Vancouver is one of the world’s most incredible cities when it comes to food and drink. There’s always something shaking in our incredible cocktail scene, and thanks to the region’s geography, the land and sea produce a bounty of wonderful fresh ingredients used by Vancouver’s restaurants. Add in the excitement of a diverse immigrant food culture, and Vancouver is full end to end with amazing eats.
Want to get a taste of Vancouver? You need a bucket list. Here are 101 essential things to eat and drink in Vancouver.
Miku is credited with bringing aburi-style sushi to Vancouver, so no better place to enjoy this flame-seared fusion food than at Miku.
Vancouver’s now-thriving street food scene owes much to this early upstart that melded the classic hot dog with the flavours of Japan. The Terimayo is their calling card; it’s got Teriyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed–of course!
You can’t say “Indian food” in Vancouver without saying Vij’s. Vikram Vij’s original restaurant serves up incredible modern Indian fare, including his standout signature lamb popsicles. Hint: They aren’t frozen.
At the forefront of Vancouver’s obsession with “slow” coffee, Revolver has stood out as the hallmark for excellent brewed coffee. Slip in for a cup and be revolutionized.
Around for almost a century, the White Spot’s Legendary Platter is, frankly, legendary. Skip the modern add-ons of veggies and cheese, and stick to the classic burger with Triple-O sauce, with fries and slaw on the side.
Ogled over by Guy Fieri from TV’s “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives,” the Beef Roll is Peaceful Restaurant’s signature dish. The growing chain specializing in Northern Chinese eats can be polarizing among locals, but it sure has its loyal devotees.
The go-to for Lebanese fare in Vancouver, it’s clear to see why eaters love Najib’s Special: Crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt, and served with tahini.
Head to Chinatown to this Cambodian restaurant and get an order (or two) of these crispy fried wings, with a citrus salt and pepper sauce for dipping.
Open for nearly a century, Notte Bon Ton specializes in pastries and cakes, among which is their Diplomat cake, made of layers of pastry, sponge cake, and rich buttercream.
Vancouver is home to a certified gelato master, and Bella Gelateria is scooping up the sweet goodness at their locations. Look for exciting seasonal offerings, or staples like Salted Caramel.
If you’re at the Public Market at Granville Island, head right to Siegel’s and order up one of their Montreal-style bagels as a sandwich with lox, cream cheese, red onions, and capers.
Half the fun of eating at Rodney’s is watching the guys whip up the food, in particular the chowder. Since Rodney’s is an oyster house, your best bet is their delicious oyster chowder. Order a glass of wine…trust us, it’s fun.
Long hailed as the bastion of all things seafood in Vancouver, Yaletown’s enduring favourite, Blue Water, is a must-experience. Get their three-tiered Blue Water Cafe seafood tower to really do it up royally–though you can also select a single or two-tiered option, if you’re less ambitious.
There is no almond croissant as beautiful as the ones that emerge from Thomas Haas’ kitchens.
Gastown’s Alibi Room is one of the definitive go-tos from the early era of Vancouver’s still-going-strong craft beer revolution. Sample some of the best of brews here on a sampler, served up on a paddle.
Score on Davie is all about wild and wacky Caesar cocktails, but none is as wild or wacky as the Checkmate. It’s an epic meal on a glass, meant for sharing. It’s garnished with a full roast chicken, Score burger, slider, chicken wings, pulled pork mac and cheese hot dog, roasted vegetables, and a brownie for dessert.
Known for their waffles and Japanese-style waffle sandos (aka sandwiches), the most memorable from this Asian-fusion spot is their fried chicken sando. It’s got Garlic fried chicken, lettuce, teriyaki sauce and mayo.
Editor’s note: Miura closed in December 2016
Ice cream is good any time of year, says Rain or Shine’s owner, hence the name of this always-popular ice cream shop. Hit them up on Tuesdays for their ice cream “taco” special.
It’s cheap, it’s greasy, it’s quintessential Vancouver budget eats.
Cartems kicked off the high-end doughnut revolution in Vancouver, and their London Fog Stuffie (Earl Grey-infused yeast donut with Earl Grey glaze, stuffed with vanilla cream) is a perfect example of why their doughnuts are standouts.
Jackie Kai Ellis fell in love with French baking so much she left her job to open her very own patisserie, Beaucoup. While what’s at the counter and up for grabs is across-the board delicious, her Kouign Amann is worth every sweet, buttery calorie.
Vancouver’s venerable chocolatier has been in business since 1907. They make delectable boxed chocolates and other treats, however their signature piece is the Hedgehog. It’s hazelnut gianduja filling tucked inside a cute milk chocolate hedgehog shell.
People line up come midday for the sandwiches at Meat & Bread, and the Porchetta is the best explanation: Slow roasted pork, chopped in front of you, with crispy cracklings and salsa verde.
The West End’s Buckstop is a go-to for over the top creations centred on comfort eats and big BBQ flavours. The Devils’ Dream Melt is a specialty menu item: Smoked shaved sirloin in an IPA-barbecue gravy, onions and peppers, topped with mozzarella & swiss cheese and two pieces of tempura bacon, served open-faced on egg-washed fried sourdough bread.
Bringing pan-Asian inspiration and a ton of sass to the West Coast, the original Bao Down in Gastown is all about those buns: Bao buns, with fun fillings. Get the Bao Chicka Bao Bao!!: It’s fried lemongrass and garlic marinated free-range Fraser Valley chicken breast with a palm sugar and fish sauce glaze, in a bun with garlic scape mayo, cilantro, and pickled carrots and scallions.
Cronut schmronut. Swiss Bakery makes a hybrid Fritter-Croissant they call the Frissant.
Legendary Vancouver chef Robert Belcham serves up tantalizing Italian fare at Campagnolo on Main, but you’d be remiss not to kick off your feast with the fried chickpeas.
Avo toast has become a real obsession for Vancouverites, and there’s no finer place to try it than at Nelson the Seagull, where it comes served on a wooden plank, and the avocado is sliced perfectly atop two thick-cut slices of housemade bread.
You want hot pot? May as well get the city’s best at the award-winning Landmark.
A staple for decades for Vancouver vegetarians (and night owls, too), the fries with miso gravy at The Naam are the most-loved item on the menu.
Now with two locations, the charming Shishinori offers Kawaii-cute Japanese eats with an emphasis on fresh and healthy. Order up a bowl, like the Wild Salmon, or a salad, to get a real sense of what this sweet little spot is all about.
Tojo’s is the gold standard of sushi restaurants in Vancouver, and the master himself is said to have invented the California Roll. Since that dish is pretty common fare, move into the specialty zone on this fun menu and try the Celebration 2010 roll (Inside-out roll containing crab, pineapple and asparagus with tuna, wild Pacific salmon, red snapper, spinach and egg on top). If you’re a high roller, just settle in and dine omakase-style.
Local plant-based food writer and chef Erin Ireland makes banana bread that is To Die For, which also happens to be the name of her lifestyle website. Find it around town at some terrific cafes.
Downtown’s Finch’s Tea House is a casual, tiny eatery that always boasts a lunchtime line-up, and people are wild about their sandwiches, including the simple but elegant Pear, Walnut, Brie, and Prosciutto. Have your Instagram app ready, it’s a beaut.
Who knows fish tacos better than surfers? A bit of Vancouver Island’s surfer vibe is ashore in the city at Tacofino, where their fish taco remains a favourite for their fans queing up at their food truck or to their brick-and-mortar.
This charming cafe on the edge of Yaletown practically beckons you with the aroma of their stunning roast chicken.
You can’t visit Vancouver without having some fish and chips! Go Fish!
Create your own meaty, cheesy, savoury masterpiece at this Italian marketplace.
Another Granville Island Public Market must is Lee’s Donuts. These are old school classic no frills donuts, unless you count the chunks of bacon on your Maple Bacon Donut as frills.
Named for an iconic Vancouverite, Joe Fortes is itself an iconic downtown seafood bar and grill. Get the best of both worlds with their Surf and Turf, but we wouldn’t blame you if you threw in a half-dozen oysters and their Seafood Caesar Salad, too.
The sweet little Yolk’s Breakfast cart has grown into a local institution. Their flow-chart menu will help you assemble the ultimate eggy breakfast feast, and we’ll steer you their Eggs Benny, because it is pretty much the best in town.
Specializing in Pacific Northwest fare, Chinatown’s chic Juniper’s bar is all about the spirit made with juniper: Gin. Barman Shaun Layton is pouring a number of creative takes on the classic G&T.
Mink’s chocolates win awards year after year, and for the annual Hot Chocolate Festival they pull out all the stops and go wild. But their regular ol’ hot chocolate is a thing of beauty any day of the year. Sip and enjoy.
With cinnamon apples baked into the buttermilk batter and a topping of streusel and whipped butter, Grandma’s pancakes (which come in a low stack of two) are at times bigger than the plate they’re brought out on.
Would you believe some of the city’s best grilled cheese is served from an impossibly tiny Gastown walk-up window? Get the Yes Ma’am from Hi Five made with Six Acres’ mac and cheese with American cheese thrown in for good measure.
Meet up at Meet (on Main or in Gastown) to enjoy meat-free eats in a cool space. Their Sweet Chili Cauliflower is an addictive appy that packs a real pow.
Cafe Medina draws lines on the daily for their breakfast and brunch foods with a Mediterranean twist. They may be known for their Liege waffles, but you’d be sorely missing out if you didn’t order one of their skillets, like the Fricassée, along with a lavender latte.
For a waffle fix, head to Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. Purists will want to keep it simple, but sweet tooths will love their sugary concoctions.
Thanks to the amazing skills of Chef Ned Bell, YEW seafood + bar at the Four Seasons is a frontrunner for sustainable seafood fare in the city. Though Bell is headed for “new waters,” his legacy will live on at the restaurant. Get the Tackle Box and mix and match from the freshest of local seafood items. (Or, hit up the bar for great cocktails and a fun bar menu.)
Authentic Vietnamese fare from Saigon is served with love at Mr. Red Cafe’s two Vancouver locations. The Bun Cha is unlike any other in town, with its fiery sweet-sour heat.
The best Chicken & Waffles in Vancouver? Try Tuc Craft Kitchen’s and you decide.
The force is mighty from this tiny food cart found often in downtown. Take a BC staple like salmon, and the Kaboom Box makes it really pop, sandwich-style.
When you look at the menu of ice cream treats at Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby, it’s pretty hard to choose just one. So get the sampler, and some spoons for sharing.
The food cart formerly known as Burger 285 makes a killer cheap Japanese-inspired burger. It used to cost $2.85, but, you know, inflation. Also, the cart finally gave itself a proper name: Wakwak. But it’s okay to just say Burger 285; we know what you mean.
When it comes to vegetarian food in Vancouver, Heirloom is a standout, thanks to their simple, playful, and elegant fare. Look for signature items like Baked Avocado Skins for a fun meal that may make you forget all about meat.
Latab Wine Bar is the endeavour of longtime industry pros Kris Barnholden and Eryn Dorman, who have injected into the Vancouver dining and wine-drinking scene a playful and dynamic new destination. The menu changes constantly, both for food and wine, so settle down and let them guide you through the best of what’s on offer that day.
Ice cream without cream turns a vice into something nice, as in Nice Vice, the entirely plant-based “vice cream” shop in Yaletown. Get the scoop on what’s freshly made.
The team from the Le Tigre truck took it to Main Street for their permanent restaurant, and their Rye So Messy wings quickly became a crowd-pleasing favourite.
Another street eat that makes Vancouver so delicious, the Chicken Karaage from Mogu is finger licking good.
Chef Pino Posteraro is the stuff legends are made of, and he offers excellent Italian fare–including Cioppino–at his Yaletown restaurant.
Beta5 makes fantastic chocolates and confections, but things really heat up in the summer when they serve their cool ice cream sandwiches.
Considered one of the city’s top cocktail bars, UVA is known for its extensive menu of inventive speciality drinks, prepared by industry vets (currently led by Sabrine Dhaliwal). Get the Chartreuse Milkshake (Tangueray gin, green chartreuse, cacao, lime & orange, malagasy chocolate bitters, egg white) for something different.
Dock Lunch is essentially a one-woman show; Elizabeth Grace Bryan cooks and serves in this apartment-esque lunch spot, with a couple of daily choices on the menu.
Organic Avalon dairy milk turned into swirly soft serve, topped with fresh honeycomb is the best thing at Soft Peaks. So sweet, so simple, so yum.
Bestie is the best place in Vancouver for currywurst, hands down.
Sure, it’s a chain that’s spread its wings across the country, but its roots are very Vancouver, and its enduring popularity testament to the good stuff that still comes out of their kitchen. Their Butternut Squash Ravioli may make you see why they are still a hit.
The Juice Truck paved the way for the cold pressed juice revolution in Vancouver, but they also make killer green smoothies that will help you recharge and get fresh.
Featured on both the all-day breakfast and weekend brunch menu, Red Wagon’s Pulled Pork Pancakes consists of three buttermilk pancakes layered with pulled pork and is served in a pool of Jack Daniels-spiked maple syrup.
For Thai food like none other, the Chef’s Tasting Menu at Maenam in Kitsilano lets chef Angus An show you what has made him and his restaurant such a beacon in Vancouver for Thai eats.
It seems simple enough, but damn is it so good: Grilled Cheese made for dipping in comfy, cozy tomato soup.
Pie, pie, pie…Seek out the baked creations from Vancouver’s the Pie Hole, and look for quirky concoctions like their Maple French Toast Bacon Pie.
Umberto Menghi left his mark on Vancouver years ago, headed off, then returned with an updated and glorious Giardino (dropping the “Il” of the predecessor and its quaint yellow house slated for demo). Among the beautiful dishes is a black spaghetti with seafood that is utterly divine. Bravo, chef!
Fried chicken meets spicy ramen at Ramen Gojiro. Definitely a novelty, ramen lovers are enjoying slurping up this unique variation on a popular dish.
Vancouver is home to a thriving Vietnamese scene, and fewer items showcase the cuisine’s meld of French and Vietnamese than the Banh Mi sandwich. Au Petit Cafe makes a stellar one worth checking out.
Chambar endures as a great spot in Vancouver for Belgian fare, and their Moules Frites are memorable indeed.
Upstairs at Campagnolo’s brunch burger is loaded with a 40 day dry aged beef patty (ground in-house), American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and the restaurant’s secret sauce. It is a deliciously messy affair, especially if you choose to add a perfectly runny egg into the already hearty mix.
At Railtown’s tiny, cozy Ask For Luigi, you can enjoy all sorts of fresh house-made pastas, but their meatballs are a must-try.
This unassuming hole-in-the wall joint is indeed a delight for Singaporean fare. The Hainan chicken rice is a great example of why they remain a popular pick.
Tacos, tacos, tacos. La Taqueria is all about the tacos, and their simple, authentic, flavourful bites are worth the line-up.
Chef Chris Whittaker rose to prominence first at Forage, which is next door to its off-shoot, the casual Timber. All about the Canadiana, on the dessert menu opt for the Butter Tart; it will blow your mind.
Richmond’s Chef Tony Seafood is the place to go for elegant, inventive dim sum, including their signature Black Truffle Pork and Shrimp Dumplings. Obviously, you’ll want to order up more than that; have fun exploring the unique menu.
Beloved for their comfort foods, Burgoo’s Mac and Cheese always gets top nods for being among the best in the city.
Tap & Barrel has emerged on the upscale-casual end of the local dining scene and made “wine on tap” a booming business. Sourcing a variety of local (and often highly rare) wines, taste your way around the region with a wine flight. (Beer lovers, take heart, you may also take a flight from their taps, too).
Poutine in Vancouver is a polarizing subject. We definitely do it here (take your stance on your own whether you think we do it right) but if you’re looking to sop up some late night booze with some greasy fare, hit up Mean Poutine.
Consistently hailed as one of the finest Chinese dining experiences in Vancouver proper, Kirin is a great spot to sample some dim sum.
Pizza wars can get intense in Vancouver, but if you want to find the first VPN-certified Neapolitan pizza in the city, head to Nicli, and order a classic Margherita.
Get ready for a serious burger: ground chuck steak and brisket, aged cheddar, pork belly, sweet caramelized onion, dijon mayo, fried egg, and a homemade Scottish bap bun.
Move over Hockey Night in Canada, it’s Perogy Night in Vancouver. Yep, this church is where it’s at for their special suppers. Amen!
Poutine takes a meaty, upscale turn at The Oakwood Canadian Bistro. Served in a cast iron skillet, these Kennebec fries are slathered in Quebec cheese curds and veal bone gravy, then blanketed with house-smoked beef brisket.
Chef Dave Gunawan takes farm to table and zero-waste dining to a new level of excellence at Royal Dinette. The menu is always changing based on what’s fresh from local purveyors, but there’s always a housemade pasta (made right in the dining room at the pasta station) with a wine pairing to enjoy.
Chef David Hawksworth elevated Vancouver’s fine dining scene, and if you can splurge on the tasting menu, by all means, you should. But you can also raise a glass to the city’s incredible food offerings with a Hotel Georgia cocktail, named for the restaurant’s venue.
If you really want steak in Vancouver, may as well go big or go home. Go to Gotham.
Venture south from the city to Richmond to the Bubble Waffle Cafe for their signature puffy, fluffy, eggy bubble waffle.
Whistler-born, Purebread grew legions of followers thanks to their presence at local farmers’ markets. Their downtown Vancouver storefront offers a dazzling display of baked treats. You really can’t go wrong choosing any of them.
Vancouver’s pioneering craft distillery, Odd Society also has a cocktail tasting lounge, where they mix up top-notch bevvies using their house spirits. The BC Bramble showcases their stunning Creme de Cassis; buy a bottle for later.
Edible Canada at Granville Island brings Canadian cuisine to the masses, and their Duck Fat Fries are a classic must-try.
You gotta hunt this one down, since Hugo’s Churros is a cart, but oh goodness, is it worth it for these circles of golden-fried cinnamony sugary yumminess, holding together creamy gelato. Bring napkins.
Relocated and updated from La Bodega, Bodega on Main kept a lot of the original’s charm, and Spanish eats. Get the Patatas Bravas.
Japanese desserts are super trendy in Vancouver, especially when they include Green Tea Matcha. Order a delectable (and pretty) parfait here to see what we mean.
Get a taste of First Nations food in Vancouver at Salmon ‘n Bannock. Check out the Salmon Sampler: Wild salmon prepared three different ways, served with bannock crackers.
What’s ice fried yogurt, you ask? It’s a special freezing technique used by this Yaletown shop to turn their housemade yogurt into a cool treat. See it, taste it, love it.