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Hidden Pacific Northwest: Dim Sum and Then Some in Richmond, B.C.

Beyond its international locale, Asian culture, and foodie fame, Richmond, B.C. is just plain charming 

By Natalie Compagno and Greg Freitas February 29, 2024

RichmondBC_16x9

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

With its deserved reputation for the best Asian food in North America, Richmond, B.C., is a foodie mecca. Yet, the dense urban development filled with eateries only covers a sliver of the city, which takes up 50 square miles on Lulu Island.

Locals and frequent visitors know that Richmond’s allure extends far beyond its Hong Kongese dumplings. While tasting everything on The Dumpling Trail should always be part of the plan, Richmond deserves a longer, more nuanced visit. The city contains vast verdant farmlands and one of the West Coast’s most charming fishing villages, all surrounded by wildlife and nature.

Location, Location, Location

Versante Hotel is Richmond’s first and finest boutique lodging. Upon entering the room — with its brightly hued wallpaper, epic city and mountain views, and deep oval tubs in white marble bathrooms — vacation mode kicks in. The chic, design-centric look has colorful flourishes throughout. Located just across the Fraser River from Sea Island, home to Vancouver International Airport, it makes pickups and dropoffs a snap. The hotel is right next to the Richmond Night Market, which reopens in April every year.

 

Hotel room at Versante Hotel

Richmond Night Market

Visitors taking a break from bao buns and soup dumplings will talk about Bruno, the on-site restaurant serving breakfast every day, weekend brunch, and dinners showcasing local BC ingredients. Spring for the Bruno Ice Bowl, a decadent cornucopia of seafood from local waters. The hotel offers further dining under its Club Versante lifestyle banner, from high-end farm-to-table at Acre Through the Seasons, to a casual izakaya-style robata with a serious whisky selection at Cask Whisky Vault.

Enjoy the year-round rooftop pool, or luxuriate in the spa before exploring Richmond’s unique farms and villages.

 

Bruno

Cask Whisky Vault

Bike, Hike and…Bobsled?

The hotel sits at the juncture of numerous multi-use paths so bring the bikes, walking shoes, or rollerblades. Versante Hotel can also arrange bike rentals.

Explore Canada’s sporting history at the Richmond Olympic Experience. The site recaps the 2010 Winter Olympics, hosted in nearby Vancouver and Whistler, where Canada broke the record for most gold medals with 14. Richmond hosted the Olympic speed skating events. Kids of all ages will love the sports simulators, so go indoor kayaking, bobsledding, even surf a wave on the simulated Canadian coast.

 

Richmond Olympic Experience

The West Dyke Trail offers three miles of oceanfront protected path, leading to Steveston. The postcard-perfect fishing village once housed dozens of fish canneries. Today it’s home to numerous shops, eateries, and taverns. Beer lovers will appreciate Britannia Brewing Company across from the wharf. The Riptide IPA is just the thing after a leisurely ride on a warm day. Go to Catch Kitchen + Bar for local seafood on a large patio with amazing views.

 

West Dyke Trail

Steveston

Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf

Britannia Brewery Company

For those who enjoy long, boozy brunches on a random Tuesday, make a beeline for Toast to Coast Brunch Bar, which serves Korean-accented bennies and bowls every day of the week until 3 p.m. Just the way it should be.

 

Toast to Coast Bruch Bar

Lavender Farms and Wine Tasting

Don’t miss the most beautiful backyard in the entire city, Lavenderland. A love story, and the vision of the Su family, who sought to do something different with their land. Mr. Su wanted to give his wife her favorite flower, but instead of giving her a bouquet he gave her an entire lavender farm. Opened in 2021, the eight-acre farm showcases different varieties of the famous purple flora, with u-pick lavender and a gift shop. The vividness and intensity of the photo ops are only exceeded by the fragrance throughout.

 

Lavenderland

End a perfect weekend in Richmond, B.C., with wine tasting at Country Vines Winery. Another family-run enterprise, the Hoglers grow cool weather whites on their local vines, from pinot gris to the refreshing Hungarian varietal Perle of Csaba. They also bring in reds to blend from the fertile Okanagan Valley. The adjacent farm hosts a magnificent Sunflower Festival every year.

 

Country Vines Winery

Richmond Sunflower Festival

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