City Guide: Social Strategist Viranlly Liemena’s Vancouver Favourites During COVID-19

By Kamille Coppin

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While businesses are slowly reopening their doors, it’s reasonable to expect that it will be a while before things return to a level of pre-pandemic normalcy. While we may not be able to dine in restaurants or grab a drink at the local watering hole just yet, there are still ways to patron our favourite businesses while maintaining proper safety protocol during COVID-19.

In our latest City Guide series, we asked social strategist Viranlly Liemena to recommend the go-to staples that he’s been relying on during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Liemena knows Vancouver like the back of his hand and embodies the essence of his profession by keeping close to the city’s cultural pulse. With close relationships with many of Vancouver’s key players in the hospitality and lifestyle communities, he’s the one to ask if you’re looking for tasteful recommendations.

From decadent lamb burgers to home cocktail kits, here are a few you should check out if you live in Vancouver.

L'Abattoir Vancouver food spread


217 Carrall Street 

“Classic French cooking meets the best ingredients the West Coast has to offer for the ultimate haute takeout experience. The menu rotates every week with an amazing pastry basket on weekends just in time for brunch.”

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s charming Gastown district, L’Abbatoir is a mainstay of the neighborhood and offers its own take on French-influenced West Coast fare. Set in a refurbished brick and beam building that was once the city’s first jail, the charming restaurant now offers a revolving selection of multi-course, pre-fixe takeaway or delivery meals. Low on booze? They also offer wine, beer, cider, and a Botanist gin cocktail kit.

Miku aburi sushi


200 Granville Street, #70

“The pioneer of Aburi sushi in Canada, Miku offers fresh made-to-order sushi and of course their premium Aburi party tray, which I highly recommend.”

Situated along Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, Miku is known for bringing Aburi-style (flame-seared) sushi to Canada and uses only fresh, local, and Ocean Wise-certified ingredients to bring the best of the ocean’s bounty to its hungry patrons. During COVID-19, they’ve pivoted to bring the experience home with their meal kits. Whether you live at home by yourself or with a large family, Miku’s At Home kits are an engaging and fun way of experiencing their culinary offering.

plate of lobster and steak


“Bringing everyone’s beloved dishes from their notable restaurants: Blue Water Cafe, Elisa Steak, CinCin, and Thierry patisserie. You can’t go wrong with the sablefish, the whole truffle roast chicken, and selection of premium cuts of beef.”

For over three decades, Vancouver’s TopTable Group has been an important fixture of the city’s vibrant restaurant community with establishments like Blue Water Cafe and CinCin. Toptable2u Vancouver is an initiative between the hospitality group’s various restaurants to offer a take-away menu of everything from ready-to-go meal kits to locally-sourced produce.

BaoBei burgers and chicken

Bao Bei

163 Keefer Street

“The Chinese brasserie cooks up delectable dumplings and also a rotating family meal every week. Their happy hour steals the show: Shao Bing-style lamb burger and Sichuan fried chicken to be shared over an ice-cold beer? Sign me up.”

Located in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood, Bao Bei (which translates to ‘precious’) offers a tapas-style experience, perfect for the foodie that prefers a little bit of everything on the menu. Drawing influence from Taiwan and Shanghai, as well as other global flavours, expect nothing short of delicious perfection here.

Dachi cocktails to go


2297 E Hastings Street

“The Hasting’s Sunrise neighbourhood joint has now turned into a fun, one-stop-shop for your bottle service needs: pre-batched summer cocktails and, more importantly, an exciting selection of charming natural wine and sake! They also offer a solid staff meal program of affordable, healthy individual meals that support local organic farms.”

A 40-person restaurant and bar, Dachi offers seasonal fare that’s meant to be shared. While their food is worth noting, it’s their selection of tipple that they truly excel in. Focusing on producers and brands that utilize sustainable and low-intervention methods, their wine list is jam-packed with bottles that serve up much charm and personality. If you’re not so much of a wine person, that’s fine. They’ve also got a range of unique ciders, beers, sakes, and cocktails ready to be enjoyed.

Canned sardines and chips from como taperia

Como Taperia

201 E 7th Ave

“Fresh off of earning a Best New Restaurant title from En Route, Como’s takeout menu offers playful, individually-bottled gin and tonics, vermut, and exciting wines! They’re also expanding their to-go food menu beyond conservas (tinned Spanish seafood) as we go.”

Como Taperia brings the flavours of Spain to Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Expect tapas dishes that will transport you to the streets of Barcelona, along with made-to-order tortillas, mouth-watering chorizo, and playful takes on classic dishes, like their hamburguesa con foie.

Sourdough bread on clothLegend’s Haul

“A new favourite grocery ‘store,’ Legend’s Haul offers high-quality meat, poultry, and produce, as well as ready-to-consume goods (bread, sauces, etc) from some of the city’s top restaurants.”

A food distribution company that recently added home grocery delivery to its service offering, Legend’s Hall focuses on bridging the gap between farmers, passionate chefs, and now, customers in search of quality provisions. They believe that people should have access to good food and ingredients, even during something as extreme as a quarantine.

Viranlly Liemena sitting beside home bar