Things are shaping up at Popina Canteen, the upcoming restaurant on Granville Island that will be a “gourmet counter-service” eatery set up in repurposed shipping containers.
The project of four of Vancouver's top culinary minds--Angus An, Robert Belcham, Hamid Salimian, and Joël Watanabe--Popina is making use of space on the northwest side of the Public Market, with new outdoor public seating facing False Creek and downtown Vancouver.
As the crew gets ready for opening later this month, details about the menu are finally being shared with hungry locals.
With "four chefs [and] four food cravings," Popina Canteen is going to be eclectic and hyperlocal. Coming to the table will be crave-able fare like lobster rolls, falafel, fried chicken, and a promised "fresh take on the city's best burger"--looks like Chef Belcham, whose burgers at Campagnolo and Monarch are legendary, is going to try to outdo himself here.
Plus, Popina plans to take serious advantage of being on Granville Island, a longstanding hub for fresh seafood and produce, which means lots of off-the-dock ocean-born eats and seasonal salads.
For dessert, their signature item is set to be soft serve-stuffed cream puffs. Among the bevs is a collab brew with Powell Street, too--an American-style lager called Hoi Polloi.
The name Popina comes from the Italian concept of a casual bar-like space for eating simple foods, drinking, and socializing. Though it's got an Italian name, it's clear the food is both global and local.
“Popina Canteen is a project that distils our years of fine dining experience into
something that is casual and fun,” An says.
In addition to Granville Island's Sen Pad Thai and Kitsilano’s Maenam, An is a market restaurant vet, with two popular concepts in New Westminster’s River Market, Longtail Kitchen and Freebird Chicken. Belcham, of Campagnolo and Campagnolo Roma, also operates Monarch Burger inside the American on Main Street.
Culinary coach and Diva at the Met alum Salimian has most recently been focusing on elevating the profile of Persian cuisine in Canada. Watanabe is part of the team behind Chinatown’s modern classic superstars Bao Bei and Kissa Tanto.
Creating a “market district” and amping up the high-quality food offerings on Granville Island is one of four core tenets of the Granville Island 2040 Plan.
Popina Canteen is located at 1691 Johnston Street in Vancouver (Granville Island), and is looking to open soon. Follow them on Instagram for up-to-the-minute updates.