For many outsiders, West Vancouver brings to mind Park Royal Shopping Centre, the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal and hillsides covered with sprawling, multi-million-dollar homes.

But the municipality's lesser-known attractions include some excellent restaurants.

On the Coast food columnist Gail Johnson delved into the West Van dining scene.

"I love exploring different areas through food," Johnson said.

"Summertime is prime time to explore West Vancouver," Johnson said. "You've got Whytecliff and Lighthouse parks and Ambleside and Dundarave beaches."

"In between exploring so much natural beauty, you also have so many great places to eat."


CV Gallery Café

The CV Gallery Café, perched near the top of the British Properties, is a popular stop for cyclists riding up Cypress Mountain, with spectacular views of Vancouver, the ocean and Mount Baker.

The café also features a unique interior, using items from the adjoining CV Luxury Design Centre — from art deco dining chairs to magnificent contemporary crystal and metal chandeliers.

Breakfast, brunch and lunch includes items such as herbed roast chicken panini on focaccia and slow-braised short rib sandwich served on ciabatta, vegetarian ratatouille sandwich on Italian flatbread and a kale-and-quinoa salad.

Terroir Kitchen

Johnson also recommended Terroir Kitchen, run by chef Faizal Kassam, a veteran of the local restaurant scene.

His restaurant career started as a dishwasher in the very same Dundarave neighbourhood location where his debut restaurant now stands.

Its tapas-style menu features rustic fare influenced by French, Spanish, Italian and North African flavours. Top-quality ingredients include organic and antibiotic-free meats.

Seasonal menus include crispy pork belly with slow-cooked lentils and smoked cauliflower; lamb short loin with a warm chickpea salad, large-leaf arugula, chili and mint; and a daily fresh fish, served whole with potatoes, capers, and olives.

The Anchor Eatery

The Anchor Eatery on Marine Drive just off 15th Street in Ambleside has a surf-shack vibe inspired by the islands of Hawaii.

The menu features fresh-baked muffins and goodies, power smoothies and raw, freshly pressed juices, such as the Honolua, which has pineapple, mint, apple and ginger.

Acai bowls include toppings such as strawberries, chia seeds, bee pollen and cacao nibs.

The restaurant also serves popular poke bowls with local albacore tuna in a ginger marinade with rice and organic edamame beans.

The Anchor's location makes it handy for picking up picnic fare to take to the beach, which is just a few steps away.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast