Good Thief: When will the new Vancouver restaurant open?

Good Thief: When will the new Vancouver restaurant open?
Good Thief: When will the new Vancouver restaurant open?

Opening date set for Vancouver’s new charismatic, resourceful, smart and oh so attractive cocktail bar/restaurant

Cinema and literature love a “good thief” character. They are charismatic, resourceful, clever and oh so attractive, even when they break the rules a little (or a lot).

So what happens when that trope is applied to a cocktail bar/restaurant in Vancouver? The result is the aptly named Good Thief, which I suspect is about to steal a few hearts thanks to its inherent “goodness.”

Good Thief, at 3336 Main St., is considered the “rebel” sibling of next-door neighbor Anh & Chi, the acclaimed modern Vietnamese restaurant run by brother and sister Vincent Nguyễn and Amelie Thuy Nguyễn. The Nguyễns have a long history on this block of Main Street in Mount Pleasant, which is now home to their two restaurants; Anh & Chi operates where their parents’ restaurant was for years.

While Anh and Chi rebelled against expectations by cleverly elevating Vietnamese cuisine to a dining-by-appointment spot that is no longer considered a local restaurant, Good Thief is about to shake things up.

The room, designed by Vancouver’s Ste. Marie Studio, is chic and playful, with touches of brass and art deco that give it just enough nostalgia to feel timeless. Screens partially cover large photographs that each tell a story and set the mood, like the sassy woman in colorful clothing riding through the streets of Vietnam. No, it’s not the Nguyễn’s mother, but if you want to think so, that’s fine. Look for other motifs, like a rectangular checkerboard pattern, as well as thoughtful details like stamped ice.

Food and drink at Good Thief showcase innovation and global flavors

The bar itself breaks with tradition. Beverage Director Ben Kingstone was given the chance to design his dream space. While recovering from an injury, he spent weeks dreaming up the perfect drink-making space, from the massive fridge to keep glasses cold to the uniform countertop that gives guests a full view of every part of his creative drinks.

These drinks are sure to be conversation starters. With global ingredients and flavors, and traditional and house-made spirits, infusions, and sodas, each drink has a backstory and at least one curious component. Innovation and sustainability are also driving the ingredient list. The Latok About It, for example, is a chilled martini served in an ice-cold glass that not only showcases latok (sea grapes) but also features something Good Thief calls “Tanqueray Wasted Citrus Distillate,” which is the product of saving discarded citrus peels after they’ve been squeezed for other uses in gin.

Kingstone calls the Latok About It the coldest martini you can get in Vancouver, and I wouldn’t hold it against him. It might also be the coolest, thanks to the miniature latok garnish and the nuanced levels of sour, spicy and refreshing flavours, with a few dots of chili oil for a touch of heat.

In addition to the clever and charismatic cocktails, Good Thief also serves housemade spirits, as well as beer and wine, including some limited editions.

Good Thief also has a bold food program, ranging from snacks to larger entrees, but everything is designed to be shared. The appeal of this kind of choose-your-own-adventure dining is undeniable, given its flexibility and customizability when it comes to a guest’s time, budget, and preference. It also fits with Good Thief’s concept, which is styled after a Vietnamese tradition called “món nhậu,” which essentially translates to eating and drinking with others just for fun.

For that reason, the menu, created by Chef de Cuisine Jonathan Lee (formerly of Blue Water Café), offers plenty of indulgence and creativity. The “theft” here comes from international techniques and ingredients, so your table might be eating British pub-style chunky chips dipped in a green curry aioli, served with fried curry leaves for a little extra bite.

For the more adventurous, Good Thief’s menu offers dishes you might not see at other Vancouver spots, like frog legs in Me’s fish sauce glaze (from Anh and Chi’s line of traditional sauces) or fresh whelk atop cubes of crispy rice. And yes, you can try balut, a fertilized, developing egg, which is a traditional dish in Vietnam.

How to get a table at Good Thief: Reservations, opening date set

Finally, what makes Good Thief even more inherently “good” is that the new bar/restaurant, like its sibling, will offer the Reservation by Donation program. This gives guests the chance to reserve a table with a donation that Good Thief will donate in its entirety to local charities. It has raised over $300,000 so far from neighbors Anh and Chi.

So when can you experience Good Thief? The good news is that, after much anticipation, the new spot officially opens on July 11th.

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