Elisa is Toptable Group‘s most recent project in Vancouver. I admire the smart arrangement of the location right across from its sister restaurant, Blue Water Cafe, right in the center of Yaletown. The two restaurants are almost symmetrical, lining up in an impressive way for the area known for fine dining. When you run the best seafood restaurant and the best steakhouse right next to each other in the neighborhood, it certainly makes a powerful statement.
I came with a friend traveling here from Hong Kong. When I have a visitor from outside of the country, I often take the person out for Canadian steak. We do have quite a few choices for Steakhouses in the city. The Keg is always a good, affordable option. Black & Blue could be a fun place but seems to be catered more to the corporate clients with that over the top flare. And at the top of the tier, Gotham and Hy’s could seem a bit intimidating for casual or young diners. Victor at Parq is relatively new too, however, it is not as accessible from the downtown core. All this makes Elisa, the classy and chic newcomer, finding a great position among all. It is no surprise that it was selected as one of the top 3 steakhouses at Vanmag’s 2019 Restaurant Awards.
The interior here very much reminds me of Blue Water Cafe. However, I was impressed with the display of the beautiful bar, run by their award-winning bar manager Katie Ingram, who happened to make drinks for me on a different occasion. Food-wise, the kitchen is helmed by Andrew Richardson, one of Toptable’s capable chefs, who has worked at Cincin, Araxi, and West, and also included The French Laundry on his resume along the way.
Cocktails and Fresh Oysters are the best starters for any steak dinner. My first cocktail at Elisa was taken cared of by Devin, who I first met at Brix & Mortar, and a wild imaginative one called the Dothraki for Delicious ($17), mixed with Tra Kal Patagonian spirit, white vermouth, green chartreuse, and chocolate bitters. And yes the grand finale of the GOT was just about to air. We threw in some Smoked Bison Tartare ($20) as well just to warm up for the beef-centric dinner.
The steaks are served in a minimal fashion, sitting in a splash of its jus, with only a couple of pieces of grill vegetables on the side. But they were perfectly cooked. The 10-oz Cache Creek Striploin ($55) did the grass-fed 40-day dry-aged natural beef from the BC farm proud, exhibiting incredible flavour and juicy succulent texture. Meanwhile, we are getting a taste of Canadian wagyu from the Brant Lake Farm, the 6-oz Albertan Wagyu Flat Iron ($38). It was also flavourful. We ordered a side of Brussels Sprouts ($10), deep-fried and dressed in brown butter and parmesan, pleasingly tasty.
The wine director, Franco made some recommendation a red for my steak. I forgot the name but the choice was spot-on for pairing with the food.
Being a classy and chic Yaletown steakhouse, Elisa also offers the diners a pleasant and layback vibe. The staff is super attentive but also in such a friendly fashion. Food was lovely, focusing on a nice range of steaks at different affordability points. I truly enjoyed sitting at the bar – the cocktails and the interactions would definitely make me want to come back here, even when I’m not craving for a steak.