33 must-try desserts in Vancouver

Oct 12 2016, 2:57 am

Vancouver is one of the best places to be if you’ve got a sweet tooth. Our chocolatiers, pastry chefs, and patisseries are turning out incredible creations from the simple perfection of a slice of chocolate cake to the visual sensation of a mountain of mango-topped shaved ice, and much (much, much) more.

Our advice: Save room for dessert in Vancouver, or heed the motto “dessert first.” Your guide to some of the best last bites of any meal follows; consider this your dessert only bucket list.

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Here (in no particular order) are 33 must-try desserts in Vancouver.

1. Camp Fire at Mosquito

Cozy up to this spin on an outdoors classic at Mosquito, the dessert and snack bar in Gastown. Their “Camp Fire” is made with chocolate cake, bourbon marshmallow, peanut dragée, fire candy, and smoked vanilla ice cream.

Address: 32 Water Street, Vancouver

2. Diplomat cake from Notte Bon Ton

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.

Address: 3150 West Broadway, Vancouver

3. Gelato from Bella Gelateria

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

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.

Address: 1001 West Cordova Street, Vancouver

Address: 1089 Marinaside Crescent, Vancouver

4. Creme Brulee at Crackle Creme

This dessert cafe serves up small-batch crème brûlée in flavours like Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Salted Caramel, Earl Grey, Fererro Rocher, Black Sesame, Pandan Coconut, Honey Lavender, and Organic Matcha. For those who enjoy their dessert with a little kick, try their crème brûlées infused with Bailey’s, bourbon, or Guinness.

Address: 245 Union Street, Vancouver

5. Waffles at Nero Belgian Waffle Bar

There are breakfast waffles, and there are dessert waffles, and the latter at Nero are absolutely where it’s at. Using the waffle as vehicle for whipped cream, ice cream, fruit, sauces, syrups, and more, these sweet treats are divine.

Address: 1703 Robson Street, Vancouver

Address: 1002 Seymour Street, Vancouver

6. Ice Cream Taco from Rain or Shine

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.

Address: 3382 Cambie Street, Vancouver

Address: 926 West 4th Avenue,  Vancouver

7. Sundaes at Glenburn Soda Fountain

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

When you look at the menu of ice cream treats at Glenburn Soda Fountain in Burnaby, it’s pretty hard to choose just one. Go with your gut, or get the sampler (and some spoons for sharing).

Address: 4090 Hastings Street, Burnaby

8. Fruit Pies from Aphrodite’s Café & Pie Shop

Fresh, local, seasonal fruit turned into pie? Yes, please. Aphrodite’s rocks the fruit pie world in Vancouver.

Address: 3598 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

9. Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie from Beaucoup Bakery

This is the cookie treat your childhood dreams were made of: Two perfect peanut butter cookies sandwich a decadent peanut butter cream filling. In the summer, there’s an ice cream version of this. Plan accordingly. If they happen to have run out of this treat, pick a croissant. Or the Kouign Amann. Or a seasonal fruit tart. Or…yeah. You’ll be fine.

Address: 2150 Fir Street, Vancouver
Instagram: @beaucoupbakery

10. Cake from Sweet Obsession

Seriously, we cannot be expected to pick just one–not when the selections include Hedgehog (hazelnut and chocolate with Frangelico), Chocolate Obsession (chocolate truffle), Carrot cake with roasted hazelnuts, or Roasted Coconut Chiffon…just to name a few.

Address: 2611 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver


11. Cream Puffs at Beta5

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Beta5 makes fantastic chocolates and confections, but their gorgeous cream puffs are what keep people flocking to their shop year ’round.

Address: 413 Industrial Avenue, Vancouver

12. Le Mont Blanc from Faubourg

“Le Mont Blanc” is one of the pastries available at Faubourg, the scrumptious French bakery. It’s a spin on a classic, featuring chestnut mousse paired with a cassis gelée and sweet meringue, set over a sable breton.

Address: Locations in Downtown, Kerrisdale, and West Vancouver (check website for details)

13. Chocolate Bars from Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar

Available in three lines, the Boys (Pete, Joe, Marc, Frank), the Ladies (Joan, Ruth, Sue, Helen), and the Hipsters (Kylo, Zoe, Oscar, Lily), these whimsical creations offer enticing flavour combos made with high quality ingredients and great care.

Address: 1007 Main Street, Vancouver

14. Soft serve with honeycomb from Soft Peaks

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.

Address: 25 Alexander Street, Vancouver

15. Milkshakes from Off the Grid

If you are a fan of food pics on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the crazy shakes being served up at Off the Grid. The waffle shop seems to put everything but the kitchen sink in their awesome concoctions.

Address: 2665 Kingsway, Vancouver
Instagram: @offthegridwaffles

16. Frissant from Swiss Bakery

Cronut schmronut. Swiss Bakery makes a hybrid Fritter-Croissant they call the Frissant.

Address:  143 East 3rd Avenue, Vancouver

17. Brown Butter Tart at Timber

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

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.

Address: 1300 Robson Street, Vancouver

18. Pretty much ANYTHING from Purebread

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 like Crack Pie, scones, Caramelized Banana Brownies, cakes, and oh so much more. You really can’t go wrong choosing any of them.

Address: 159 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

19. Chocolate Marquise Cake from Thierry

A photo posted by Thierry (@thierrychocolat) on

It’s elegant decadence galore at Thierry, where you’ll find chocolates, macarons, and gorgeous pastries. Get in deep with their Chocolate Marquise cake (hazelnut dacquoise, salted caramel, crisp praline and chocolate mousse).

Address: 1059 Alberni Street, Vancouver
Instagram:  @thierrychocolat

20. Frozen Mousse Pillows from Butter.Mere

These cool cylindrical treats are on the dessert menu at Torafuku (which is also Butter.Mere’s pick-up spot for individual orders). Look for flavours like chocolate framboise, matcha red bean Oreo, coffee black current, and cherry vanilla.

Address: 958 Main Street, Vancouver (pick up in the back off Station Street)

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21. Macarons at Soirette

Available in a range of enticing flavours (pistachio, praline, lavender, rose, and vanilla, to name a few), these tiny morsels of goodness are best enjoyed in-house with a pot of freshly brewed tea or at the weekend when Soirette offers a tantalizing high tea spread.

Address: 1433 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Instagram: @lovesoirette

22. London Fog Cake at Cadeaux Bakery

Fewer gently sweet flavours typify Vancouver more than London Fog, a nod to the tea drink of the same name. At Cadeaux, they make a white vanilla bean cake with white chocolate mousse, milk chocolate Earl grey ganache, Earl grey tea soaking syrup that’s finished in either Chantilly cream or vanilla bean Swiss meringue butter-cream.

Address: 172 Powell Street, Vancouver
Instagram: @cadeauxbakery

23. Churro Ice Cream Sandwich from Hugo’s Churros

Lindsay William-Ross / Daily Hive

Lindsay William-Ross/Daily Hive

If you’re enjoying the savoury fare at Hugo’s Churros new outpost in Richmond at the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet, you’ll need to save room for this treat. The Churros Ice Cream Sandwich is circles of golden-fried cinnamon-y sugary yumminess,
holding together creamy gelato. Extra napkins, please.

Address: McArthur Glen Designer Outlet – (Unit 66) 7899 Templeton Station Road, Richmond

24. Green Tea matcha Parfait at Mimibuloveme

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.

Address: 5556 Cambie Street, Vancouver

25. Ice Fried yogurt at ON Yogurt

Jess Fleming/Daily Hive

Jess Fleming/Daily Hive

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.

Address: 95 Smithe Street, Vancouver

26. Sugar Buns at Giovane

Sort of like the love child of a cream puff and a doughnut, the sugar buns at Giovane at the Fairmont Pacific Rim are these impossibly plump orbs full of not-too-sweet cream filling, with a sugar dusting on the outside. You can’t go wrong with classic vanilla, but keep an eye out for tantalizing seasonal flavours of these gems.

Address: 1038 Canada Place, Vancouver
Instagram: @fairmontpacific

27. Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake at YEW seafood + bar

This slice is epic. Devil’s Sponge Cake, Sour Cream Frosting Blackout Chocolate Shortbread, and Beer Caramel.

Address: 791 W Georgia Street, Vancouver (Four Seasons Hotel)

28. Mango Bingsoo from Snowy Village Dessert Cafe

Korean-style shaved ice, bingsoo, is a feast for the eyes as well as the belly. Mango is a great flavour with which to get acquainted with this fun treat.

Address: 8571 Alexandra Road, Richmond

Address: 1696 Robson Street, Vancouver

29. Toastery at Passion 8

Sure, you can put things on toast. Or you can hit up Passion8 for their “Toastery” dishes, which are a bread-like pastry in a variety of flavours/toppings combo, like Nutella Choco or Honey Creamcheese.

Address:  3010 Cambie Street, Vancouver

30. Chimney Cakes from The Kürtősh

Picture a donut, but twisted into a kind of tall, hollow post or cone. You’ve got a kurtosh, or chimney cake, which you can get covered in sprinkles, sugar, or nuts, or paired with ice cream.

Address: 2285 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver

31. Cheesecake at True Confections

A photo posted by 📷 (@j_acob91) on

The two locations of the dessert-only shop True Confections are great destinations for cakes, including their many cheesecake flavours. Settle in with a slice, or take one to go for your own “Golden Girls” moment.

Address: 866 Denman Street, Vancouver

Address: 3701 West Broadway, Vancouver

32. Nice Cream from Nice Vice

A photo posted by Nice Vice (@nicevicecream) on

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.

Address: 1022 Mainland Street, Vancouver


Editor’s note: Nice Vice announced Jan. 12, 2017 they are closing their creamery.

33. Lemon Squares from The Lemon Square

The sweet-tart delight that is a lemon square is the realm of expertise of the aptly named indie treat-maker The Lemon Square. You’ll find their sunshiney hand-made deliciousness at cafes, farmers’ markets, and shops all over Vancouver.

Instagram: @thelemonsquare

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Lindsay William-RossLindsay William-Ross

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