Where To Eat & Stay In Vancouver
Our 24 favorite spots in Vancouver for vegan Vietnamese food, margarita slushies, and some of the best Chinese food in North America.
People often think of Vancouver as a big city, but that’s just because it has a lot of green glass buildings crammed together and about as many restaurants per square foot as a food court. It’s really more of a small town with a lot of skyscrapers—one that’s surrounded by water and full of scenery straight out of The Sound of Music.
Within that small town are a bunch of smaller ones, each with its own personality. One of the best ways to see them is to grab a rental bike and ride along the 28km (17-mile) seawall that goes all the way from the beaches of Kitsilano to downtown’s West End. Or jump on an Aquabus and see the city from False Creek. Plus, the city is known for its super convenient public transit system that Seth Rogen is unfortunately no longer narrating.
There are a few things you shouldn’t leave Vancouver without doing: take advantage of the city’s Italian, French, Chinese, and Indian options, try the best croissants in North America, and treat yourself to one of the city's several impressive tasting menus for less than $100 CAD. We’re here to help you with exactly where to do all of that and more. Here’s our guide to the 24 best restaurants, bars, and hotels in Vancouver.
NEW-ISH AND BUZZY
photo credit: Ian Lanterman
Modern Canadian cuisine might not mean much to you, but it’s not referring to some gastronomical take on poutine. Come to Archer when you want to have a fancy meal that really shows off all the local produce and ingredients in creative dishes, like a plate of maitake, chanterelle, and lobster mushrooms that resembles a forest floor landscape and aerated polenta with baby vegetables and soft egg dressing that’s practically a salad. Get the flaming cheesecake for dessert, which is more than just a tableside show. This is the best dessert in the city, with layers of miso caramel, sesame crust, and sour cream cremeux under a thin dark chocolate dome.
photo credit: Sarah Annand
Published On Main
Contemporary Canadian spot Published on Main is one of the hardest reservations to get in town, thanks to the restaurant landing on a ton of “best of” lists—including ours. The accolades are deserved, as all of the food is well-executed, from the savory stuffed aebleskiver donuts to all of the rare foraged ingredients like mushrooms and berries from nearby forests. The best way to experience this place is to order the 11-course chef's tasting menu for $125 CAD, but it’s still a great pick for date night or a fun group dinner where you order a la carte. If reservations are truly impossible, you can always get there right when they open at 5pm for a spot at the bar, where seating is first come, first served and the full food menu is available.
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photo credit: Sarah Annand
Bar Susu is what a great natural wine bar should be. There’s a borderline unreadable cursive chalkboard menu of wines by the glass and knowledgeable sommeliers who bring you interesting grape varietals and bottles, like a chilled Gamay pét-nat. The X factor here is the wildly delicious food, though, with combinations that might not make sense at first glance but end up being delicious. We’re talking about things like smoked trout with dill pickle consommé and wasabi ice cream or duck liver parfait donuts with a PB&J twist. Come here if you have something to celebrate, throw skepticism to the wind, and surrender to all these dishes in either a la carte or family-style tasting menu form.
Vancouver’s first and only modern Peruvian restaurant is narrow and loud, and it’s hard to believe they’re putting out some of the best dishes in the city from such a tiny kitchen. The classic ceviche is textbook, with juicy hunks of Haida Gwaii halibut, and yuca fries come served with aji panca tomato sauce and huancaina rather than ketchup and mustard. Each cocktail represents different regions of Peru—from the Andean mountains to the Amazonian rainforest—and you can even sip tepache made from all the bar trimmings out of a gourd. It’s the perfect place to bring a group of friends, especially the ones who will let you eat off their plate.
This new six-seat omakase at RawBar is the most exclusive sushi experience you can find in Vancouver. For $95 CAD, you’ll get nigiri after nigiri straight from the sushi chef while James Bond movies play silently on the flatscreen TV behind the counter. Baby sea bream, Hokkaido uni, and wild sockeye salmon sashimi with dashi gelée are just a few highlights to look forward to. And if you're one of those people who's always still hungry at the end of an omakase, head to the lobby lounge for a round of (very good) nachos and a nightcap.
photo credit: Mark Yuen
One of the best vegan restaurants in town, Do Chay’s Vietnamese dishes, like cast-iron seared coconut rice cakes, fried tofu and tempeh lettuce wraps, and hefty black garlic-braised eggplant could make even the most zealous meathead happy. There's lots of natural light and hanging plants to create a breezy jungle atmosphere and the service is always thoughtful and friendly. Cocktails like the lime leaf collins are light and refreshing and pair perfectly with the food, but if you're not drinking, get the zero-proof turmeric spritz. Do Chay is best for lunch, especially because you don’t need a reservation like you will at dinner.
photo credit: Burdock & Co
Burdock & Co
This small but mighty restaurant represents the best of Vancouver dining: incredible seasonal British Columbia ingredients you might find at a local farmers market but prepared in ways you'd probably never come up with on your own. Plus, the kitchen often uses byproducts, like sake lees and the whey leftover from homemade ricotta, as extra special touches in some of the dishes. During the pandemic, the restaurant added a 20-seat garden patio on a quiet side street and switched to a tasting-menu-only format, with five courses for $89 CAD and an additional $65 CAD wine pairing. With candles on every table and a generally warm and romantic dining room, this is one of the better special occasion spots in Vancouver.
Miku was the first spot to do aburi-style sushi in Vancouver, and while you’ll find a lot of other places using the technique around the city, this is where you should be eating it. Aburi-style means the sushi is lightly flame-seared, and if you don’t live in Vancouver, you might be tempted to take some to go and freeze it in your hotel room (before you remember that this is a terrible idea). The salmon aburi is a classic and also our favorite, though you can’t go wrong with the other options on the menu. Miku is in a really touristy area along the Vancouver waterfront where there are a lot of cruise ships, hotels, and people asking where the Gastown Steam Clock is, so it’s a good idea to book ahead. Try and get a seat near the window to take in the harbor view.
People wear hiking outfits everywhere they go in Vancouver. If all the Gore-Tex is starting to get to you, and you also happen to have a lot of money and a special occasion to celebrate, you should head to Hawksworth. It’s inside the Hotel Georgia, and is one of the only restaurants in Vancouver with a dress code. You’ll find top-notch Canadian ingredients, things like Northern Divine caviar, Haida Gwaii halibut, and Fraser Valley duck, and your plate will come out looking like it took someone two days to decorate. Grab a seat at the bar for a glass of wine and dessert if you want something slightly more casual.
Vij’s on Cambie St. is a 10-minute drive from downtown, and while it’s a bit far from Vancouver’s more popular areas, it is on the way to the city’s biggest comedy club, Yuk Yuk’s. This Indian restaurant has been around since the ’90s and it has a great rooftop patio open in the summer. Get things like their famous lamb popsicles, pork spoon, or mango kulfi to share if you’re with a group, but know they also do single servings of most appetizers and half orders of their curries if you’re solo or with one other person. They take reservations, but you usually shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a table if you walk in—though if you can’t get seated right away, have a cocktail in their lounge while you wait.
On a quiet street in Kitsilano, a laid-back suburb west of downtown, you’ll find AnnaLena: an upscale spot serving Pacific Northwest food. The space is sort of weird, with a bunch of black leather lounge chairs and rare modern art figurines on the shelves, but once you see what’s on the monthly-changing five-course tasting menu, with food like halibut cheeks, aged duck breast, and scallop tortellini with an aerated bisque, you won’t even care where you are. It’s all very impressive and delicious, and makes for a perfect special occasion spot.
St. Lawrence Restaurant
Eating at St. Lawrence is like being in someone’s fancy rustic living room in the Quebec countryside, except you’re in the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver. This is the best Québécois food in Vancouver, and on a scale of richness from air to butter, most of the menu is a croissant. Order the foie gras maple custard, pâté en croûte du jour, rabbit in mustard sauce, and maple tart, and then go and lie down somewhere. All the curtains and candle holders make it an obvious choice for a special date or anniversary, just know it’s one of the most popular places in town.
Ask for Luigi
Ask for Luigi has had long lines since they opened in 2013, with everybody waiting to try the fresh pasta, meatballs, and porcini mushroom risotto. That all changed during the pandemic when the 27-seat spot switched over and started taking reservations. Order anything from the chalkboard menu with wine and food specials, and consider trying an amaro as an aperitif or digestif. The pasta is always cooked perfectly al dente and the mismatched vintage plates and amaro glasses could have been rummaged from your grandma’s cupboard.
photo credit: Hakan Burcuoglu
This 20-seat wine bar on the outskirts of Chinatown feels pretty quiet during the week, but turns into a party during weekend peak hours. Not anything too wild, but more of a salon, where people get inspired by the natural wine, dream up ways to save the world, and scribble novel ideas on the menus printed on college-ruled notebook paper. The food is simple but excellent, from Puglian burrata served with warm olive oil-brushed housemade focaccia to broccoli drowning in cheesy shio koji beurre blanc. You’ll probably need a reservation for the three-course prix-fixe menu, but when the restaurant is not as busy, they’ll let you order a la carte.
People who love bourbon are going to love Pourhouse and its classic Old Fashioned, but really all the cocktails here are top-notch. The Gastown neighborhood has the best bars and nightlife in Vancouver, and this spot is the best of the lot with several renditions of negronis, Manhattans, daiquiris, and martinis. There’s much more than just cocktails happening here though, as they have a great boozy brunch, daily Happy Hour that runs from 3-6pm and again from 10pm until close, and some great food. Go for the oozing Scotch egg encased in fennel sausage and crispy panko crumbs, charred king oyster mushrooms with pumpkin seed chimichurri and celeriac purée, and the baked-to-order hazelnut ganache-stuffed chocolate cookies that come with a side of whiskey cream milk punch.
photo credit: Mark Yuen
The Chickadee Room
While it’s pretty hard to miss the neon pink sign outside The Chickadee Room, the '80s soundtrack and the icy-tart margarita slushies are really what make this somewhere you’ll want to hang out for a few hours. You’ll probably feel like you’re at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, but the cocktails and the tequila will definitely be better. Chickadee doesn't serve food, but you can order anything off the menu from Juke Fried Chicken next door—which is exactly what you’ll want if you plan to stay for more than one drink.
photo credit: Mark Yuen
The world-class lamination skills from bakers at Beaucoup have inspired people from all over Vancouver (and even Seattle) to drive into town just to try limited-edition creations like mango crêpe croissants and London fog blueberry danishes. You'll find something new in the shiny pastry case every time you visit, but they’ll always have classic cookies in flavors like buckwheat chocolate chip and dark chocolate rosemary. The bakery's original location is in Kitsilano, but a new location downtown at Vancouver's historic St. Regis Hotel is opening soon.
photo credit: Mark Yuen
The Modern Pantry
This grocery, bakery, wine bar, and cafe hybrid is one of our favorite lunch spots in North Vancouver. We love the sweet and savory pastries, like burnt lemon cake and brown butter chocolate chip cookies, the grilled cheese with housemade tomato jam, and any of the treats from local food producers (like bean-to-bar chocolate by Kaaj Chocolate). The original North Van location is a tiny grab-and-go spot, but the newer location in West Vancouver has indoor seating, two outdoor patios, and a full wine list. There are plenty of natural wines from British Columbia, and you should definitely pair them with cheese and charcuterie platters, housemade rosemary crackers, and veggie dips.
Earnest Ice Cream
Vancouver's best ice cream maker has four scoop shops around town—1829 Quebec St. is the largest and closest to downtown—and you can also find them at local grocery stores and farmers markets. Rotating monthly flavors like Nanaimo bar and toasted marshmallow make up half the menu while classic favorites like whiskey hazelnut, cookies + cream, and salted caramel (that work great for affogatos) are always available. There are always several coconut milk-based vegan flavors too, including a decadent vegan dark chocolate.
The Fish Counter
If you’re a person who likes to know what type of plankton your oysters ate prior to arriving in front of you, you’re definitely going to have a good time at The Fish Counter. The owners are incredibly passionate about local seafood and you can come in just to talk to them about sustainable fish—though there’s no way you leave without getting some of the best oyster po'boys and fish and chips in the city. It’s a tiny spot with approximately one bench in the whole place, but you can stand at the counter while you eat or get everything to go. On your way out, grab some caesar mix, Canada’s clam juice version of a Blood Mary that tastes 100% better than it sounds.
photo credit: Mark Yuen
The Fish Man
Richmond has some of the best Chinese food in all of North America. We could write a whole guide just to the area, but if you only have time for one meal in Richmond, come to The Fish Man. There are live seafood tanks with geoduck and king crab, and while the atmosphere is pretty casual, the service is friendly and fast. Bring a ton of friends so you can order all the hits like sizzling grilled whole fish, wok-fried seafood, and the Sichuan-pepper flecked sour cabbage fish hotpot that comes in a massive porcelain bowl. The seafood options change every day, but it’s all guaranteed to be super fresh.
Fairmont Pacific Rim
There are four excellent Fairmont hotels in town (including the nicest airport hotel we’ve ever seen), but Fairmont Pacific Rim has the best lobby for people-watching and nightly live music. Give yourself plenty of time to chill at the hydrotherapy rooftop terrace deck before or after your spa treatment, infrared sauna visit, and hot tub soaking. Make sure to visit the sushi and raw bar in the lobby, but know they also have another on-site spot in Botanist that is way better than your standard hotel restaurant.
This hip hotel in Yaletown is surrounded by plenty of great bars and places to eat like Do Chay, Small Victory, and Mister Ice Cream. Plus, you're right next to a SkyTrain station, so it's easy to get around the city. Rooms are very colorful—your walls might be chartreuse, violet, or coral— and touches like heated bathroom floors and Dyson hair dryers are fancier amenities than you'd expect for somewhere charging $250 a night.
We’ve always found the front desk team at this 77-room boutique property in Coal Harbour super kind and attentive. Beyond just the service, the Loden hotel gives you access to complimentary bikes so you can take a ride around the nearby Stanley Park Seawall. Nearly every room has a standalone deep soaking tub, which is the perfect way to wind down after a day of eating your way through the city.