Vancouver Food & Drink – Tips & Advice
- Vancouver Foodie Tours—alongside their signature Granville Island Market Tour, these red-jacketed locals guide sample-heavy wanderers around Gastown restaurants and the Asian culinary hotbed of Richmond.
- Vancouver Brewery Tours—craft beer capital Vancouver is studded with microbreweries and this company offers several tours for those keen to tap into the scene. Their most popular minibus tour visits three lip-smacking producers.
- Reservations are not required at many Vancouver restaurants but it’s a good idea at smaller as well as higher-end establishments.
- Tipping is expected at cafes and restaurants, with 15 to 20 percent the norm.
- Diners typically dress casually (jeans are common) at most Vancouver restaurants.
- Happy hour is popular here with many Vancouver restaurants offering discounted dishes and drinks for off-peak dining.
- Dine Out Vancouver is the city’s popular annual restaurant festival. Starting in mid-January and running for around three weeks, dozens of local eateries offer two or three-course set menu deals. Book ahead.
- Best Restaurants in Vancouver: Boulevard (Fine Dining) • Breakfast Table (Brunch) • The Acorn (Vegetarian) • Miku (Sushi) • Alibi Room (Pub Dining) • Hoké Poké (Lunch Spot)
The 20 Best Restaurants in Vancouver
Salmon n’ Bannock • South Granville • $$
Broadway’s beloved Indigenous-owned bistro focuses its small but carefully considered menu on traditional First Nations’ ingredients (salmon and bison, for example) prepared with contemporary Pacific Northwest flair. We love the juicy smoked salmon burger in a hearty bannock bread bun. Reservations recommended.
Location • +1 604 568 8971
Burdock & Co • Main Street • $$$
Farm-to-table dining has taken off in Vancouver and this cozy little Main Street favorite is arguably its best exponent. Expect a seasonally-changing prix fixe tasting menu of utterly delicious small plates––with farmed or foraged ingredients such as chanterelles, scallops, squash, duck, heirloom tomatoes, and more. Reservations recommended.
Location • +1 604 879 0077
Osteria Savio Volpe • Fraserhood • $$$
In the heart of Vancouver’s increasingly hip Fraserhood area, this highly welcoming osteria-style joint uses top-notch local ingredients for its rustic Italian cuisine. Dishes are served family-style, the pasta is handmade every day, and there’s an extensive Italy-only wine list to enhance the festivities. Reservations recommended.
Location • +1 604 428 0072
Breakfast Table • South Granville • $$
Vancouverites love brunching and there are dozens of popular restaurants to indulge in what many regard as the best meal of the day. Vying for top spot is this South Granville eatery where exceptionally friendly service combines with a comprehensive menu of classic as well as adventurous options––including Chicken Karaage Hash, our favorite hangover cure.
Location • +1 604 805 1900
The Chickpea • Main Street • $$
Vancouver is stuffed with excellent vegan and vegetarian restaurants (we also love The Arbour and the city’s MeeT mini-chain) but one of our regular go-tos is this warm and welcoming Main Street joint. Fusing vegan ingredients, homestyle preparation, and Middle Eastern influences, standout dishes include roasted cauliflower, crunchy-coated falafel, and those irresistible chunky chickpea fries.
Location • +1 604 620 0602
The Acorn • Main Street • $$$
The kind of vegetarian restaurant that easily satisfies the meatiest of meat-eaters, this hip haunt has won tons of accolades for its innovative, ever-creative cuisine. Locally-sourced seasonal ingredients are archly deployed to fashion adventurous dishes such as larch tip gazpacho, kelp salt-roasted oyster mushrooms, or beer-battered halloumi. Hit the bar afterwards for late-night cocktails. Reservations recommended.
Location • +1 604 566 9001
Anh and Chi • Main Street • $$
A contemporary reinvention of traditional Vietnamese restaurants, it’s worth planning a couple of visits to this wildly popular Main Street eatery to ensure the maximum number of dishes is experienced. It’s easier to snag a table for lunch (crispy Bánh Mì baguette sandwich recommended), but dinner is all about the DIY Street Side Platter, an utterly delicious cornucopia of roll-your-own rice paper wraps fashioned from a mountain of fresh, cooked, and pickled ingredients.Location • +1 604 878 8883
Alibi Room • Gastown • $$
The perfect way to sample the best B.C. craft beers without having to endure a humdrum pub meal at the same time, Gastown’s communal-tabled Alibi is a candlelit go-to for many Vancouverites. Order a four-glass sampler of intriguing ales alongside an elevated comfort food dinner––the pork belly sandwich is highly recommended.
Location • +1 604 623 3383
Miku • Downtown • $$$
The best sushi city outside Japan, Vancouver runs the gamut from cheap and cheerful spots to incredible top-end joints––all of them taking full advantage of B.C.’s fresh-catch ocean larder. Arguably the best of the bunch, downtown’s lounge-cool Miku serves a sophisticated menu of premium treats––try the delectable Salmon Oshi Sushi or signature Miku Roll with their celebrated house-made sauce.
Location • +1 604 568 3900
Dinesty Dumpling House • Robson Street • $$
Vancouver offers a wealth of Chinese dining, from old-school mom and pop joints to classy contemporary options. But local mini-chain Dinesty is ideal for both first-timers and veteran Asian food fans. Their spacious Robson Street restaurant serves a huge menu of classic dishes but the dim-sum dumplings are especially recommended––particularly the shrimp, scallop, and pork variety.
Location • +1 604 669 7769
La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop • Various • $
One of Vancouver’s favorite spots for authentic Mexican cuisine, there are several highly inviting La Taqueria joints in neighborhoods around the city. But we love the Yukon Street location near the Broadway-City Hall Canada Line Station. Grab a patio table and dive into a hearty selection of delectable little tacos––the super-tender Carnitas pork confit variety is particularly delicious.
Location – various • +1 604 558 2549
St. Lawrence • Downtown • $$$
French-Canadian cuisine hasn’t made many inroads in Vancouver. But this celebrated Quebecois bistro has fully nailed the approach, fusing traditional and contemporary sensibilities on its seasonally-changing table d’hôte menu. Expect exquisite meat-and-fish-forward dishes such as bison tartare and duck breast alongside desserts that make sharing impossible. Book as far ahead as possible.
Location • +1 604 620 3800
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar • Downtown • $$$$
B.C. seafood swims onto the menus of many city restaurants. But for a truly memorable marine-themed meal, this plush, wood-paneled posh spot is worth dressing up for. Slide alongside the oyster bar for fresh-shucked local bivalves or reserve a table for perfectly executed dishes such as roasted lingcod or charcoal-grilled halibut. Steaks (Japanese Wagyu included) round-out the non-fishy options.
Location • +1 604 642 2900
Sopra Sotto Pizzeria • Commercial Drive • $$
Vancouver’s historic Little Italy area, Commercial Drive is a pilgrimage spot for discerning pizza nuts––even the cheap, by-the-slice joints here are superior. For a sit-down gourmet pizza feast, though, chatty, family-owned Sopra Sotto is a finger-licking winner. Classics such as Capricciosa and spicy-sausage Salsiccia are top-sellers but we’re particularly besotted with the anchovy-forward Amalfi.
Location • +1 604 251 7586
Hoké Poké • Kitsilano • $$
Poké popped on to the Vancouver dining scene a few years back but the heaping Hawaiian bowls of fresh veggies and raw fish have since become a firm favorite with hungry locals. This friendly Kitsilano spot is a welcoming and good-value place to dive in for the first time––go for the Chef’s Special, complete with one-to-three scoops of fish plus cucumber, jalapeno, masago, and much more.
Location • +1 604 564 8885
Downlow Chicken Shack • Commercial Drive • $$
When a messy meal of juicy deep-fried chicken is required, join the queue at this Commercial Drive legend for a hulking order of spicy, Nashville-style wings or boneless thighs (heat levels from mild to extra hot are offered). Even better, we think, are the bulging chicken sandwiches––especially The Original, with its sauce-slathered breast plus ‘slaw and pickles. It’s meal enough for the whole day.
Location • +1 604 283 1385
Go Fish • Kitsilano-Granville Island • $$
Seafood isn’t all about sushi and fresh-shucked oysters in Vancouver. When the craving hits for melt-in-the-mouth fish and chips, join the queue at this alfresco shack a short walk from Granville Island. The crunchy-coated cod, halibut, or salmon are bestsellers, but we also love the handheld Salmon Tacones prepared with housemade salsa. In summer, the outdoor seating is always full here––consider dining off-peak or walking to nearby Vanier Park for a picnic.
Location • +1 604 730 5040
Ramen Danbo • Various • $-$$
Ramen is a staple for many locals and there are plenty of places to plunge into a steaming bowl of brothy, noodly goodness here. Among the best (there are several additional options in the same area), Ramen Danbo has a loyal following and peak-time queues to match. Go for the Classic––complete with rich pork soup, delicious thin noodles, and velvet-soft slices of slow-cooked chashu pork. Utterly delicious.
Location – various • +1 604 559 8112
Vij’s • Fairview • $$
A veteran pioneer of Indian dining in North America, chef Vikram Vij has created one of Vancouver’s most beloved restaurants. Expect highly solicitous, old-school service in a warmly-welcoming candlelit room—plus classic Indian dishes transformed with contemporary innovation. Standouts include Kalonji chicken curry and the must-try wine-marinated lamb popsicles. There are plenty of excellent vegetarian options here as well.
Location • +1 604 736 6664
Deacon’s Corner • Gastown • $
Tucked into a somewhat hidden Gastown nook, hugely hungry in-the-know-locals beeline here for heaping diner-style breakfasts and comfort food lunches. Those who haven’t eaten for days should faceplant into the deliciously calorific biscuit, sausage, and gravy dish, while later-in-the-day lunchers will find bulging burgers, chicken clubs, and (our favorite) the delightfully gooey grilled cheese sandwich. Still hungry? Ask about the daily pie special.
Location • +1 604 684 1555