South Granville is known for its local boutiques and high-end furniture shops, but it’s also a popular food destination that attracts both locals and tourists.
The Rise Eatery (3121 Granville Street) is the latest addition to the trendy neighbourhood, which directly translates to having another dining option to check out after shopping or catching a matinée show at the Stanley.
Chef Dan Leung and his other half, Wanda Lai, are the co-owners of this restaurant that serves up globally-inspired dishes. The husband-and-wife duo also run Danz Gourmet, a catering business that they started in 2003.
Leung didn’t always work in the food industry; he’s had a couple of part-time jobs working at restaurants during high school summers, but eventually pursued a career in electronics prior to opening up his own catering company.
“Catering does not really allow a chef to create, because [it] is pretty standard and we do a lot of corporate catering,” Lai told the Straight in an interview at her new food establishment. “This has been [Dan’s] dream for the longest time. He’s held back for so many years, and now finally we built up enough confidence to launch [the Rise Eatery].”
The 3,000-square-foot space features high ceilings, spacious seating arrangements, and simple but contemporary décor. The natural wood tables and bird’s nest-shaped chairs can accommodate 65 guests, including 16 on the hidden outdoor patio (a rare feature in the area).
Don’t expect to find traditional menu items at this new food spot—the chef enjoys creating dishes using a variety of cooking techniques and flavours.
“People always ask what is the chef’s speciality,” said Lai. “He has so many things he loves to cook, but we realized that his specialty is actually blending flavours. He loves to take different ingredients and different flavours from different countries and blending them.”
Reading the menu is like looking at a brochure before an arts performance: there are opening acts, principals, supporting acts, and even finales.
Some of its most popular items include tuna mole (spicy albacore tuna tartar, roasted corn guacamole, lotus root chips), the routine (ramen fries, cheese curds, miso gravy), steak your claim (grilled sirloin steak, chimichurri, Chinese doughnut, balsamic soy glace), shroom (wild mushroom, udon, silken tofu cream, cashew parmesan), and lo hay salad (smoked salmon, daikon, taro potato, crisp rice vermicelli, toasted sesame and peanuts).
The tuna mole pays homage to the classic Mexican dip, while the routine is a play on the Canadian staple—poutine.
“Different flavours excite people, and one of our missions is to open up people’s minds and their palates to try different things,” explained Lai.
If the quirky menu names don’t conjure a smile from you, then maybe the desserts will. Our favourite is the mean & green (matcha molten lava cake, adzuki bean ice cream), but the milk-n-cereal (panna cotta, corn purée, chocolate and corn flakes crumble) isn’t too shabby either.
A cocktail menu with libations such as the geisha-rita (sake, lychee, pink lemonade, togarashi) and Seoul of Caesar (vodka, Walter Craft Caesar mix, sriracha, sesame, kimchi carrot, togarashi) is available. Its bar features six taps serving regional craft beer, as well as a wine list.
“We are a reflection of Vancouver I think,” added Lai. “Vancouver is becoming such an international cosmopolitan city with many ethnicities living here, and we want to reflect that. That’s why we have a global menu…we want to bring in the different cultures together but still make it relatable.”
Scroll through the photos below for a look at what the Rise Eatery has to offer.