The Vancouver dining scene is arguably the most vibrant in the country. An astounding assortment of fresh, local ingredients are coupled with highly skilled, award-winning chefs and set against a stunning backdrop of ocean and mountains.
Top Chefs in Vancouver
Many of Canada’s best chefs live and work here, and Vancouver has also attracted some top chefs from around the world. Enjoy a meal prepared by a three-star Michelin chef, or check out the latest creation by Canada’s first Iron Chef.
Remarkable Variety of Dining Experiences
Vancouverites have a passion for food, and that passion is evident in the number of restaurants and the range of dining options available in the city:
West Coast cuisine takes full advantage of the local bounty of seafood, produce and artisan foods with a celebrated “farm-to-table” approach
Vancouver’s incredible ethnic diversity has helped shape the city’s culinary landscape
Try one of the local favourites
Join the hip and trendy crowd at one of the city’s hottest new eateries
Experience some of Vancouver’s outstanding fine dining
Combine exceptional food with an exceptional view
Take advantage of Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver promotion in January. For a limited time enjoy three-course meals at some of the city’s finest restaurants for a low, fixed price. This event is very popular, so be sure to make reservations in advance.
Vancouver Sustainable Dining
Fresh, local and sustainable are three words that are taken very seriously in Vancouver, by chefs and diners alike. Want proof? The 100 Mile Diet was born here, as was Ocean Wise, a program developed in partnership with the Vancouver Aquarium that encourages restaurants across the country to make sustainable, environmentally friendly seafood choices.
West Coast Cuisine
John Bishop, owner/chef of Bishop’s restaurant for almost 25 years, was one of Vancouver’s pioneers in terms of sourcing the best local ingredients and creating culinary masterpieces. Mobil four-star restaurant West serves expertly crafted regional cuisine as well as creative cocktails from the much-lauded bar.
C Restaurant showcases the best in local seafood and was the founding restaurant partner in the Ocean Wise program, while Raincity Grill features a unique 100 Mile Tasting Menu.
Vancouver is known as one of the best places outside of Asia to enjoy Asian cuisine. Visit Vij’s restaurant, described by The New York Times as “Easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world.” Try the cricket paranta, an Indian flatbread made with ground crickets!
Another must is Tojo’s, where master sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo is credited with inventing the ubiquitous California Roll and the BC Roll. Order Omakase and trust the chef to create your perfect meal.
Sample Vancouver’s famous Dim Sum at the multiple-award-winning Kirin Restaurant, and see what the critics are raving about at Phnom Penh, a Cambodian-Vietnamese restaurant located in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
Casual and Local Favourites
No discussion of dining in Vancouver would be complete without mentioning local institution the White Spot. Try the legendary Triple “O” burger. Another local chain, the Cactus Club Café, boasts a series of signature dishes by Vancouver’s own Iron Chef, Rob Feenie.
Bin 941 and Bin 942 – the Bins, as they’re called locally – were instrumental in establishing Vancouver’s love affair with tapas, or small plates. A Japanese twist on this concept is the wildly popular Hapa Izakaya, one of a handful of izakaya restaurants in the city. Salt Tasting Room put their own spin on the idea and started a local wine, artisanal cheeses and charcuterie craze.
The unassuming Go Fish operates out of a small shack at Fisherman’s Wharf right on the harbour. The fish comes straight off the boats. Be sure to try the salmon tacones, wrapped in a tortilla shell.
New & Trendy
At the top of many critics’ lists is the quaint La Quercia with its authentic Italian dishes. Also causing a stir is MARKET at Vancouver’s new Shangri-La Hotel, under the direction of internationally renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Other hot spots include Cibo Trattoria, which emphasizes simplicity and freshness, and Voya, with its sumptuous décor and French-Asian cuisine.
Lumière, an exquisite French restaurant recently re-opened by superstar chef Daniel Boulud, has received awards and honours from across the globe.
Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill & Enoteca in trendy Yaletown was named the 2009 Restauraunt of the Year by Vancouver Magazine. Its chef/owner Pino Posteraro was the magazine’s Chef of the Year in 2008.
Blue Water Café + Raw Bar is one of the city’s best destinations for wild and sustainable seafood, and the raw bar offers up expertly crafted sushi and sashimi. Also a must is the elegant Il Giardino, run by iconic local chef Umberto Menghi.
Dining with a View
Five Sails, located in Canada Place on the Vancouver harbour, is a AAA/CAA Four Diamond Restaurant with breathtaking views that take in Stanley Park and the Coast Mountains.
The Salmon House, perched on the hillside in Vancouver’s North Shore, has been charming diners for more than 30 years. Try their Uniquely BC menu, with options from every region of the province.
Ride the gondola to The Observatory, located atop Grouse Mountain. Enjoy the spectacular view of the city and indulge in fresh, regionally sourced cuisine. The Sandbar restaurant on scenic Granville Island offers some amazing signature dishes coupled with views across False Creek toward downtown Vancouver’s towering skyline.
And speaking of Granville Island, there are some special food places that you have to experience while you're in Vancouver:
Granville Island Market: With its mounds of fresh fish, meat, poultry and produce, not to mention crusty breads, savoury soup stocks, and handmade pastas, the market is where city cooks head for inspiration. Few leave the market without succumbing to lunch from the mouthwatering food stalls, best taken al fresco and often accompanied by musical entertainment.
Richmond Night Market: During weekend evenings in the summer, wander from stall to stall, sampling dim sum and aromatic Asian specialties. There are more than 400 stalls at the Night Market, offering a uniquely Asian shopping and eating experience.
Steveston: This charming fishing village in Richmond now offers an array of excellent seafood restaurants but for most, the true Steveston experience will always mean sitting on the pier with a paper cone of crisp fish and chips.