we’re all about the food? 😉.  Many thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, LF23 said:

.. Can you tell we’re all about the food? 😉.

You're really talking my language now! Jam, personally, I feel is underwhelming - the food's fine but it's the Stepho's of fancy breakfasts (translation - queues are far too long for the quality of the product; it's overhyped). I actually quite enjoy Hampton Inn brekkies when traveling (even mediocre biscuits & gravy are a huge step up from DIY waffles and other  pure-carb brekkies) but if you want to treat yourselves there are several better-then-Jam options, prime among them still being Medina Cafe - which revolutionized the breakfast scene when it opened over a decade ago and has seen many others raise their game but not quite enough to ever match it.

 

Long waits at Medina are still the norm - but unlike Jam even 45-60 mins standing around actually IS worth it for Medina food! If you want to maximize efficiency and actually book a table to guarantee no waiting, I'd suggest Catch 122 and Wildebeest in Gastown - they're both excellent, and while walkup queues are getting pretty long at Catch these days there are plenty of folks who don't realize you can book; and even more people who don't even realize Wildebeest is open (though NB: that it's technically Brunch so service on Fridays would start at 10am, too late if you want fed before you start your day of sightseeing).

 

Decent coffee - it's pretty hard to find bad coffee in Vancouver if you avoid big chains that shall go unnamed but feature in both versions of Battlestar Galactica as well as a certain whale-oriented classic American novel. Which is the bestest of all is a subject of endless debate of course... but since you're in Yaletown you might want to try Small Victory as a good example of a current local trend for fancy pour over coffees, cute pastries, and top notch breads all in one place. Rocanini is one of the best roasteries and now have a branch in Yaletown too - not cheap, but if you want a really obscure coffee they're more likely to have it than just about anywhere else. Nemesis, Revolver, Elysian and Matchstick are other local names that always appear in any 'top ten' list of good coffee spots if you are out and about and need some caffeine.

 

Stanley Park has little in the way of good dining inside - Prospect Point cafe is very casual, perfectly decent 'soup & sandwich' type options and of course ice creams, and the view across to the North Shore with the Lion's Gate bridge is very nice. The Teahouse is overpriced and underwhelming - the worst option in a chain of 'scenic' pricey restos as it actually has very little in the way of views! Even a window table you have a very narrow view over the water. Personally I'd be inclined to either leave the park (English Bay, not far outside it, offers the Cactus Club Cafe which was purpose built right on the Seawall to maximize views - it's almost like a big greenhouse with tons of glass - and the same menu for the same price as their other locations; they're a sort of local chain of 'mass fine dining' so not cheap, but great value for what you get) or bring in a picnic. Meat & Bread make excellent sammiches if you don't want to have the hassle of bringing utensils to cut your own bread/cheese etc. and there are several designated picnic areas, even with access to shelter/water/power. A couple of ziploc bags filled with ice from the hotel should be enough to ensure that you can keep any spoilable edibles cool while your cycle around for a few hours in summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, martincath said:

bring in a picnic.

Yes! I was going to ask you about a sandwich shop to carry along.  Meat and Bread looks perfect. The breakfast options look delish too, the ability to maximize time with a reservation is appealing. We will also have a good part of Saturday pre-ship, we are after the line believers, plus more time in Vancouver. Still figuring out our priorities for the day, but breakfast will of course be amongst. Medina does look intriguing, if we were to slot that in, would you recommend Friday over Saturday, and is there a best time to shoot for?   So grateful for the heads up about Jam. 

 

Just a thought... if we find we’re afraid of being away from edible pasta on a boat for a week, do you have a recommendation for casual Italian on Friday evening?  Our other thought was, given Vancouver, Chinese.  

 

Thank you.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, LF23 said:

... if we find we’re afraid of being away from edible pasta on a boat for a week, do you have a recommendation for casual Italian on Friday evening?  Our other thought was, given Vancouver, Chinese. 

Close to your hotel, Lupo manages to stay under the radar but actually has been really good for a really long time (despite having the budget for the celeb hangouts like CinCin, my wife's company usually takes clients who express a desire for Italian to Lupo as it's much more low key and quieter but still v tasty); the best Italian in downtown Vancouver though is (according to other chefs of Italian restaurants who almost universally voted it the place they themselves would eat first other than their own resto): Ask for Luigi. It's beyond the touristy bit of Gastown a little onto the skeevier side and they have a very restrictive reso policy (only take bookings for tables in the first hour of opening, so usually between 5 and 6 in summer) so it's unfortunately not an efficient place to visit unless you are early diners - but their pasta dishes are insanely flavourful. There's also another option that replaced my previous personal 'go to' for risotto, Cinara - Autostrada Osteria at Homer & Pender. Based on the original branch, the team behind it etc. it SHOULD provide a very nice dinner indeed, I just haven't gotten around to dining there hence the caveat!

 

If you're willing to go a bit further afield for good Italian, then Savio Volpe is the 'headliner' in the magical little nook that all foodie locals know but tourists never get within a mile of - the 'golden triangle' of Kingsway, Fraser & 15th (almost every resto here somehow manages to punch about it's weight and they are incredibly varied - Tacos, French, Italian, Pizza, Vietnamese Subs, Coffee...). Same team as L'Abattoir, a fantastic French-prep locavore joint in Gastown, and it tries extremely hard (annoyingly so at times!) to be a hyper-authentic Italian 'small town' osteria, with the food options available supposed to reflect seasonal produce (it does do this well) but they also cripple themselves by refusing to offer a full cocktail service or large wine list - it's a handful of Italian aperitif/digestif type bevvies 'like the locals would drink in an Italian town' (I'm OK as that includes a Negroni, but it p*sses my wife off no end as she's a whisky-based cocktail lover and they just don't have any truck with that!)

 

So if you have any personal pedantry around regional Italian food that doesn't click with SV's style, you may also enjoy Crowbar across the street more, like we do - it's seriously underappreciated so easy to get a seat, and they served me hands-down the best pasta dish I ever ate in my life which consisted of nothing but aged butter, cheese and some seasoning tossed with warm pasta. I ordered a second helping! Not strictly an Italian - there are various Asian and other dishes thrown into the mix - but it's very Vancouver-y in it's vibe, lots of seasonal produce, the odd raw meat dish, bison and other farmable 'game' meat.

 

On the Asian noodle-y front, there are more good Ramen joints (and similar concept 'noodles in broth' but Chinese) than you can shake the proverbial stick at all over Vancouver - Ramen Jinya's premium pork broth is still my go-to (they're on Robson). When it comes to noodles not in broth Northern Chinese food trumps all others IMO - and Peaceful is very hard to argue against as the default recommendation as they make their noodles by hand which virtually nobody does any more. I pretty much always order the cumin lamb (they also make it with beef in case you're a lamb-hater) and the dan-dan noodles myself.

 

As to best time for Medina - Friday you do get perhaps more folks waiting outside before they open who want a quick brekky before heading to work, but it's later in the morning when Brunchers start to appear and that's when the queue really gets ridiculous (and far worse on weekends than weekdays). Since you have places to be and things to do I'd say show up a few minutes before they open on Friday (8am) as that gives you a whole extra hour compared to Saturday (when they open at 9am).

 

Bike rental places don't open until 8am, some even 9am, so you may be able to squeeze in a Medina brekky with almost no delay in your bike pickup depending which shop you rent from (assuming you're starting from Medina, then Simon's on Robson would get you onto a bike fastest but you'd have a few blocks of city street riding before you could get onto the nice separate bike lanes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

1 hour ago, martincath said:

Peaceful is very hard to argue against as the default recommendation as they make their noodles by hand

 

Thank you Martincath. It’s research time. Hand pulled noodles?!  😮 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2019 at 11:13 AM, martincath said:

I'm going to point you toward Homer Street Cafe for three main reasons: they have lots of tables so it's easy to get sat except at peak dining times Fri/Sat; their house specialty of rotisserie chicken is served up fast as they are all rotating away in the huge fancy oven with some ready to go at all times; they take resos up to 9:30pm on Thursdays so the kitchen will definitely be operating until at least 10pm in case you are running late (plus, we've never been disappointed with the food or cocktails!). Tip - sit at the bar for even prompter service, plus their Happy Hour menu reappears at 9:30pm nightly.

 

@martincath follow up questions regarding dinner after arrival- 

If we find we don’t want a full dinner by the time we’re able to get out, or we’re held up even later with an arrival delay, would the Homer Street 9:30 happy hour offer lighter apps/snacks and with drinks? Are there other spots in the area we should try if we end up looking for more of a drink and lighter bite, or if we miss Homer St kitchen hours?  Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check the HSC menu (unlike some places, they do list the entire current Happy Hour selection - usually 10-ish options) to see how their lighter bites look for you; since they're open until midnight you won't find much of anything better if you run really late (many Vancouver restos stop taking kitchen orders as early as 9pm). Even pubs tend to go to drinks only late evening unless their license requires food to be served (in which case typical bar snacks are continued until closing, but entrees tend to stop at 9pm) - but few are open past midnight, maybe 1am, except in designated 'party zones' like Granville Street. Red Racer Taphouse on Beatty I'd happily send you to in terms of quality of beers and decent food, but they shut at 11pm Thursdays so it's a worse option than HSC! If you get in before 11pm and want to sample locals beers more than food, definitely an option though.

 

There are many fast food options on the way up Robson before you hit Homer, including some decent ramen, - but even most of these go dark between 9 and 11pm, with good old McDs pretty much your only midnight or later choice(!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @martincath, thats great- I misunderstood that the HSC happy hour food stopped with the kitchen at 10!  Their HH offerings look as good as the dinner menu. And thanks for the tip on Red Racer as you never know when only a beer will do, and what the cutoff is for partaking. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2019 at 3:21 PM, martincath said:

. Meat & Bread make excellent sammiches 

 

 

@martincath, looks like our Stanley Park day will be the Saturday we disembark, so we’ll be heading there from Canada Place. We are still planning to rent bikes and pick up sammies, but it looks like the Meat and Bread along the way is closed Saturdays.  The other locations seem to be opposite direction. Do you have another recommendation that’s somewhat along the route and open Saturdays?  Thanks. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, LF23 said:

@martincath...Meat and Bread along the way is closed Saturdays.  ... Do you have another recommendation that’s somewhat along the route and open Saturdays?

Hmmmm - there's both a Quizno's and a couple of Subways conveniently-located for heading up to the park (Q is just across the street from M&B), but while you'll be able to assemble a sammich that will do the job they're not exactly Vancouver-y! Urban Fare is a local supermarket chain with a good-sized cafe/deli operation, so their branch at Bute & Cordova would be easily visited and offer a broad range of salads & sammiches that are at least a wee bit more local.

 

I'm afraid that the handful of other sammich places I like are further out of your way than the Gastown Meat & Bread location, so they'd be even less convenient. Maybe someone else has a favourite somewhere along the 'Robson to the Seawall' corridor that would be convenient to pop into, because if you go too far out of your way you might as well just look at grabbing lunch at Prospect Point cafe inside the park (it's pretty nice sounding menu right now, fancier than the last time I took anyone there, but you're looking at $15-20 for sammiches... so perhaps worth a ten minute detour to Gastown instead!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, martincath said:

Urban Fare is a local supermarket chain with a good-sized cafe/deli operation, 

 

Urban Fare looks perfect. Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@martincath, there’s a post from you that I can’t find, suggesting a couple of spots for lunch near the pier prior to embarkation. One was Cactus Club, and I forget the other?  Thank you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@LF23If someone was asking about generally-close restos I'd almost certainly have mentioned the pub chain Tap & Barrel (one of their many patios is at the convention centre west, just like Cactus Club); if they were asking about a fancy lunch I'd have flagged CCC and probably the Flying Pig's Water Street branch as that part of Gastown is also an ideal 'leave until close to boarding' area. There's also Rogue - original inside Waterfront Station and the one at 200 Burrard - for the more casual side of things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...