Step inside the spacious 7,400 square-foot 2-floor dining space and it will immediately become evident that Nightingale is a preferred hangout for locals.
Nightingale’s energetic and lively dining room is hidden behind a 19th-century heritage facade, and the preserved historical features such as exposed copper pipes and remodelled library furniture gives the space its unique character. Located in the heart of Vancouver’s Coal Harbour District, Nightingale is inspired by Aesop’s Fable of The Hawk & The Nightingale, the name encourages the celebration of the here and now. Here being the buzzing, vibrant and industrial-chic space in Coal Harbour’s MNP Tower and now being the freshest and finest locally sourced seasonal produce. Aesop’s Fable tells the story of a hungry hawk who catches a tiny nightingale and chooses to eat him instead of waiting for a bigger bird to come along: it gives us the proverb ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’.
On the main floor a focal bar draws your attention both with its expansive liquor collection and decorative bird cages reaching high to the ceiling. The bar is packed with diners popping in for a casual meal and is buzzing with lively chatter. Seated at the bar you have the best view as bartenders prepare and present classic cocktails with a twist. Gin and Tonic is offered on tap, to keep the conversation and drinks flowing.
Some of the tasty cocktails are pictured below, including the photo-worthy Bramble, with its blackberries creating a pleasing gradient blend. The Barbadian Voyage is a refreshing sipper, made with mount gay xo rum, lustau sherry, pineapple and star anise bitters.
The second floor features an open kitchen and expansive dining room overlooking the main floor, giving diners another perspective of the focal bar. The culinary team meticulously prepares each dish and closely examines it to perfect the presentation before sending it off to the tables. Tasty dishes come to life right before your eyes as you watch the pizza dough bubbling and rising and flavourful sauce being drizzled on top of crispy fries.
The best way to enjoy the dining experience at Nightingale is to start with a few share plates and drinks. The marinated beets with orange, sherry vinegar, hazelnut, and basil helps to kickstart your appetite, making room for heavier dishes like the Baked Potato with jalapeño and saddler’s smoked bacon, and Buttermilk fried chicken with spiced maple syrup. The marinated beets are light and flavourful, with the slight acidity of the orange bringing out the sweetness of the beets and the hazelnuts adding texture to each bite.
The Buttermilk Fried Chicken was served piping hot, with the exterior drizzled with spiced maple syrup to give it an extra kick. The chicken packs a satisfying crunch and the meat is juicy and tender within. It is best enjoyed with one of the refreshing sippers from the bar.
The Baked Potato with jalapeño, saddler's smoked bacon, creme fraiche, and scallions is creamy and as evidenced in the photo below, comes fully loaded.
We recommend sharing these dishes so you can still have room for the entrees!
For our mains we tried dishes on opposite ends of the spectrum, the Arctic Char and the mushroom pizza. The arctic char skin is crispy and flavourful and was a welcomed lighter option during the second half of our meal, while the thin-crust pizza would probably win the vote from those who love fried chicken.
Nightingale is a spot where time flies, as the lively atmosphere and shared plates engage the group and you lose track of time. Next time you round up a few friends for a catchup session, make Nightingale your destination for great food and lively conversation!
1017 W Hastings St, Vancouver
Photos by Florence Leung