Not every mom wants a stereotypical Mother’s Day with tea and scones and floral arrangements. But without being too clichéd about it, all moms are special. Each one deserves a dinner out this Sunday (May 12) that fits her ideal of a lovely meal. Here are some restaurants suggestions tailored to different personalities—pick one that suits her best. Oh, and don’t forget to make a reservation, whenever possible.
This Mom likes to be in sleek surroundings with stylish people-watching, top-notch cuisine, and a glass of vino. La Pentola Della Quercia (350 Davie Street), located in the boutique OPUS Hotel, is the Yaletown cousin of La Quercia. It’s a bright, modern space that pays tribute to northern Italian cuisine, with handcrafted pastas like beef cheek ravioli with sage butter, and main courses such as prosciutto-wrapped rabbit loin. A familia-style multi-course sharing menu ($55 to $75) is a good bet. Also in Yaletown is Minami (1118 Mainland Street), delivering a polished, upscale Japanese dining experience. On Mother’s Day, the restaurant will offer a $45 three-course option featuring an assorted sushi appetizer (including its signature aburi or flame-seared salmon oshi sushi), a snow crab and lobster tail salad with honey yuzu orange vinaigrette, and finally, raspberry chocolate cake with strawberry vanilla ice cream.
After a calming session of hatha, Mom wants somewhere tranquil where she can refuel with healthy food. The pace at East Is East (4413 Main Street; 3239 West Broadway) is unhurried. You’re invited to sit cross-legged on the tapestry-covered seating and warm up with a complimentary chai taster. Highly recommended is the Silk Route Feast, an all-you-can-eat sampler of dishes like spiced paneer with peas and potato. The Naam (2724 West 4th Avenue) is a Kits institution for a reason: unassuming, casual décor, nightly entertainment, and solid vegetarian fare, like stir-fried veggies with organic tofu, cashews, and miso gravy over organic brown rice.
These picks are for a Mom who’s chill and feels most comfortable in jeans and a tee. She wants good food and drinks but no pretension, and a place where she can kick back and relax. El Camino’s (3250 Main Street) is a celebration of Latin American street food, from a pescado taco with fried Baja cod, to empanadas stuffed with beef, chorizo, and red peppers. Wash it all down with a margarita or straight tequila. If your Mom is the sociable type, she’ll love the long, wooden communal tables at Portland Craft (3835 Main Street). The cheerful, high-ceilinged room has an extensive selection of craft beers, and bites like spot prawn and Cheddar grits that feature locally sourced ingredients.
Mom Who Wants Something Other Than Happy Meals
This Mom adores her little ones but kinda wants a restaurant that’s parent-friendly too for a change. After all, it is her big day. Burgoo (various locations) has become synonymous with comfort: cozy, rustic surroundings (love those blue-check napkins) and dishes, like Irish lamb stew, will keep Mom happy. A menu for those under 12 features kiddie pleasers like mac ’n’ cheese. A large Neapolitan-style wood-burning oven dominates the large and inviting room at Marcello (1404 Commercial Drive), where the family can sup on thin-crust pizzas, such as one with Parma ham, and oodles of classic Italian noodles, like spaghetti carbonara. High chairs are available at both establishments.
You know the Mom that clips coupons and would be horrified at spending lavish amounts of money on a meal out? These joints are for her, with many dishes under 10 bucks. Legendary Noodle (1074 Denman Street) specializes in hand-stretched-and-cut noodles, like tang mian (noodles in soup). You choose thin, thick, or flat noodles, and the broth, such as hot and sour. Out of the many Vietnamese restaurants on Kingsway, Hai Phong (1246 Kingsway) stands out for its steaming bowls of delicious pho and authentic Vietnamese dishes like garlic butter chicken wings and a crêpe with shrimp, pork, and bean sprouts.
And then, you may have a Mom who would appreciate (and perhaps guilt you into) a more upscale Mother’s Day dinner. She gravitates to restaurants that are tried and true—nothing scenester for this Mom—with service that befits white tablecloths and equally exacting cuisine. She would be pleased with the The Fish House in Stanley Park (8901 Stanley Park Drive). For Mother’s Day, the restaurant will be featuring a limited a la carte selection from its regular menu, including asparagus truffle risotto with Haida Gwaii line-caught spring salmon and wild mushrooms. Restaurant stalwart Le Crocodile (100-999 Burrard Street) won’t disappoint with its classic French cooking, such as roasted rack of lamb with fresh thyme jus and mustard sabayon. You should never take the wonderfully dependable—like Mom—for granted.