I'm not a food critique, nor am I a professional restaurant connoisseur. I just really love to eat. I love trying new restaurants, trying new foods, and I get really excited when I hear a new restaurant is opening up or my favourite cafe is creating a new menu item. And what better place for someone who loves to eat than Vancouver?
I've said it time and time again, Vancouver is a foodie mecca. It may be no New York or London, but I can't say we're too far behind. This city is a hot spot for talented chefs who are beyond skilled, and know how to satisfy our taste buds and indulge us in the best of the best. From the freshest seafood to the heartiest meats, our Vancouver chefs know how to prepare them in a way that showcases their flavour in unique ways.
One thing I do know, I probably eat out a little bit more than the average person and I'm incredibly thankful, as I know not everyone has the luxury to do so. So, I'm going to share with all of you some of my favourites to make it easier for you to pick and choose which restaurant you might want to try this weekend (and not waste your hard earned dollars on restaurants that suck). While everyone has different taste buds and taste preferences, these restaurants have truly wowed me and I would recommend everyone to add these spots to their foodie bucket list.
If you want to show us some of your favourites, tag us at @NarcityCanada and we'll definitely keep those spots on our radar.
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St. Lawrence Restaurant
Where: 269 Powell St // Railtown
I recommend: Oreilles de Crisse, Steak tartare, and Côte de porc (or let your server recommend daily features)
Why you should go: If you love French food and all things boujee, this is the perfect spot. The first time that I went here I was indulged by the low lighting, romantic atmosphere, incredible service, and absolutely sumptuous meal. The head chef is also the owner of Ask For Luigi and Pizzeria Farina, so you know it's going to be a good meal. I was able to watch the chefs prepare the food from the bar because of their open concept kitchen, and each dish is created and finished with such precision and care. Oh, and their bartender definitely knows more than just a thing or two about making a damn good drink. I would come back here in a heartbeat, and if you haven't been yet, this restaurant is definitely on top of my recommendation list.
Where: M101-888 Nelson St // Downtown
Type: Japanese Izakaya
I recommend: Saba Oshi Sushi, Chicken Karaage, and Okinawa Peanut Tofu
Why you should go: Anyone who knows me can vouch for me when I say I go to Guu Garden at least several times a month. Besides the fact that I love Japanese food, Guu (specifically this location on Nelson) offers a chill atmosphere that is perfect for a casual date, a hype party with your friends, or even a birthday dinner with your family (I've been here two birthdays in a row) - it's kind of like a Japanese Cactus Club, good for every occasion. The food is always consistent and delicious, they've got Sapporo mega pints, and their patio is adorable. I would recommend going for dinner rather than lunch, just because I think their dinner menu is more unique.
Where: 1011 Hamilton St // Yaletown
Type: Casual Lounge
I recommend: Yaletown Pizza and Punch Bowls
Why you should go: Omggg the pizza and the punch bowls 🤤🤤...brb I need some right now. Okay, but in all seriousness, The Parlour is hands-down one of my favourite places for big group dinners and parties. The atmosphere is always bumpin' and the staff are always ready to accommodate for large groups. Their menu is perfect for sharing (ie. the pizza) and those punch bowls are probably my favourite punch bowls in the city. Admittedly the punch bowls are a bit pricey, but I mean, you're in Yaletown. What did you expect? But it's worth it.
Where: 350 Carrall St // Gastown
Type: Japanese-French Fusion
Price: 💸💸 - 💸💸💸
I recommend: Foie Gras Rice Bowl, Beef Strip Loin, and Sablefish
Why you should go: The moment I first tasted their Foie Gras Rice Bowl, my soul was sold to them forever. The texture was smooth and buttery, the flavour was sweet and umami, and paired with the pearls of Japanese rice, the combination was a match faithfully made in heaven. But aside from the rice bowl (I've clearly made my point that it is to-die-for), their menu is incredibly unique and the atmosphere is simply romantic. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for date night with bae.
The Pawn Shop
Where: 1117 Granville St // Downtown
Type: Taco and Tequila Bar
Price: 💸 - 💸💸
I recommend: Happy Hour $1 Tacos and $3 Tequila
Why you should go: I love tacos, I love booze, and I love hip hop - so naturally, I would love The Pawn Shop. I know I've mentioned them so many times, but that's because it really is a great spot! Their Happy Hour tacos are ridiculously cheap and so is their booze. If your bank account is telling you that you only have $20, you can still eat until your full and drink until you're drunk here without even spending $20. And alright, this spot may be more of a bar than a restaurant but this list couldn't possibly be complete without including it.
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Where: 1448 Marine Dr // West Vancouver
I recommend: Tortellini Alla Panna and Penne Gorgonzola
Why you should go: This family owned authentic Italian restaurant has been in the West Van neighbourhood for years and for good reason - they make amazing pasta. The restaurant itself is small but cozy, the staff are so friendly and make you feel like you're family. With one taste of their luxurious cream sauce pastas and you'll never want anything else in life. After a nice day at Ambleside Beach, Carmello's will hit the spot.
The Beachhouse Restaurant
Where: 150 25th St // Dundarave
Type: West Coast
I recommend: Tuna Poke Nachos, Beachhouse Tacos and Parmesan Fries
Why you should go: The Beachhouse is home to one of the most beautiful patios in Vancouver complete with palm trees and tiki torches at night. Located on the shore of the secluded Dundarave area in West Vancouver, this west coast restaurant makes the most of the gorgeous views from the other side of the water. And don't get me started on their tuna nachos, tacos and parm fries...they are literally appies on crack.
MARU Korean Bistro
Where: 125 2nd St E // Lower Lonsdale
I recommend: Korean Fried Chicken, and Korean Kimchi and Pork Bao-Zi
Why you should go: Lower Lonsdale definitely has a lot of great restaurants, but Maru is definitely one of my ultimate favourites. Why you ask? Dat fried chicken though. Their Korean Fried Chicken is crispy and juicy, crunchy and saucey, everything you could ask for in Korean style fried chicken. What I love about this spot is that they also create some really unique dishes with a spin on traditional Korean food. Along with your familiar favourites, you can also expect the unexpected.
Where: 6408 Bay St // Horseshoe Bay
Type: Fish and Chips
I recommend: Troll's Famous Fish and Chips
Why you should go: Horseshoe Bay might be out of the way for most of us, but their famous fish and chips are soooo worth the drive. Troll's has been around for over 60 years because their fish and chips are just so darn good. I myself have been going to this restaurant with my fish-and-chips-loving mom ever since I was a child. The interior is a very homey cabin-like diner - so whether the sun is shining or the rain is pouring, Troll's is the perfect spot. Maybe I'm a tiny bit biased, but in my opinion, there is truly no fish and chips restaurant as original and authentic as Troll's.
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Where: 3431 W Broadway // Kitsilano
I recommend: Big In Japan Platter and Sangria Pitcher
Why you should go: If you were ever a student at UBC then you've probably been to The Eatery a million times. Why? Because it was just easy, but super good and super satisfying every single time. The Eatery is super weird, fun and funky, and that's what I love about it. Eating here makes you kind of feel like you're inside of a Japanese video game or anime. Bring your entire squad here or just come for a fun date with bae (or potential bae), and you're bound to have a good time with super good eats.
Where: 3605 W 4th Ave // West Point Grey
Type: Organic Cafe and Pie Shop
I recommend: Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
Why you should go: Some would say Aphrodite's is overrated, I prefer to say it is well-loved. Though it truly is more of a cafe than a restaurant, they serve some of the yummiest and healthiest breakfast and brunch dishes ever. But better yet, (what everyone knows and loves them for) is their pie! I have never tasted a creamier, more real-banana-tasting, chocolatier banana cream pie than theirs. Cheers to Aphrodite's for making all my pie dreams come true.
Where: 3763 W 10th Ave // Kitsilano
Type: Japanese Izakaya
I recommend: Chirashi Don and Rajio's Famous Fruit Punch
Why you should go: You can probably tell by now, I really love Japanese izakaya spots. Rajio is another great spot to chat, chill and chow down on delicious food. Their service is impeccable and the food is so good. And I mean, who doesn't want to drink an entire pineapple of booze and juice? I would definitely recommend making a reservation though, they are always packed.
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Where: 1 E Broadway // Mount Pleasant
Type: South East Asian
I recommend: Butter Beef Carpaccio and Garlic Butter Chicken Wings
Why you should go: I would have put Phnom Penh on this list, but you probably already know of it. So, let me introduce to you Indochine - Phnom Penh's cooler, younger and much more hip little sister. The atmosphere is more like a restaurant and bar, with comfy couches in the corner, but they don't skimp on the food. Their butter beef and chicken wings are amazing...the perfect snack to go with board games (yup! board games).
JY No. 1 Beef Noodle House
Where: 4741 Willingdon Ave // Burnaby
Type: Taiwanese Casual Dining
Price: 💸 - 💸💸
I recommend: Beef Noodle Soup
Why you should go: There are many places that serve Taiwanese beef noodle soup in Vancouver, by JY's has one of my favourites. The restaurant is super chill and casual, and also pretty cheap. JY's is your classic neighbourhood joint for good Taiwanese food and my go-to for a hot bowl of noodle soup in the winter time.
Where: 2420 Main St // Mount Pleasant
Type: Vegan and Vegetarian Diner
I recommend: Lightning Fries and Baked Mac n' Cheesy
Why you should go: I may not be vegan or vegetarian, but The Wallflower Diner would definitely makes it easy to be one. Serving up some of the best veg diner food in Vancouver, The Wallflower is a vegan/vegetarian Vancouverite's favourite. One thing I cannot live life without is their Baked Mac n' Cheesy. It is so creamy and so carby, it's everything you want on a cold winter evening. The atmosphere is also super cozy and quirky.
Where: 4598 Main St // South Main
Price: 💸 - 💸💸
I recommend: Ox Tail and Bun Bo Hue
Why you should go: The exterior may look a look rough and run down, but Pho Tan is an absolute gem. Pho Tan makes really authentic Vietnamese food, from the pho to the bun, but what I really recommend is asking them about their secret menu with delicious items like their Beer Crab and Ox Tail. Though you have to call in advance to request anything on the special menu, trust me, it's worth it.
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Sushi K Kamizato
Where: 2850 Shaughnessy St // Port Coquitlam
Price: 💸💸 - 💸💸💸
I recommend: Omakase and Daily Specials
Why you should go: If you live in the Tri-cities and don't think you've got any good sushi around your area, you are so wrong. Sushi K Kamizato is one of the best sushi restaurants in the lower mainland. Not only is owner Chef Keith Kamizato a rock and roll head, he's a sushi mastermind - he's even personally catered for some of the biggest rock stars on the planet. All of his sashimi is chosen fresh by himself, and prepared with utmost care and precision. The space is a little eccentric for a sushi restaurant (yes, they play strictly rock and roll), but their food will definitely satisfy your taste buds.
Where: C-1046 Austin Ave // Coquitlam
Price: 💸💸 - 💸💸💸
I recommend: Tabom Signature
Why you should go: If you love Korean food and you love cheese, you will die when you go to Tabom. Their Tabom Signature is a hot plate with your choice of Korean stir fry or soup in the middle, and melted cheese as well as grilled corn on the side. This is definitely a meal you're going to want to share with a big group of friends or your family. And if you're in the mood for a lot of fried chicken, I would definitely recommend the BAM! Chicken, which is literally just a fat plate of Korean fried chicken with fried ddukbokki and french fries.