What does it mean to mention the best restaurants in downtown Vancouver?
For me it’s about global inspiration. You could eat different cuisines every night of the week and still have ten countries to cover before you leave.
And you probably never even thought about Canadian food.
Join me as I show you how to culinarily crush the downtown peninsula – let’s go!
The Best Restaurants in Downtown Vancouver
Our mild climate means Vancouverites have access to stunning ingredients year round. So why not indulge in a culinary tour of BC where the public transport is your tastebuds?
Set in the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel, Botanist’s impressive dining room includes its own garden with over 50 local varieties of plants.
Dishes like the olive oil poached halibut with konbu and fresh legumes and the wagyu cap coulotte with bone marrow and ratatouille masterfully show off our local ingredients.
Botanist also shares the rare distinction of appearing on both Canada’s 100 best restaurants and 50 best bars lists.
A five time winner of Vancouver Magazine’s best upscale award celebrates modern Canadian cuisine with a spontaneous, seasonal menu.
Executive Chef David Hawksworth takes a casual, multi-ethnic approach to create stunning entrees like wild ling cod with black rice, curried root vegetable, and orange lassi.
The piece de resistance is the aged beef sirloin with a beef fat roasted onion and smoked bone marrow bordelaise.
There’s also a superb cocktail list (try the golden negroni with honey and bianco bitters) and an amazing dessert selection like the dark chocolate fondant with orange.
Blue Water Café
As a third generation member of a BC fishing family, there are few things I want you to try more than the bounty from our beautiful coastline.
Yaletown hotspot Blue Water Café may just do it the most justice. Here it’s about the freshest, highest quality, and most sustainable seafood delivered daily.
The extensive raw bar features premium cuts of sushi and sashimi with some amazing imported oysters and caviar to boot.
In groups it’s an easy choice for the seafood tower (one of my must eat Vancouver foods) with dungeness crab, clams, mussels and scallops and more.
Entrees include local sockeye salmon, sablefish and halibut. Meat lovers? You’re still covered with the beef tenderloin and Kobe beef short ribs.
Heritage Asian Eatery
When eating in Vancouver it’s paramount to pay homage to the city’s heavy Asian influence. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly spot to do so then I highly recommend Heritage Asian Eatery.
I usually opt for one of their rice and noodle bowls. They start at just $12.00, making them one of the best value meals in the entire city.
The dan-dan noodles with spicy ground pork, the pork belly bowl, or the lamb shank bowl all knock it out of the park.
The baos are also some of the best this side of Chinatown. Choose from the duck leg in Peking sauce, pork belly with kimchi daikon, or the sautéed shiitake mushroom option for vegetarians.
This chic Belgian-inspired spot right on the edge of the city’s stadium and entertainment district is a great date spot – or pre-game meal that won’t break the bank.
In fact, the $65.00 three course set menu might be the best dinner deal in downtown Vancouver.
I had the dungeness crab chowder, braised short ribs, and cheesecake epicé though the menu options we quite vast and included plenty of vegetarian options.
In all, this is a great restaurant to for lovers of moules frites, charcuterie platters, and locally foraged ingredients tinged tastingly European.
There’s just something timeless and classic about a steakhouse.
Hy’s is quite possibly Vancouver’s most elegant dining room, an opulent throwback to more extravagant times. You’ll feel like Gordon Gekko sipping on your dry gin martini and attacking one of their Canadian prime dry aged steaks.
I like to eat like an executive and opt for the bone-in rib eye with baked potato and all the fixings. And don’t forget to include an order of the legendary Hy’s famous cheese toast.
Wash it all down with a big boy glass of Cab-Sav and your evening is complete.
This Yaletown institution offers fine dining Italian-style.
Chef/owner Pino Posteraro’s recipe for success? Calabria’s rustic simplicity paired with elevated culinary techniques, and fresh West-coast ingredients.
Pasta courses like king-crab tagliolini and braised veal cheek ragu are enough to make my nonna hang up her apron for good. But the proteins are where Cioppino’s begins to move.
The sou-vide technique here means your West-coast sablefish or Alberta beef-tenderloin will be cooked to absolute perfection.
If you’re asking Italian soccer legend Andrea Pirlo or Canadian legend Drake (yes, I know) about their top things to do in Vancouver, this is on their list.
This might be the best casual restaurant in downtown Vancouver and it’s dominating what is perhaps Mexico’s most famous export: the tortilla.
But it ain’t just any old version.
Each homemade shell is made using an imported Lenin tortilla machine. Some days you’ll see white corn, other days yellow, or even a blend.
Top them with one of three carnita options: maciza (pork shoulder/leg), panza (pork belly), and campechano (a mix of the two).
There are also three veggie options: papas dias (a potato), a verduras dias (mixed veggie), and campechano (a mix of both).
You then order by weight, a 1/4 pound, 1/2 pound or for groups, a full pound.
Careful! Chancho shuts when they run out of food, usually around 7:00 pm on weekdays and Saturdays and 5:30 on Sunday.
This Vancouver institution named after a legendary Vancouver lifeguard is universally considered the best oyster bar in town.
But with over 50 different kinds of fish, shellfish, and chops sourced only from local farms, fisherman, and ranchers… Joe Fortes is much more than that.
The stunning 1920’s dining room features 30 foot ceilings and a famous rooftop patio. It’s one of the best spots in the city to enjoy a happy hour cocktail.
Go here for uniquely West-coast cuisine.
Located in the iconic Sutton Place Hotel, Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar is consistently ranked among the best restaurants in downtown Vancouver due to the inventive cuisine of executive chef Alex Chen.
While firmly based in French traditions, Boulevard’s menu also employs strong Asian and West-coast influences into its award winning menu.
As a seafood lover I recommend the local roasted sablefish, served with broccoli, grilled maitake mushroom and xo sauce.
Looking to stay on land? The grilled USDA prime NY steak with shiitake pomme Anna and maitake mushrooms.
The happy hour menu also offers some of the best value in the city.
When Vancouverites need a little chicken soup for the soul there’s one dish that simply stands above all the rest… ramen!
Robson Street alone itself has twelve ramen shops. The two block stretch near Stanley Park between Cardero and Denman has six alone.
My suggestion is to choose one of the locations of this Japanese chain.
It’s famous for their creamy chicken broth and house made noodles. I always add on pork char-su, an ajiitama egg and some chilli flakes for maximum flavour.
An order of the gyoza and a bottle of Asahi beer round it out nicely.
Don’t let the big local chef name fool you – this Hawksworth joint is all about buzzing, unpretentious atmosphere.
Yes, they’re so stubborn that they decline all menu modification requests (and even specify this on the menu) but I have to love their conviction here.
The super seasonal, fresh, bright menu works for high end contemporary Canadian but then bam! It also doubles as a quality pizza joint with the prosciutto, pear, and walnut version being among my favourite dishes in the city.
This is that rare place where you can’t go wrong with sharing a couple family-style Italian offerings, then gearing up with some pork belly or espresso and porcini butter steak.
I also noticed they’ve got a generous 7 item dessert menu if you’ve got a sweet tooth.
Kosoo Korean Restaurant
Sometimes everybody needs a little Seoul food, and even if you haven’t tried Korean cuisine you may find some familiar tastes here – Kosoo (‘master’ in Korean) dominates Korean and Japanese ingredients with French cooking techniques.
I love the great comfort foods here like their beef brisket bimbimbap, a filling rice and vegetable dish topped with a fried egg.
Another standout that turned heads was the wang galbi – a premium short rib soup that cooks hot pot style right on your table. In fact, there are four featured hot pot soups here that really hit the spot on rainy days.
Of course, as much as we hesitate to list fried chicken on our list of Vancouver’s best restaurants downtown – we can’t not.
The soy garlic version makes the Colonel’s secret spices taste like Chef Boyardee.
When it comes to classic French restaurants in downtown Vancouver, this has been the crème de la crème for over 30 years.
Le Crocodile has achieved numerous accolades due to its impeccable yet unpretentious service and innovative interpretation of traditional Gallic cuisine.
Legendary chef Michel Jacob has even been knighted by the French governor for his service to French cuisine abroad – so you know he’s legit!
Classic favourites like lamb shank Provençal and beef tenderloin au poivre come accompanied with a wide selection of French and local wines.
Best Restaurants in Downtown Vancouver Map
Let Us Know if You’re Hungry For More
I’ve given you a heavy arsenal of the best restaurants in downtown Vancouver but maybe I missed something.
Get at me if you need any additional advice.
Also – if you have any other questions, tips, or recommendations for other travellers be sure to chime in using comment section below or on our Facebook page.
Buon appetit 🙂