The Best Restaurants in Vancouver
Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse$$$$ | Area: Downtown | 777 Thurlow St | Skytrain: City Centre | Website The king of downtown Vancouver restaurants named after a legendary lifeguard is universally considered the best oyster bar in town. But with over 50 different kinds of fish, shellfish, and chops sourced only from local farms, fisherman, and ranchers… Joe Fortes is much more than that. The stunning 1920’s dining room features 30 foot ceilings and a famous rooftop patio. It’s one of the best spots in the city to enjoy a happy hour cocktail. Go here for uniquely West-coast cuisine.
St. Lawrence$$$$ | Area: Gastown | 269 Powell St | Skytrain: Waterfront | Website Since opening in 2017 St. Lawrence has won numerous awards for serving classic French cuisine heavily influenced by Executive chef J.C. Poirier’s Québécois upbringing. But don’t expect Vancouver must eats like poutine – you can grab that one Vancouver’s best food tours. This Gastown haunt offers elevated French country cooking (cuisine de campagne as he labels it): rustic, generous, and honest. We went for a light endive salad with blue cheese and then went all out with two classics: trout amandine with brown butter sauce and hangar steak aux poivres with the most delectable pommes frites you’ve ever tasted. Well respected local publication Vancouver Magazine recently awarded St. Lawrence with the prestigious title of Best Restaurant and Best Chef in 2019.
Botanist$$$$ | Area: Waterfront | 1038 Canada Place | Skytrain: Waterfront | Website We may be up here in cold Canada but the “nothing grows here” narrative gets a huge slap in the face by Executive Chef Hector Laguna and his menu from backyard suppliers. This is a great way to taste organic produce plucked from the soils of the Pacific Northwest. It features sustainable local seafood and even a foraging menu. They’ve also got a fantastic wine program, their own champagne bar, and count a cocktail lab that’ll have you sipping on everything from infused Canadian ryes to electric daisies. Also, being at Canada Place this is the top Vancouver restaurant for guests arriving at the Vancouver Cruise Port.
Ancora Waterfront Dining and Patio$$$$ | Area: False Creek | 1600 Howe St | Skytrain: Yaletown | Website It’s no surprise that these fresh fish aficionados are just across the creek from Granville Island Market. Their fresh seafood is on full display at this dynamic spot fusing the harmony of Japanese and Peruvian cultures – Ancora has consistently cracked all the best of lists both locally and nationally. If you’re wanting Pacific seafood then their ancora glacier platter for two (oysters, ceviche, prawns, sashimi, tuna, mussels, and Dungeness crab) is a must. They’ve also got the best raw bar in town and the patio to match.
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie$$$ | Area: Chinatown | 163 Keefer St | Skytrain: Stadium | Website This ain’t no fortune cookie Cantonese joint with special fried rice and chicken chow mein – Chinatown favourite Bao Bei Brasserie kills it with elevated Chinese classics infused with flavours from Taiwan, Shanghai, and Sichuan. And they come paired with some of the tastiest cocktails in the city. The schnacks section contains a number of shareable finger foods (go for the marinated eggplant) that are perfect pairings as an Asian aperitivo! The delicious petit cadeaux menu contains a variety of handmade dumplings, wontons, and pot stickers. Need something more filling? Locals hit the petit plat chinois for dan-dan noodles, crispy pork belly or wok fried squid. The kicker? It’s a 100% sustainable, organic, hormone-free, MSG-less kitchen. They don’t accept reservations – get there early. Related: How Many Days Do I Need to Spend in Vancouver?
Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar$$$$ | Area: Downtown | 845 Burrard St | Skytrain: City Centre | Website
Located in the iconic Sutton Place Hotel, Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar has been racking up awards due to the inventive cuisine of executive chef Alex Chen.
While firmly based in French traditions, Boulevard’s menu also employs strong Asian and West-coast influences in its award winning menu.As a seafood lover I recommend the local roasted sable fish, served with broccoli, grilled maitake mushroom and xo sauce. Looking to stay on land? The grilled USDA prime NY steak with shiitake pomme Anna and maitake mushrooms. The happy hour menu is also some of the best value in the city. Related: Vancouvers Best Breakfast Restaurants
Hy’s Steakhouse & Cocktail Bar$$$$ | Area: Downtown | 637 Hornby St | Skytrain: Burrard | Website Just beyond the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is another work of art in the form of this classy throwback steakhouse that looks like a venue for trading stocks over expensive cigars. Yes, this is often for business lunches and special occasion dinners so prepare to shell out – but the 28 day aged steaks are worth every penny, especially their plump porterhouse. There’s some sneaky value stuff here though – their 9 oz wine pours are the most generous in the city. Whatever you do make sure to grab a side of their famous cheese toast.
Ask for Luigi$$$ | Area: Gastown | 305 Alexander St | Skytrain: Waterfront | Website If you’re on the lookout for honest Italian food served in a casual and intimate setting then there’s no better spot than Ask For Luigi. Dining in this pint-sized restaurant feels more like lunch at nonna’s – if she were a five star chef with meatballs that could interrupt a Berlusconi bunga bunga party. Start with an aperitivo like a spritz or a bicicletta (campari, wine, lemon) and dig into some bocconcini fritti : deep fried house-made mozzarella with marinara sauce. It’s the homemade pasta though that keeps customers coming back. Two can’t miss courses are the fusilli verde with a rich duck ragu or the ricotta ravioli with peas, mint, and lemon. I capped things with a short espresso and a necking of the undisputed king of Italian digestivi (grappa) and walked out half-cut: just like nonna would have wanted!
Kingyo$$ | Area: West End | 871 Denman St | Skytrain: City Centre | Website An izakaya-style Japanese restaurant that’s famous for a delicious assortment of small plates, similar to a Spanish tapas restaurant but with tomato kimchi, tuna tataki, crispy chicken karaage and more. This is also an under-the-radar sushi spot with their pressed sockeye salmon with jalapeño mayo being one of my favourites in the city. For mains the stone rice bowls with pork belly or the truffle carbonara udon (must be tried to be believed) are top choices but it’s the stone grilled kobe beef that steals the show. The lively communal seating isn’t for everybody – but make sure you make a reservation if you want to join in on the fun.
Hawksworth$$$$ | Area: Downtown | 305 Alexander St | Skytrain: City Centre | Website This 5 time winner of Vancouver Magazine’s prestigious Best Upscale award celebrates modern Canadian cuisine with a spontaneous, seasonal menu. Executive Chef David Hawksworth beautifully take a casual, multi-ethnic approach to create stunning entrees like wild ling cod with black rice, curried root vegetable, and orange lassi. The piece de resistance is the aged beef sirloin with a beef fat roasted onion and smoked bone marrow bordelaise. There’s also a superb cocktail list and some of the top desserts in the city.
Pidgin$$$ | Area: Gastown | 350 Carrall St | Skytrain: Waterfront | Website This stylish eatery on the edge of trendy Gastown tasks itself with the goal of challenging people’s deep seeded notions of Asian cuisine – combining traditional Asian flavours with European sensibilities. My favourite starter is the crunchy chicken karaage with spicy yusu kosho mayo and pickled daikon – a personal childhood favourite elevated. The Korean rice cake with gochujang bolognese (a Korean chili paste) is the restaurant’s signature dish. But if you’re feeling extra indulgent, you can’t go wrong with the foie gras rice bowl with chestnuts, daikon and unagi glaze. Pidgin masterfully breaks down the walls between both East and West and past and present. Consequently, it manages to represent contemporary Vancouver in a way that few other good restaurants can.
Vij’s$$$$ | Area: Fairview | 3106 Cambie St | Skytrain: City Hall | Website Curry lovers will be happy to know this gem isn’t just one of the best restaurants in Vancouver – it has been dubbed the best Indian restaurant in North America. The brainchild of Canadian celebrity chef Vikram Vij, Vij’s has accumulated a wealth of international accolades over 25 years of operation – most famously in the late Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. The show begins the minute you walk in the door: a warm smile, a selection of complimentary snacks, and a cup of the best chai tea in the city. You’ll probably meet Vikram himself as this masterful restauranteur is as attentive to his diners as he is to the unique spice blends used in his kitchen. The restaurant’s signature dish is the wine-marinated lamb popsicles with fenugreek cream curry. Other favourites include the grilled local sablefish in a light yogurt tomato broth with onion masala and the spicy Punjabi-style goat curry.
L’Abbatoir$$$$ | Area: Gastown | 217 Carrall St | Skytrain: Waterfront | Website Situated in the heart of Gastown between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley, fine dining L’Abattoir is located on the site of Vancouver’s first city jail. Eventually, the building was converted into the city’s main butchery and now the restaurant and its rather macabre name: meaning slaughterhouse in French. The French influenced West-Coast cuisine, coupled with the attentive yet unpretentious service has secured L’Abattoir numerous awards since it’s opening in 2010. West-Coast classics like roasted ling cod and traditional favourites like Steak Diane are heavily ‘frenchified’. If that wasn’t enough, they come accompanied with an eclectic wine list and some of the best cocktails in the city.
Kissa Tanto$$$ | Area: Chinatown | 263 East Pender St | Skytrain: Stadium | Website If your reaction upon hearing the words ‘Japanese-Italian fusion‘ is ‘why mess with two good things?’ then I’ll give it to you – until I discovered one of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants. Its imaginative decor paying homage to a defunct 1960’s Tokyo jazz club (‘Kissa’) is perennially ranked amongst the best restaurants in the country. The pairing of delicate Japanese flavours with the rustic warmth of Italian cooking is a home run for taste buds. Start out with the daily fish crudo, with shiso vinaigrette, capers, Castelvetrano olives and mustard greens. Fancy a pasta? Then shoot for the agnolotti with braised duck, Japanese leeks, and a grainy mustard brandy sauce. The main event? A whole fried fish served tempura style with a daikon soy dipping sauce. Reservations at Kissa Tanto are hard to come by. However, they do leave a number of tables open for walk ins on a daily basis. Show up early to get your spot.
Tojo’s$$$$$ | Area: Fairview | 1133 W. Broadway | Skytrain: Broadway | Website The best sushi in Vancouver, period. Tojo’s is home to internationally acclaimed sushi chef Hidekazu Tojo: a man so highly regarded that he has been fawned over by Anthony Bourdain, ranked as one of the 10 best sushi chefs in the world, and even named a goodwill ambassador by the Japanese government. Not easily impressed? As we mentioned in our list of things to know before visiting Vancouver he has also been credited with the invention of a North American sushi staple: the California roll At Tojo’s it’s simply called the ‘Tojo roll’. The ultimate way to experience his genius is the omakase menu. Meaning “chef, I’m in your hands”, this option allows Tojo to prepare a specially curated selection of hot and cold dishes. There are 5 different options starting at $80 and up. You’re guaranteed 6-7 courses specifically tailored to your tastes. Not looking to drop $80? An a la carte option is available.
Guu With Garli$$ | Area: West End | 1698 Robson St. | Skytrain: Burrard | Website Guu is recognized as Vancouver’s pioneer Izakaya, as they provide locals with an authentic Japanese food experience. Their garlic prime rib, a standout dish, showcases expert cooking with a perfect garlic infusion. If you want to be more adventurous you can try their monkfish liver dish. Also, they have an extensive drink selection, creating a harmonious fusion of flavors. If you enjoy their drinks and still want more, you can check out the best Vancouver wine tours.
Salmon n’ Bannock
Salmon n’ Bannock in Vancouver offers a stellar dining experience with its Indigenous-inspired cuisine which is perfect on our list of the best restaurants in Vancouver.
The candied salmon, tender and smoky, steals the show, perfectly complemented by the delectable bannock.
The menu showcases a fusion of traditional ingredients and modern techniques, featuring dishes like bison pot roast.
The cozy ambiance, adorned with indigenous art, adds to the cultural immersion.
Knowledgeable and passionate staff contribute to a memorable dining experience, making Salmon n’ Bannock a must-visit for those seeking a unique culinary journey rooted in Indigenous heritage.
I love it here so much that I also included this on the best things to do in Vancouver.