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Old, new tastes coexist along Steveston's streets

Steveston was a lot different 35 years ago when one of its original restaurants opened its doors on Moncton Street.

Steveston was a lot different 35 years ago when one of its original restaurants opened its doors on Moncton Street.

The landmark Steveston Seafood House has been a local favourite for those craving its signature entrees such as the Garry Point platter, a medley of halibut, prawns, scallops and shrimp sautéed and served in a New Orleans cream sauce, or the wild salmon in a white wine dill sauce.

Stevestonite Shane Dagan bought the restaurant 5 and a half years ago, after working for the former owner as a 15-year-old busboy.

In keeping with its moniker, the fine dining restaurant serves up award-winning seafood dishes such as its jambalaya and clam chowder (both won a Vancouver Sun award).

Executive chef Sushila Narain has been at the helm of the kitchen for 32 years. As often as possible, she buys locally sourced wild fish in season.

Recently, the restaurant received a facelift.

"We've painted, replaced the chairs and the linen and we are putting in two eight-foot long modern fireplaces that will be flushed into the wall," said Dagan, adding that right now, the restaurant is featuring its yearly lobster festival.

As well, Dagan replaced the lighting for some contemporary new chandeliers and added new art work.

One of the village's first ethnic restaurants, Kisamos Taverna, has changed ownership.

Serving authentic Greek cuisine since 1997, Kisamos was recently bought by longtime Vancouver chef Marino Anagnostopoulos.

Originally from Kalamata, Greece, the executive chef comes from a long line of restaurateurs.

He honed his culinary skills watching his grandmother and mother cook up such timeless dishes as moussaka, souvlakia and roast lamb.

The affable chef said he chose Steveston because "it reminds me of the village I grew up in in Greece."

"I'd been looking for an eatery to buy for a long time, so when I heard Kisamos was for sale, I bought it," he said.

Although Anagnostopoulos has not made many changes to the original menu, on weekends the chef features his own specials, such as his family recipes for Cornish game hen and seafood casserole.

Many of the employees are also the same friendly faces that have been there for years.

Executive chef Kulvinder Toor has been there since it opened and kitchen helper Harjit Kaur has been there for 13 years.

Anagnostopoulos looks forward to welcoming loyal clientele and promises that those popular dishes Kisamos clients have enjoyed for years will remain on the menu.

Just slightly off the beaten path is Caesars Bar & Grill. Nearly four years ago, another longtime Vancouver restaurateur, David Koonar, was lured by the beauty and uniqueness of Steveston.

"I owned a number of different Vancouver eateries over the years, but I was looking to relocate and fell in love with Steveston," said Koonar.

Two years ago, he brought on board a young exciting executive chef, Ronnie Poon, who is creating some buzz with her fusion cooking.

A Red Seal certified chef since 2011, Poon sources local produce and fish in season.

The Steveston resident's newest dish, a pan seared wild salmon in a miso broth and bok choy bean sprouts, tomatoes and pea pods is garnering rave reviews. The lamb osso bucco falls off the fork - it's that tender.

Her jambalaya and thin slice pulled pork pizza are signature favourites.

Caesars is an Italian restaurant with a twist and in the summer the patio fills up with residents who appreciate great, fresh fare at good prices.

"We host Wino Wednesdays, and customers can buy a bottle of wine for a third of the regular price," said Koonar.

One of the newest kids on the block is Steveston Village Vietnamese Restaurant (Pho's) on No. 1 Road. Run by Son and his wife Phung Nguyen, and their sons Justin and Richard, this quaint 50-seat eatery has already become a popular local spot amongst those who crave authentic Vietnamese cuisine.

Phung is the executive chef, who along with Richard, creates genuine fare from her native countryside.

Southern Vietnamese cuisine features a lot of fresh vegetables and herbs.

"My parents pick up fresh vegetables from the farmers on their way to work each day," said Justin, who bakes the restaurant's coconut cake.

Pho's signature items include the house special chicken noodle soup, which uses local free range chicken, the house special sample platter and the crispy noodles with seafood and mixed vegetables.

For those with a serious sweet tooth, Diplomat Bakery is renowned for its sinfully delicious cakes and pies. Its triple chocolate mousse, Diplomat, lemon chocolate cheese and red velvet cakes are renowned in Steveston.

For 14 years, Diplomat Bakery was on Moncton Street. Five years ago, the owner/ baker Gerald Stenson relocated his award-winning bakery to London Road.

The European-trained Stenson takes great satisfaction in his decadent slices of heaven - something his loyal clientele appreciate each and every time they bite into one of his sweet creations.

In addition, Diplomat also serves lunch, featuring a soup of the day and an assortment of sandwiches, muffins and scones.

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