Celebrate sakura season with these Vancouver eats and treats

    1 of 4 2 of 4

      Cherry blossoms will soon begin to make their annual grand entrance in Vancouver. The display is nature’s yearly reminder of the original 500 cherry trees that were gifted to the city from the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama back in the 1930s—though Vancouver now has more than 43,000 of them.

      Vancouver’s Cherry Blossom Festival takes place from March 29 to April 25, with events and activations happening around the city; among them is Yaletown is Blooming, which kicks off on March 28 at Bill Curtis Square with a day of free cultural performances.

      Of course, art and culture mimic life—and as such, there are restaurants and bakeries in Vancouver paying homage to nature’s annual display with special, limited menu items. Here are some delicious places to start.

      La Vie En Rose Cocktail at Mèreon

      1479 Clyde Avenue, West Vancouver

      Available until April 25, French-inspired brunch brasserie Mèreon’s latest cocktail is La Vie En Rose, paying homage to the pink blooms. Gin, hibiscus tea infused with rosehips, grenadine, rose water, simple syrup, maraschino, and lemon, all topped with a splash of Prosecco, give a nod to the floral festival.

      Cherry Blossom Dessert and the Sakura Sour at Dockside Restaurant

      1253 Johnston Street, Vancouver

      Two sakura-themed features are on offer at this Granville Island eatery from March 30 to April 25. Try the cherry blossom dessert—a combination of chocolate entremets cake, chocolate praline, dark chocolate mousse, beetroot crumble, and a cotton candy cherry blossom tree adorned with assorted berries—paired with the limited-run Sakura Sour cocktail. It’s made with Roku gin, plum wine, cinnamon cordial, lemon juice, and foamed up with egg whites. 

      Cherry Springer Sour at Smitty’s Oyster House

      3124 Main Street, Vancouver

      Cherry flavours burst in this sour cocktail meant to be enjoyed alongside some freshly-shucked oysters. Available all of April, the Cherry Springer Sour is made with vodka, maraschino syrup, fresh lemon and lime juices, and simple syrup. 

      Sakura Roll and Sake Sangria The Sandbar

      1535 Johnston St #35, Vancouver

      From March 25 to April 25, try a special sushi creation: the sakura roll, made with avocado, fresh crab, scallop, tobiko, and sockeye sashimi. Additionally, the Granville Island mainstay is serving up sake sangria, which blends orange juice, sake, plum wine, and Triple Sec. 

      Cherry Blossom Festival special menu at The Victor

      39 Smithe Street, Vancouver (inside the Parq Vancouver building) 

      The Victor is celebrating the Cherry Blossom Festival with a daily special menu from March 29 to April 25, including the HANA-NO-AMI cocktail (made with momok awa “pearl” nigori sake, cherry liqueur, and fever tree pink grapefruit bubbles), a collection of raw oysters, Hokkaido scallop crudo, and a blushing matcha tiramisu. 

      Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea Service at Five Sails

      999 Canada Place - Suite 410, Vancouver

      Fancy a weekend afternoon on the waterfront? Five Sails' Cherry Blossom Afternoon Tea Service is taking place Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 2:30pm until April 21. Menu items include smoked salmon onigiri and a chicken salad tart, with sweet treats such as matcha and cherry pastry, and lychee and lemon cake. Raw oysters and caviar can be added at an extra cost.

      Sakura Hanami at Beaucoup Bakery

      Fairview (2150 Fir Street, Vancouver) and Downtown (600 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver)

      Beaucoup Bakery celebrates sakura season in a sweet way with the Sakura Collection, available until April 14. The Hanami Set includes a drink and treat: an iced hojicha latte with sea salt foam, and a mini dorayaki with cherry blossom ganache. Individually, try the Ichigo matcha opera cake bursting with matcha ganache and strawberry cream, or the savoury cheese ramen croissant.

      Sakura Sour and Sakura and Beet Scallop Aguachile at Straight and Marrow

      1869 Powell Street, Vancouver

      From March 29 to April 25, Straight and Marrow offers two types of sakura-themed items. The sakura and beet scallop aguachile comes with fried lotus root, garlic scapes, and black garlic a zesty bite, while the sakura sour is made with sake, grapefruit, lemon juice, and sakura honey syrup, foamed up by egg whites and topped with maraschino cherries. 

      Cherry Blossom Passion Fruit Martini at Dahlia 

      833 West Pender Street, Vancouver

      This French and Italian-inspired joint has a whole Cherry Blossom Festival special menu available, including an escargot vol-au-vent, lobster and prawn roll, steak tagliata, and a lavender crème brûlée—but what’s really eye-catching is the spot’s cherry blossom passion fruit martini.

      Cherry Blossom Dish at Yuwa Japanese Cuisine

      2775 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver

      Head to Yuwa for a Cherry Blossom Dish featuring sticky rice, sakura-ebi, rice cracker bits, snapper, sakura leaf, salt-cured sakura blossom, and dashi. Elegance in a bowl.

      Happy indulging.