With farms in lush valleys, seafood and vegetation sourced from the coast and fertile vineyard lands, Vancouver and its surrounding microclimates provide a wealth of sustainable and high–quality ingredients that star on mouth–watering menus. Get a taste for the city’s varied culinary scene at these 10 restaurants loved by foodies in the city (and around the world).
From casual favourites to upscale hot spots, there’s something for every palate in Vancouver, a city known for its culinary diversity. Here are 10 must–visit restaurants to book.
Osteria Savio Volpe (Kingsway) —Simple, flavourful and rustic Italian dishes are on the menu at Osteria Savio Volpe, where freshness and regionality are always the priority. There’s no going wrong between daily housemade pasta or wood–fired rotisserie chicken, and the lengthy Italian wine list means plenty of pairing options. This vibrant neighbourhood eatery made the 2016 Canada’s Best New Restaurants Top 10 list, and it’s still serving up flawless Italian fare that’s part contemporary, part traditional, and always memorable.
St. Lawrence (Japantown) —You might not expect to find outstanding Québécoise–influenced cuisine on this side of the country, but you will at St. Lawrence, where chef and owner Jean–Christophe Poirier channels his heritage into one of the most talked–about dining experiences on the West Coast. Québécoise culture meets classic French cuisine in classics like Oreilles de Crisse (deep–fried salted fatback) and escargots in garlic and parsley butter in puff pastry. Featured on the 2018 Canada’s Best New Restaurants Top 10 list, St. Lawrence’s meat–focused menu is reinvented monthly, so it keeps diners near and far coming back for more.
Kissa Tanto (Chinatown) —In an unassuming Chinatown building, Michelin–starred Kissa Tanto’s unique Japanese–Italian menu and supper club aesthetic create an enchanting experience. Veteran restaurateur Tannis Ling invited executive chef Joël Watanabe and sous chef Alain Chow to create a menu that evokes the elegance of a bygone era with delicate flavours in one–of–a–kind dishes like the Tonno Mantecato (confit albacore tuna, smoked potato, furikake and bruschetta with tobiko) or the Dandelion Pappardelle (with smoked pork, spicy salami, tomato and ginger). Since earning the number one spot on the Canada’s Best New Restaurants list in 2016, this culinary spot is no longer a hidden gem, but its dimly lit and intimate dining room make you feel like you’ve stumbled upon an undiscovered treasure from the past.
Published on Main (South Main) —This bustling restaurant has been the talk of the city’s culinary scene over the past few years thanks to its inventive menu that’s caught the eye of critics and foodies. Aiming for cuisine that excites and intrigues, the restaurant’s 20–plus course menu puts seasonal, local and sustainable ingredients centre stage. With numerous accolades, nabbing a reservation is no easy feat — but it’s undeniably worth the effort. If you’re feeling lucky, show up early — the restaurant accepts a limited number of walk–ins every evening.
L’Abattoir (Gastown) —French–inspired with a distinctly West Coast approach, L’Abattoir serves refined plates based on bistro classics without any of the stuffiness of old–fashioned establishments. Situated in the heart of Gastown in Gaoler’s Mews, a historic area of the city once home to Vancouver’s first jail and known as the city’s butchery and meat–packing district, L’Abattoir stands out among the many restaurants in the area for its comfortable and chic dining room and perfectly balanced flavours.
Botanist (Coal Harbour) —Don’t forget your phone if you’re planning a decadent evening at Botanist. At this downtown restaurant, the dining room’s lush aesthetic and colourful craft cocktails make for an Instagram–worthy night out. Unsurprisingly, the dishes are equally beautiful, but they’re also delicious: Don’t miss sustainable, wild–caught seafood plates like the Dungeness crab with daikon, ginger and olive oil poached halibut or hand–cut tagliatelle with foraged mushrooms, mushroom soil and crispy Piave.
Minami (Yaletown) —There’s going out for sushi, and then there’s going to Minami, sister restaurant to internationally acclaimed Miku. Tucked into the busy Yaletown area of downtown Vancouver, Minami is known for its delicate and modern interpretation of flame–seared sushi. Here, sushi and sashimi are made with sustainably sourced seafood, accompanied by unforgettable small plates like the Saikyo Miso Sablefish in a miso reduction and the Aburi Lobster Mentaiko Udon with truffle sauce and yuzu ginger salsa.
Beaucoup Bakery & Café (Kitsilano) —Hidden on the outskirts of Kitsilano, a walkable distance from the beach, Beaucoup Bakery & Café arguably serves up some of the best croissants and pastries in the city. Whether you’re popping in for a classic pain au chocolat and Americano to go, or sitting down for a latte and a lemon yuzu tart, Beaucoup takes the friendly neighbourhood bakery concept to the next level.
The Praguery (Downtown/Gastown) —At this food truck, which is regularly parked at Waterfront Centre in downtown Vancouver, Czech desserts and plant–based ice cream make for a unique menu you won’t find anywhere else. The Praguery is best known for its classic hand–rolled chimney cakes, made fresh daily, and doughy Prague cones served topped with vegan ice cream that will satisfy even the most selective sweet tooth.
The Acorn (South Main) —One of the most–loved restaurants in the city happens to be completely meat–free. The Acorn serves crave–worthy dishes (with vegan and gluten–free options) in a wood–laden dining room that’s open late. For the full experience, opt for the chef’s menu, or share a few seasonal à la carte plates with friends while sipping on signature cocktails like the Acorn Spritz made with apricot kernel–infused Aperol. This plant–focused spot is so popular that founder Shira Blusteinlv and chef Brian Luptak recently released their own cookbook, so you can recreate your favourite dishes at home.