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, November 2023:
Fall likes to remind everyone that Vancouver is, in fact, a temperate rainforest zone. Don’t forget your rain boots and umbrella in case you see the worst kind of PNW deluge. The season does bring the occasional, dazzling, blue-sky Vancouver day, when snow-dusted mountains peek out from the mist. Cooler weather also brings superb seafood, including B.C. bivalves at their most briny and delicious. Make for one of the excellent happy hours across the city, where you can enjoy a dozen with a cut-price glass of local bubbles.
Meanwhile, the 2023 Michelin Guide updated its recommendations for the city in October; no businesses lost stars, but only one (Okeya Kyujiro) joined the list. None of Vancouver’s restaurants have risen above a single star, and the Michelin inspectors continue to show baffling disregard for the city’s environmental credentials, awarding zero Michelin Green stars. Go figure.
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