Power Lunch: Gotham Steakhouse

Gotham Steakhouse | BCBusiness

Classic ambience seals the deal

One of Vancouver’s last-standing art deco buildings was a Christian bookstore before being fully restored in 1999 to reveal its filigree details, high ceilings and grand winding staircases and become Gotham Steakhouse. Given its American-style steakhouse feel (mahogany wood panelling, heavy draperies over tall windows, table lamps), generous portions and impeccable service, it’s no surprise that Gotham has been attracting business lunchers since it began serving the mid-day meal last year. Its recently refreshed dining room, wide-reaching wine list, comfy club chairs, large tables and straightforward menu are reasons to keep going back (gothamsteakhouse.com). 

BEST TABLE For privacy and some extra space, tuck into a large, quiet booth at the back of the second floor. When the weather warms up, the 40-seat heated patio with prominent fireplace and plenty of foliage keeps out the din from Seymour Street, but lets in the sunshine.

MUST-TRY ORDER Any cut of Gotham’s prime Alberta steak will be memorable, but high-ballers should go straight for a porterhouse or bone-in New York strip (each served Chicago-style for $57.95). For non-carnivores, blackened ahi ($34.95) with wasabi mashed potatoes is savoury and filling.

DRINK UP Gotham has a $125,000 wine cellar with every drop detailed on an iPad wine list—broken down by region, varietal and producer—and linked in real time to the restaurant’s website, should you wish to make a selection ahead of time. Bringing your own special bottle? Corkage is $30.

INSIDER TIP Lunch entrées come in generous portions and most items are under $20, but to impress, call ahead and the dinner menu will be made available for your table. For groups, sequester yourself: private rooms cost nothing extra and are wired for video conferencing.

Snug Pub

A neighbourhood favourite retains its charm after a total teardown

When something isn’t broken, you don’t fix it. But the Snug Pub in Victoria’s Oak Bay Beach Hotel had no choice when the property was torn down and rebuilt to meet B.C. building code seismic provisions.

“We broke the news to our community,” says Oak Bay Beach Hotel president and owner Kevin Walker. “And they said an interesting thing: ‘Do anything you want to the hotel, but don’t touch the Snug.’”

The new pub gives a nod to history with modern touches such as floor-to-ceiling windows that capitalize on the oceanfront location. Original beams, boards, bricks and other elements made the transition to the new pub, as well as old menu favourites like the deep-fried dill pickles.

Local craft beer and homegrown ingredients—like lamb from the hotel’s own farm on the Saanich Peninsula—figure prominently in the new iteration of the Snug. “Our freezer is just now full of last year’s crop of lamb,” says Walker. “Shortly our chef will be announcing a lamb festival.” —Kristen Hilderman