Take two very different seafood traditions from opposite sides of the world and add in Vancouver’s famous fresh fish. Mix well and you have a recipe for success.
As a fan of many different cuisines from around the world, the idea of fusion restaurants is something that appeals to me greatly. In multicultural cities across the globe, innovative chefs are throwing together vastly different ingredients and recipes to create clever and delicious new dishes for us to enjoy. One such restaurant is Ancora.
Located on the waterfront of Vancouver’s False Bay, Ancora brings together Japanese and Peruvian influences whilst also incorporating local elements – particularly the Pacific coast’s tradition of sustainable fishing. This was something which both Chris and I could get excited about as we enjoy all of these things. After a short taxi ride from our hotel, we were sat outside on the terrace enjoying the blue skies and warm weather.
The ambiance was quiet but distinctly trendy – it is a place where foodies and people in the know like the eat. At the same time however, it did not feel overly exclusive, there were locals and tourists, having a good time, and watching the setting sun. The restaurant feels light and airy with the predominant design features being the use of glass and the color white. Skylights and large windows let in the sunlight which then bounces off the white marble tabletops, walls, and bar…it really is stunning.
This makes for a pleasant atmosphere and is of course helped by Ancora’s waterfront location. Just across the pedestrianized walkway, boats sit in their marina bobbing gently up and down. They are reflected in the lazy water which hardly seems to move at all. Overall, it’s a lovely place to spend a warm summers afternoon enjoying some excellent food. If you are lucky you might even spot the restaurant’s pet crane, named Philip after their bar manager.
There are two head chefs at Ancora, each representing the two main culinary cultures. Ricardo Valverde is the executive chef and as a Peruvian native brings the Latin American flair, while Yoshihiro Tabo runs the raw food section of the restaurant having become an expert at the preparation of sushi. Both have spent time immersing themselves in the cuisines of different parts of the world, learning new skills and fusing them with their own native traditions.
Under these two, the combination of ideas comes together exceedingly well. While in many ways very different, both Peru and Japan have a history of fish-based dishes (ceviche and sushi are perhaps the most famous exports of the two countries), and when you factor in the abundance of fresh seafood available in British Columbia you have everything you need to create great fusion cuisine.
A nice further touch can be found at the bar. Philip (the manager after who the crane is named) is a Russian who grew up working in his family’s Uzbek restaurant. He therefore brings his own cultural background to the cocktail menu, as well as a couple of speciality vodkas. Of course, you will also find Peruvian classics such as Pisco Sour and a selection of Japanese whiskeys on the list of available drinks.
We had a starter known as the Ancora Glacier – a bed of ice with a selection of the seafood with which Ancora makes its name sitting on top. There was ceviche, oysters, mussels, crab, prawns, sashimi and escabeche, all wonderfully displayed and kept cool and refreshing by the ice on which it was served. My other favorite was the lobster risotto. It is cooked with Aji Panca, a type of red pepper, rarely found outside of Peru. This gave the dish a smoky yet sweet flavor which complemented the succulent lobster meat perfectly. We washed it down with the bottle of wine which we had let the waiter choose for us – he made an excellent choice!
This is a restaurant for people who like to experiment with new flavors. The unique combination of international ideas ensures that you are guaranteed to leave having tasted something that you have never tried before. There is always a risk with fusion cuisine that things won’t mesh properly and that the food will come off as confused. Here however, the skill of the staff means that it all comes together perfectly. If you like Japanese food, Peruvian food, or you simply love fish, you will enjoy eating at Ancora. If you like them all, you are in for a real treat!
For more information, or to make a reservation follow the link below