West Oak review: A Yaletown eatery popular with celebrities

West Oak | BCBusiness

Quintessentially West Coast cuisine in the old Chinois space

When Yaletown’s Chinois restaurant closed, general manager Michael Gayman worked with owner Peter Girges and his business partner to develop a new concept that would succeed where the one-dimensional Asian eatery failed. The team converted the interior from a dark space into a bright, open and approachable one, with custom light fixtures and white-oak wood furniture. Executive chef Tim Cuff designed a menu that incorporates seasonal variety, relying heavily on B.C. suppliers such as Hannah Brook Farm for high-quality local ingredients.

“With the concept, we wanted to be West Coast cuisine,” says Gayman, adding that West Oak is meant to appeal as much to locals as it is to tourists who expect the fresh, Ocean Wise seafood and homegrown ingredients that B.C. is known for. “What we’re trying to do is give people fine-dining quality and service in a less pretentious environment” (westoakrestaurant.com).

Best Table

On a pleasant day, head to the covered patio for prime people watching. If you prefer the indoors, belly up to the open-kitchen bar to watch the chefs in action.

Must-Try Order 

Take advantage of the rotating seasonal menu and order what Gayman calls “a really colourful, bright plate”: the seared sablefish and grilled prawn salad with fresh beets and asparagus.

Drink Up

The house-made Good Thyme cocktail is a refreshing sip for summer lunches and features gin, thyme, blueberry juice and fresh lime.

Insider Tip

West Oak’s clientele includes a bevy of celebrities, so keep your eyes peeled for NHL stars and actors who have made past appearances at the restaurant, such as Jimmy Kimmel and Ben Stiller.