Nachos are an amazing cure for midnight munchies, late night study sessions, bar snacking, or kicking off a Mexican feast. When it comes to where to find the best nachos in Vancouver, we turned to local expert Jenni Sheppard to curate her list of her picks for the mejor and más deliciosa nachos found here.
Sheppard is a UK-born journalist who has lived, worked, and eaten nachos in Vancouver since 2011. She has an entire blog, the aptly named Best Nachos in Vancouver, where she chronicles, maps, and reviews her plentiful nacho encounters.
I got a little insight from Sheppard about her relationship with the chips-cheese-toppings dish, her thoughts on the nacho dos and don’ts, and, of course, her list of top favourites.
How did your love of nachos begin?
My love of nachos is really a love of Mexican food, which I developed living on an isolated Oaxacan beach, working at a turtle conservation camp in 2002. All the other volunteers at the camp were Mexican and we took turns cooking meals for the group with our basic rations. I had to learn about Mexican cuisine pretty quickly, and I fell in love with it. We would make sopes, chilaquiles, quesadillas, huevos Mexicanos…and of course, guacamole, all from scratch. At one point, we didn’t have any rations left, so we cooked the cactus growing on the beach. We also drank a lot of mezcal!
What makes for a great plate of nachos?
Cheese! It sounds obvious, but a lot of nachos in this town don’t have enough cheese on them. Ultimately though, it’s structure. All the ingredients, on one plate, multiple layers of chips separated by multiple layers of toppings – and cheese all the way through. If I get to the bottom of a plate of nachos and I’ve run out of chips to mop up my toppings – that’s a great sign. Usually it’s the other way round.
What are the nacho dos and don’ts, for either or both the person preparing them or the person enjoying them?
For the person serving nachos, it’s good to remember how this amazing dish was invented. Sometime back in the 1940s, Mexican chef Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Anaya was faced with some American visitors arriving at his restaurant after closing time. Hospitable as ever, he threw together all the staples he could find in the kitchen – and called it Nachos especial.
This dish can be whatever you want it to be. And it’s for sharing.
add more cheese, there’s always room!
make your own toppings from scratch
experiment with non-traditional toppings
burn the chips (it happens quicker than you’d expect)
forget the delicious guacamole
make watery salsa roja – I like it spicy!
And for anyone eating nachos? Do – invite friends, dive right in, and slather your chips in as much cheese and guacamole as you can. Don’t – wear white. The salsa will get you!
Have you done much nacho comparison between Vancouver and other cities? If so, how does Vancouver’s nacho offerings stack up?
I haven’t done any proper nacho comparison between Vancouver and the rest of the world, but one major difference I have noticed is that toppings or dips are often served on the side here, whereas in Europe, they’re all layered up on the same plate. My preference? Everything in one glorious heap. The more the merrier!
The Best Nachos in Vancouver (and one slightly beyond)
Selected by Jenni Sheppard of Best Nachos in Vancouver
Salsa and Agave – Nachos with guacamole on the side
My absolute favourite nachos in Vancouver. Zesty guacamole, plenty of feisty toppings, and copious amounts of cheese…I scraped the plate clean.
Address: 1205 Pacific Boulevard, Yaletown
Score on Davie – Nachos with pulled pork and guacamole
A hearty platter of nachos [pictured above], featuring mango guacamole and pulled pork, that had me so stuffed, I had to take the leftovers home in a box.
Address: 1262 Davie Street, West End
St. Augustine’s – Nachos with pulled pork
Riotous flavours provided by a combination of pulled pork, delicious dips and crispy chips, all in one handsome heap. Truly tantalizing tortillas.
Address: 2360 Commercial Drive, Grandview-Woodland
Patrón Tacos & Cantina – Nachos with chorizo
Rooted in traditional Mexican ingredients, rather than the modern Tex-Mex twist, these nachos appealed to my love of the tortilla homeland.
Address: 265 Robson Street, Downtown
The Griz Bar at Fernie – Nachos
Maybe it was the snowboarding that made these nachos so tasty – but damn there was a lot of cheese on them!
Address: Mountain Plaza @ Fernie Alpine Resort, Fernie, BC