Peruvian Cuisine is the Next Big Thing
And Vancouver’s Ancora is on the cutting edge of the trend.
I’m not going to say we called it, but Western Living ran a story in 2010 calling Peruvian cuisine the next big thing. And since that time we’ve seen the trend explode: great restaurants in L.A., San Fan and New York and a honest-to-goodness celebrity chef in the form of Gaston Arcurio. And now finally Vancouver has its own spot to experience the revolution (to be fair, the excellent Chicha has been around for a few years but it’s a much more casual approach to Peruvian cooking). Ancora has moved into the beautiful spot on the water at North False Creek last occupied by the legendary C Restaurant. The room—polished and lightened up—looks amazing belying the oft-heard refrain that Vancouver has no great waterfront restaurants.
But as pretty as it is, if the food’s not great people won’t come (right Lift?). And, oh daddy, does chef Ricardo Valverde deliver. The menu is a nexus of Peruvian and Japanese cuisine, which sounds wacky, but is actually a long time convention thanks to the oddly close connections between those two countries. That means Panca Glazed Sablefish, a Pacific Lingcod with a aji limo curry, and the deceptively simply named Haida Gwaii Pan Seared Halibut, a dish that, when paired with “forbidden” rice chorizo paella, Peruvian baby squid and a pimento emulsion, is one of the best dishes served in the city this year. To top it off, General Manager Andrea Vescovi, a long-time fixture at Blue Water Cafe, has somehow convinced legendary (and we do not use that word lightly) sushi chef Yoshihiro Tabo to join in on the fun.
We refused to leave until Chef Valverde gave us his recipe for the Haida Gwaii Pan Seared Halibut, and he such an amiable type he complied. Click here for the amazingness.