Behind the Name: Vancouver's Ophelia Restaurant

The story behind Vancouver’s new elevated Mexican restaurant

Opened in June 2020 by Chef Francisco Higareda in the Olympic Village neighbourhood of Vancouver, Ophelia is a contemporary eatery that boasts both authentic and modern Mexican cuisine and cocktails.

Chef Higareda was trained at the Ambrosia Centro Culinario in Mexico City, but also earned a diploma at the Mariano Moreno Institute in Bueno Aires, Argentina. After his extensive education, the chef worked in multiple Michelin-star restaurants in Spain and France. Upon returning to Mexico after his time abroad, Higareda owned a restaurant in Chihuahua until 2016 when he made the choice to relocate to Vancouver.

A first instinct of many would be that the name of his restaurant might be a reference to the famous character from Hamlet or, perhaps, The Lumineers' popular tune. The name offers much more meaning than a nod to Shakespeare or top 40 music as it is an ode to Higareda’s mother, Ophelia.

The chef explains that the name was the only one that felt authentic to him and, while going through other possible options, kept returning to it.

“It pays [homage] in name and in spirit to my mother [Ophelia], who inspired my passion for cooking and lifelong love of food”, said Higareda. “I am so proud to honour her and her recipes at the restaurant for all to enjoy."

Ophelia is open for dine-in service Tuesday to Saturday from 4:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. and Sunday from 4:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. Pick-up orders can be placed on the restaurant's website and for delivery, people are encouraged to order via DoorDash.