Winter Plate

From wild mushroom risotto to cognac-spiked eggnog and sticky toffee pudding, these local restaurants are serving up warmth for the holidays

As is holiday tradition, many of Vancouver’s top restaurants are opening their doors this month for lunch—a tough proposition during the rest of the year. In December, however, friends, families and business associates open up their wallets a bit wider for some seasonal cheer—and winter menus (and extended operating hours) pop up in establishments from South Granville to Gastown to Robson.

Abbatoir

Check your calendar, because one of Vancouver’s most acclaimed restaurants, L’Abattoir, has a very select number of days on which it will be offering a winter menu this month: December 7 to 9, 14 to 16, and 21 to 23 only.

What will you get? A great starter—comfort food done right—is the oxtail consommé with soft poached egg, root vegetables and potato dumplings ($15), to be followed by the baked pasta with confit duck, béchamel, mushrooms and grana podano ($24)—and if you’re feeling super indulgent (‘tis the season, right?), the sticky toffee pudding with honey and ginger ice cream ($9).

Yew

While Yew does good lunchtime trade, thanks to the business crowd, this month sees several limited-time additions to their menu. Limited time but not necessarily limited in quantity, however—we’re excited about an offering, every Monday in December between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., for “unlimited oysters” (you read that right) for only $30.

If raw shellfish isn’t your bag, try Yew’s delicious “Cog Nog”—a cognac-spiked twist on the traditional eggnog, designed by mixologist Lauren Mote and served up in a nostalgic Christmas Vacation mug. (Nothing says Christmas like Chevy Chase.)

For fans of German pastry, the world-famous Yew stollen is also on the menu—and available for sale ($25) at the “Festive Desk” or online.

CinCin

The grande dame of Robson now has a fully enclosed and heated patio, which is the perfect place to grab respite from the shopping madness below. But visit soon, because CinCin’s lunch menu disappears after Christmas. A few highlights from the well-curated sheet by executive chef Andrew Richardson include the endive salad (with gorgonzola, walnuts and pear, in a walnut vinaigrette; $14), wild mushroom risotto (with Périgord truffle and crunchy Parmesan; $16/22) and the scallop and prawn spiedini (with nduja potatoes, chard and grilled lemon; $32).

And if you want to capture a bit of the Richardson magic at home, Chef has a recently released cookbook, CinCin: Wood Fired Cucina ($37.95), available for sale at the restaurant or online.