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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

From IG-approved flower-shaped pasta at a Venice-style wine bar, to duck liver parfait honey crullers at a buzzy chef’s low-key spot, here’s where to eat in Canada’s thriving food hub

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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, 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, August 2022:

After a soaking wet, freezing cold spring (even by urban rainforest standards) that outstayed its welcome by almost six weeks, summer has finally arrived in Vancouver and its residents couldn’t be happier. Patios are packed, cruise ship passengers have returned, and the city is teeming with visitors. Everyone is eager to dive into seasonal treats, such as the absolute best peaches in the world from the nearby Okanagan, which pop up in everything from salads to gelato, and icy bottles of savory dry rosé from the Similkameen Valley.

Nikki Bayley is an award-winning freelance travel, food, and wine writer whose work has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, National Geographic Traveler, The Globe and Mail, and The Guardian.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Au Comptoir

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Take a trip to an excellent Parisian bistro by way of the city’s beachside Kitsilano neighborhood, where up-and-comer chef Dan McGee and team are whipping up French standards with B.C.’s finest produce. The stunning custom-made bar comes from France, and even the serving staff are mostly French, although with the happy addition of Canadian manners. With buttery croissants in the morning, gooey croque-monsieur at lunch, and juicy entrecôte-frites with a mouthwatering crisp char at dinner, anytime is a good time for Au Comptoir.

A dish at Au Comptoir
Photo: Au Comptoir

Rain or Shine Ice Cream Truck

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Nothing says sunshine and good times like a crisp sugar waffle cone piled high with creamy ice cream from Rain or Shine, whose truck parks seasonally near the Inukshuk on English Bay. Everything is made Philadelphia-style (no eggs) with plenty of vegan (coconut or cashew milk base) and gluten-free options. Locally sourced ingredients such as raw honey from the North Okanagan and lavender from neighboring Maple Ridge pair perfectly with the delicious dairy from Birchwood Farm in Abbotsford. Indulge in the time-honored tradition of dithering over what flavor you want before repairing to one of the logs on the beach to savor pure frozen heaven.

A hand holds an ice cream cone in front of a food truck.
A cone from Rain or Shine.
Marck Gutman

Buckstop

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It’s late and you have a craving for heaping plates of barbecue and strong whisky cocktails. There’s only one place to go: Buckstop, a tiny, genial bar (in a city known for its frosty reception)  in the lively West End neighborhood. Burger Monday creations (often featuring pork patties, tempura-fried toppings like cheese curds, and copious cheeses and sauces) are switched up weekly, with a limited quantity available starting at 4:30 p.m. Among your choices of barbecue treats, the deep-fried pickles and hush puppies with honey butter are nonnegotiable orders.

A burger on a serving board with a bowl of fries on a wooden table
Burger at Buckstop
Buckstop [Official]

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.

Beef chow fun at Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant
Bill Addison

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.

Market Interior
Photo: Granville Island Market / Facebook

Guu with Garlic

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​​One of Vancouver’s original izakayas, Guu with Garlic sits in the “ramen triangle” on Robson Street, surrounded by three blocks of Asian food spots. Stop by for a set teishoku lunch (go for the superb pork cutlet), served with pickles, miso, and rice, then come back for dinner for izakaya classics such as garlic beef tongue, takoyaki (crispy octopus balls), and una-meshi, barbecued eel with rice served in a hot stone bowl. Whatever you order, wash it down with a Calpico cocktail, fresh junmai sake, or a Sapporo.

Restaurant interior with simple wood tables and benches, and bar seating at an open kitchen
Inside Guu with Garlic.
Guu with Garlic

Marutama Ra-men Canada / Westend

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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 (you can watch the machine from the dining area), which rest for 24 hours before being cooked and slurped up. Hailing from Japan, Marutama 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.

Ramen at Marutam Ra-men
Marutama Ra-Men / official

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]

Few walk the sustainable walk like chef Welbert Choi and his team, who conjure up menus full of locally farmed, seasonal, and foraged ingredients paired with all-B.C. wine, beer, and cocktails. The kitchen’s energy-efficient gizmos and zero-waste practices are impressive, but so are eco-friendly, locavore treats such as duck breast smoked with foraged grand fir tree needles or the bison board (available in limited quantities from Friday to Sunday) featuring anything from cured bison to braised bison risotto and bison heart tartare. There’s also a killer weekend brunch with house-made preserves and a fantastic take on Nutella.

A dish at Forage
Forage / Facebook

Chancho Tortilleria

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Chancho’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it carnitas shop is the Mexican dining experience that will likely ruin you for any other tacos in town, thanks to their house-made tortillas and marvelous, melting pork sold by the pound. Have the campechano, a mix of shoulder, leg, and belly hand-chopped to order and spangled with shards of crisp skin. Orders come with pickled red cabbage, pinto beans, salsas, and those incredible tortillas, kissed with a whisper of char. Take your food away to the nearby Seawall for the perfect porky picnic, or stay to enjoy the blaring Mexican pop.

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House

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Old-school white linens; fresh, local, and sustainable Ocean Wise ingredients; and top-notch friendly service go hand in hand with outstanding value at Joe’s. An unpretentious choice for lunch, dinner, or weekend brunch, the restaurant treats guests to fresh-shucked B.C. oysters, piled-high bowls of crispy fried calamari, and buttery, miso-marinated sablefish. Dining on a budget? The daily blue-plate lunch special clocks in at 13 Canadian dollars, and there are great dinner deals too. Join the locals for afternoon and evening happy-hour oysters and sliders on the suntrap rooftop patio.

A dish at Joe Fortes
Joe Fortes / Facebook

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

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There are hotel restaurants and there are restaurants in hotels, and Boulevard is definitely the latter. Pedigreed chef Alex Chen and team’s inventive take on West Coast seafood brings diners into some excitingly experimental territory, but never strays far from harmony and balance. It’s a bright, beautiful room to enjoy crowd-pleasing seafood towers or steak frites, while the service, cocktails, and wine list are all on point. There’s also a great daily happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. with cocktails on tap, oysters, and crispy chicken wings with fish sauce caramel and sambal chili.

Seafood platters at Boulevard Kitchen
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar / Official

Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca

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Some of the best Italian food in the world can be found in Vancouver (no hyperbole intended). The shelves of Cioppino’s positively groan with honors and awards such as the prestigious Order of the Star of Italy (a knighthood conferred by the Italian president for representing Italian culture abroad), a “three forks” rating from Gambero Rosso, and a place on the 50 Top Italy list. Take the hint and book a table at chef Pino Posteraro’s exceptional restaurant to discover his modernist Pacific Northwest take on Italian cuisine. Dishes include juicy and tender Pacific octopus with Tuscan white beans, delicate gnocchi cacio e pepe, and decadent Atlantic lobster-stuffed linguine all’aragosta. For the full experience, splurge for the chef’s menu and let the wonder of it all wash over you.

A hand holds a plate full of noodles and lobster
Linguine all’aragosta
Cioppino’s / official

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.

Typhoon shelter crab with sticky rice at Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
Bill Addison

Blue Water Cafe

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Raw from the sushi bar or cooked from the open kitchen, seafood is the star at this Yaletown institution. Widely acknowledged as one of Canada’s leaders in responsible seafood, chef Frank Pabst and team push the culinary envelope a little each February with their Unsung Heroes festival, which celebrates lesser-loved species, encouraging diners to broaden their palates and try more sustainable seafood such as poached periwinkles and red sea urchin trifle. Year-round, the service is superb, the wine list dizzyingly wonderful, and the British Columbian seafood towers a splurge meal you’ll adore.

Seafood Tower at Blue Water Cafe
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Bread x Butter Cafe

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Tucked away in a courtyard in the Cathedral Building downtown, ex-Top Chef contestant Felix Zhou’s cafe offers up the city’s fluffiest scrambled egg toast sandwiches on pillowy brioche. Try local torched wagyu striped with Kewpie mayo, the pork floss with crispy seaweed, or the butter udon with house-cured salmon and sous-vide egg. Zhou also offers a “traditional” menu of basic breakfast faves including bagels, parfaits, and BLTs, but why be traditional when you can dive into their wildly Instagrammable boxes of egg toast?

Three sandwiches on fluffy milk bread, oozing with cheese, overflowing with meat, stacked in cardboard sleeves beside paper boats of french fries
Sandwiches at Bread x Butter Cafe.
Bread x Butter Cafe

Hawksworth Restaurant

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Even Vancouverites, who truly wear yoga pants everywhere, dress up when they dine at chef David Hawksworth’s excellent restaurant. The decorations — from the Damien Hirst art on the wall of the outstanding cocktail bar to the gleaming oversized crystal chandelier in the main dining room — set high expectations for what’s to come. Fortunately, those expectations are effortlessly met with this pitch-perfect exploration of West Coast cuisine threaded through with Asian flavors and modern techniques. Unmissable.

A dish at Hawksworth
Hawksworth Restaurant / Official

Botanist

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It’s been a while since Vancouver had such a pretty place to see and be seen, and since opening in April 2017, Botanist at the Fairmont Pacific Rim has been consistently busy. The Champagne lounge bubbles over with excellent options, and the wine list features a raft of exclusive terroir-driven picks from B.C. and beyond. Definitely stop for cocktails at the Lab — where drinks come with theatrical drifts of dry ice and other high-concept presentations — before diving 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.

Dining Room at The Botanist
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It would be easy to miss Bacaro, tucked away on the ground floor of the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel behind Giovane café. But head to the back of the room and you’ll be rewarded with a thrilling menu of gloriously cheffy and surprisingly affordable aperitivo snacks. Drawing inspiration from Venice’s bacari and cicchetti bars, which serve wine and small plates, the restaurant offers several items for $4 and under, like anchovy and chive butter crostini or whipped salt cod and grilled polenta. 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. Plus it’s a stone’s throw from many of the city’s primo attractions and the waterfront, and 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

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.

A dish at Vij’s
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Autostrada Osteria Downtown

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You no longer need to head to the ‘burbs of Riley Park to check out the latest from chef Lucais Syme (ex-La Quercia, La Pentola). The Italian food maestro has expanded on the first Autostrada, located way up on Main, with a downtown location in the space where Syme’s sublime Cinara used to be, and an outpost in the futuristic Bjarke Ingels-designed Vancouver House tower. This is everyday Italian with well-executed pasta mains, excellent meatballs, and rich, creamy desserts. Cocktail fans will love the different takes on the Negroni, but everyone will appreciate the friendly service.

A server lifts a clump of pasta from a plate with two forks, with glasses of red wine and small empty plates set around on a wooden table
Tagliatelle bolognese
Autostrada Osteria / official

Chambar Restaurant

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After a stint at the Savoy in London, cooking for Mick Jagger, Prince, and a host of other glitzy celebs, Belgian chef Nico Schuermans has created the archetypal casual fine dining restaurant in Vancouver. Chambar offers an elegant room, faultless service, and a no-nonsense menu of French-/Belgian-influenced classics made with Pacific Northwest ingredients, which you’d be more than welcome to enjoy coming straight from yoga class still in your Lululemons.

A dish at Chambar
Chambar Restaurant / Facebook

Pidgin Restaurant

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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 85 Canadian dollars (about $66) per person. Whisky and sake fans will love the selection, and the wine list offers global gems too.

A dish at Pidgin
Pidgin Restaurant / Official

R&B Ale & Pizza House

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The eternal Vancouver conundrum: Do you want great views and mediocre beers, or great beers and mediocre views? For the latter, head to the ever-popular R&B Brewing in the heart of “Yeast” Van’s Brewery Creek district. Celebrating 25 years, R&B is one of the city’s original microbreweries known for their cool can art, witty beer names, and reliably delicious brews. Come for the Stolen Bike Lager and Dude Chilling Pale Ale, then stay for the roadside patio and excellent music. Weekend brunch features sourdough made using spent grains from the brewing process, while the weekday menu brings chewy sourdough pizza, burgers, pretzels, and more.

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 / official

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 in Burdock & Co’s locavore tasting menus, which pair perfectly with the tight, natural-leaning wine list. Seasonal favorites come and go on the five-course set menus, but look out for the fan-favorite buttermilk fried chicken among the optional additions, or go big with an order of sustainably sourced Northern Divine sturgeon caviar with tater tots and a shot of aquavit.

A dish at Burdock & Co
Burdock & Co / Facebook

 ¿Cómo? 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

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 / official

Bar Susu

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You could book three months out for a meal at Published on Main, which recently scored the No. 1 spot on the prestigious Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants list. Or you could head to casual sister wine bar Susu, where a quarter of the tables are reserved for walk-ins. The bar began as a pop-up, but looks set to permanently become one of the city’s low-key favorites. Chef Ash Kurt has created a playful menu with items like decadent duck liver parfait honey crullers, hash browns with “mc’chicken sauce,” and pitch-perfect smoked lamb belly, along with an ever-changing array of delicious low-intervention wines, amari, cocktails, and vermouth for the city’s cork dorks. The late-night weekend menu ensures a regular crowd of off-work hospitality staffers crowing over foie gras, chicken drumsticks, and natural wines.

A dimly lit dining room with wood paneled walls and simple wood tables set with glassware.
Inside Bar Susu.
Sarah Annand.

Fat Mao Noodles

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Part of legendary local chef Angus An’s innovative empire of superb eateries (including Thai standard Maenam), this casual pan-Asian spot takes inspiration from chef An’s travels and childhood. There are five different kinds of noodles (including gluten-free and vegan options), sourced from Tak Fung on nearby Victoria Drive, to mix and match with soups, broths, and curries, plus bright, aromatic salads and small plates. The $5 roti with curry sauce is the best deal in the city, especially if you lick your plate when you’re through.

From above, a bowl of noodle soup topped with herbs, fixings, and a lime wedge, with chopsticks laid across the rim, on a wooden table beside a decorative dish and condiment bottles
Hot and sour pork noodles
Fat Mao Noodles [Facebook]

Phnom Penh

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Take part in a Vancouver tradition and join the queues outside this well-priced Vietnamese-Cambodian spot in Chinatown. The menu is enormous, so save yourself from the agonies of choice and order up the deep-fried crunchy chicken wings (with their 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. 

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 / official

Harvest Community Foods

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Acclaimed chef Andrea Carlson (Burdock & Co.) and Gabriella Meyer’s community-based eatery/grocery in Chinatown is one of the best spots in the city to slurp down noodles, including the sake chicken ramen, a bowl that will banish any hangover. You can also pick up pantry essentials, such as frozen packs of Carlson’s superb pork and burdock dumplings, heirloom apple and vanilla bean sauce that makes an ideal ice cream topping, and picnic-ready local cheeses, dips, spreads, and vegan puddings.

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. 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 menu groans with decadent treats. Choose from their set three-course classics menu ($85) or go off-piste with a la carte selections that explore a different regional French cuisine each month. Over-order and hang the consequences, and always make room for the exquisite salted caramel rice pudding.

Caille en sarcophage at St Lawrence
St Lawrence Restaurant / Facebook

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 witty names like “Corn Porn” and “A Tripe Called Quest.” Opt for “I Want It All” to eat your way around the whole menu and definitely check out the off-menu selection of natural wines. 

Ubuntu Canteen

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Innovative chef Dave Gunawan’s CV includes many of Vancouver’s big hitters, such as the now-shuttered West and Wildebeest, and the critically acclaimed ultra-locavore Farmer’s Apprentice. This small cafe in the Fraserhood community seemed a puzzling fit at first, but it’s actually oh-so very Gunawan. Behold Ubuntu Canteen, with its in-house heirloom grain bakery and bread subscription program, the city’s best bone broth, and thoughtfully cheffy sandwiches, such as open-faced beef tongue sandwich with sauce gribiche and salad on grilled sourdough. Evening service (Wed-Sat) brings a chance for the team to flex with an ever-changing menu of superb local and seasonal ingredients.

A server behind a pastry counter, filled with breads and pastries, in front of a textured wall, espresso machines, and chalkboard menus
The bakery counter at Ubuntu Canteen
Ubuntu Canteen [Facebook]

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

Au Comptoir

A dish at Au Comptoir
Photo: Au Comptoir

Take a trip to an excellent Parisian bistro by way of the city’s beachside Kitsilano neighborhood, where up-and-comer chef Dan McGee and team are whipping up French standards with B.C.’s finest produce. The stunning custom-made bar comes from France, and even the serving staff are mostly French, although with the happy addition of Canadian manners. With buttery croissants in the morning, gooey croque-monsieur at lunch, and juicy entrecôte-frites with a mouthwatering crisp char at dinner, anytime is a good time for Au Comptoir.

A dish at Au Comptoir
Photo: Au Comptoir

Rain or Shine Ice Cream Truck

A hand holds an ice cream cone in front of a food truck.
A cone from Rain or Shine.
Marck Gutman

Nothing says sunshine and good times like a crisp sugar waffle cone piled high with creamy ice cream from Rain or Shine, whose truck parks seasonally near the Inukshuk on English Bay. Everything is made Philadelphia-style (no eggs) with plenty of vegan (coconut or cashew milk base) and gluten-free options. Locally sourced ingredients such as raw honey from the North Okanagan and lavender from neighboring Maple Ridge pair perfectly with the delicious dairy from Birchwood Farm in Abbotsford. Indulge in the time-honored tradition of dithering over what flavor you want before repairing to one of the logs on the beach to savor pure frozen heaven.

A hand holds an ice cream cone in front of a food truck.
A cone from Rain or Shine.
Marck Gutman

Buckstop