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YEW's Saffron Risotto
I’ve lamented before how Vancouver lacks vegetarian fine dining options. A part-time yoga studio was the best Vancouver had to offer, but Radha closed its restaurant last year.

Last month, I was excited to learn that one of Vancouver’s fanciest restaurants, YEW at the Four Seasons Hotel, would start offering a vegan menu – with a few appetizers, mains, and desserts – several of them soy-free and gluten-free.

To celebrate our 2-month anniversary, Emily and I got dressed up and headed to YEW. The service and ambience were excellent. I’m not used to fine dining, so it’s a special treat to have someone refilling your water glass after every sip.

The vegan menu is separate from the normal menu – maybe because it is new or maybe because they don’t want to scare the ‘normal’ customers. I was a bit surprised that it wasn’t handed to us when we sat down, and we had to specifically request it. Even though it is heavily advertised on their website, it isn’t being advertised within the restaurant.

YEW's Warm Potato SaladI was hoping to be blown away by the food, but it was hit and miss. Between the two of us, we ordered the vegan tacos, warm potato salad, saffron risotto, and grilled artichokes. The vegan tacos had lots of tasty guacamole, but could have used some lime juice and hot sauce to pick them up. The warm potato salad was excellent – probably the best dish we ordered. The saffron risotto was a huge serving of rice, without a lot of variety – it was good, but needed to be cut in half and paired with something else. YEW's Vegan TacosThe grilled artichokes were good – they tasted fresh and were mixed with vegetables, salty capers, olives, and a nice dressing. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room to sample the desserts. We didn’t even finish our dinners, leaving with a take-out bag with half of each entree and two complementary power cookies.

My advice to YEW would be to make the vegan entrees smaller, and either improve the quality or lower the prices. I’m not sure what the seafood menu is like, but it seemed like the vegan menu had double portion sizes to justify the price.

Final price for 2 appetizers, 2 mains, and 2 drinks: $90 + tip.

I want to go back and try the dishes we didn’t order – the YEW salad, gemelli pasta, and quinoa dessert. The vegan lunch menu also has some dishes on it that look good – including curry, mac & ‘cheese’, and a farm sandwich.

Given the price, YEW won’t become a regular dinner spot for us, but I’m glad to have a vegan fine dining option in Vancouver. The next time we need a fancy spot to take seafood-loving friends, it will be on the top of our list.

YEW Restaurant + Bar (Four Seasons Hotel) on Urbanspoon