Vancouver certainly has no shortage of Asian restaurants, but there is nothing else out here quite like Torafuku. Created by executive chef Clement Chan and general manager Steve Kuan (the team behind the beloved Le Tigre food truck and longtime friends of ours), Torafuku takes Asian fusion and tips it on its head. One of 2015’s most buzzed-about openings (and still with lineups out the door), Torafuku sits on an up-and-coming section of Main Street that is itself an amalgamation of the city: not quite Chinatown, not quite Olympic Village, not quite Strathcona. Like the intersecting neighbourhoods where it finds itself, Torafuku’s food uses fresh ingredients to play with the palate, incorporating Asian tastes with flairs from other counties such as France or Italy. It’s a fresh menu that bursts with zest and isn’t afraid to throw in some surprises (This Is Not Tortellini is not tortellini, but it is a must-order).
“We use bold flavours, thoughtful techniques, and delicious ingredients that everyone loves,” says bar manager Max Borrowman. “The menu is always changing as well, so every time you come, you can try something different and exciting.” Of course, the restaurant also has its menu staples, including the fan favourite Rye So Messy Chicken Wings, which Borrowman suggests pairing with 33 Acres of Euphoria. “The Kickass Veggie Risotto comes to mind when pairing with the Ocean,” he adds. “But Ocean goes well with many of the dishes because of the hoppy notes and session-ability of the ale. That’s why it’s our mainstay beer on tap.” Borrowman worked hard to create an exciting drinks program for the restaurant, selecting local beer and fine whisky, and creating specialty cocktails that smoothly complement the food.
The small space is great for any type of occasion; with both cozy booths and a long communal concrete table, it’s an easy spot to get intimate with your date or make friends at the seats next to you. The casual, industrial design (featuring locally-made furniture and light fixtures) is understated and unpretentious, and the open kitchen means customers can merely look up and watch their dinner being expertly prepared. Torafuku is somehow quintessential Vancouver while simultaneously being something entirely new—but any way we slice it, we sure are glad it’s here.
Around since: 2015
Known for: Rye So Messy Chicken Wings
Stockist since: From the start
On tap/bottles: 33 Acres of Sunshine and 33 Acres of Ocean on draft and 33 Acres of Euphoria in bottles
Food pairing: 33 Acres of Ocean + The Kickass Veggie Risotto