Vancouver’s most historic neighbourhood will give you a long day exploring and a healthy appetite to go along with it, so picking one of the best restaurants in Gastown isn’t just for taste – it’s for survival!
I’m gonna help you nourish yourself with amazing food and get back on the trail.
The Best Restaurants in Gastown
Gastown Fine Dining
Situated between historic Gaoler’s Mews and Blood Alley, right in the heart of Gastown, L’Abattoir is located on the site of Vancouver’s first city jail.
The building was eventually converted into the city’s main butchery, providing the restaurant with its macabre name (‘slaughterhouse’ in French).
L’Abattoir aims to highlight the finer points of dining in its “informed but informal” setting. But it’s the innovative French influenced West-coast cuisine that has earned the restaurant numerous awards since its 2010 opening.
West-Coast classics like roasted ling cod and traditional favourites like steak Diane receive a heavy dose of French influence. And if that isn’t enough, they’ve got the wine and cocktails to rival some of Vancouver’s best bars.
Of all the best things to do in Vancouver for meat eaters I recommend this old-school nose-to-tail joint. They aim to use the entirety of the animal in a variety of dishes on their contemporary farm-to-table menu served West-coast style.
All meat, seafood, and produce is locally sourced: free range and organic. In fact, executive chef Ian McHale goes so far as to consult with local farmers to choose the diet of each animal on his menu!
To kick the night off you can’t miss the bone marrow appetizer accompanied by a shot of sherry. Sound a bit weird? You’re supposed to shoot the sherry out of the bone!
For dinner favourites like bison flat–iron steak and BC waygu ragu rigatoni masterfully blend classic butchery with modern cooking techniques.
Top it off with an amazing cocktail and whisky list, and a diverse selection of new and old world wines, and you have a true winner.
There’s proof of just how far Gastown restaurants have come in the last decade when you visit St. Lawrence.
Since opening in 2017, chef J.C Poirier has won numerous awards serving classical French cuisine that’s heavily influenced by his Québécois upbringing.
But don’t come here expecting Poutine.
Poirier offers elevated French country cooking at its finest.
Start out with a light endive salad with blue cheese or, if you’re feeling extra indulgent, the pomme anna with sauvagine cheese and poutine sauce.
Popular entrees include French classics like trout amandine with brown butter sauce, or the ever popular grilled hangar steak with sauce aux poivres.
Paired with a glass of wine from the French only wine list, and you’ll be asking yourself whether you’re dining at one of the best restaurants in Gastown or the Champs-Èlysèe.
This stylish haunt owned by German filmmaker Uwe Bolle provides Vancouverites with the opportunity to experience a piece of Deutschland.
But don’t come expecting fatty sausages and onions.
Bauhaus offers a refreshingly modern take on German cuisine reliant on seasonal ingredients from local farms and suppliers.
Dining à la carte is ok, but for the real fun hit any of the 6 course tasting menus crafted by executive chef Christian Kuehnel – the wine pairings really make it!
I go for the wiener schnitzel with pan fried potatoes and cranberry. Having tried this classic in Austria and Germany – I may have to say it’s better here.
Not convinced? Bauhaus has been named as one of the best German bars & restaurants in the world by CNN, and labeled the new global face of German cuisine by Wine Spectator.
Casual Dining in Gastown Vancouver
Ask for Luigi
Italian food in a casual, intimate setting that’s more like nonna’s house than one of the most renown Italian restaurants in the country. And yet it is.
I always start with an aperitivo like a spritz or bicicletta. Then I hit the appetizers. My personal fave is the bocconcini fritti: deep fried bite-sized pieces of homemade mozzarella.
Bundles of fried goodness? Chickety check.
The hand made pasta is the star here though. Favourites include the fusilli verde with a rich duck ragu, or the ricotta ravioli with peas, mint and lemon.
Finish up your evening with a panna cotta, a sweet espresso and a shot of grappa, the undisputed king of Italian digestivi.
They don’t take reservations, so get there early!
Moltaqa Moroccan Restaurant
The fragrant smells, vibrant colours and even the gyrating belly dancers are culturally and gastronomically about as far from Canada as you can get.
Unfamiliar with Moroccan? It’s a delicious combo of Berber, Arab, Spanish and French. And it’s absolutely jam-packed full of vibrancy, colour and flavour.
The key to Moroccan cooking is the ancient clay cooking vessel called the tagine, which guarantees unparalleled tenderness in whatever it cooks.
When at Moltaqa, I recommend starting with the delicious house made merguez sausage, with freshly baked Moroccan bread for dipping.
For the main course, my favourite is the delectable cumin lamb shank tagine, with cous cous and seasonal vegetables.
The Moroccan tea cocktail is just like you’re in Marrakesh… except this one comes with bourbon!
This stylish eatery will challenge your preconceptions about what can be accomplished within the confines of Asian cuisine.
For executive chef Wesley Young, this involves combining traditional Asian flavours with modern techniques and European sensibilities.
Similarly, Pidgin aims to blur the lines between casual and fine dining. This approach leads to a room that is both beautiful and comfortable, and cuisine that is delicate yet approachable.
Begin with a choice from their award winning cocktail menu. Whether it’s a traditional negroni, or one of their unique pidgin creations, you can be assured it’ll be of the highest level.
My favourite starter is the crunchy chicken karaage with spicy yusu kosho mayo and tosazu pickled daikon. My childhood favourite dish really gets wings with this one!
The Korean rice cake with gochujang bolognese (a Korean child 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.
Nicli Antica Pizzeria
This wouldn’t be a list of Gastown restaurants without the world’s fave food.
Nicli Antica Pizzeria delivers (not to your home, but to your soul) as one of only two Vancouver pizzerias to have received the prestigious Vera Pizza Napoletana certification.
This recognizes that each pizza that comes out of their oven is made in accordance to true Neapolitan tradition. As such, you can expect your pizza to be cooked in only 60 seconds at 480°C using only the finest ingredients.
No ham and pineapple here, my friends.
The true sign of any great pizzeria is in their pizza margherita and Nicli’s is likely the best in the city. Add on the creamy mozzarella di bufala for a little luxury.
I can never resist the prosciutto e rucola (fior di latte, prosciutto and arugula), but the diavolo subdolo with mozzarella di bufala, roasted green chilies, sopressata piccante and arugula is absolutely out of control.
Cheap Restaurants in Gastown
Meat and Bread
Who says the best restaurants in Gastown have to cost a lot? This beauty here found success employing a very simple concept: putting delicious pieces of meat between two pieces of bread.
These are not just your everyday sandwiches.
Each item is prepared using quality ingredients, culinary skill, and a lot of heart. Their mantra “we aren’t sandwich artists, we’re chefs” says it all.
Go for the signature porchetta sandwich with cracklings and salsa verde. You can also opt for the meatball sandwich with parmesan aioli and gremolata if you’re feeling adventurous.
Coming with kids? They’ve got a bangin’ grilled cheese.
Round out the meal with soup or salad and a craft beer and this is one of the great cheap eats in Gastown, and maybe all of Vancouver.
Kita No Donburi
This Donburi restaurant right near the Vancouver Lookout is at the top of my favourite places to eat in Gastown – and probably all Vancouver.
They’re nourishing and healthy while remaining quick and cheap. This combination has regrettably eluded most North American fast-food fare.
Until you see these complex Japanese rice bowls served at fast-food prices.
My personal favourite is the sha-ke don, featuring three kinds of salmon, ikura, avocado, and a variety greens served over a bowl of sushi rice.
It’s just $10.95, and I can hardly think of a better deal in the city.
Other options include classics such as pork katsu, oyakodon, and Korean favourite bibimbap.
Sushi is arguably the second fiddle here, a side dish to offer variety, and yet somehow they make some of the best sushi in the city.
La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop
La Taqueria is one of the most prominent examples of a Vancouver food explosion set off by our North American cousins in Mexico.
Each dish leaving their kitchen is made using traditional Mexican recipes that exclusively use local, organic, and sustainable products.
You can choose from a large selection of classic tacos or opt for a burrito or quesadilla. Personally, I like to grab a variety of tacos (4 for $10.50) and wash them down with a cold craft beer, or one of their delightful mezcal margaritas.
Classics like al pastor, pollo con mole and carne asada are always crowd pleasers, but there is a handful of seafood and vegetarian options as well.
Gastown Restaurants Map
The best restaurants in Gastown are close together – once you’ve driven down or taken Vancouver public transport to the area everything is walking distance.
Gastown Food Tours
Gastown Food Walking Tour
Duration: 2.5 hrs| Price: From $124.95 CAD
This famous Gastown walking tour is hands down one of the best Vancouver food tours on offer.
It allows you to explore the area’s cobblestone streets with like minded travellers while you tick off a big chunk of the best places to eat in Gastown.
From cheese and prosciutto with local wine to beer battered fish and chips and bbq pulled pork sandwiches, there is bound to be something for every palette.
Even the fussiest of eaters will enjoy the organic soft ice cream, house-made chocolate and creamy cheesecake, voted the best in the city!
The tour is conducted by improv comedy actors who are full of passion and pride in their city. Between stops at restaurants and local landmarks they’ll recount fascinating and funny stories about the city’s past.
- 2.5 hour Gastown walking tour
- Visits to famous landmarks (Steam Clock, Gassy Jack Statue, Blood Alley etc.)
- 8 stops at Gastown restaurants (food/drinks included)
- Professional improv comedian as your guide
Still Looking for the Top Gastown Restaurants?
I’ve put you in pole position to enjoy the best restaurants in Gastown but maybe you disagree. Maybe I’ve swung and missed and you’re irate as all hell… so tell me!
Any comment, question, or even challenge regarding Vancouver Gastown restaurants or your upcoming holiday will be answered ASAP in the comments section.
Speak soon 🙂