An unforgettable experience at the Café Pacifica patio

I had the pleasure of dining at the Pan Pacific Vancouver‘s Café Pacifica this past weekend. I hadn’t known much about the restaurant’s menu or its phenomenal space but I was beyond pleased when I had arrived and scored seats on Vancouver’s most gorgeous patio. More on this later. Patio aside, the Café Pacifica’s menu is heavenly. I will detail my experience below and give you my personal thoughts on the two appetizers, two entrees, and four cocktails my friend and I had the pleasure of sharing.

The Café Pacifica is located in the Pan Pacific Vancouver hotel lobby. Upon entering the lobby, you’ll take two escalators to the third floor where you’ll be greeted by floor to ceiling windows that frame the jaw-dropping views of the North Shore, Vancouver’s coastal mountains, the ocean and the iconic sails of the Pan Pacific Vancouver. The view from the lobby is amazing in itself, but it gets even better when you set foot on the patio.

We arrived at the hostess stand and were greeted by a kind and inviting hostess whose name I didn’t catch. She introduced us to George, the restaurant manager, and George kindly showed us to our patio seats. I can’t stress enough how amazing this view is. Name another patio in Vancouver where you can get such a spectacular view of the mountains, Stanley Park and even Mount Baker (all the way over in Washington) while enjoying a cocktail, snack or dinner? Shortly after being seated, our rockstar waitress Haley came by to kick off our lovely dinner experience.

We started off with a couple of cocktails. My friend ordered the Evergreen (Don Julio Blanco, Chartreuse, juniper berries, pine syrup, lime juice and soda) and me, being the sucker that I am for Bourbon, I ordered the Blood Alley (Bulleit Bourbon, Peychaud’s Bitters, blood orange syrup).

  • The Evergreen was a light, refreshing cocktail with a lovely citrus base and a welcoming herbal kick from the juniper berries and pine syrup. Perfect for a day out on the patio.

  • The Blood Alley was mellow, sweet and packed with citrus flavour (as you’d imagine). Very easy to drink and velvety smooth in texture. I’m all for a good Old Fashioned and this reminded me of a dessert variation of the classic drink.

Shortly after receiving our cocktails, Haley came by with our starters: Caprese Salad (Stein Valley Farm heirloom tomato, bocconcini cheese, baby sorrel, balsamic pearls, basil & olive oil) and the Beef Carpaccio (Seared Alberta beef, roasted & pickled mushrooms, crispy capers, radish, arugula & parmesan cheese). Our appies made for the perfect patio appetizer duo.

  • The Caprese Salad featured all the makings of a perfect Caprese Salad. The tomatoes were juicy, the cheese was fresh and the greens were crisp. Best of all, their rendition features balsamic pearls, which add a pleasant burst of flavour with every bite.

  • The Beef Carpaccio was phenomenal. I’m salivating right now just writing about it. The dish features such a broad range of textures and flavours that come together so well. You’ve got the saltiness and crispiness of the parmesan chips, the earthiness and chewy texture of the shimeji mushrooms, the freshness of the arugula as well as the briny and crunchy capers, all served over the paper-thin cuts of AAA seared Alberta Beef.

After finishing our appetizers, we had a moment to take in the view, bask in the sun and marvel over how delicious our appetizers and cocktails were. Haley came by, cleared our plates and made some reccomendations for our next round of cocktails. I ordered the Sakura Sour (Rampur, Sake, Cherry Heering, fresh lemon juice, egg white, Suius cherry bitters) and my friend ordered The Quay (Tanqueray No. Ten, Pimms, Cucumber, Strawberry, Rosemary Syrup, Soda)named after the Lonsdale Quay which is visible from across the water on the patio.

  • The Sakura Sour is a triple threat. Incredible on its own, pairs well with food and I could see it being just as good with dessert. It’s sweet, tangy, crisp and easy to drink. I highly recommend it.
  • The Quay is another drink that’s perfectly suited for a gorgeous day on the patio. It starts off with the botanical flavours of the Gin and rosemary syrup, followed by a slight bite from the soda which is immediately mellowed out by the refreshing coolness of the cucumber. An excellent recommendation by Haley!

Midway through our second round of cocktails, I saw my friend’s eyes widen with excitement as Haley brought over our mains. My companion ordered the Sweet Pea, Mint and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli (Fire-grilled rapini, shimeji, Swiss chard, heirloom tomato coulis) and I ordered the Lamb Two Ways (Herb Crusted Braised Lamb Shoulder, Tandoori Spiced Sirloin, Chickpea cassoulet, baby turnip & kale chips)

  • The Sweet Pea, Mint and Ricotta Cheese Ravioli harmoniously combined the rich, creamy flavours of the Ricotta Cheese and Sweet Pea with the freshness of the mint and the light acidity of the heirloom tomato coulis. An incredible dish that is beautifully presented and deceivingly filling.

  • I really loved the Lamb Two Ways. The filling dish consists of two cuts of lamb, which are prepared and spiced differently, served over a delicious chickpea cassoulet with baby turnips, carrots and crispy kale chips. On one end you’ve got the hearty, rustic flavours of the Herb Crusted Braised Lamb Shoulder and on the other end you’ve got the tangy, smoky essence of the succulent Tandoori Spiced Sirloin. Personally, I preferred the Sirloin but both pieces of lamb were incredible in their own unique ways. That’s the beauty of this dish.

Overall, we were thoroughly impressed with our dining experience. Unfortunately, we were too stuffed to wrap things up with dessert, but I will certainly make my way back to the Café Pacifica another time to indulge in the Valrhona Chocolate Blackberry Sorbet and take in the stunning views this restaurant has to offer.

Special thanks go out to George (the restaurant manager), Haley (our extremely attentive and knowledgeable server), the masterminds in the kitchen and the city of Vancouver for providing us with such a beautiful backdrop to gaze at while indulging in a top-notch meal. 

  • This post was written by Datis Mohsenipour – Life-long Vancouverite, Vivonet Restaurant POS marketer and lover of all things food.