Ringed by soaring mountains, with gleaming glass skyscrapers reflected in the still waters that surround its downtown core, Vancouver is easy to love. And as the thriving urban hub of British Columbia and a proudly immigrant city, there are plenty of people around to love it. Over 40 percent of Vancouver’s residents were born outside of Canada, and the city is home to robust Chinese, Indian, and Filipino communities, to name a few.
The city’s most beloved and vital dining experiences reflect this blend. Chefs from around the world apply culinary traditions to exceptional produce from the Lower Mainland and superb seafood from the cold, clean waters around Vancouver Island, creating a unique style of West Coast cuisine. Vancouver is especially spoiled for choice when it comes to Asian dining: pan-Asian flavors pair with French techniques at Pidgin, Bread X Butter, and Patisserie Remi; Vietnamese and Cambodian culinary traditions joyfully collide at Phnom Penh; and neighboring Richmond boasts some of the very best Chinese food in the world outside of China. Meanwhile, the city’s signature plant-forward, locavore cuisine thrives at restaurants like Forage and Burdock & Co, and sustainable seafood shines at Sashimiya. Add in mushrooming brewery and distillery scenes, globally awarded, fresh fruit-forward wines from the nearby Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys, and a creative cocktail culture that’s second to none, and you’ll see why Vancouver deserves its reputation as one of the world’s best places to eat and drink.
Updated, November 2022:
Revel in the unexpected sunshine and explore the city in all its fall beauty, catching happy hour before the early sunset or eavesdropping on industry gossip about the recent arrival of the Michelin awards in the city. It’s the perfect time of year to indulge in shellfish from the icy waters around Vancouver Island, taste the last of the fresh salmon runs, and indulge in all things squash and pumpkin. Low intervention wines and grape skin-fermented ciders also continue to shine on menus across the city. Finding a reservation at popular spots can be a trial, so book well in advance or hit A-list joints at opening time around 5 p.m.
We update this list quarterly to make sure it reflects the ever-changing Vancouver dining scene.
Nikki Bayley is an award-winning freelance travel, food, and wine writer whose work has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, BC Living, Whistler Traveller, and The Difford’s Guide.Read More