Dining and Drinking in Vancouver

by Julie Ovenell-Carter on February 13, 2011

by Julie Ovenell-Carter | February 13th, 2011  

Visiting Vancouver? Don’t forget to pack your appetite.

With an abundance of talented chefs, international cuisines and top-quality locally sourced ingredients, this scenic West Coast city is something of a foodie heaven. You could eat badly here, I guess–but you’d really have to try.

Patio dining at Bridges Restaurant on Granville Island

Whether you’re looking for budget nosh or fine dining, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Vancouver.

No matter what style of cuisine you’re hungry for, you’ll find what you’re craving at street food carts, hole-in-the-wall ethnic eateries, casual family-style restaurants and silver-service dining rooms.

First-time visitors to Vancouver will want to try at least one of the city’s favourite restaurants-with-a-view.

And given Vancouver’s oceanfront location, a seafood meal is practically mandatory: I recommend Coast or Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar for those who don’t want to choose between raw fish and cooked.

(Indeed, sushi is to Vancouver what hot dogs are to New York City–you’ll find it for sale on every block!)

When you’re short on cash, forgo burgers-and-Coke to sample favourite local fare such as Vietnamese meatball sandwiches, pho, wood-fired pizza, ramen noodles, poutine, bubble tea and gelato.

Head to Little India or Chinatown for terrific Indian and Chinese food at reasonable prices.

The see-and-be-seen crowd favours thhe upscale diners of Yaletown, while club crawlers opt to start and end their revelry with quick meals at the casual ethnic eateries in and around Granville and Robson Streets.

The best–or at least, the busiest–places to drink in Vancouver are clustered in and around Gastown, Yaletown and the north end of Granville Street. This is a decidedly young scene and if you like a chaser of civilized conversation with your shot of alcohol, you may prefer to imbibe at a brewpub, or the lounge of a four-star hotel such as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver or the Four Seasons.

Best go-to guides for Vancouver dining

  • Georgia Straight Golden Plate Awards: The Georgia Straight is a free arts and entertainment weekly, widely available from news boxes throughout the city every Thursday. Every year they offer an authoritative (and often hilarious) round-up of Vancouver’s best eateries.
  • HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards: With its huge Asian population, Vancouver offers some of the best Chinese food in the world. This annual awards event recognizes the best of the best.
  • Vancouver Magazine: Attitudinous reviews of local restaurants and guides to neighbourhood dining from Vancouver’s upscale city magazine.

Best foodie blogs in Vancouver

  • Follow Me Foodie: Mijune Pak’s food blog is commendable for its detailed, transparent and effervescent restaurant reviews. When it comes to authoritative food writing, I would follow her anywhere.
  • Vancouver Foodster: An apparently indefatigable gadabout, Richard Wolak keeps a clear eye on food trends and personalities in Vancouver.
  • Inside Vancouver: Tourism Vancouver’s blog stays abreast of food trends in the city although reviews tend to skew towards the marketing organization’s own members.

Best mobile apps for Vancouver dining

Use these apps to search for restaurants near your location:

Photo: Tourism Vancouver

>>Ready to book your trip to Vancouver, BC? Use the search tool on this page to find low-cost flights and accommodation!

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