Vancouver is surrounded by tall mountains, and its downtown area is surrounded by glass towers that sparkle in the calm water. The city is proudly an immigrant and bustling urban center of British Columbia, so there are many individuals who adore it. The city of Vancouver is home to thriving Chinese, Indian, and Filipino communities, to mention a few, and more than 40% of its citizens were born outside of Canada.
The most cherished and important dining establishments in the city showcase this fusion. Chefs from all over the world combine their own cooking styles with great ingredients from the Lower Mainland and delicious seafood from the cold, clear waters around Vancouver Island to make West Coast cuisine. When it comes to Asian cuisine, Vancouver is especially spoiled for choice: at Pidgin, Bread X Butter, and Patisserie Remi, pan-Asian flavors combine with French techniques; at Phnom Penh, Vietnamese and Cambodian culinary traditions joyfully collide; and in Richmond, our neighboring city, some of the best Chinese food in the world outside of China. While this is going on, restaurants like Forage and Burdock & Co. are thriving with their local, plant-forward cuisine, while Sashimiya is a standout for its sustainable seafood. Vancouver is known as one of the best places to eat and drink in the world. You can see why when you look at the growing number of breweries and distilleries, the fresh, fruit-forward wines from the nearby Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and the creative cocktail culture that can’t be beaten
Don’t worry; the lines for this popular West End ramen shop move quickly, and the food is always worth the wait, particularly if you like noodles. 500 4.4-ounce balls of noodles are made daily in this little ramen shop (you can see the machine from the dining area), and they rest for 24 hours before being cooked and slurped up. Marutama, a native of Japan, prefers a smooth, creamy chicken broth to the heavier tonkotsu made with pork. Don’t forget to get the egg and get ready to be enchanted. It frequently tops the city rankings. Visit their website
#2 Guu with Garlic
Guu with Garlic, one of Vancouver’s original izakayas, is situated on Robson Street’s “ramen triangle,” which is bordered by three blocks of Asian restaurants. Visit for a set teishoku lunch (order the excellent pork cutlet), which is served with pickles, miso, and rice. Then return for dinner to enjoy traditional izakaya fare like garlic beef tongue, takoyaki (crispy octopus balls), and una-meshi, which is barbecued eel with rice served in a hot stone bowl. Drink a Calpico cocktail, fresh junmai sake, or a Sapporo to go with anything you want to eat. Visit their Website
Vancouver hasn’t had a venue this lovely to mingle for a while, and ever since Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim opened its doors in April 2017, business has been brisk. Excellent alternatives abound in the Champagne lounge, and the wine list offers a wide range of unique terroir-driven selections from British Columbia and elsewhere. Before tucking into the wildly photogenic food of chef Hector Laguna (formerly of Hawksworth), airy dishes with whisper-light but flavor-dense foams, made with locally sourced delights, make sure to stop for cocktails at the Lab, where drinks come with theatrical drifts of dry ice and other high-concept presentations. Visit their Website
It would be simple to overlook Bacaro, which is hidden behind Giovane café on the ground floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel. However, if you make your way to the back of the room, you’ll be rewarded with an exciting menu of amazingly elegant and reasonably priced aperitivo appetizers. The restaurant offers numerous dishes for $4 and under, like anchovy and chive butter crostini and whipped salt fish and grilled polenta. The restaurant was inspired by Venice’s bacari and cicchetti bars, which serve wine and small plates. Excellent seafood, house-made and imported salumi, outstanding pastas (the flower-like sbocciare is both Instagrammable and unmissable), a full vermouth menu, as well as a cocktail list heavy on spritzes, are also available. Additionally, it is open all day starting at 11:30 a.m. and is close to the waterfront and many of the city’s top attractions.
Chef Welbert Choi and his staff, who create menus full of regionally grown, seasonally available, and foraged ingredients matched with BC wine, beer, and cocktails, are among the few who truly walk the sustainability talk. Impressive are the kitchen’s energy-saving gadgets and zero-waste procedures, but so are the eco-friendly, local dishes like duck breast smoked with foraged grand fir tree needles or the bison board, which is only served on weekends and includes dishes like braised bison risotto and bison heart tartare. There is also a wonderful spin on Nutella and a killer weekend breakfast with house-made jams.
#6 Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House
Traditional white linens; fresh, sustainable, and local Ocean At Joe’s, wise ingredients, first-rate friendliness, and exceptional pricing go hand in hand. The restaurant offers guests freshly shucked B.C. oysters, heaping bowls of crispy fried calamari, and buttery, miso-marinated sablefish as an unassuming option for lunch, supper, or weekend brunch. How can I eat cheaply? There are fantastic dinner specials in addition to the daily 13 Canadian dollar blue-plate lunch offer. On the suntrap rooftop patio, enjoy oysters and sliders with the locals during happy hours in the afternoon and evening.
#7 Bread x Butter Cafe
Former Top Chef finalist Felix Zhou’s cafe is located in the Cathedral Building’s courtyard and serves the fluffiest scrambled egg toast sandwiches in the area on pillowy brioche. Try the Kewpie mayo-topped local torched wagyu strips, the crispy seaweed pork floss, or the butter udon with house-cured salmon and sous-vide egg. Although Zhou also provides a “conventional” menu with popular breakfast items like bagels, parfaits, and BLTs, why stick to tradition when you can indulge in their incredibly Instagrammable egg toast boxes?
#8 Odd Society Spirits
Due to the province of British Columbia’s outdated, post-prohibition alcohol rules, which were only updated in 2013, distilling is still somewhat of a new skill. Odd Society was among the initial batch of brand-new distilleries, and it has since become known as a must-see and one of the most reliable suppliers of artisan alcoholic beverages like gin, vodka, vermouth, and whiskey. Visit their East Van distillery, which is housed in a former motorcycle shop, and sample some spirits in the charming cocktail lounge before venturing out to discover all of the other brewers in “Yeast Van.”
#9 Juice Bar
The Birds and the Beets serves sandwiches, coffee, and snacks during the day. It has a small menu but is known for their ricotta toast. But from Wednesday through Saturday at night, it changes into Juice Bar, the hippest place in town for snazzy wine enthusiasts to congregate and enjoy unfiltered, wild-fermented wines from British Columbia and abroad. The bar, which is blessed with an incredibly knowledgable and welcoming staff, offers a modest snack menu to go along with their excitingly broad wine selection (try the aged manchego with lavender honey or the piled-high salmon rillette). The friendly staff is glad to pop the cork on something new if you don’t see anything you like among the alternatives that are already open. Bottles range from French skin-contact whites to Similkameen Valley amphora-aged reds.
#10 Hawksworth Restaurant
Even Vancouver residents, who genuinely live in yoga pants everywhere, dress up to eat at the superb restaurant owned by chef David Hawksworth. High expectations are created by the decor, which ranges from the stunning cocktail bar’s wall of Damien Hirst paintings to the main dining room’s shining, enormous crystal chandelier. Fortunately, those expectations are deftly satisfied by this flawless examination of West Coast food laced with Asian tastes and contemporary methods. Unmissable.
#11 St Lawrence Restaurant
Alumnus of Montreal’s Toqué and seasoned chef J.C. Poirier, St Lawrence in Japantown has been one of the hardest reservations to get in the city ever since it opened in the summer of 2017. When you enter the modest dining room via the velvet curtain, you leave behind Vancouver and its love of healthy, fresh, lean food and enter a wonderful, butter-heavy world where traditional French technique meets Québec cuisine. The menu groans with sumptuous delicacies, and the music, wine list, and personnel are all (mainly) French. Choose from their set three-course classics menu for $85 or veer off the beaten path with their a la carte options, which every month explore a different region of French cuisine. Always leave room for the excellent salted caramel rice pudding and order too much and hang the consequences.
#12 The Mackenzie Room
Despite the fact that the Mackenzie Room opened in 2015 on the seedy Powell block in Railtown, you can now discover some of the city’s most interesting, internationally inspired cuisine there. Chef Sean Reeve and his team use ingredients from the Pacific Northwest to reimagine classic dishes and create daring new creations with clever names like “Corn Porn” and “A Tripe Called Quest.” The restaurant’s small dining room is decorated with hipster brass chandeliers, distressed walls, and a chalkboard menu that is constantly changing. Choose “I Want It All” to sample everything on the menu, and be sure to explore the off-menu selection of natural wines.
#13 Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
There are restaurants in hotels and there are hotels with restaurants, and Boulevard is unquestionably the latter. The creative interpretation of West Coast seafood by renowned chef Alex Chen and his colleagues takes guests into some exhilaratingly adventurous territory but never veers too far from harmony and balance. The service, cocktails, and wine list are all top-notch, and you may have crowd-pleasing seafood towers or steak frites in the room’s bright, lovely setting. Also available daily from 3 to 5 p.m. are delicious oysters, cocktails on tap, and crispy chicken wings with fish sauce caramel and sambal chili.
#14 Top Rope Birria
The gooiest, meatiest, and cheesiest Jalisco-style quesabirria tacos in town are served by Top Rope, and the consomé on them speaks of many hours of low and slow braising. Find the food taco truck (or check Instagram for the most up-to-date location) for freshly made corn tortillas, beef that has been cooked to melt in your mouth, and unbelievably stringy Oaxaca cheese. While you wait for your order, pick up a pack of the hot house-made candy. Pro tip: Always order your tacos with the cheese skirt and request the extra-long, off-menu longboi.
#15 Pidgin Restaurant
Pidgin skillfully combines French methods and Asian inspirations with the wealth of the Pacific Northwest. Go with the prix fixe instead, which delivers amazing value with seven unique mini meals for 85 Canadian dollars (about $66) per person. The gochujang chicken wings are the best in the city, and the place is great for bar snacks, including the best in the city. Fans of whisky and sake will enjoy the choices, and the wine list features international standouts.