The Height(s) of Good Taste

By Tim Pawsey

Foodies have long known that the stretch of Hastings Street which runs east from Boundary Road (known as Burnaby Heights) is home to a wealth of myriad flavours.

A reviewer once cheekily suggested that The Pear Tree was one of downtown Vancouver’s best dining destinations. (It’s not downtown and never has been, but just sports a certain sophistication that makes it feel that way.)

Over the years, Pear Tree owners Stephanie and Scott Jaeger have won accolades for being very polished, cutting edge, and serving with casual flair in contemporary but comfortable surroundings. Scott’s regionally driven plates features the likes of pan roasted Lois Lake Steelhead salmon, served with pomme Dauphine and butternut squash, or twice cooked ‘Berkshire’ pork belly with white bean Cassoulet.

Also firmly locally focused, Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria features VPN certified Neapolitan pizza (by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana ) and down to earth, truly traditional Italian cuisine. Based on the best of local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients, this cut-above pizzeria cooks its creative pies ( in a classic wood fired brick forno. Plates are traditionally true to form but often with a decidedly west coast twist).

Tim-Pawsey---Chocolate-1

Ask Chéz Christophe owner Jessica Bonzon why she and her chocolatier husband Christophe Bonzon chose to locate their patisserie in “the Heights” and she’ll tell you it’s because the area reminds them very much of their native Switzerland—especially for its neighbourly, village feeling.

Christophe studied for a decade with some of Europe’s best and was executive pastry chef at Robson Street’s CinCin before opening the store. The patisserie is spotless and the decor pleasingly sparse, with all attention focused on the displays of exquisite hand-made chocolates, intricately decorated cakes, éclairs, tiramisu, mille-feuilles, croissants, brioches and savoury ‘flutes’ for dipping ‘à la Suisse’ in Champagne. All are hand-made in-house (along with superb preserves); and it pays to go early in the day, advises Jessica, before the selection dwindles.

For more savoury daytime tastes, Chez Meme Baguette Bistro obliges with mouthwatering, formidable, meal sized sandwiches, on the freshest of French bread; from Ratatouille to Beef Bourguignon and smoked salmon. Or, to dance up a storm to a live band after a classic Italian dinner, head to red brick and dark beam trimmed Baci Restaurant, filled with generations worth of memorabilia—and a mainstay in the Heights for decades.

The Pear Tree
4120 Hastings St. E., 604-299-2772

Cotto Enoteca Pizzeria
6011 Hastings St. E., 604-299-8002

Chéz Christophe
4712 Hastings St. E., 604-428-4200

Chez Meme Baguette Bistro
4016 Hastings St. E., 604-299-1141

Baci Restaurant
3728 Hastings St. E,. 604-299-7047