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 and Remi Patisserie; 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 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, February 2024:
Vancouver’s culinary scene just swung into high gear for the first quarter of the year with the ever-popular Dine Out Festival, and it will only build with the upcoming Vancouver International Wine Festival, which this year focuses on Italy, including seminars, tastings, and winemaker dinners from 149 wineries around the world. Meanwhile, the rising cost of living and inflation have made their mark on the city’s upper-crust dining; tasting menus and omakases at high end spots have moved from “affordable luxury” status to “only if someone else is paying” territory. Luckily, there are still excellent (and affordable) tasting menus to be found at places such as Pidgin and the Mackenzie Room, while places like the Hawksworth Bar and Bacaro offer a chance to enjoy Champagne eats at shandy prices.
Eater updates 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, and Whistler Traveller.Read More