Dining in Vancouver

posted January 18, 2019


Miku Restaurant Patio View - Miku Restaurant

As Tan Vinh of the Seattle Times said, “This is Vancouver, where the culinary bar is raised higher and the restaurants are more trendsetting than anywhere in the United States.”

So, forget New York. Forget San Francisco and Austin. Vancouver is the new North American foodie capital.

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The sheer variety of food options constantly popping up in Vancouver is staggering by itself, but on top of that, the food is good. We mean, really good. The city has been blessed by an explosion in the foodie scene, which has burgeoned in no small part thanks to its open-armed multiculturalism.

From Japanese-inspired seafood to Mexican-style tacos, the quality of dining here has never been higher. And given such a glut of fresh, local produce to choose from, it comes as no surprise.

Railtown Belgard Kitchen - Nelson Mouellic

If you’re trying to choose a dining spot in Vancouver, you really can’t go wrong. However, to find your perfect fit you’ll need to understand Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, as each has its own distinct flavour. Gastown has long been the mecca of the up-and-coming and of the latest hot spots. Yaletown is the haunt for brunch – for dark maple syrup and black coffee. Food trucks scattered across the city offer new fusion flavours and foodie experiences to the intrepid.

Whatever your goal when it comes to trying the best new cuisine, we’ll help you along your foodie pilgrimage to reach it. These are our top places for dining in Vancouver to get you started on your journey:

 

Best for local

Commercial Drive Trout Lake Farmers Market - Nelson Mouellic

From fresh oysters to wild salmon, grass-reared steak to homegrown wines, Canada has some incredible local produce. Vancouver’s perch on the Pacific means it benefits from the wines of the nearby Okanagan Valley as well as the fresh seafood from the coast. Some of the best dining options in the city make the most of this farm-to-table approach.

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Granville Island Edible Canada - Nelson Mouellic

Granville Island – For a real introduction to some of the finest food producers in the region, take a guided foodie tour of the Granville Island market. From cheese to charcuterie to chowder, some of the city’s best eats can be found inside.

 

 

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The ethos of Forage is all about sustainable dining in a comfortable and affordable setting. For breakfast, brunch and dinner, their meals are crafted around the produce of local fishers, foragers and famers. Pair dishes like grand fir smoked duck breast and bison steak with the best from local distilleries, craft breweries and wineries.

 

Best for the views

Vancouver skyline aerial view

It’s not just London’s Shard which boasts some fantastic views with your dinner. Vancouver is blessed with its dual vista of ocean and mountains, meaning you can get a fantastic view from multiple spots around the city. The Waterfront offers the glamour of cruise ships and floatplanes, while the North Shore lets you look back towards the city skyscrapers.

 

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Altitudes Bistro – An impressive 3,700 feet up at the end of a gondola ride, the Altitudes Bistro on Grouse Mountain has unrivalled views. Not only can you see downtown Vancouver lit up, but the views extend towards the Burrard Inlet and Gulf Islands. With mains including doorstop sandwiches and seafood stew, there is comfort food to suit every fancy.

 

 

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Top of Vancouver Revolving Restaurant – Dine at 553 feet! Spectacular views of the Coastal Mountain Range and the Pacific Ocean clamour for attention through every window. The moving restaurant completes a revolution every hour. Dine here for dinner and expect delicious pasta, seafood and steak dishes.

 

Best for a splurge

If you fancy an indulgent meal out at a top-notch restaurant, there are plenty to choose from in Vancouver. Bauhaus is an uber-modern restaurant in Gastown offering European fine dining. Miku (pictured at the start of this post) is a favourite high-end Japanese restaurant -down by the waterfront. Don’t forget to try your hotel as it could be hiding one of the best, like the excellent Café Pacifica at the Pan Pacific above.

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Blue Water Cafe – With a commitment to sustainable seafood, a dinner at the Blue Water Café makes you feel as good as it tastes. Savour everything from sablefish to scallops.

 

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Hawksworth at Rosewood Hotel Georgia – This stunningly elegant hotel houses what is frequently touted as the best restaurant in Vancouver. The menu celebrates Canada’s diversity while creatively using the best of the Pacific Northwest’s produce and flavours. From ribeye to lobster to steelhead trout, the stars of each dish are all local.

 

Best for a snip

Not every eatery in Vancouver has a price tag to match its impressive fare. Food trucks offer some cutting-edge dishes at a fraction of the price of top restaurants. Tacofino makes fun and innovative food in its trucks in Vancouver and Tofino, while markets are another great spot to grab a bargain lunch.

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The Naam – For a whole new neighbourhood, head over the Burrard Bridge to beachside Kitsilano. Here a hippy vibe meets urban professionals, creating a chilled-out neighbourhood with plenty of cafes and bars. The Naam is one of the city’s oldest vegetarian restaurants, offering tasty and eclectic fare for a knock-down price.

 

 

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Tacofino – One of the original and best food trucks to grace the West Coast. From braised wild boar to tempura tofu, these are not your average tacos. They also now have bricks-and-mortar restaurants if you prefer seats with your eats.

 

Best for brunch

Brunch and shopping go hand in hand, making Vancouver the perfect place to enjoy the day’s most indulgent meal. Hotel restaurants are a great source of brunch spots – Yew at the Four Seasons is great for pancakes (gluten-free). Café Medina is a favourite for eggs and lavender lattes. If you venture out of downtown, you’ll find Gastown has some of the most interesting brunch options.

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Ask for Luigi – Awarded Best Casual Restaurant in the 2016 Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards. The golden eggs, fluffy homemade bread and expert coffee are spot on in this intimate Italian. For brunch with a twist, try the pappardelle alla bolognese with a fried egg.

 

 

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Wildebeest – For a fancy brunch, you can’t beat Gastown’s Wildebeest. Unusual brunch options include bone marrow with roasted leeks and oyster mushrooms, or bison tri-tip (a cut of sirloin) with rosemary bacon and huckleberry jus. Sweet options include a delicious banana French toast.

 

Image credits: Pan Pacific , Nelson Mouellic, Miku Restaurant

 

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