Vancouver is one of the most exciting cities in the world for foodies, with a newly Michelin-starred culinary scene that is buzzing, endlessly innovative and fueled by a wealth of superb produce sourced from the lush farmland beyond the city and the nearby oil-drenched Similkameen. Sun and Okanagan Valleys.
The fresh, clear waters surrounding the city are home to an incredible variety of seafood, from salted oysters to sweet prawns and tender Dungeness crab. Thanks to its multicultural population, this West Coast bounty takes on an exciting new form with recipes, ingredients and techniques from around the world, especially Asia.
Below, our insider shares her recommendations for the best restaurants in Vancouver. For more inspiration, check out our guides to the city’s best hotels, bars and attractions, plus how to spend a weekend in Vancouver. If you plan a longer trip, plan the ultimate itinerary on Canada’s west coast with our expert guide.
The Forage is hugely popular with West End locals due to its warm hospitality and commitment to sustainable, eco-friendly dining. Few farm-to-table restaurants truly walk the road like Chef Welbert Choi and his team with their zero-waste-to-landfill ethos and seasonal, locally grown menus paired with an extensive list of wines, beers and beers all BC (British Columbia) spirits. Breakfast and brunch are reliably tasty, with house-made preserves and a scraping “nutella.” Dinner showcases gloriously goofy touches with dishes like smoked duck breast with foraged large fir needles. Make a reservation for the Bison Board to share spectacular meaty treats like cured bison, braised bison risotto, or bison heart tartare. Only available in limited quantities from Friday to Sunday).
There will be queues at the best ramen shop in town, but they move fast and are unmissable, especially if you love noodles. Every day Marutama makes 500 4.4-ounce noodles balls (you can watch the machine in the dining room) which rest for 24 hours before being drunk. Come for its chicken-based toripaitan broth, which is just as rich and creamy as traditional tonkatsu pork-based broth but not as greasy. The decor is basic with wooden stools, benches and tables, but the cheerful welcome when you enter is friendly and the ramen is spectacular. Don’t miss the cha-shu tamago ramen; the egg is always the best in town and the cured pork melts meaty.
Contact: marutama. ca
Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar
Boulevard may be a restaurant in a hotel (it’s attached to the Sutton Place Hotel) but it’s a far cry from your usual hotel restaurant. Alex Chen, one of the city’s most awarded chefs, and his team are creating West Coast wonders in this elegant room with a gleaming rough-hewn marble counter and cozy cream leather booths. Providing an innovative take on the Pacific Northwest’s seasonal bounty, Chen’s perfect dishes may include experimental techniques and ingredients, but they’re always delicious—the parmesan custard on asparagus salad is absolutely tastier. Indulge in a seafood tower and follow up with Haida Gwaii Halibut with a divine kombu seaweed butter sauce.
Ascend the stairs, away from the hubbub of the Fairmont Pacific Rim’s Lobby Lounge, to the vanilla and pale pink curves and jungle greens of the Botanist to find a champagne lounge overflowing with eclectic offerings, a cocktail bar “focused on creative presentations of high level and Chef Hector Laguna’s fine-dining haven that celebrates locally sourced produce and sustainable seafood.This may be one of the most expensive places in town, but Laguna’s delicate artistry, confident use of flavors and bold textures that they immerse themselves in its Mexican heritage and the intensely flavored, light foams make their tasting menu worth every penny.The house-made pastas are silky and bright, the vegetables sparkle like the stars of the dish, and the dishes dance with decadent cheffy touches like a paper-thin, beetroot-flecked crêpe layered in a mille-feuille with foie gras, punctuated with sustainable local caviar.
Contact: botanistrestaurant. com
Best table: The Garden Room
Vancouver has a thriving food truck scene – download the excellent, free street food app to see what’s open where. One of the original food carts that is still going strong is the ever-popular Japadog which combines hot dogs with Japanese flavor combinations for a very Vancouver experience. You can find them at the intersection of Burrard and Smithe in their original location that opened their doors in 2005. Try the Terimayo, a 100 percent all-beef sausage generously topped with teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, fried onions and seaweed, or indulge in the “Age Ice” fried sweet buns filled with ice cream – black sesame or mango are delicious.
Late night dessert is always a desirable option at this fine wood-paneled French patisserie, within walking distance of most downtown hotels. Delicate butter tarts filled with seasonal fruit (think of fresh strawberries and basil custard, or zabaglione with yuzu and fresh local raspberries), brioche savarins dipped in dark rum, a raft of crumbly biscuits, richly decorated cakes and chocolates filled with hand-made ganache (perfect gifts if you can not devour them yourself) are on offer alongside excellent espresso drinks and house-made sodas. Take a seat on the small patio and watch Vancouver unfold late at night.
A funky, modern take on a Chinese brasserie complete with an excellent cocktail bar and curated wine list with plenty of British Columbia gems. Bao Bei is a streamlined room with leather cushioned seating running along the back wall and high tops in the bar area. The clanging sound of the woks in the kitchen speaks to the authenticity of the technique used here, but because it’s Vancouver all the proteins are local, sustainable and ethically farmed. Be prepared to order multiple dishes of beef tartare with taro chips, burnt shallot oil and crunchy shallots; it’s too good to share and don’t skip local legend Helen’s juicy handmade dumplings.
Reservations: Walk-in only and all party members must be present to be seated.
Downtown East Side (DTES)
West coast cuisine tends to be light and fresh; something you could eat and contemplate a yoga class later. Not so at the St Lawrence, chef JC Poirier’s love letter to rich, buttery Quebec cuisine that’s been a hit since opening in 2017 and recently earned a Michelin star. Step behind the velvet curtain of this intimate dining space and step into an authentic French Canadian experience where the music, wine list, and much of the staff are French. St Lawrence only offers a tasting menu experience, and you’ll need to book at least a month in advance (or get lucky with a cancellation), but it’s worth it; as San Lorenzo tries with outrageous decadence; and if it’s on the menu, the flaky Paris-Brest stuffed with duck liver and foie gras mousse is a worthy contender for the “final meal.” Overorder the extras and resign yourself to unbuttoning that suddenly tight belt; that’s life!
Reservations: Essential. Book well in advance.
Best Table: The chef’s counter
Mount Pleasant/Main Street
Burdock & Co
If Vancouver were to have a restaurant family tree, at the center of many of its most notable venues would be chef Andrea Carlson, whose tireless work with small-scale farmers, fishermen and foragers has shaped Vancouver’s fresh, local and sustainable style of cooking. it was recently awarded a Michelin star. The simple wood-and-white-brick room in the heart of the funky Mount Pleasant neighborhood lets the strikingly beautiful food shine. Serving only a family-style multi-course tasting menu, enjoy dinner with no decisions about all that is delicious, fresh, and currently in season. Check if the buttermilk fried chicken is included, if not, order a serving for the table, the dill powdered ranch dressing is delicious.
Published in Main
Published in Main, it won nearly every award given in Canada in 2022, from first place in Canada’s 100 best restaurants to a one-star award in the inaugural Vancouver Michelin guide. Sure, getting a reservation can be tricky, but if you want to experience Vancouver-style modern fine dining at its best, it’s worth booking 60 days in advance or showing up at 5pm for a walk-in table — once you’re there , let the team take the lead with the tasting menu and creative drink pairings, from small-batch sake and boutique wine to handcrafted cocktails. The 11-course tasting menu celebrates the finest seasonal, locally sourced ingredients with lots of fermented and foraged elements and whippings of cheffy technique from aerated hay cremes to local rainbow trout with Douglas fir crème fraîche.
Contact: published on main.com