Ringed by soaring mountains, with gleaming glass skyscrapers reflected in the still waters that surround its downtown core, Vancouver is easy to love. The thriving urban hub of British Columbia is a proudly immigrant city, too. 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. Chefs from around the world apply their own 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.
The city’s most beloved and vital dining experiences reflect this blend. From Vietnamese-Cambodian at Phnom Penh to creative dumplings paired with sherry at Ugly Dumpling, Vancouver is spoiled for choice when it comes to Asian dining. The city’s signature locavore cuisine thrives at restaurants like Burdock & Co; sustainable seafood shines at RawBar, Sashimiya, and the Fish Counter; and the Mr. Bannock food truck brings a First Nations taste of the Squamish Nation to the city. Add in mushrooming brewery and distillery scenes, intoxicating 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.
Update June, 2021:
Throughout 2020, British Columbia was relatively sheltered from the most brutal effects of COVID-19. Then the third wave arrived in 2021 and brought record-breaking case numbers. The hospitality industry has borne the brunt of the province’s last-minute shutdowns. Restaurants were left scrambling, with walk-in fridges packed with perishable items, and many newer spots struggled to qualify for grants or subsidies. Despite the hardships of the pandemic, Vancouver hospitality has shown incredible heart. Restaurant owners have pivoted furiously to whip up staff meals for the most vulnerable, feed out-of-work servers and bartenders, and even create FromTo, a no-fee delivery platform. One rare silver lining: For the first time, restaurants are able to buy alcohol at wholesale prices, and they can sell alcohol for takeout, which has opened the door to a thriving income source through bottles and home cocktail kits.
Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the BC Centre for Disease Control.
Prices per person, excluding alcohol:
$ = Less than 20 Canadian dollars (less than $15 USD)
$$ = 20 - 49 Canadian dollars ($15 - $40 USD)
$$$ = 50 - 100 Canadian dollars ($40 - $75 USD)
$$$$ = More than 100 Canadian dollars (more than $75 USD)
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.Read More