There’s no denying Vancouver has a vibrant and diverse food scene, with so many great things to eat around the city. In fact, one of your most difficult decisions will be what to eat in Vancouver. It’s just another great thing about living in Vancouver. Not a bad problem to have, of course! In this post, I’ve pulled together all the great food Vancity is well known for, including a whole plethora of things you must try when visiting the city. Expect to see plenty of seafood, noodles, comfort foods, and a whole bunch of vegetarian and vegan options.
What to eat in Vancouver: cheap eats
It’s indisputably a North American classic, but did you know how many variations, toppings, and fusions of the hot dog there really are? Well, you will soon find out in Vancouver. You don’t have to travel far in the city centre, along the beaches or parks to see a truck selling inexpensive hot dogs. One of the city’s most popular options is Japadog, serving up Japanese-inspired hot dogs (as the name suggests). It proudly displays pictures with a whole host of celebs who’ve enjoyed the fusion treats, and it’s worth working your way through the menu. You’ll see plenty of seaweed and tempura on the menu. Head to Nat Bailey Stadium for a game of Canadian baseball and grab an iconic foot-long hotdog, or go to What’s Up Hot Dog for both the classics and some unique combinations.
Perhaps it’s the West Coast influence from California, or just the fact that Vancouverites really enjoy a good Mexican meal. Either way, you won’t struggle to find amazing tacos in this city. Try the classic fish tacos from Vancouver Island’s very own Tacofino (Tofino’s T(ac)ofino) – maybe from one of the unique menus at their various locations, or from a food truck. La Taqueria serves up a tasty menu and happy hour, and the Pawn Shop does an incredible $1 taco deal every day from 3-6pm. Now that’s what I’m taco ’bout.
I must say, I’ve had some bloody good sandwiches since I’ve been in Vancouver. It’s one of those simple things that can actually be pretty difficult to get right. In this city, you’ll find sandwiches piled up with amazing ingredients on locally baked bread. Whether Vietnamese banh mi, loaded smoked meat, grilled cheese or a fancier baguette is your thing, I’m confident you’ll find it. There’s a good reason Meat & Bread keep opening locations across the city. Give their delicious porchetta sandwich a try, complete with crackling and salsa verde. You certainly won’t regret it. Finch’s Tea House is another hot spot, serving up tasty baguettes. The walnut, brie, and prosciutto is a particular favourite. A classic grilled cheese from Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck, a classic BC salmon sandwich from Railtown Cafe, and Banh Mi Saigon are also well worth a visit.
What to eat in Vancouver: comfort eats
You won’t find a shortage of good pizza in this city! From tasty Neopolitan with a crispy crust, to good old greasy slices to mop up that hangover, Vancouver has it all. Head to The Parlour in bourgeois Yaletown for a deliciously doughy pizza – I highly recommend the shrimp and pesto. Don’t Argue on Main Street is ‘arguably’ as hipster as the street it’s on and does amazing made to order pizzas and cheap slices. Baggio and Nook are great Italian pizza options, but head to Pizza Garden for a fabulous late night carb load, where the pizza is made fresh onsite. Vegans should check out Virtuous Pie for fresh pizza made with nut-based cheeses.
Is there anything really more delicious and comforting than a good old pie? Vancouver’s legendary chain, Burgoo, serves up an iconic chicken pot pie, as well as a whole host of other comforting treats from Shepherd’s pie to butter chicken. The mother of all pies must go to Peaked Pies, thanks to their range of Aussie meat pies – the chicken, mushroom and leek is particularly delicious. For something a little more organic, Kitsilano favourite Aphrodite has been dishing up tasty sweet pies from their 4th Avenue store for yonks. Head to Savary Island Pie Company in West Vancouver and you might even spot local guy, Ryan Reynolds in there.
Is there really anything better than a decent burger, piled high with all the best toppings? All the best burgers are messy, so give Monarch Burger (based at The American) a shot. These guys serve up delicious 45-day ages patties, with all the best toppings for around $10. If you fancy splurging, Hawksworth has a bouji burger, complete with double smoked bacon and great quality cheddar. L’Abattoir dishes up a scrummy Breakfast Burger, piled up with a runny fried egg, a quarter pound beef patty, and even a hashbrown. You’ll appreciate it, especially when hungover!
What to eat in Vancouver: healthy eats
Juices and smoothies
Sometimes, we all need a cleanse. And, well, Vancouver has a pretty good reputation for healthy eating, fresh juices, and seawall runs. The Juice Truck is a great way to get your five a day. They have some incredible concoctions, including a super healthy Almost Chocolate smoothie that will fool you into thinking you’re actually drinking a milkshake. The trendy neighbourhood of Kitsilano (and birthplace of Lululemon) unsurprisingly has a number of tasty juice joints. Krokodile Pear packs a punch with its varieties of fruits and vegetatables squeezed into every bottle of cold-pressed juice. They also do a handy juice cleanse delivery service. After your workout, get to Body Energy Club for a tasty protein smoothie or acai bowl.
This city has an impressive way of making a humble salad taste delicious, and with such a healthy reputation, they’re everywhere. A Vancouver icon and known primarily for its fresh, local seafood, Joe Fortes does a pretty mean salad. Their seafood Caesar swaps out classic chicken for mussels, clams, sockeye salmon, and prawns for a tasty BC twist. For mix and match salads, Tractor Foods is a must. Fill up a bowl with your choice of protein and delicious salad – don’t miss the snap peas and mushroom ditalini. Hungry Guys dishes up reasonably priced yet no-less delicious salads, and the avocado taco salad is a particular favourite of mine.
Vegan and vegetarian
If you’re in search of a vegan, meat-free, or dairy-free yet tasty meal, you won’t struggle in Vancouver. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from in the city, and there were there long before veganism became mainstream. There’s pretty much a vegan or vegetarian option for everyone. Meet is on top of many people’s lists – ironically because it doesn’t actually serve any ‘meat’. Instead, you can expect a menu of meat-free comfort foods. Think tasty dairy free mac ‘n’ cheese, mushroom calamari, and burgers with coconut bacon. The Acorn does classy plant-based meals and great cocktails, and The Wallflower on Main Street has an entirely vegetarian menu that features plenty of burgers.
What to eat in Vancouver: ethnic eats
Vancouver isn’t necessarily the city you think of when it comes to Indian cuisine. But that isn’t to say that without a little searching you can find a great meal. You’ll most likely come across Vij’s, a Dragon’s Den graduate and restauranteur. Check out his classic lamb popsicles, and a range of other classy and contemporary Indian food. Tandoori Palace on Commercial Drive serves up generous portions of great authentic Indian and Pakistani dishes for reasonable prices. Indian Oven in trendy Kitsilano offers fusion cuisine including an Indian quesadilla, while Sitar in Gastown is a great place for delicious Indian food in an authentic ambience.
We’ll move onto sushi later, but there are so many amazing Japanese eateries in Vancouver they too deserve a mention. Before moving to Vancouver, I always associated ramen with being packeted student food, but it’s poles apart here. When it’s a little chilly outside, there’s nothing quite like a hot bowl of ramen to comfort you. Marutama Ramen and Jinya are two of my favourites, but walk down Robson Street and you’ll see a whole bunch of ramen spots. Make mine extra spicy! Izakaya is a great way of enjoying Japanese tapas with a glass of hot or cold sake. Guu serves up some incredible udon bowls and seared fish, and Hapa Izakaya features classy dishes. Don’t miss their hot stone bowls of ishi-yaki and tuna capaccio.
Many Vancouverites would recommend travelling to the nearby suburb of Richmond for authentic Chinese cuisine. This is because 40% of the population speak Chinese. It’s a convenient stopover if you’re travelling to or from the airport perhaps. That’s not to say there isn’t great Chinese in Vancouver. For incredibly delicious noodle soups from a curated menu, have dinner at Fat Mao in Chinatown. With several branches across Vancouver, Peaceful Restaurant has made a name for itself on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Try their signature dish, the beef roll. Great Wall Mongolian BBQ allows you to pick your choice of ingredients and the chef will fry them in front of you on a huge plan.
If you’re in search of some tasty Southeast Asian fare, Vietnamese is a great bet, particularly in Vancouver. You’ll find a pho joint on pretty much every corner, and for good reason. Anh and Chi doesn’t just have beautiful decor, but also incredible pho and vermicelli bowls. House Special in trendy Yaletown has a delicious rare beef pho (my go-to for winter lunches) and fresh garden rolls with tasty satay sauce. For a beautiful crusty banh mi, Au Petite Cafe on Main Street is a family run business. Their banh mi are packed with tasty fillings, from shredded chicken to delicious pates. Hit up Phnom Penh for the crispiest of chicken wings in this renowned Vancouver Cambodian-Vietnamese haunt.
Fresh, flavoursome, and filling. That’s Middle Eastern food for you! And thanks to the community in Vancouver, you can guarantee a great Arabic meal in the city. A favourite of locals for Lebanese food is Nuba, serving up delicious skewers, fried cauliflower, humous platters, falafel, and flatbreads. Check out Manoush’eh for the tasty namesake of thyme, sumac, and sesame seeds on flatbread with a variety of toppings. For a wonderfully authentic taste of the Middle East, Paramount Fine Foods is a top spot. Based out of Toronto, they dish out delicious foods including humous, pitta, and tabbouleh. What are you waiting for?
Wondering where to get Korean food in Vancouver? Thanks to its vast South Korean population, you won’t struggle in this city. There’s nothing quite like a Korean barbecue (or K-BBQ as it’s known here) – it’s delicious and super sociable. Try your hand at the table-top grill and a combination menu, where you’ll cook your own range of meats marinated in tasty barbecue sauce. Hanwoori Korean Restaurant is a great bet for barbecue, as is Sura Korean Cuisine. For traditional Korean dishes including kimchi and pork stew and bibimbap, try the award-winning So Hyang.
What to eat in Vancouver: Canadian cuisine
Many people often ask ‘what is typical Canadian food?’ and it’s a difficult question to answer. This is mainly because Canada’s such a new county and is a complete melting pot of cultures. Many visitors and locals frequent Vancouver-born Cactus Club Cafe, for contemporary casual dining from poke bowls to steak, and great cocktails. Head to Timber for authentic Canadian comfort food, from roasted Brussels sprouts to chicken wings and mac ‘n’ cheese. White Spot is another Canadian classic, and well known for its burgers and Pirate Paks for the kids. For Happy Hour, hit up Flying Pig in one of their city locations with mac ‘n’ cheese, short rib croquettes. Another Vancouver classic to try is a loaded Caesar from Score on Davie (perhaps with a burger, a breakfast, or even mac ‘n’ cheese).
As a classic Canadian dish, the hot debate is where to find Vancouver’s best poutine. If you’re not familiar with poutine, it’s a tasty plate of double or triple cooked fries, cheese curds, and thick gravy poured all over. Arguably the best Canadian export (aside from Ryan Reynolds, of course) there are plenty of places in the city to grab poutine. My personal favourite is Fritz European Fry House – visit if you fancy a classic mountain of fries. They’re also open late at night for an extra post-booze bonus. Other excellent traditional options are La Belle Patate and Mean Poutine. For a poutine with a difference, try Smoke’s Poutinerie on Granville Street. Here, you’ll find unique combinations from chicken inferno poutine to rainbow poutine.
With Canadian pastures being so vast and Albertan beef having a great reputation, it’s little surprise Vancouver has a bounty of amazing meat dishes for meat lovers. To fix those carnivore cravings, get to Gotham Steakhouse downtown. You may mingle with celebrities including George Clooney and Halle Berry, but most importantly I can assure you it’s the best steak I’ve ever had. If you’re hungry, try the impressively large tomahawk, or go for their buttery filet mignon.
Check out Wildebeest for its fabulously meaty menu. This stretches to brunch too, and a great recommendation is the flavoursome bone marrow with scrambled egg. East Vancouver’s Red Wagon has featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives, and are known for their delicious pulled BBQ pork, whether on pancakes or on a Portguese bun with fries. If sausages are more your thing, German-style Bestie features an impressive sausage menu. Check out their currywurst, served with ketchup and fries.
What to eat in Vancouver: seafood
In the words of Vogue, ‘if New York City has pizza, and Los Angeles has tacos, then Vancouver is a sushi town’. There’s really no arguing that, and with a growing Japanese population and a great position on the Pacific West Coast, it’s little wonder. You’ll pretty much find a sushi restaurant on every single street of the city, many of which serve the freshest and tastiest sushi out of Japan.
For true sushi buffs, it’s said that local chef Tojo created the humble California roll out of his restaurant of the same name, Tojo’s. It has an impressive and well-acclaimed menu. For sushi that’s still great but in a slightly less upmarket establishment, check out the wonderfully diverse Robson Street – Samurai and the slightly unsuspecting Yummy 2 Go do fantastic, reasonably priced sushi combos. Don’t forget to check out our tasty signature BC roll with barbecued salmon and skin with cucumber.
Oysters and shellfish
The West Coast is well known for its fresh, sumptuous oysters and there are a plethora of oyster bars in Vancouver. Local varieties include Fanny Bay, Kusshi, and Kumamoto. Give them all a try at upmarket Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar, Rodney’s Oyster House, or Fanny Bay Oysters. Spot prawns are also local to Vancouver and a large pink shrimp that are fished in May. When in season, head to Yew Seafood at the Four Seasons to give them a try, or Granville Island for the annual Spot Prawn Festival. Other must-trys include seafood tower, packed with Atlantic lobster, local oysters, mussels, ceviche, tuna, prawns, and more. Blue Water Cafe & Raw Bar offers a great tower and a multitude of other great seafood from meaty West Coast crab to lobster and sushi. Joe Fortes also offers a wonderful seafood tower, and they’re famous for their tasty Happy Hour lobster rolls.
British Columbia is well known for its Pacific smoked salmon with a maple syrup glaze for a smoky yet sweet taste. It’s a great gift to bring back too – load up at Granville Island Public Market. For a true experience of the best fish Vancouver has to offer, book a table at the Vancouver Fish Company. Aptly named, here you can sample a seafood platter, packed with Albacore tuna, local sockeye salmon, prawn and scallop skewers, and much more. Grab a delicious salmon burger or grilled sablefish with a view from The Sandbar on Granville Island. Wildtale’s menu also packs an impressive range of grilled fish, from swordfish to local lingcod and steelhead trout.
With sushi burritos and poké bowls making a strong appearance on the Vancouver food scene a few years ago, it seems the city still can’t get enough of the delicious Hawaiian food trends. A tasty mix of fresh sushi-grade fish, seafood, salad, seasoning, and sauce, it’s a flavoursome meal. Many poké places have since popped up all over Vancouver, many offering either a build your own option, or pre-made choices. Grab a bowl from Pokerrito. They do various signature poké bowls each named after Hawaiian regions. You can also build your own and pick for eight types of fish and plenty more toppings. The Poké Guy is Canada’s first Ocean Wise place to grab sustainably fished poké, and Poké Time on Robson Street serves up poké fusion, including poké burritos and poké nachos.
What to eat in Vancouver: Mediterranean eats
With a decent Italian population scattered across the city, you can rely on Vancouver to serve up some hearty Italian food. From freshly made pasta to crispy Neopolitan pizzas, the city has a great choice of restaurants and eateries. At a surprising location in Railtown, you’ll find tiny Ask For Luigi. They don’t take reservations, simply because they don’t need to, but you’ll find incredible Italian comfort food that’s perfect for sharing.
Yaletown’s Robba di Matti dishes up scrumptious homemade pasta (give their classic ‘rosche rosche’ pappardelle a try). It’s the perfect place to relax with a bottle of wine on their cosy heated patio. Across the road in the chic Opus Hotel, you’ll find La Pentola for delicious North Italian dishes and rosemary salt bread to start. If you’re in the mood for meatballs, check out Glowbal for their truffled spaghetti and signature meatballs with shaved truffle and incredible tête de moine.
You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy Spanish food, particularly when there are so many great flavours and varieties, from tapas to paellas. Vancouver isn’t packed with Spanish cuisine options, but the ones that city does have offer some great dishes. The Sardine Can in Vancouver’s historic Gastown neighbourhood packs a punch with its tapas. Sample some Spanish classics from tostas de sardinas to pimientos de padrón. Settle in at Bodega on Main Street for a Spanish feast, with pinchos to tapas like iconic patatas bravas. There are a couple of paella options that are definitely worth checking out with your friends – opt from classic seafood or meat and chicken. Both are equally delicious!
Enjoy a taste of the Mediterranean with a visit to one of Vancouver’s excellent Greek restaurants. Whether you’re all about the gyros or more of a souvlaki fan, you’ll find something delicious. The Greek by Anatoli in Yaletown is a great option. Their menu features fresh salads, mezze, slow roasted lamb, souvlaki and Greek classics including moussaka and spanakopita. Cosmopolitan Davie Street has longstanding gem, Stepho’s Souvlaki Greek Taverna, which is well known for its tasty dishes and reasonable prices. Join the crowd and check out their calamari, chicken souvlaki, garlic prawns, and have the baklava for dessert.
What to eat in Vancouver: food trucks
Not only does Vancouver have an epic annual food truck festival, but an awesome selection of food trucks downtown. It’s not just iconic Japadog, but delicious foods from shawarma to falafel. It’s worth checking out StreetFood app for Vancouver’s food trucks based on time and location each day. Here are some of the best food trucks to go and visit:
- Mom’s Grilled Cheese. All the best variations on the good old grilled cheese sandwich. From meatballs to chili, to classic grilled cheese.
- Via Tevere Pizzeria. You may have heard of the pizza restaurant with the same name, but have you tried their food truck? These guys do delicious wood-fired saltimboccas with a range of fillings.
- Culver City Salads. A tasty and healthy alternative to Vancouver’s food truck scene, offering awesome veggie mixes throughout the summer.
- Aussie Pie Guy. There’s nothing quite like a proper Aussie meat pie. This food truck dishes up incredible pies, from chook to classic beef to even kangaroo. Don’t miss their Anzac cookies for afterwards!
- Mr Shawarma. These guys serve delicious, reasonably priced Middle Eastern food, from falafel to incredible pitta wraps with fries, to large platters. A great stop off for lunch, you can choose to make your box spicy.
- Disco Cheetah. Offering hip Korean fusion dishes from the comfort of a food truck, these guys do incredible Korean fried chicken, Korean tacos, and colourful Seoul fries downtown and at farmer’s markets.
What to eat in Vancouver: brunch
Where to get the best brunch in Vancouver is one of the hottest debates out there. Different brunch spots are great for different brunch dishes, so here’s a mix of a few of the best out there:
- Jam Cafe. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more popular brunch spot than Jam Cafe, although it’s important to note they’ve just opened an additional location in Kitsilano. These guys offer pretty much any brunch you can desire, from salmon scrambles to huevos rancheros.
- Tuc Craft Kitchen. If you’re after a particularly naughty brunch, Tuc Craft Kitchen do some of the most famous fried chicken and waffles in the city. They come with a deliciously spicy chili ginger sauce and classic maple syrup. Give it a go and let me know your thoughts!
- Yolks. With a few spots across Vancouver, Yolks is somewhat of a brunch institution. They even have a flowchat to help you choose your perfect brunch dish. Of course, you can expect great eggs, so give one of their Eggs Bennys a try.
- Catch 122. A classic brunch spot, Catch 122 is great in that they offer all-day brunch. Give one of their eggs bennys a go, or opt for the simple yet delicious classic breakfast, with maple pork sausage or house cured bacon and all the trimmings.
- Twisted Fork Bistro. Pretty much everything on Twisted Fork’s menu is delicious. With a chill atmosphere and great food, their number one dish must be their naughty banana stuffed French toast. Douse yours with whipped cream and maple syrup, the Canadian way.
- Jethro’s Fine Grub. Jethro’s is super famous locally for one key menu item: their pancakes. And for good reason. They bake cinnamon apples into their Grandma’s pancake batter, and top them with butter.
What to eat in Vancouver: market fare
Granville Island Public Market is one of the best attractions to visit in Vancouver. Boasting a whole host of artisan stalls from pickles to tea and pot pies, there’s something to suit every taste. Here are some of the best things to eat at the market:
- Lee’s Donuts. Their tasty and iconic honey-dipped doughnuts have been popular since 1979 and will leave you wanting more!
- Siegel’s Bagels. Stop by for classic Montreal style wood-fired bagels with amazing toppings from smoked meat to reuben, and lox and cream cheese.
- The Stock Market. Visit these guys for fresh soups, stocks, and sauces handmade in their Granville Island kitchen. The cauliflower mac and cheese is a particular favourite of mine as a winter warmer!
- A Bread Affair. Here you can find delicious organic artisan bread and pastries. Check out their sandwich menu with fillings including fresh meats and salads, and Tuscan flatbreads.
- Go Fish. A visit to Granville Island means you must have fish and chips with a sea view! Here, you can grab tasty battered halibut and chips, or even West Coast style fish tacos.
- A La Mode. Granville Island is pretty well known for its delicious pot pies. Head to A La Mode for sweet or savoury pies, from lemon meringue to piping hot salmon pot pies. Eat and enjoy the views!
What to eat in Vancouver: sweet treats
If you have a sweet tooth, you’re in luck in Vancouver. There are plenty of places to grab amazing pastries, gelatos, and cakes. With so many chic new joints popping up each month, you’re also able to try plenty of new delicacies. Here’s what to eat in Vancouver when it comes to sweet eats.
- Ice cream. Check out Bella Gelateria for creamy artisan deliciousness in the form of staple flavours like stracciatella or seasonal offerings. Rain or Shine has a great range of flavours of handmade ice cream (give their malted flavour a go!) and try their handmade waffle cones.
- Waffles. Nero is a Belgian waffle bar with some amazing sweet toppings. Pick from either Liege or Brussels waffles, and pile them up with either fruit and cream, or ice cream options including mocha and banana brulee.
- Pastries. Purebread has long been known for its impressive variety of delicious cakes and pastries, from nutella cream buns to delicious raspberry cheesecakes. Small Victory also has an amazing range of delicious pastries to complement your coffee.
- Cakes. Check out Mosquito, a venue solely dedicated to delicious cakes, desserts, and champagne. Give the Thai basil and raspberry chocolate bar a shot. Thierry also has a delicious range of cakes, famous particularly for its chocolate marquise. Don’t miss Breka Bakery for its amazing cheesecakes too – plus it’s open 24 hours!
And there’s your comprehensive guide on what to eat in Vancouver! What are your recommendations on what to eat in Vancouver? My list is by no means exhaustive, and I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!