As one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world, Vancouver is in a league of its own when it comes to food offerings. Which, as you could imagine, means the west coast city has a ton of great restaurants to dine at. But, that can also make it tough to decide where to eat when you’re here, which is where we come in. Whether you’re a local, you are driving in from the suburbs, or you are planning to spend a weekend in the coastal city soon, we have you covered with everything from the best tacos and seafood to the top spots for brunch, day drinking, greasy, comforting eats, and more.
Get your appetites ready, and read on to learn about our favourite restaurants in Vancouver.
Since it opened its doors in 2008, Medina Café has quickly become an institution in Vancouver brunch culture. It’s stylish, trendy, and traditional, which makes it the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and weekend-brunch as the Library District spot effortlessly blends eclectic bistro fare, connoisseur-savvy coffee, and sweet nourishment via the city’s best Belgian waffles.
Jam Cafe is an all-day breakfast and lunch spot with numerous locations in Vancouver — which just goes to show the cafe’s popularity. Inspired by recipes from the south, Jam Cafe is known for its menu of comfort fare, which includes items like house-made cornbread, buttermilk biscuits, and fried chicken, in a rustic-city atmosphere.
On the days when you need some greasy food to curb your hangover, or perhaps you’re looking for a lively spot to unwind over a few pints with friends, the Score on Davie is your best bet. The neighbourhood hangout serves traditional Canadian pub fare, local wines and tap craft beers plus a mean weekend brunch. When you’re here, don’t forget to check out the impressive caesar list, which includes the Checkmate Caesar — which is decked out with fried mac and cheese balls, corn dogs, cheesy nachos, beef burgers full with tasty fixings, a peanut butter pie, and a fried chicken with bacon and pickle on the top.
If you’re looking to get dressed up and have a night out on the town, Hawksworth is aways a great choice. Located in the prestigious Hotel Georgia, Hawksworth serves West Coast, contemporary cuisine that is firmly rooted in the classics. Here, bold, bright flavours are presented in skillfully executed dishes, like the crispy cod croquettes, crispy pork belly with roasted scallop, and squash and mushroom agnolotti. Each menu item can be complimented with a glass from the award-winning wine list, or with a cocktail from the bar.
Located on Beatty Street, Chambar is a chic, exposed-brick space serving creative French-Belgian-influenced classics made with fresh Pacific Northwest ingredients in an inviting atmosphere. With a menu from Belgian chef Nico Schuermans, you can expect to find an abundance of fresh seafood and meat dishes, and, of course, wine.
If you’re in the mood for Indian food while in Vancouver, Vij’s is the place to be. One taste of the Lamb Popsicles and Garlic Naan and you’ll see why locals and foodies alike return to Chef Vikram Vij’s Mount Pleasant restaurant time and time again.
This cozy, little joint at the corner of Alexander and Gore whips up Italian-inspired dishes with a focus on fresh, in-house-made pasta. What we love is the menu is concise and to the point, with only a handful of antipasti, handmade pasta, and desserts to choose from. While family-style sharing is encouraged, we recommend starting with the meatballs and fried cauliflower and chickpeas, followed by the pappardelle wild boar ragout and rigatoni alla bolognese. For dessert? The chocolate budino is always a great choice.
Located in Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, Botanist has been the place to see and be seen since opening in 2017. Not only is the restaurant easy on the eyes, but it also has stellar wine, cocktail, and food items to boot. The menu items from chef Hector Laguna (formerly of Hawksworth), are inspired by the Pacific Northwest and are made with locally sourced ingredients. From the charred king salmon to the dry-aged duck breast, the options are inventive and the kind of offerings that would make any foodie weak in the knees.
Located in the heart of Gastown, L’Abattoir is known for its impeccable French-influenced technique combined with superb West Coast fare in a comfortable yet refined setting. The menu boasts an award-winning wine program and an impressive cocktail list, which guarantee an unforgettable dining experience. While the seafood options, like Pacific cod and Tandoori-style sablefish, are always on point, the sweetbreads are also delicious.
Housed in a brick and beam heritage warehouse conversion in the heart of Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe is an institution when it comes to sustainable seafood. Here you can enjoy raw seafood from the sushi bar or cooked from the open kitchen, incredible service, and a superb wine list.
If you’re looking for a taste of California and Mexico-inspired beach food on the West Coast, head to one of Tacofino’s locations. Their restaurants are family-friendly, while the tacos are exquisite. Above all, it’s cheap, affordable, and most importantly, it hits the spot.
Located in Coal Harbour, Nightingale is a farm-to-table restaurant that boasts an extensive menu of seasonal vegetable dishes, fresh salads, pizzas, pastas, crudo and creative proteins. Patrons can look forward to Dishes are presented a range of share plates and sides that suit the laid-back atmosphere of the chic space.
Commercial Drive is home to The Downlow Chicken Shack, a neighbourhood eatery serving mouth-watering fried chicken sandwiches that are arguably the best in the city. Each menu item is made fresh to order and you can choose by-the-piece, sandwiches, or combo plates as well as your heat level. Since opening, the Vancouver restaurant has quickly become a staple in the city’s foodie scene, and for good reason. The menu options are plentiful, with sides like sweet and sour slaw, bread and butter pickles, and signature bacon baked beans, while the mouthwatering sandwiches feature properly prepared Nashville-style ‘hot chicken’.
With photo-worthy views of Coal Harbour and the North Shore mountains, Miku serves mouth-watering, Aburi-style, flame-seared sushi. While you can’t go wrong with the salmon aburi, we recommend treating yourself to the beautifully presented kaiseki tasting selection, which is executed brilliantly. Miku’s chefs have created two special menus featuring its signature Aburi-style cuisine, served on beautiful handmade Arita plate ware from Kyushu, Japan.
Gastown is home to St. Lawrence, where you’ll find the best Québécois-inspired food in Vancouver. French spirits serve as the backbone of classic and signature cocktails, while the exclusively French wine list is the perfect complement to Chef/Owner Jean-Christophe Poirier’s rustic, French dishes served in an intimate, casually elegant setting.
Popular downtown spot Boulevard is known for its inventive take on West Coast seafood. Here you’ll find a beautiful room to enjoy crowd-pleasing seafood towers or steak frites, while the service, cocktails, and wine list are always on point. If you’re feeling indecisive, the prix fixe menu is always a smart move.
For the days when you’re feeling a hearty bowl of pasta, Savio Volpe will be your saving grace. This eatery takes a modern approach to traditional Italian osteria dining in a warm and welcoming setting. Every menu item is prepared in the simplest yet most flavourful way, with pasta made handmade fresh every day, while the meat, poultry, and seafood are cooked on the wood fire grill and rotisserie. The rustic cuisine is served family-style and is complemented by the Italian wine and old-world coffee selections.
Featured Image: Botanist