Vancouver is a coastal city, known for its natural beauty and proximity to forests, mountains and the ocean. It also has a lot to offer in the way of food. The typical Vancouver style is seafood forward, Pacific Coastal cuisine, yet there are more experimental restaurants opening all the time. Vancouver has the best sushi outside of Japan, and also claims the invention of the California roll by chef Tojo. Here are some of Vancouver’s best restaurants.
Savio Volpe $$$
Savio Volpe is Osteria rustica Italian done in a modern setting. There are open seats at the bar, otherwise it’s best to get your reservation in advance. Try the Famiglia five-course menu, or order a la carte from a selection of pastas, meats and vegetarian dishes. The family style Famiglia is the way to go, and it’s a steal at only $55 per head. The food is divine, and the atmosphere is cool, yet comfortable.
615 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5T 3K5
Blue Water Cafe $$$$
Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe consistently wins best seafood restaurant in Vancouver. The decor is sophisticated with white table cloths, amidst brick and wood. In the summer months, take a seat on the patio. Enjoy the Japanese inspired raw bar, hefty wine list and sustainable, local seafood dishes. Blue Water Cafe is Pacific Northwest cuisine at its finest.
1095 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4
With some of the freshest fish in the city, Miku tops a long list of excellent Japanese restaurants. It specialises in Aburi, which is flame seared sushi. Located by the convention centre, the ocean view also doesn’t hurt. It’s a busy spot for lunch, due to its downtown location, so be sure to make a reservation, for the best view. The Aburi Prime, chef’s omakase 9 piece selection, is always a good option. The Kaiseki menu has two selections, the Miku 5-course tasting for $110, or the Aburi chefs signature menu for $150. If you love Japanese food in a sleek setting, Miku is your top choice.
200 Granville St # 70, Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4
Le Crocodile $$$
Le Crocodile is Vancouvers’ best French restaurant. It is an institution that opened in 1983. This is classic fine dining with waiters in black tie and white table cloths. As with all French food, the menu is meat heavy and rich, but with Canadian flare and lots of seafood options. They also offer an express menu of wild mushroom soup or butter lettuce salad with a fresh daily main course for $28. Le Crocodile has an excellent Sommelier and a large wine list. It is frequented by celebrities, from the likes of Jack Nicholson to Cindy Crawford. For the reputation that it has and the quality of the food, the prices are not outrageous.
909 Burrard St #100, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2N2
Vij’s is legendary in Vancouver for Indian food with a modern twist. Vikram Vij opened the restaurant in 1994 with his former wife, and they have collected countless accolades ever since. There are also two casual locations, Vij’s Rangoli in South Granville, and MyShanti out in White Rock, an hour from Vancouver. Vij’s don’t take reservations, so go early, put your name down and enjoy some complimentary appetisers, while you wait for a table. You can also find the Vij’s food truck around town.
3106 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W2
Chambar is a perfect third date spot, but only if you really like the person! It’s got a great energy, excellent food and delectable cocktails. It’s a fun spot for a drink, happy hour is positively buzzing, thanks to their amazing cocktail specials. Chambar is also popular for breakfast. Order per waffle with a medley of topping sauces to choose from, including milk chocolate lavender. The dinner food is Belgian inspired with three styles of Moules Frites and a mixture of seafood, meat and vegetables. This is a cool restaurant for any time of day.
568 Beatty St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2L3
David Hawksworth is one of the most revered chefs in Vancouver, you may have tried his creations onboard an Air Canada flight, or seen him on Top Chef Canada. Hawksworth consistently wins best restaurant in Vancouver, and features on the World Top 50 list. The tasting menu is $110 per guest, or $185 with wine. The cuisine is fresh and heavily inspired by the Pacific Northwest, with a well rounded menu. Located in the Georgia hotel, smack in the middle of downtown, Hawksworth makes for a luxurious meal in a glamorous art deco setting.
801 W Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7
Kissa Tanto $$$
Kissa Tanto is one of the most creative options on this list. It’s a fusion of Japanese and Italian, with a cocktail list to die for. In the midst of trendy Chinatown, the decor is inspired by 1960s Tokyo Jazz cafes. It’s a great place to enjoy a cocktail at the intimate bar, or have a truly inspired meal with someone special, or a small group of friends. The meals are best shared, which is a bonus, since you will want to taste everything!
263 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T8
Bao Bei $$$
Bao Bei has topped restaurant lists for years thanks to their creative twist on Chinese cuisine and top notch bartenders. The menu is small, thoughtful and best shared. The Shan tofu, potstickers and dumplings are stand out dishes. Bao Bei is cool and stylish, located near Kissa Tanto in Chinatown, amidst some of the best cocktail bars. Start at Bao Bei and hop around to The Keefer, Juniper and The Emerald for drinks after dinner.
163 Keefer St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1X4
The Acorn $$$
The Acorn is strictly plant based, but don’t let that throw you off, or you might miss out on some of the best food in the city. The Acorn is tiny and they don’t take reservations, so get there early and have a drink at Portland Craft while you wait. The menu is small and best shared, which makes it easy to order. The halloumi is a standout, but you really can’t go wrong. Brunch is available Saturdays and Sundays only.
3995 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P3
Tojo’s has been serving top notch Japanese in an elegant setting for 31 years. Chef Tojo has racked up all kinds of awards and is most famous for inventing the California roll. The Omakase, or tasting menu, is the way to go. It starts at $80 per head, or you can dine with explanations from the chef for $200 each. There is also a Japanese Wagyu dinner on offer, as well as a la carte. If you’re on a budget visit during cocktail hour from 4-6pm Thursday to Saturday, when small bites and cocktails are on special.
1133 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6H 1G1
L’Abattoir is the best restaurant in Gastown, amidst a sea of great options. It’s sleek and trendy, with a small bar area with happy hour between 530pm and 630pm. As you can probably guess from the name, L’Abattoir specialises in meat forward dishes. Vegetarians don’t despair, there are some fantastic veggie options, and you don’t want to miss out on this Vancouver gem.
217 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J2
La Quercia $$$
La Quercia takes the cake in Kitsilano. It’s slow cooked, locally sourced Italian food. The restaurant design is cozy and intimate. The a la carte menu features pasta classics, risottos, hanger steak, and some creative options, like potato cheese pancake or parmigiano reggiano souffle. The wine list is extensive and almost exclusively Italian.
3689 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6R 1P2
The Beach House $$$
The Beach House is a West Vancouver waterfront restaurant with great views. The interior is Hamptons beach style with a large patio. The happy hour has excellent food and drink specials. The cuisine is Pacific Northwest, mainly seafood. This is not an edgy choice, but if you pop in, you just might feel like you’re on a luxury beach vacation. The tuna nachos are a real highlight, and oysters are half-price during happy hour. Join the housewives of Vancouver for a boozy lunch with a view.
150 25th St, West Vancouver, BC V7V 4H8