As we say goodbye to 2016, the fresh calendar means we can resolve to try more of Vancouver’s many terrific new (or new-ish) restaurants that are worth checking out.
From low-key casual to more elegant options, here are our picks for 37 must-try Vancouver foods, restaurants, treat shops, watering holes, and cafes in 2017. Naturally, you’ll want to keep checking in with us as 2017 unfolds to see what else you need to add to your list.
If you need somewhere to get started, look no further than our list of the best new restaurants in Vancouver for 2016. Or work a few (or all) of these into your Vancouver eating “bucket list” for 2017. You do you.
It’s like going to the game without buying a ticket. The first of its kind in North America, The Sportsbar at Rogers Arena essentially hugs the bowl of the stadium, and gives Canucks fan an immersive experience complete with handcrafted eats and an array of beverages, a live DJ, and a unique vista on the game action.
Address: 99 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
Mak N Ming, Kitsilano’s new French-Japanese spot, has two sets of menus available for dinner: A “demi” menu opens with a “first bite” amuse bouche and is followed by three courses ($54), while the full Chef’s Menu includes six courses after the “first bite” ($78). Vegetarian options are available by request.
Address: 1629 Yew Street, Vancouver
With a menu mostly matching the Whistler flagship, Vancouver’s Peaked Pies offers a selection of Aussie-style meat pies, from mince and steak to kangaroo. Look for specialty flavours, too, such as butter chicken or veggie, and breakfast pies as well. Get your savoury pies “peaked” with a mound of mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and gravy. Save room for sweet pies (or other Aussie-inspired treats) for dessert.
Address: 975 Denman Street, Vancouver
Head to this newer dessert spot for mammoth (and very Instagrammable) bingsoo creations, along with equally-epic toasterys (a bread-like pastry that comes in a variety of flavours).
Address: 3010 Cambie Street, Vancouver
From the folks behind Vancouver’s wildly successful all-veggie effort, The Acorn, comes its casual comfort-driven (and all-veggie) sister restaurant, The Arbor. Whether it’s the Arburger, a vegetarian take on the legendary McDonald’s Big Mac, or the Southern Fried Artichoke Sandwich complete with eggplant bacon and avocado mousse, Chef Rob Clarke has found a happy medium between innovative flavours, and recognizable dishes that patrons will come back to devour over and over again.
Address: 3941 Main Street, Vancouver
Heritage specializes in creating food with Asian flavours using locally sourced ingredients to create a modern take on traditional classics. One glance at the menu and you’ll be drooling over their selection of breakfast crepes, breakfast bowls, salads, sides, baos, and bowls.
Address: 1108 West Pender Street, Vancouver
From ice cream sandwiches to creamy cheesecake slices, plus a wall of artisanal chocolates (including vegan options), Main Street’s sweetest spot is Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar.
Address: 1007 Main Street, Vancouver
Another option from the restaurant group behind Kingyo, Sukia, and Rajio is Raisu, which debuted this summer in Kits. The restaurant’s menu features inventive Japanese small plates, bento boxes, and Teishoku (pre-set meals). Also up for grabs a variety of noodle and rice dishes, sashimi platters, and salads. Order the bento and sushi boxes ahead for a beautiful, memorable meal.
Address: 2340 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
Meshing the food and philosophy of Kitsilano’s Fable with the diner concept, Chef Trevor Bird and partners opened Fable Diner in the historic Lee Building earlier this year. Fable Diner’s all-day menu melds breakfast staples, signature diner eats, and modern casual, made of fresh, local ingredients and often with a creative twist. Order a milkshake; you won’t regret it.
Address: 151 East Broadway, Vancouver
Opened in the spring of 2016, House Special is one branch of a foodie family tree with roots back a couple of generations. The casual but chic Yaletown restaurant reflects not only a recent uptick in next-gen Vietnamese fare in Vancouver, but also is next-gen for its sibling owners, who come from a family of restaurant vets. You’ll find lovely lunches here, from appies to pho, and more family-style plates of modern Vietnamese eats for dinner.
Address: 1269 Hamilton Street, Vancouver
The food at Jam Cafe is top notch, as anyone who willingly waits in line for a table will attest, too. Big, beautiful plates take breakfast to a fresh level of fun, melding the most important meal of the day with culinary staples. Pulled pork pancakes, fried chicken eggs benny, red velvet pancakes, and much more are to be found at this breakfast and lunch spot on Beatty.
Address: 556 Beatty Street, Vancouver
Head to Mensch for their signature slow-brined, smoked, hand-cut pastrami served on fresh-baked rye bread, along with a Reuben; beet-cured lox on a poppy seed bagel; egg salad on challah; and sweet lokshen Kugel. Of course, expect a housemade dill pickle on the side, too. Heads up, because they plan on moving to a new location in 2017.
Downtown’s salad-centric Field & Social boasts a terse menu of well-planned salads, each packed with the kind of ingredients that will keep you energized and full without it feeling gimmicky.
Address: 415 Dunsmuir Street, Vancouver
Summer camp is in session all year ’round now at The Tuck Shoppe, a tiny but mighty sandwich-centric casual restaurant in Vancouver’s Chinatown. Wrap your hands around their Cubano, or their French Onion Dip, or dive into one of their salads or soups.
Address: 237 Union Street
Canada’s first sourdough doughnut, the aptly named Sourdoughnut, has launched at Vancouver’s Lucky’s. It takes a total of 48 hours to make a Sourdoughnut from start to finish, as opposed to a regular doughnut’s dough, which rests for just 12 hours before being baked. Hit them up and taste why these sweet and fluffy treats are so popular.
Address: 2902 Main Street (Forty Ninth Parallel Cafe), Vancouver
Address: 2198 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver
A few months ago Matthew Murtagh-Wu started a fresh-frozen dumpling delivery service to bring his creations straight to people’s doors. His company is formally called Murtagh-Wu 鄔, and he offers two kinds of dumplings that the chef makes within 48 hours of the initial order. Make that dumpling hotline bling!
Facebook: Murtagh-Wu 鄔
Maybe you’ve noticed tiki cocktails pop up here and there on bar menus, but to get the full gamut right now, check out Vancouver’s two very own tiki bars, both which keep the rich tradition alive with authentic vibes and drinks.
Address: Shameful Tiki Room – 4362 Main Street, Vancouver
Address: The Tiki Bar at the Waldorf – 1489 East Hastings, Vancouver
Sure, you’ve heard of nut mylk, but what on earth would make it blue? At Melu juice bar, their Blue Majik gets its name and its colour from E3Live Blue Majik Algae, which is imported from Toronto. This ingredient has been dubbed a ‘superfood’ and is said to fight off depression while providing large amounts of protein with each serving.
Address: 1110 W Pender Street, Vancouver
They’re churros, piped thin and short, topped with Nutella sauce, lechera (sweetened condensed milk), and a handful of mini marshmallows, and they are basically what sweet poutine dreams are made of. Except swap the fries, gravy, and cheese for all that sweet goodness heaped on those mini churros. Heck yeah!
Address: McArthur Glen Designer Outlet – (Unit 66) 7899 Templeton Station Road, Richmond
Enjoy edible science in dessert form at Mister in Yaletown, where they use the extreme cold of liquid nitrogen to create uniquely fresh ice cream in seconds. Look for flavours like S’mores, Avocado, or Double Oreo. Bring a friend because these rich bowls of
Address: 1141 Mainland Street, Vancouver
More and more craft breweries are opening in BC, and three have recently launched with their in-house brews, bites, and convivial tasting rooms in Vancouver. Put these three on your must-try list: Strathcona Beer Co., Faculty Brewing, and Luppolo Brewing Co.
Address: Strathcona Beer Co. – 895 East Hastings Street, Vancouver
Address: Faculty Brewing – 1830 Ontario Street, Vancouver
Address: Luppolo Brewing Co.- 1123 Venables Street, Vancouver
The Holy Crab is a Louisiana-inspired seafood restaurant hailing from Indonesia that offers dishes bumped up with spicy Cajun sauce and a hands-on experience…so basically you roll up your sleeves, grab a wooden mallet, and get cracking. Lobster, crab, crawfish, and much more are on the menu, complete with corn on the cob, fries, and other sides and share-able items. They’re taking over a former 7-Eleven on Robson in the West End, with a mid-January projected opening.
Address: 1588 Robson Street, Vancouver
At the end of 2016, ORU, the second-floor restaurant at downtown’s stylish Fairmont Pacific Rim, is closing temporarily, and will undergo a full rebrand. While lips are sealed about the concept, we know we can look forward to something enticing and forward-thinking, with a new executive chef on board, and a new name and look. The new venutre is set to debut this spring.
It’s a Parisian invasion on Robson! L’Éclair de Génie is known for their broad spectrum of novelty eclairs, in flavours like salted caramel with mascarpone, Lemon Yuzu, and special limited-edition flavours, all beautifully presented in dazzling colours with sweet accents. In addition to eclairs, they sell other sweet goodies, like caramel sauces, jams, and more.
Toronto’s favourite vegetable butcher, YamChops, has its sights set on the West Coast for expansion. With plans to open its first Vancouver location in Spring 2017, owner Toni Abramson says this is just the beginning for the ultra-healthy food chain.
With files from Henry Allan, Jess Fleming, and Hanna McLean.