Eating Out – Restaurants
Eating out is common in Vancouver. In fact, Vancouverites spend more money per capita dining out than any other city in North America!
Many Vancouverites eat out as much as a couple times a week or more at restaurants, fast-food joints, cafés and bistros. During the busiest times, there can be long lines at cafés and food carts, and traffic at drive-thrus in the morning! From classic American-style fast-food chains (including Subway, McDonald’s, A&W, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Burger King) to the trendier Thaï Express. Local favorites include Fritz European Fry House on Davie Street (for amazing poutine), La Taqueria on Hastings and Cambie Streets (where you can fill your belly with delicious meat or veggie tacos and quesadillas) or Triple O’s for a mouthwatering burger. It’s rare to find bad sushi in Vancouver, so try one of the hundreds of Japanese-style fast food restaurants located all over the city. Malls all have their own food courts, where several fast-food stalls share a common dining space. Bistros offering tasty delights in the downtown shopping districts feature lunch menus at reduced prices.
Fine cuisine from all over the world is available in Vancouver. If you explore Yaletown, Robson Street in the West End, Chinatown, Gastown, Granville Island, Kerrisdale or Commercial Drive, you’re sure to find a number of delicious dining spots. Here are just a few of the MANY great options.
In Yaletown, Minami Restaurant offers a high-end, traditional Japanese menu, that mixes regional specialties with new ingredients. There is patio dining and a vibrant ambiance. Mosaic Grill at the Hyatt Regency features a constantly changing menu of seasonal and local products. At Bistro 101, you can get a three-course lunch for $25. As part of a culinary school, there’s a new menu every month, and each one is sure to excite your tastebuds! Also in Yaletown, stop by one of the many quick and popular food trucks, like Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck, The Juice Truck, or Fat Duck Mobile Eatery.
On Robson Street, CinCin features past made in-house, fish and meat dishes cooked to perfection, and a lovely decor. Earls has burgers to die for and an attentive, friendly staff. Zefferelli’s menu is packed with authentic pasta dishes. This Italian restaurant is popular, so make reservations! Guu with Garlic’s motto is “garlic is sexy.” It features a healthy and delicious menu.
Head to Chinatown for a more eclectic array of restaurants than you might expect. Most famous is Phnom Penh, where locals and visitors flock for amazing Cambodian and Vietnamese food. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie is a small-plate dining experience with a modern, fusion approach to Chinese cuisine. For something unexpected, try Bestie, a small eatery offering some of Germany’s best street food, from pretzels and mustard to classic pork bratwurst.
Visit Gastown for some great pub food at The Irish Heather or the Charles Bar. For a reggae vibe and Caribbean flavor, try Calabash Bistro. You’ll love their jerk chicken, curries, stews and amazing weekend brunch. For French cuisine, try L’abattoir, and for savory Italian there’s Ask for Luigi.
In Granville Island, we suggest sampling the fresh and delicious at Dockside and Go Fish. Edible Canada is a “multifaceted culinary tourism” company that promotes local cuisine from around the country, but with a strong focus on British Columbia. And there are private dining rooms!
Kerrisdale, we suggest dining at The Red Onion, for a casual vibe and really tasty cooking, Bufala for pizza.
On Commercial Drive, great dining experiences are almost guaranteed at Wishes + Luck, La Grotta Del Formaggio, Fire Pizza, Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen, and many more wonderful restaurants.
There are also family-friendly restaurants! Take the kids to Rocky Mountain Flatbread, Milestones, Kokopelli Cafe, SweetSalt Bakery, White Spot and Red Robin. Many of these dining establishments are easily navigable with strollers. Some have kids menus, play areas, and/or coloring books and games.
To find your favourite restaurant and café, start checking UrbanSpoon.
A growing trend is restaurants that encourage guests to “bring your own wine.” These restaurants might have slightly pricier food, but you save a ton of money on wine if you buy your bottle(s) around the corner at a local government or private liquor store (see Alcohol). Remember that in British Columbia restaurants you have to add taxes and tip to your bill (equaling just about 30 per cent of your bill). See Taxes & Tips. The waiter generally brings one bill or splits the bill directly between you and your friends.
Discovering the food culture is an important part of life in Vancouver and a great hobby for the colder, rainy winter months! See our Leisure & Culture chapter for more ideas for fun activities and tips on going out.