9 Toronto bars and restaurants I wish were in Vancouver

May 10 2022, 11:47 pm

This is a first-person experiential piece written by a Daily Hive staff member.

As much as I love the Vancouver food scene, I have to admit that Toronto is getting a few things right.

Here are some places I loved in Toronto so much that I wish they would come to Vancouver and set up shop.

In exchange, maybe we can give you a good sushi restaurant? Y’all could use one.

1.Ā Selva

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: A jungle-themed, glow-in-the-dark, underground restaurant that feels like the Rainforest Cafe crossed with a mini-golf course…this eye-catching place is so fun. Plus, the food is great, too. I had a construct-your-own-taco kit that took me back to my childhood.

Vancouver’s closest thing: The Bonjour Vietnam Bistro has plants on the ceiling ā€“ but there’s no Vancity substitute.

2. Fresh

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: Fresh locations are ubiquitous in Toronto, so you’re never far from a healthy-ish juice, smoothie, bowl, or tasty vegan sandwich. I could eat here every meal for the rest of my life.

Vancouver’s closest thing: It’s not dissimilar to other healthy eating places like Glory Juice Co. and Field & Social.

3. Bar Raval

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: This beautiful bar in Little Italy is like an elegant Hobbit’s home and I can’t even. I wish we had something this architecturally interesting in Vancouver.

Vancouver’s closest thing: A tapas place like Como Taperia would be the next best thing.

4. Kost

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: A breathtaking rooftop restaurant with a pool (!) on the 44th floor of a luxury hotel could have just served hot dogs paired with Bud Lite and I still would have gone. But the food and drinks were also next-level.

Vancouver’s closest thing: Vancouver’s rooftop bar and restaurant culture is sorely lacking in comparison, but maybe the Reflections: Garden Terrace is the closest.

5. BarChef

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: This place was so dark, intimate, and exciting that I wish I could go more often. I ordered one of the extra-fancy multisensory cocktails and it was served inside a literal garden. It filled the restaurant with botanical fragrance while one cocktail frozen inside another cocktail melted deliciously in my glass. Pure heaven!

Vancouver’s closest thing: The secret experiential cocktail menu at Botanist in the Fairmont Pacific Rim has similar offerings but a different vibe.

6. Paris Paris

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: If we could just package up Ossington and bring it to Vancouver, maybe drop it on Fraser Street? I’d love that. This wine bar was bright, welcoming, and had a massive selection of drinks plus unexpected dishes that hit the spot.

Vancouver’s closest thing: It looks a bit like Sing Sing!

7. La Pinou

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: With the brick interiors and fancy French menu, this cozy spot on King was a whole vibe I want to recreate in Vancouver where we don’t have so many restaurants with interiors like these.

Vancouver’s closest thing: Maybe something in Gastown like The Diamond or something French likeĀ Ć‡a Marche.

8. CryBaby Gallery

 

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Why I want one in Vancouver: A bright gallery in the front with a dark bar in the back, this lively come-as-you-are bar was an unexpected delight.

Vancouver’s closest thing: We have our fair share of fun hidden bars in Vancouver, and The Narrow comes to mind as the closest thing to CryBaby Gallery.

9. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament


Why I want one in Vancouver: I still haven’t gotten to try this yet, but it looks like so much fun and I wish we had more themed restaurants and experiential places in Vancouver.

Vancouver’s closest thing: Getting a corn dog at the PNE and then checking out the barn animals.

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