These were the biggest Vancouver restaurant openings in 2018

Dec 11 2018, 8:31 pm

If you’re a foodie living in or around Vancouver, then you know it was a big year for those of us that like to indulge in new eating and drinking experiences.

The year, 2018 brought some serious game changers to the playing field for grub – both well-known chains and local creations like nothing else we’ve seen before. Some were groundbreaking and precedent-setting – like BC’s first-ever strictly-vegan cheese shop and the largest Indian buffet in North America – while others were just simply delicious.

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While there were dozens of openings over the past 12 months, these were some of the biggest on our – and our readers – radars for 2018.

Uncle Tetsu’s Metrotown

Undoubtedly the biggest opening for a major dessert chain in 2018, Uncle Tetsu’s Metrotown Mall location in Burnaby is the first store in BC and Western Canada. Lines were long at the beginning, and let us tell you, there are still folks in queue on the daily for this legendary Japanese cheesecake.

Address: Metropolis at Metrotown – 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
Phone: 604-620-3762

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Aleph Eatery

Aleph interior (Photo: Matthew Murtagh-Wu)

Nestled into the forefront of East Van’s backdrop of train tracks, mountains, brick streets, and water is a re-creation of Palestine (aka home) through the eyes of the husband-wife team: Palestinian born Lebanese chef-owner Haitham El Khatib and his native Vancouverite wife, Fiona. This spot has quickly become a neighbourhood favourite since it opened.

Address: 1889 Powell Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-7975

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BREWHALL

BREWHALL, the newest concept from Vancouver’s Tap & Barrel, officially opened in July. The space features a ‘beercade’ complete with several retro arcade games, and a fast-casual menu packed with eats like shareables, bowls, handhelds, pizzas, and desserts along with cocktails and wine. Patrons enjoy a communal drinking atmosphere where they can sip on unique beer collabs between BREWHALL and top-notch local breweries.

Address: 97 East 2nd Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-709-8623

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The Starbucks Reserve Bar – CF Pacific Centre

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The new 4,000-sq-ft spot may have formerly belonged to Tip Top Tailors, but Vancouver’s second Starbucks Reserve Bar and the largest of the three premium Starbucks Reserve Bar experiences in Canada, and it’s gone totally glam. This spot is also the largest Starbucks in the city, and boasts 150 seats for Vancouverites in need of a pick-me-up downtown.

Address: 700 W Pender Street, Vancouver

Sweet Jesus – Metrotown

The Toronto-based soft serve ice cream and treat purveyor opened its first-ever BC location in Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby in October. People were excited for this one, as they’d seen the epic ice cream treats from afar on Instagram for years.

Address: 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby
Phone: 604-423-4280

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Elisa Steak

 

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The 6,800-sq-ft space in Yaletown has seats for 214 and bar seats for 14 along with an additional lounge, along with a patio that can accommodate approximately 34 seated guests as they enjoy stellar cuts of steak and a killer wine collection. The wait felt long but it was completely worth it.

Address: 1109 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-362-5443

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Blue Heron Creamery

Blue Heron Creamery is BC’s first-ever strictly-vegan cheese shop, which joined a vegan foodie row of sorts on Main Street. As a province first, it’s no surprise that Vancouverites were excited about the variety of non-dairy cheeses up for grabs from this spot.

Address: 2410 Main Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-283-7534

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Nana’s Green Tea

 

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Japanese mega-chain Nana’s Green Tea opened its first North American location on June 6 in Vancouver’s Kerrisdale neighbourhood. This is Nana’s Canadian flagship store and it features around 20 seats and a menu of matcha treats and drinks.

Address: 2135 W 41st Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-263-5054

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Milkcow Cafe

This much-loved global chain has opened its first Canadian location in Richmond this year. Originally from South Korean, dessert spot Milkcow created buzz due to its unique organic milk soft ice cream and unreal selection of toppings along with other epic eats like Watermelon Soft Serve Sandwiches, Rainbow Cake, and cotton candy-topped sundaes.

Address: 105-5668 Hollybridge Way, Richmond
Phone: 604-238-7561

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Coquille Fine Seafood

Coquille Fine Seafood Sneak Peek

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This highly-anticipated seafood spot opened in mid-February. While it may seem a bit under the radar now, it was undoubtedly one of the most talked-about local projects prior to its opening in 2018. Coquille gave some gorgeous life to a slice of prime time Gastown culinary real estate.

Address: 181 Carrall Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-559-6009

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Eggspectation – Richmond

The new brekkie and brunch destination opened with a bang (aka a huge line), which was expected considering the buzz around the new Metro Vancouver brunch spot. This was Eggspectation’s first BC location which marks a western Canadian first for the Quebec-based international chain.

Address: Accent Inn Vancouver Airport Hotel – 10551 Street, Edwards Drive, Richmond
Phone: 604-370-0017

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Wakwak Burger (food truck)

 

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Not new, but after a what seemed like a long hiatus, parked itself back on the street in March to the delight of foodies looking for a cheap and delicious deal.

Address: Granville at Pender

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Verre

This brand new French-Mediterranean spot is tucked into a prime location in Coal Harbour. The menu, which is brought to us by acclaimed chef Liam Breen, is easy to split around the table, meaning families and groups will love it here. The bar, however, is also a great spot to settle down solo to enjoy a drink and a bite.

Address: 550 Denman Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-4843

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The Rumpus Room

 

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At the beginning of 2018, The Rumpus Room announced it would be reopening in a new location. This news came four years after the OG location (2689 Main Street) shuttered in 2014. Known for their comfort food and affordable drinks, this spot is still an uber-popular hangout in its 2.0 version and people are pumped to see it back.

Address: 2301 Main Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-839-5780

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Popina Canteen

Popina, a project backed by four all-star local chefs including Angus An, Robert Belcham, Hamid Salimian, and Joël Watanabe, opened in July on Granville Island. The first of its kind in Vancouver, the refurbished shipping container eatery boasts an awesome patio and the world’s first soft serve cream puff.

Address: Northwest side of the Granville Island Public Market, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-7518

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Earls Ambleside Beach

 

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This was the first Earls to open in BC since 2010, and we got a new look and a refreshed menu from the brand. The new spot boasts a 189-seat chic dining room and an 80-seat outdoor patio. The new waterfront dining destination opened on May 9 and was a smash hit from the get-go.

Address: 1375 Bellevue Avenue, West Vancouver
Phone: 604-262-3632

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Perverted Ice Cream

Whether you approve of the name or not, Perverted Ice Cream was definitely one of the most talked-about openings when it comes to 2018. This spot has made a name for itself with condom-topped ice cream and cleverly-named creations.

Address: 797 Thurlow Street, Vancouver

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Tandoori Flame – Delta

 

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Known for their unmatched selection of Indian eats (we’re talking 150 items on weekends), the Delta location boasts seating for 450 people in its multi-room 11,000-sq-ft restaurant. This is the biggest Indian buffest in North America, which means anyone with a taste for this kind of grub was truly blessed this year.

Address: 11970 88th Avenue, Delta
Phone: 778-578-7777

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People went crazy for the oh-so-Instagrammable crispy, marinated hot fried chicken from this eatery. The 1,000-sq-ft space has 24 seats and eight at the bar, along with an outdoor patio, and has consistently brought customers in, both new and old.

Address: 905 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Phone: 604-283-1385

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Bake49

 

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Bake49 boasts a small but stellar menu of Double Fromage Cheesecake, Saporo Style Cheese Tarts, Croquant Choux Crunchy Cream Puffs made with real vanilla, and a layered Tiramisu Soft Serve. Lines were long on opening day and considering the crowds didn’t stop, it was a good move for Bake49 to limit the number of sweets people could take at one time.

Address: 1066 Mainland Street, Vancouver

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Origo Club

The spinoff of an exclusive members-only club and art showcase in Beijing, Origo Club boasts seating for 42 at the stunning white marble-topped tables, along with several private rooms that can be rented for larger groups and tea tastings. This spot is truly bad and bougie and people were excited to try it themselves.

Address: 6888 River Road, Richmond
Phone: 604-285-8889

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Superbaba (food truck)

 

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Locals were elated when they heard they’d be able to grab this Victoria restaurant’s eats in Vancouver via truck. Patrons love this spot’s chicken sandwiches, vegan falafel sandwiches, bowls, and hummus, and the rush for this grub hasn’t stopped.

Address: Burrard and Dunsmuir

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Pepino’s Spaghetti House

This classic spaghetti house features traditional Italian dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, veal parm, Caesar salad, shrimp scampi, and piccata along with baskets of white bread in the former Nick’s Spaghetti House space.

Address: 631 Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Phone: 604-254-5633

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Their There

Their There

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Located at 2042 West 4 Avenue, this spot has taken the former digs of Mission and transformed the space to have the same charm as the owners’ other stellar spot, AnnaLena. A standout for us, Their There is unpretentious and a no-brainer when it comes to return visits.

Address: 2042 West 4 Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-736-8828

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Laurence & Chico Café

The Laurence & Chico Café, located at 833 Bute Street, oozes that bizarrely-wonderful Alice in Wonderland charm that’s hard to come by these days, and you can see for yourself once you step in (and don’t forget to check out those epic bathrooms). This kind of playfulness paired with quality teas and treats is never a bad thing in our books.

Address: 833 Bute Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-688-8680

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Seorae Korean BBQ

 

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This was Seorae’s first North American restaurant and it opened in September. Located at 115-5668 Hollybridge Way, this wildly popular chain is known for having the number one skirt meat BBQ in Korea, aka ‘Galmaegisal.’

Address: 115-5668 Hollybridge Way, Richmond
Phone: 604-370-5668

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Chewies Biscuit Co.

If you’re a fan of biscuits and everything carbs, this is your ultimate food destination. Chewies Biscuit Co. offers show-stopping creations like the Clucky, a combo of chicken drumsticks on a Bonut (biscuit doughnut) with a sweet glaze or sausage gravy.

Address: 2822 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-336-9996

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OneZo Tapioca

 

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Holy mother of bubble tea, super popular Ontario-based purveyor of our favourite sweet drink opened its first-ever BC location and it’s safe to say it was the biggest BBT opening in recent memory.

Address: 4929 Kingsway, Burnaby
Phone: 778-953-6392

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Exciting local expansions:

Tacofino Ocho

Tacofino Ocho, located at 8 East 5th Avenue, is the newest addition to the Tacofino family of restaurants. A cult favourite through and through, Tacofino can really do no wrong and this time was no different (aka that bar though).

Address: 8 East 5th Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-709-0015

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Tasty Indian Bistro – Yaletown

An institution when it comes to Indian cuisine in Metro Vancouver, the Delta restaurant first announced it was expanding with this second location last spring. This spot has been open since September and been a welcome addition to a quieter part of Yaletown.

Address: 1261 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-423-3300

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Little Juke

While the counter service-only Little Juke is smaller in size compared to the OG Chinatown spot (it has 22 seats), the selection of eats is big, especially location-only epic mac and cheese pops.

Address: 1074 Davie Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-336-5853

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MeeT in Yaletown

Yaletown got a brand new vegetarian restaurant with a fantastic atmosphere and all is right in the world. Patrons love this 2,500-sq-ft, 100-seat sister restaurant to MeeT Gastown and Main Street.

Address: 1165 Mainland Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-696-1165

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Virtuous Pie – Wesbook Village

The beloved plant-based pizzeria and ice cream purveyor is known for serving up piping hot veggie-masterpieces from its OG Chinatown location since 2016 along with an outpost in Portland since 2017, and it opened its UBC spot in February.

Address: 3339 Shrum Lane, Vancouver
Phone: 604-228-2025

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Soft Peaks – Burnaby

Located at 4603 Kingsway (right across from Metrotown) the 1,560-sq-ft space is double the size of the Gastown shop, and it was designed to be an ice cream cafe, where guests can enjoy not only ice cream but desserts and coffee too.

Address: 4603 Kingsway, Burnaby
Phone: 604-620-5887

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DD Mau – Chinatown

Located at 145 East Pender Street (just outside of Fortune Sound), this 50-ish seat eatery offers modern takes on Vietnamese classics like Pho and rice bowls, and they also have a full bar. We also can’t forget those stellar Vietnamese coffees with condensed milk – for those who don’t need sleep.

Address: 145 E Pender Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-559-6076

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Jam Cafe – Kitsilano

At the newest 2,200-sq-ft, 60-65 seat outpost, patrons can expect the same charming vintage interior, relaxed vibe, outrageously drool-worthy eats, and hours (daily from 8 am to 3 pm) from the third location of the epic brunch spot from co-owners Jim and Candy Walmsley and Mike Deas-Dawlish.

Address: 2153 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver

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Bel Cafe – Kitsilano

One of Downtown Vancouver’s most loved spots for crafted coffees and delicious eats, Bel Cafe, opened a new location across the bridge. Located at 1780 West 3rd, this Kitsilano destination for lattes, salads, sandwiches, toasts, and pastries is the cafe’s second location.

Address: 1780 West 3rd, Vancouver
Phone: 604-673-7000

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Hey Kokomo – Kitsilano

Located in the former spot of Culprit Coffee at 2028 Vine Street, this is the second Vancouver location for the popular vegan eatery.

Address: 2028 Vine Street, Vancouver
Phone: 604-428-5017

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Purebread – Mount Pleasant

The Mount Pleasant store is the third bakery for the chain, including the OG Whistler and Gastown locations. This place is huge and people were excited to have these epic baked goods in another neighbourhood.

Address: 5 E 5th Avenue, Vancouver
Phone: 604-336-9001

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