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 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.
There truly isn’t anywhere like Vancouver as spring turns to summer: Plump pom-poms of pink and white cherry blossoms are still sprigging trees throughout the city. Newly opened patios overflow with overexcited locals drunk on sunshine (and happy hour rosé) after months of endless Pacific Northwest rain and slate-gray skies. Look out for the super-short seasonal bounty of spot prawns (a terrific ultra-sustainable local delicacy), juicy Haida Gwaii halibut, and the first of the sweet cherries from the nearby Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys.
After a commissary kitchen fire on March 25, several of the city’s most beloved food trucks are off the streets, including Eater favorite, Top Rope Birria. Check social media for pop-ups and a (hopeful) swift return from Mom’s Grilled Cheese, Modern Perogie, and Shorba Bone Broth.
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, and Whistler Traveller.Read More