In 2015, Ancora was established in downtown Vancouver and recently expanded to a second location in West Vancouver’s Ambleside neighbourhood. Both locations serve a fusion of Peruvian and Japanese fare, known as Nikkei cuisine, and offer sustainably sourced seafood in partnership with Oceanwise.
We went to the flagship location that overlooks False Creek. The restaurant has two levels of seating, ensuring everyone has a view of the small boats navigating the inlet. We were seated immediately. Our server was attentive but gave us plenty of space. He provided us with information about dishes and guided us through our evening.
We began with the Albacore Tuna Ceviche, served with ginger, nori, spring onions, Peruvian yellow chili pepper, and sesame leche de tigre. Peruvian ceviche is usually served with whitefish, but the substitution of albacore tuna and nori is a nod to Japanese cuisine and keeps the ingredients local. The tuna was supple, flavourful, and complemented well by the leche de tigre sauce. A spoon was provided in case we wanted to finish off the last of the sauce—we used the spoon. In Peru leche de tigre is often used as a hangover cure. It delivers a spicy, tart shock to the system. The combination of flavours is not common in Western cuisine, and we could not get enough of it.
Next, we ordered the Yucas Bravas. This traditional Peruvian dish can occasionally feel weighty due to the root’s natural consistency, but at Ancora the yuca is predominantly crispy with a soft, buttery centre. They are paired with a delicious huancaina aioli, and we polished them off.
While Peruvian fare is something of a novelty in Vancouver, Japanese cuisine is more familiar. Ancora’s version of the Spider Roll is prepared with masago, soft-shell crab, and asparagus for an interesting twist. This dish is up against stiff competition in a city of world-class sushi restaurants, but Ancora’s reimagining of the roll is enough to distinguish it.
Ancora shines brightest when they interpret a traditional recipe from either Peru or Japan and blend the two cuisines. The Grilled Octopus Anticucho takes the bold, smoky flavour of Peruvian anticucho, typically made with cow heart, and pairs it with grilled octopus. The dish is served with delectably smooth smoked potato espuma that complements the anticucho nicely.
If you are looking for exceptional Peruvian or Japanese fare, Ancora shakes up traditional recipes for an inventive fusion menu. Combined with the amazing service and waterfront view, Ancora provides a truly unique dining experience.