Nature is never far in Vancouver. As a reminder of this blissful urban reality is the greenery stitching together the four disparate spaces comprising Botanist at the ritzy Fairmont Pacific Rim downtown. This abundance of plants, whether enveloping columns or sprouting from large pots, helps delineate the restaurant’s narrative.
Dining at Botanist, on the hotel’s second floor, is a full-on immersion into Pacific Northwest terroir, its menu from chef Hector Laguna centered on produce from nearby farms and sustainably sourced seafood. Here, foraged mushrooms make their way into the tagliatelle and wild British Columbia lingonberries, with an assist from butternut squash pudding, are transformed into dessert.
Local firm Ste. Marie Design, along with branding agency Glasfurd & Walker, took that ethos to heart when creating Botanist in 2017. The quartet of distinct areas includes a rose-hued lounge for sipping Champagne and a moodier cocktail bar kitted out with Italian terrazzo, complete with an experimental lab straight out of chemistry class. Drinks, like the Treebeard showcasing Douglas fir gin, oaked rye, cedar, birch sap, and alderwood smoked tea (the non-alcoholic libations, such as the elderflower-ginger-lime-orange blossom Clear Skies, are just as thoughtful) are a complex, earthy prelude to dinner.
Also open for breakfasts and weekend brunches that star crab and avocado Benedicts and short rib poutine, the dining room, mixing whitewashed wood with floral-patterned upholstery and a stand-out serpentine banquette, is where an in-season burrata salad shot through with white balsamic and strewn with smoked carrots, candied beets, and roasted sunchokes might be served before olive oil-poached halibut with leek velouté, black truffles, and potato crumbs.
The most soothing lair of all is undoubtedly Botanist’s glass-walled garden, sporting a trellis and fruit bushes. Consider this greenhouse vibe an invitation to spend the next day meandering through the foliage at Stanley Park.