Trip Ideas

Vancouver Cuisine

Fresh local bounty, talented chefs and a melting pot of cultures combine to make Vancouver a top culinary destination. From hip downtown restaurants to humble food carts, farmers’ markets to ethnic neighbourhoods, Vancouver is a city to explore with fork in hand.


49.272425,-123.135177|49.279642,-123.099706|49.269947,-123.069667|49.255285,-123.065636|49.268505,-123.145673|49.277101,-123.120642|49.163087,-123.136486|49.28431,-123.106381

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11 49.272425,-123.135177|49.279642,-123.099706|49.269947,-123.069667|49.255285,-123.065636|49.268505,-123.145673|49.277101,-123.120642|49.163087,-123.136486|49.28431,-123.106381
MAP LEGEND
  1. Granville Island
  2. Chinatown
  3. Commercial Drive
  4. Trout Lake
  5. Kitsilano
  6. Yaletown
  7. Richmond
  8. Gastown

Granville Island

Granville Island. Photo Credit: Dannielle Hayes

For the authentic taste of the West Coast, head straight for Granville Island. This former industrial area in False Creek has been transformed into a food-lover’s haven of cafés and restaurants. There’s also an artisan sake maker, a craft brewery and boutiques selling cookbooks, wine and gourmet gadgets.

The highlight is bustling Granville Island Public Market. Wander past stacks of seafood, local produce, meat, cheese and baked goods. And sample away: try the artisanal loaves at Terra Breads, the pâté and prosciutto at Oyama Sausage Company, or the artistic treats at ChocolaTas. If you are hungry for more, be sure to try the fish ‘n’ chips at Go Fish, the lively takeout seafood shack at nearby Fisherman’s Wharf.

Chinatown and Commercial Drive

Chinatown Night Market in Vancouver. Photo Credit: Dannielle Hayes

Visit historic Chinatown’s Asian markets for crisp barbecue pork, fragrant steamed buns and exotic produce. For a modern take on an ancient tradition, try The Keefer Bar’s cocktails made with Chinese medicinal herbs.

Commercial Drive’s Italian delis and bakeries are the best place for old world  pastries and fresh pasta.  Drop by Cafe Calabria for authentic Italian espresso amid the gleaming white statues.

Chef-led Tours

Explore Vancouver’s neighbourhoods in the company of a chef with Edible Canada’s walking and tasting tours of Chinatown and Granville Island.  These tours offer an insider’s take on the city’s food scene, with a chance to meet the vendors, sample an array of foods from the teas, herbs and exotic produce from the shops in Chinatown, and the myriad of cheeses, chocolates and more at the Granville Island Public Market.

Farmers' Markets

For the freshest local tomatoes, berries and other produce, bring a shopping bag to one of Vancouver’s summertime farmers' markets. Try the Trout Lake Farmers' Market held Saturday mornings in East Vancouver or the Sunday morning Kitsilano Farmers' Market.

Cooking Classes

Learn how to cook seafood and produce in the light, fresh Vancouver way. At downtown cooking schools, like the professional Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts or the funky Dirty Apron Cooking School, local chefs offer lively one-day classes.

Restaurants

Indulge your tastebuds with West Coast cuisine at the quietly luxurious Bishop’s in Kitsilano; owner/chef John Bishop was among the first in the city to focus on using only the freshest local ingredients.

If you love seafood head to Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar in Yaletown for miso-sake-glazed sablefish and Gulf Island swimming scallops, all as sustainably caught as they are delicious. Tojo’s serves iconic sushi, including the Golden Roll: tender seafood wrapped in a paper-thin egg crêpe.

The Vancouver area is also a terrific place for Asian dishes. Try delicate dim sum at Kirin Restaurant, Indian lamb popsicles in fenugreek curry at Vij's restaurant, or enjoy a taste of Hong Kong cuisine in Richmond, just south of Vancouver. Richmond’s Alexandra Road, also known as Food Street, has more than 200 Asian eateries along a three block stretch.  

For traditional European flavours, savour the exceptional risotto at the Yaletown Italian eatery Lupo or the Belgian beer and mussels at Chambar near Gastown.

Craving a really great burger? Visit the Cactus Club Cafe chain of restaurants helmed by Canada’s first Iron Chef, Rob Feenie.

Food Carts

Roaming Dragons, Downtown Vancouver

Some of Vancouver tastiest globally-inspired treats are sold on street corners from the city’s many food trucks. You’ll find them parked downtown any noon hour from spring through fall. Just look for the queue of hungry locals.

Some favourites to try are: 

  • slow-smoked pulled pork sandwiches, beef brisket sandwiches, and southern sweet tea at Re-Up BBQ, near Hornby and Georgia,
  • offbeat Pan-Asian creations, like Korean short rib tacos and Malaysian tofu burritos, at The Roaming Dragon at Robson and Burrard,
  • made-from-scratch Tex-Mex fare at Tacofino. Find the orange taco truck at Robson Square or the blue burrito truck at Burrard and Dunsmuir.
  • fresh, local seafood, including much-loved soft fish tacos, at Feastro the Rolling Bistro, parked across from the Olympic torches at Thurlow & West Cordova and near the Vancouver Art Gallery on Howe Street.

Locations are subject to change, check websites or get updates through Facebook or Twitter for current locations and hours.

Gourmet Shopping

Discover regional specialties, like Fraser Valley preserves from Vista d’Oro Farms & Winery or Indian spice mixtures from Vij’s, at Edible Canada on Granville Island. Pick up a bottle of BC wine at a Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) store, like Swirl Wine Store in Yaletown, or browse the unique kitchen gadgets and spices at the Gourmet Warehouse on East Hastings. If you’re a chocoholic treat yourself to some truffles or bon bons from a local chocolatier such as the legendary Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie in Kitsilano or North Vancouver, or Chocolate Arts in Kitsilano.

Accommodation

Indulge in the luscious Chocoholic Buffet at the Sutton Place Hotel, featuring cakes, sorbets, crepes and pastries; rooms are equally sumptuous. Moda Hotel, built in1908 offers an upscale boutique experience; try rustic Italian fare at the hotel’s Cibo Trattoria or stop in for a glass of wine at Uva Wine Bar. Another boutique hotel in Vancouver’s downtown community of Coal Harbour is the Loden Hotel, which has a fantastic bar bistro, Tableau Bar Bistro.

Transportation

Vancouver’s downtown core is compact and most sites are linked by public transport. The SkyTrain, Vancouver’s rapid transit system, travels in and around the city, as well as to and from the airport, with buses and cabs filling in the gaps. A fun way to travel is via the Aquabus and False Creek Ferries, little foot-passenger boats that criss-cross False Creek between downtown, Granville Island and Kitsilano every few minutes.