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Residents cross a wide city street with snow-capped mountains filling the background.
The view from Vancouver’s Chinatown.
Joe McNally/Getty Images

The 38 Essential Vancouver Restaurants

A gloriously messy smash burger at a popular brewery, Nazareth hot chicken at a Jewish and Palestinian collab, Instagram-darling pasta at an affordable Venetian snack bar, and more of Vancouver’s best meals

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The view from Vancouver’s Chinatown.
| Joe McNally/Getty Images

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.

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One of the city’s hardest working chefs, Angus An has five other spots dotted across the city, including Fat Mao, which serves blissful noodles in Chinatown and Downtown, as well as Longtail Kitchen and Sen Pad Thai. But if you only have time to visit one of his restaurants, go for Maenam, where you can drool over An’s deft balancing act of sweet, aromatic, citrusy, hot, and spicy flavors in great Thai dishes with B.C. twists. Walk-ins are welcome in the lounge for an a la carte dinner, but it’s worth it to book the chef’s menu, a bargain at $88 ($65 USD) per person for 11 dishes served family style. Lunch sets are also a terrific value, with a choice of main, soup, salad, and rice for $24-28 ($18-21 USD).

A restaurant interior with textured wood wall, bar beneath set beneath a long pendant light tube, tables set with places settings, and illustrations featuring a zebra and elephant.
Inside Maenam.
Alaina Michelle Photography

Granville Island Public Market

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Sure the aisles are packed with wide-eyed Instagrammers at this popular tourist destination, but there are some jewels to be found here to assemble a superb picnic for watching the boats and paddle boarders on False Creek. Take your pick from delights such as pickled headcheese, succulent mortadella, and punchy salami at the Oyama Sausage Co, then head to Terra Bread to pick up some focaccia or baguettes before stocking up on local Salt Spring Island cheeses at Benton Brothers and fresh doughnuts at Lee’s.

Customers peruse food booths at an indoor market dotted with Canadian flags.
Inside Granville Island Public Market.
Granville Island Market / Facebook

Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant

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Take a 20-minute trip on the Skytrain from downtown to the neighboring city of Richmond, which Eater’s former roving critic, Bill Addison, called “one of the cultural marvels of North America” for having some of the finest Asian food in the world. At this award-winning favorite, the dim sum is handmade by chef-owner May Chau, who focuses on Hong Kong classics: steamed pork and crab dumplings, pan-fried pork buns, and deep-fried wontons — all must-orders.

A noodle dish dotted with various seafood.
Beef chow fun at Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant.
Bill Addison

Maruhachi Ra-men

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Don’t worry: The queues for this West End ramen favorite move fast, and it’s always worth the wait — especially if you’re a noodle fan. Each day this small ramen shop makes 500 4.4-ounce balls of noodles, which rest for 24 hours before being cooked and slurped up. Hailing from Japan, Maruhachi favors a silky rich chicken broth over the heavier pork-based tonkotsu. Prepare to be enchanted — and don’t miss out on the egg. It’s consistently the best in the city.

A bowl of soup topped with herbs, nuts, and a mound of brown meat paste.
Ramen at Maruhachi.
Maruhachi Ra-men

Maxine's Cafe & Bar

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Serving up excellent daily brunch, happy hour, and dinner menus, Maxine’s has been doing a roaring trade with locals since opening in 2021. The sister restaurant to Homer Street and Tableau has already established itself as part of the Westender dining canon, as the weekend queues attest. Crowds come for generously portioned smoked salmon rosti, a gloriously messy smash burger, and the on-point cocktail and wine list. Hang out on the sun-trap patio and watch the world race past on Burrard Street, or settle into a comfy booth and graze your way from day to night.

A close up on a puck of rosti topped with smoked salmon slices, pickled vegetables, greens, and a boiled egg.
Smoked salmon rosti.
Nikki Bailey

Sashimiya

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Sashimiya opened in 2020, tucked away on the bottom of Hornby Street. The ultra-casual, entirely sustainable, grab-and-go sushi and sashimi shop is sushi master chef Taka Omi’s first solo spot after leaving the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s RawBar. Fish can be sliced to order for sashimi from the chillers, and a host of Japanese grocery goodies are on offer too. There are no seats, so take your exquisitely made party trays, platters, and bentos down to the waterfront to enjoy picnic-style, or order for delivery.

Takeout containers of maki rolls, sashimi, and kimbap, along with packaged snacks like Pocky and Hi-Chew, on a textured background.
Sushi and snacks.
Sashimiya/Facebook

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

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Old-school white linens, sustainable Ocean Wise ingredients, and top-notch service from white-jacketed servers add up to outstanding value at Joe’s. An unpretentious choice for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch, the restaurant treats guests to freshly shucked B.C. oysters, bowls piled high with crispy fried calamari, and buttery, miso-marinated sablefish. Join the locals for afternoon happy hour oysters and crisp calamari at the gleaming brass horseshoe bar. Reservations are recommended.

Japadog

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Since Vancouver’s food trucks were legalized a decade ago, they’ve enjoyed a rollercoaster ride through fads and fortunes. Favorites have come and gone, as the ranks of dozens have slimmed to a handful; much-loved trucks such as Soho Road, the Kaboom Box, and (Eater 38 long-stay) Top Rope Birria have rolled off the road. But elder statesman Japadog abides. It’s always worth checking one of the six food truck locations (including one parked at the airport) and four stores, especially the original at the junction of Burrard Street and Smithe Street. Snap up one of the signature all-beef Terimayo dogs with teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, and seaweed to see why the brand has lasted the course. Anthony Bourdain loved this budget treat on the No Reservations Vancouver episode, noting wisely, “If life has taught us anything, it’s to eat meat in tube form.”

A vendor hands a hotdog to customers over the front of a food cart advertising various dishes.
The Japadog cart.
Japadog

Thierry Café

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Open till midnight seven nights a week and conveniently located a stone’s throw from most downtown hotels, Thierry makes for the perfect late-night solo adventure or dessert date. Delicate buttery lemon tarts, decadent rum-soaked savarins, crumbly sea salt butter cookies, and lavishly decorated cakes are on offer. There’s always a tempting array of seasonal treats, especially during Okanagan peach season, and plenty for gluten-free diners too. The ganache-filled, hand-made chocolates make for great gifts — if you can manage not to nibble them yourself.

A series of colorful buches de noel with various toppings in a Christmasy decorated scene.
Buches de noel.
Thierry

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

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Dynasty boasts twinkling chandeliers, views over the city from its first-floor perch on West Broadway, and, thanks to chef Sam Leung, some of the city’s best modern Chinese food. Open daily from 10 a.m. for dim sum, its standouts are the buttery barbecue pork cha siu bao with baked lemon, and the silky, wafer-thin dumplings stuffed with fresh shrimp, scallops, and black truffles. Dinner features a “24-hours notice” menu, with Cantonese delights such as mushroom-braised duck. Service skews more efficient than hospitable, but the food easily makes up for it.

A crab shell tops a pile of crab and rice.
Typhoon shelter crab with sticky rice at Dynasty Seafood Restaurant.
Bill Addison

Hawksworth Bar

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Truly one of the best deals in the city, cocktail hour (daily from 4 to 6 p.m.) at Hawksworth is a chance to dip into the pricey experience of the restaurant at a fraction of usual prices. The bar is first come, first served, so head there early to bag a seat under Damien Hurst’s “Big Love with Diamond Dust.” Negronis, martinis, Aperol spritzes, and other classic cocktails are available for $7, and a half dozen oysters or Hawksworth’s legendary KFC (Korean fried cauliflower) go for just $11. But the steal of a deal is the B&B: the Hawksworth classic burger (largely regarded as one of the best in Vancouver) with either a beer or an Old Fashioned for $25.

A burger, Negroni, and tin of fries.
The B&B deal at the Hawksworth Bar.
Hawksworth

Homer Street Cafe and Bar

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Thankfully, the Covid-era patio remains at this ever-popular Yaletown neighborhood rotisserie cafe and bar, offering the chance to bask in the sun as you consider decent European wine picks, some of the city’s most consistently excellent roast chicken, and tasty sides. Inside, watch the handsome red Rotisol Grande Flamme Olympia rotisserie spit-roast perfect, free-range chickens and other proteins, and briefly ponder whether you should give in to the Full Monty (a waistband-tightening set menu that carves through some of Homer Street’s favorites). Ponder no more — of course you should.

Whole chickens on spits inside a large red rotisserie oven.
Chickens on the rotisserie.
Nikki Bayley

It would be easy to miss Bacaro, tucked away on the ground floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel behind Giovane Caffè. Head to the back of the room and you’ll be rewarded with a thrilling menu of surprisingly affordable aperitivo snacks. Drawing inspiration from Venice’s bacari and cicchetti bars, which serve wine and small plates, the restaurant offers items starting at $4 such as an anchovy and chive butter crostini or whipped salt cod with grilled polenta; during aperitivo hour (3 - 6 p.m.), every drink comes with a free cicchetti. There are also superb pastas (the flower-like sbocciare is both Instagrammable and unmissable), house-made and imported salumi, seafood, and a comprehensive vermouth menu, plus a spritz-heavy cocktail list. Bacaro is close to many of the city’s primo attractions and the waterfront, and it’s open all day from 11:30 a.m.

A closeup on a boiled egg topped with sardine, a small fried patty topped with herb butter and another fish, and a third dish served on a skewer, sitting on a marble countertop.
Cicchetti at Bacaro.
Nikki Bayley

Remi Patisserie

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Born in French Guiana and raised in a Chinese family, chef Remi Ho’s business began as a pop-up in 2019 and has blossomed through enthusiastic industry word-of-mouth to a sleekly stylish tiny Asian-French patisserie just a few steps from the bustle of Cambie Street. Make sure you arrive early or order online for pick-up to ensure you secure popular treats, such as the to-die-for, buttery, crispy salted egg yolk financier and the pillow-soft black sesame-stuffed mochi.

A hand holds up a delicate slice of strawberry shortcake, with strawberries visible in a creamy middle layer of icing and a plump strawberry on top
Strawberry shortcake.
Remi Patisserie

Bar Haifa

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An offshoot from the popular Toronto-based Haifa Room, this delicious collaboration teams up long-time friends and hospitality veterans from Jewish and Palestinian backgrounds. Located in the Deloitte Summit tower, the restaurant has the vibe of an office canteen (albeit with cheerier lighting), but the superb cocktails (try the rosewater paloma), attentive staff, and thoughtful wine list will make you feel at home. Don’t skip the spectacularly crispy Nazareth hot chicken on a pink bed of sumac yogurt, the puffs of deep-fried creamy Jerusalem artichokes, and the absolute plate-licker of a house labneh studded with black olive crumble and bright tomato chermoula. Bar Haifa is open for lunch as well as dinner.

Chunks of yellow and orange on top of fluffy white labneh, beside some pita.
Vegetable-topped labneh at Bar Haifa.
Nikki Bayley

Chef Vikram Vij is a huge star, with a stint as an investor on the reality show for aspiring entrepreneurs Dragon’s Den and a national range of prepackaged gourmet frozen curries to his name. In partnership with chef Meeru Dhalwala, Vij has created a fine dining Indian restaurant where you can feast on ambrosial curries utilizing local ingredients and hand-ground spices, paired with B.C. wines and funky cocktails. Pre-pandemic, the queue for a table might have included luminaries such as ex-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau or Harrison Ford, but now you can make a reservation and skip the wait. Don’t miss the lamb popsicles.

Small bites on a prep table.
A dish at Vij’s.
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Ophelia

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Don’t be intimidated by the dramatic entryway with dripping wax candelabras. Ophelia is a very welcoming modern Mexican spot with notably great service in the often-overlooked Olympic Village part of the city. Come for the solid margarita program (especially for Margarita Monday deals) and on-point creative cocktails in a busy room decorated with folk art. Stay for the excellent skirt steak tacos with roasted bone marrow and deliciously complex burned salsa, or the popular weekend brunch with punchy chilaquiles. Don’t skip the tres leches with pistachio crumble and lime-infused whipped cream.

A closeup on two tuna tostadas, dotted with colorful sauces.
Tuna tostada.
Nikki Bayley

Is That French

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Tucked in Gastown’s marvelously named Blood Alley between Carrall and Abbott Street, Is That French offers up some of the city’s best low-intervention and natural wines, paired perfectly with fresh-shucked oysters, a raw bar with lots of zing, and innovative PNW-inspired small plates showcasing local ingredients and international techniques. The restaurant hosts a weekly jazz night on Thursdays, and it often hosts winemaker dinners and other events downstairs. Note: Even as the Gastown neighborhood faces real challenges with safety surrounding its large houseless community, restaurants in the area like ITF continue to provide safe, welcoming spaces.

A window with lettering reading Is That French in reverse.
The window of Is That French.
Is That French

Pidgin seamlessly blends the bounty of the Pacific Northwest with French techniques and Asian influences. Although the place is perfect for bar snacks — the gochujang chicken wings are the best in the city — and genuinely thrilling for creative cocktails with ingredients such as toasted rice rum and gunpowder tea gomme, go with the prix fixe, which offers exceptional value with seven inventive mini courses 89 Canadian dollars (about $66) per person. Whisky and sake fans will love the selection, and the wine list offers global gems too.

A fried egg on top of a thick slice of saucy meat on a bed of rice.
A dish at Pidgin.
Pidgin Restaurant

Kapow Burger

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On the search for a superb ooey-gooey smash burger and great beers? Look no further than the very excellent Kapow Burger, based at the equally splendid Electric Bicycle Brewing, which is tucked away in the funky ex-warehouse district of Mount Pleasant. Choose from six, piled-high burgers (including a chicken burger and a vegetarian sweet potato version) topped with items like pickled jalapenos and crispy bacon. The Kapow with fried onions and cheese is gloriously messy, and it pairs perfectly with a generous serving of tater tots doused in cheese and the Big Mac-like Kapow sauce. In the brewery, pick from an array of on-tap regulars (the Atomic Jam Raspberry Sour is rightly a house favorite) and fruity, bright, seasonal specials.

A wide flat burger topped with sauce and lettuce, on a quarter sheet with fries, served beside a flight of beers.
The burger at Kapow, with fries.
Nikki Bayley

Bar Tartare

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After the much-loved Juice Bar shuttered in October, long-time server Lindsay Otto took over and re-opened the place as Bar Tartare. Located in the same space as the popular Birds and the Beets cafe, the bar stocks its fridges with unfined, unfiltered, natural, and low-intervention wines from B.C. and beyond. Expect knowledgeable servers to cheerily exclaim “Try this!” as they pop corks (or unscrew caps). Given the bar’s name, you’ll have to try the tartare (the bison is superb, with plenty of zingy flavor and crunchy textures), but check out nightly specials from the rotating crew of guest chefs.

A dish topped with lots of greens and cheese, beside a glass of white wine.
A bite and a drink at Bar Tartare.
Nikki Bayley

The Arbor Restaurant

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The sister restaurant to Acorn, which has won awards for its vegetarian and vegan fine dining, Arbor has neatly swooped in to cover another side of the market: vegetable-focused comfort food. Pretty much every item on the menu can be made gluten-free if it isn’t already, and there’s plenty for vegans to feast upon too. Check out the hidden patio garden at the back or drop by for a battered, Southern-fried artichoke sandwich with eggplant “bacon” for take-out. They’re open late every day and have a very cool wine list heavy on small B.C. producers.

A veggie burger with heaps of lettuce oozing out melted cheese on a blank, bright background.
Classic veggie burger.
The Arbor Restaurant

Published on Main

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Chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson and team are unstoppable juggernauts, scooping up every prize, from a Michelin star in the city’s inaugural awards to the No. 1 spot in Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants in 2022. You’ll need to plan far in advance (reservations open 60 days ahead and sell out in a few hours) or eat at 5 p.m. to discover what alchemy is afoot here, but it would be churlish to leave Published off the list just because it’s challenging to get a seat. At $165 ($123 USD) plus tax and tip, the superb tasting menu is one of the most expensive in the city. If you’re on a budget, you can still dive into the playfully experimental dishes by going a la carte or picking up a snack at the bar. Just try not to fall in love with any menu items, as dishes switch up often.

A bright, plant-filled restaurant interior with a long table set with schoolhouse chairs.
Inside Published on Main.
Sarah Annand

Suyo Modern Peruvian

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Suyo gathers the talents of Peruvian ex-Ancora chef Ricardo Valverde, award-winning ex-Botanist bartender Max Curzon-Price, and front of house veteran James Reynolds. The Main Street restaurant’s menu is a lot like its crack team: Exceptionally good ingredients add up to an even greater whole. Hotly anticipated — and immediately packed since opening in summer 2022 — Suyo’s modern take on Peruvian cuisine looks, tastes, and smells radically different from anything else in the city right now. That all comes at a cost, with mains around the $50-60 mark. Splurge if you can, or stop by the small bar to enjoy imaginative cocktails inspired by the peoples and landscapes of Peru, accompanied by sublime charred octopus and zingingly fresh ceviche.

Bartenders work behind a bar beside a kitchen. Bottles are illuminated on the backbar.
The bar area at Suyo.
Nikki Bayley

Bao Bei

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Chambar alumna Tannis Ling combined forces with chef Joël Watanabe, who brings his Corsican-Japanese heritage to this popular Chinatown restaurant. It may look like a hipster take on a Chinese brasserie, but the sound of woks crashing in the kitchen speaks to its traditional techniques. Sharing plates are pleasingly well-sized and the cocktails thoughtfully crafted, and — because it’s Vancouver — all meat is local and ethically raised, hormone- and chemical-free. Don’t miss local legend Helen’s delicate hand-made potstickers and dumplings — she makes hundreds of perfect dumplings each day — and the appropriately named Kick Ass House-Fried Rice.

A candlelit dinner table filled with dishes, a heap of white rice, a fried egg, sliced sandwiches, a bamboo steamer basket, and glassware.
A dinner spread at Bao Bei.
Bao Bei

Burdock & Co

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Andrea Carlson’s resume reads like a rundown of every restaurant that helped shape Vancouver’s fresh, local, and sustainable style: C, Raincity Grill, Sooke Harbour House, Bishop’s — she’s worked at them all. You’ll find a shining example of British Columbia-based, casual fine dining at her Michelin-starred restaurant, Burdock & Co, which offers a tasting menu of locavore, ultra-seasonal dishes that pair perfectly with the tight, natural-leaning wine list. Favorites come and go on the five-course menu, but add on an order of the fan-favorite buttermilk fried chicken with dill pickle powder, or go big with sustainably sourced Northern Divine sturgeon caviar with tater tots and a shot of aquavit.

A bowl of pasta with tomatoes and garlic.
Sun gold tomato pici with garlic and coriander.
Burdock & Co

Anh and Chi

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For years, if you wanted to eat at this stylish, locals’ Vietnamese spot on Main, you’d have to queue. In a pandemic pivot, Anh and Chi began accepting reservations, bookable with a $10 charity donation. Everything on the menu is bursting with fresh flavors and perfectly balanced in terms of spice and heat. Portions are wildly generous, so order everything for the table. Must-orders include custardy bánh khot prawn cakes wrapped in crispy rice and the fun, finger-licking DIY platter of khay bánh hỏi lụi nướng. It’s worth considering takeout, which gives you access to the very good wine list at 50 percent off.

From above, diners reach into an overflowing tray of vegetables, skewers, and fried items.
Khay bánh hỏi lụi nướng.
Leila Kwok

Como Taperia

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Industry veterans opened this much-anticipated, neighborhood tapas bar to rave reviews in late 2018, bagging the coveted No. 2 spot on Air Canada enRoute’s Best New Restaurant of the Year list in 2019, along with every local award going. It’s no wonder, given Cómo delivers a truly delicious experience including on-tap vermouth and bone-dry fino sherry, free tapas at the bar during happy hour with a drink purchase (4-5 p.m.), superb hard cheeses, and crisp patatas bravas striped with mayo and spicy tomato sauce. The room is loud and friendly, with efficient cheery service, and although you can make reservations for the rest of the room, the patio is open first come, first served. Enjoy a brief trip to Spain at the handsome bar before heading back out to Vancouver.

A wax paper-lined basket full of poutine topped with slices of peppers and sauces, and stuck with a tiny Spanish flag.
Spanish poutine with iberico, romesco, manchego, cheese curds, and peppers.
¿Cómo? Taperia / Facebook

Bar Susu

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Bar Susu began as a pop-up, then became permanent, and is now back to popping up again, after a fire tore through the restaurant space. Fortunately, as part of the Boxset Collective family (which includes Published on Main), Susu has taken over the evening slot at the team’s Novella Coffee Bar. The gorgeous room plays host to Published’s chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson, who creates a menu that wanders from pan-European to pan-Asian (aonori, caperberries, and bruschetta all feature at various points). Alongside are an ever-changing array of low-intervention wines, amari, cocktails, and vermouth, all procured by dialed-in wine director Brittany Hoorne.

Bar Gobo

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This slender restaurant on the edge of Chinatown is home to some of the city’s most interesting by-the-glass wine options, including low-intervention and terroir-focussed pours from around the world and around the province. Whether it’s an amber wine from Georgia or crisp pinot noir from a local Vancouver Island producer, Gobo’s Peter Van de Reep, winner of the 2020 Best Sommelier of BC competition, will help you find the right wine to pair with the attractively priced, prix fixe three-course menu. If they’re available, add the creamy Kewpie-spiked deviled eggs, served with a gloriously salty-crispy anchovy topping.

Eggs topped with anchovies, set in a sun-lit dining room where customers sit at the bar.
Kewpie-spiked deviled eggs.
Nikki Bayley

Kissa Tanto

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Kissa Tanto scored a Michelin star in Vancouver’s inaugural awards. The pitch-perfect pairing of Japanese and Italian cuisines comes together in a funky, second-storey space in Chinatown, a few steps away from the restaurant’s sister crowd-pleaser, Bao Bei. The menu is small enough to make you want to order everything: the exquisite pasta made in-house; the showstopping whole fish served fins and all, which arrives puffed, hot, and crisp from the fryer along with a daikon-soy dipping sauce; a deceptively simple salad seamlessly fusing kombu dashi and pecorino. Reservations are essential.

A red leather booth in a midcentury designed restaurant.
A booth at Kissa Tanto.
Kissa Tanto

St Lawrence Restaurant

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Since opening in summer 2017 under the experienced hand of chef J.C. Poirier, an alum of Montreal’s Toqué, St Lawrence in Japantown has been one of the city’s toughest reservations to score, and it’s only become more difficult since the restaurant received a Michelin star. Stepping through the velvet curtain into the small dining room, you leave behind Vancouver and its passion for clean, fresh, lean cuisine, and dive into a delicious butter-hosed world where old-school French technique meets Québecois cuisine. The music, wine list, and staff are (mostly) French, and the $148 ($109 USD) tasting menu (now the only option) groans with decadent treats. You’ll need to prepay in order to secure a reservation, but even with the upfront outlay, add any possible delicious extras once you’re seated and hang the consequences.

A poultry dish plated in sauce.
Caille en sarcophage at St Lawrence
St Lawrence Restaurant / Facebook

Phnom Penh

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It was already a Vancouver tradition to join the queues outside this well-priced Vietnamese Cambodian spot in Chinatown — but then the restaurant scored a Michelin Bib Gourmand and the demand has only intensified. The menu is enormous, so save yourself from the agonies of choice and order the deep-fried crunchy chicken wings (with an amazing dipping sauce), the Instagram-ready platter of thit bò butter beef, and the beef lúc lắc with egg and rice. And yeah, okay, maybe some garlic squid too. Pro-tip: Wear comfy shoes for the line.

A close-up on a dish nearly covered in a thin layer of beef in a light sauce topped with sprigs of greens and crunchy garnishes.
Thit bò butter beef.
Phnom Penh Restaurant

The Mackenzie Room

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The gritty Powell block in Railtown may not seem like the place to find some of the city’s most exciting, globally inspired food, but it has been since 2015 with the arrival of the Mackenzie Room. In a small dining room decked out with hipstery brass chandeliers, distressed walls, and an ever-changing chalkboard menu, chef Sean Reeve and team use ingredients from the Pacific Northwest to reimagine classic dishes and create bold new creations with names like Corn Porn and A Tripe Called Quest. Opt for the I Want It All menu at $89 ($66 USD) to eat your way around the whole menu, and definitely check out the selection of natural and low-intervention wines.

A server holds a large wooden board covered with sliced Côte de Boeuf doused in green sauce with a small pitcher to one side
Côte de boeuf.
The Mackenzie Room

Caffé La Tana

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You’ll find some of the city’s very best pasta at this wildly tempting wine bar/cafe/grocery on Commercial Drive, in a neighborhood that’s enjoying something of a renaissance, partly thanks to a strong pandemic-era patio culture. There are a trio of menus to take you from brunch through aperitivo hour and dinner. The overstuffed muffuletta sandwich is a must-order, as is the superb agnolotti stuffed with chicken and pork in glossy, buttery roasting juices, topped with crispy sage. Italian wines, spritzes, and amari (try a flight) round out the full experience. Pick up house-made sauces, breads, sauces, and pastas to prepare at home from the grocery section, where you can also browse imported olive oils, bottled cocktails, amarena cherries, and other enticing pantry items.

Odd Society Spirits

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Distilling is still something of a new art in B.C. thanks to its antiquated, post-prohibition booze laws, which only got a refresh in 2013. Odd Society joined the first wave of new distilleries, and it has remained a must-visit and one of the most consistent producers of craft spirits, including gin, vodka, vermouth, and whisky. Check out the cute cocktail lounge at their East Van distillery, located in a converted motorbike garage, and road-test a few spirits before heading out to explore the many neighboring breweries of “Yeast Van.”

Barrels for aging spirits decorated with various illustrations on a rack in an industrial space
Odd Society Spirits Barrel Art Project
Anjali Spooner

Havana Vancouver

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A crisp fall afternoon is perfect for people-watching on Havana’s spacious patio on the Drive. Alongside a comprehensive list of rum, mezcal, and tequila drinks, this cheerful locals’ institution has some of the city’s best nonalcoholic cocktails (the salted cucumber “margarita” is especially good) to accompany fried plantain chips and chunky guacamole. The twice-daily happy hours, packed-out brunch (free pancakes for kids 8 and under till 11 a.m.), and well-priced menu of Latin American staples, which ranges from tacos to Cubanaos, have made this a rightly popular spot for almost 30 years.

Diners sit at a patio outside a low building beneath a trellis with hanging lanterns.
The patio at Havana.
Nikki Bayley

Grab a cab to Hastings-Sunrise to find joyful hospitality, fun low-intervention wines, and sake at Dachi, along with thoughtful, seasonal small plates featuring ingredients ranging from fresh (kale buds) to luxurious (tonkatsu-fried pork cutlets). In the summertime, the restaurant shifts operations out to the buzzing patio on East Hastings Street, but through fall and winter the action heads back indoors. Dachi is a true neighborhood spot, and locals are always dropping in for something from the ever-changing bottle shop. The team also operates Mucker Next Door — literally next door — which sells covetable homewares, artsy wine magazines and books, aromatic beef fat from sister-restaurant Elephant, and rose gold cake servers.

Plates of food and glasses of wine, with rows of wine bottles on a shelf in the background.
Dinner and drinks at Dachi.
Dachi

Maenam

One of the city’s hardest working chefs, Angus An has five other spots dotted across the city, including Fat Mao, which serves blissful noodles in Chinatown and Downtown, as well as Longtail Kitchen and Sen Pad Thai. But if you only have time to visit one of his restaurants, go for Maenam, where you can drool over An’s deft balancing act of sweet, aromatic, citrusy, hot, and spicy flavors in great Thai dishes with B.C. twists. Walk-ins are welcome in the lounge for an a la carte dinner, but it’s worth it to book the chef’s menu, a bargain at $88 ($65 USD) per person for 11 dishes served family style. Lunch sets are also a terrific value, with a choice of main, soup, salad, and rice for $24-28 ($18-21 USD).

A restaurant interior with textured wood wall, bar beneath set beneath a long pendant light tube, tables set with places settings, and illustrations featuring a zebra and elephant.
Inside Maenam.
Alaina Michelle Photography

Granville Island Public Market

Sure the aisles are packed with wide-eyed Instagrammers at this popular tourist destination, but there are some jewels to be found here to assemble a superb picnic for watching the boats and paddle boarders on False Creek. Take your pick from delights such as pickled headcheese, succulent mortadella, and punchy salami at the Oyama Sausage Co, then head to Terra Bread to pick up some focaccia or baguettes before stocking up on local Salt Spring Island cheeses at Benton Brothers and fresh doughnuts at Lee’s.