Chef’s picks: Claire Livia, owner of Livia

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      We asked some of our favourite chefs and restaurateurs in the city where they go on their days off.

      What’s your Vancouver restaurant go-to? A place you never get sick of—one that always delivers.

      We’ve recently moved into Hastings Sunrise, and I am so jazzed about the dim sum! Royal Palace Seafood is awesome. I’ve yet to have a bad dish. We go all the time.

      What’s one restaurant in Vancouver that you think deserves more love? An unsung hero, if you will.

      Baby Dahl! One of the things missing in Vancouver is a thriving Caribbean food scene, but the doubles (grilled flatbreads stuffed with curried chickpeas) at Baby Dahl are perfect, the oxtail stew is exactly what I hope it will be every time, and the rotis are what flakey dreams are made of. Bonus points for being owned by the sweetest humans on the planet. I love them. You will love them. You cannot help but be happy there.

      What’s one Vancouver restaurant you love taking out-of-towners to impress them?

      Elephant. It’s my absolute favourite restaurant in the city. Justin’s food is so weird; he puts things together in ways that I could never dream up. And you’ll never eat the same thing twice. It’s also tiny and intimate, and feels tucked away from the rest of the world. It’s perfect in every way.

      What’s your favourite Vancouver place to get a great drink?

      I have a two-year-old and am an early-rising baker, so going out for a drink is an event for me. It’s not frequent, so when it happens, it has to be bloody good. There’s no better place than L’Abattoir for a glass of wine. It’s also my favourite place to eat dessert in the city.

      In your opinion, who’s up and coming in the Vancouver restaurant scene? This could be a bartender, a chef, a restaurateur, or a restaurant itself.

      I’ve always loved small spots that are tucked into neighbourhoods, and I do feel like right now there is such a need for them. Big, splashy nights out seem far-fetched these days for most of us, so spots that you can pop into on the regular seem so important. Places like Tamam Fine Palestinian on Hastings, Joojak for dumplings on Kingsway, or Truck Stop Cafe on Clark. I always feel like I bump into a neighbour when I’m at one of them, or end up chatting away with someone at the table next to mine. I’m a fan of any and everything that helps bolster community.

      What’s Vancouver’s food scene missing?

      Cheap dumpling houses! Growing up in Toronto, you could stumble drunk into one of many dumpling houses on Spadina, where someone would be rolling the wrappers and stuffing dumplings to order—at 2am, no less! I’m also constantly jonesing for great New York-style bagels. Please, someone go make them! (Or give me money to open a bagel shop…?)