Vancouver is brimming with delightful restaurants of all kinds. From street carts to posh fine dining, the city is truly a food-lover’s paradise. Vancouverites place a great deal of importance on fresh, local, high-quality food, whether dining out or eating in. The diversity and multiculturalism of Vancouver also play a key role in food, and the array of ethnic and continental cuisines is outstanding, giving the city a reputation of harboring some of the continent’s finest restaurants.
Although it is quite possible to partake of the generic, run-of-the-mill “typical” North American food—the kind mass-produced in a factory rather than thoughtfully prepared in a kitchen—even here in Vancouver, many locals try to avoid this pasty fare and opt instead for the sea and farm-inspired, fresh cuisine of the Pacific Northwest. Typical offerings include fresh-caught Pacific salmon and other local seafood, baby vegetables grown on regional farms, colorful fresh salads with a multitude of healthful yet delicious ingredients, and much-loved ethnically-inspired dishes such as the classic Pad Thai.
It’s hard to go wrong when dining out in Vancouver. Many a hole-in-the-wall eatery turns out to be an inspired choice, offering authentically prepared dishes of the caliber oft not to be found in more upper-crust surroundings. Let your senses be your guide. The best places to eat are often un-impressively small and jam-packed with happy customers, sometimes with lineups (translation: queue, or line) out the door and down the sidewalk. This is the food worth waiting for, and the wallet-friendly prices won’t disappoint either.
If your tastes run more to urban elegance, try one of the well-groomed restaurants offering Pacific Northwest fare with a twist of the gourmet. Many of these restaurants have a faithful clientele that includes the local “who’s who” list and Hollywood celebrities.
Sushi places are as ubiquitous as Starbucks joints, so it is a good idea to choose your restaurant carefully, although most serve decent food for good prices. Vancouver is practically synonymous with sushi and Japanese food. Some restaurants are very good, many are mediocre, but most have something tasty to offer. The very best of these restaurants are actually Japanese-owned and staffed.
One of the best resources for dining out (and other entertainment/city life) is Vancouver Magazine’s City Guide (published annually). Here you’ll find a spread on many of the major restaurants in the city along with a chart listing the restaurants alphabetically and rated according to price. Dinehere.ca offers current restaurant reviews and dining guides — http://www.dinehere.ca/.
Japadog — http://www.japadog.com/en/
Hotdogs with an Asian flare; this is pure street/fusion food, a must-try in Vancouver.
- Burrad and Smithe St
- Burrard and Pender St
- 530 Robson St
Night Market Vendors, Chinatown — http://www.vcma.shawbiz.ca/home_e.htm
Night Market Vendors, Richmond — http://www.summernightmarket.com/main/default.asp
All types of incredible Asian street eats; a summer tradition for Vancouverites.
- Chinatown—Keefer and Main
- Richmond—12631 Vulcan Way (behind Home Depot on Sweden Way)
Hapa Izakaya — http://hapaizakaya.com
Asian fusion-cuisine at its best, Hapa is much loved by locals. Owned and run by fourth-generation Japanese-Canadians Justin and Lea Ault, Hapa combines the best of Japanese flavours with a West Coast/gourmet spin. Reservations are strongly recommended.
1479 Robson Street
1516 Yew Street
1193 Hamilton Street
EN Cuisine — http://www.encuisine.ca
EN is owned and run by Chef Yami Yamagishi, whose prepares Japanese-style food with authentic Japanese “tastes” but creatively, with a French flare. He uses only the very freshest and choicest ingredients, and if you choose the “Omakase” selection from the menu, he will prepare special dishes for you, chosen from the finest morsels on offer that day.
4422 West 10th Avenue
Reservations: (604) 730-0330
Guu Izakaya — http://www.guu-izakaya.com
Guu was the original and first Izakaya in Vancouver, and prides itself on casual, affordable Japanese dining. With 6 locations in Vancouver, some locations feature no set menu, with offerings changing daily. Guu is another must-try dining experience!
838 Thurlow Street
1698 Robson Street
105-375 Water Street
101-888 Nelson Street
735 Denman Street
2790-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond (In Aberdeen Centre)
Vera’s Burger Shack — http://www.verasburgershack.com/home.html
A family-owned business and Vancouver tradition since the 1970’s, Vera’s is famous for the best burgers in town, because:
- Vera’s 6 ounce burgers are made fresh to order and served slightly pink. Because of that, they take a little longer
- Vera’s fries are double-fried and delicious
- Vera’s milkshakes are made using real ice cream
- Vera’s sauce is made to make you want to drink it
Vera’s on Denman
1181 Denman Street at Davie
1925 Cornwall Avenue between Cypress and Walnut
Vera’s on Broadway
1455 West Broadway between Granville and Hemlock
Vera’s on Main Street
2922 Main Street at East 13th Avenue
Vera’s on the Drive
1438 Commercial Drive at Kitchener Street
213 Carrall Street in Maple Tree Square
Vera’s on Lonsdale
1842 Lonsdale Avenue between 18th and 19th Street
Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant — http://www.sunsuiwah.com/en_home.html
Serving authentic Chinese cuisine and internationally acclaimed Dim Sum; exceptional reviews in major world newspapers.
3888 Main Street
Toll Free: 1.866.872.8822
Le Crocodile — http://lecrocodilerestaurant.com
One of the most acclaimed French restaurants in Vancouver, Le Crocodile is known for traditional French cuisine combined with West Coast flare and friendly, unpretentious service.
100-909 Burrard Street at Smithe
Bob Likes Thai Food — http://www.boblikesthaifood.com
A Main Street favourite, Bob Likes Thai Food features authentic, down-home Thai cooking, owned and operated by a native. Locals rave about the inexpensive but delicious entrees.
3755 Main Street at 21st Avenue
Crave on Main — http://www.craveonmain.com
Fusion cuisine on Main Street, intimate setting.
3941 Main Street
Tel: 604.872.3663 (reservations not accepted)