LIKE ALL GREAT HOTEL restaurants, Hawksworth—situated in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia—is many things to many people. At lunch, you can be ultra-casual and settle in at the granite bar for a superb hamburger, with only a beer and a newspaper for company.
Or instead, a few steps away in the glamorous, chandeliered Pearl Room, or in the sunny Art Room, you can go posh and have an elegant lobster salad with a fine glass of Chardonnay or sauvignon blanc. Come cocktail hour, there is no more chic setting for a tête-à-tête than the leather-lined banquette in the lounge, beneath the dazzling Damien Hirst (Big Love with Diamond Dust, with a butterfly, of course). Then finally, at dinnertime, the full range of David Hawksworth’s exquisite cooking is on display. His style is constantly evolving and always interesting. It possesses a finesse easily traced to the great London kitchens where he honed his craft decades ago, but its substance is local and all his own.
It is sophisticated, enchantingly colourful, generally light and possessed of an almost Asian preoccupation with texture and mouthfeel. Expect bright, distinct flavours, balance and, invariably, some crunch. Hamachi ceviche is brightened with the bracing tartness of sea buckthorn, mellowed with passion fruit, enriched with avocado and finished with the crisp counterpoint of puffed rice. Roast scallops share the plate with crispy, nutty sweetbreads, local chanterelles and the acidic lift of green apple. Meaty white sturgeon from a local caviar farm sports an earthy mushroom crust, and is lifted with lingonberries. The kitchen is masterful with duck. Wayne Kozinko’s desserts are exceptional. The wine list is long, varied and well-curated, and many excellent wines are available by the glass—ask sommelier Bryant Mao for one of his invariably inspired recommendations. Or, better yet, settle in for the tasting menu and have him pair the lot.
With honourable mention, our second Vancouver restaurant with Chef David Hawksworth, Nightingale makes the list at No. 65!