Whoo, whoo, have I got a treat for you guys with this Vancouver food guide! Not only did I indulge entirely too much while I was visiting this city, but I also have two local foodie pals who sent me a ton of restaurant recommendations!
Vancouver was absolutely lovely, and I have so much to share about my trip. I spent a solid week in Metro Vancouver and did an absurd amount, even when you factor in the rain. I have my two friends, Maggie and Nathalie, to thank for the amazing week as they not only showed me around, they sent me tons of stuff for when I was on my own.
One of the big things they did was send me a ton, I mean a ton, of amazing places to eat. From Yaletown to Gastown to Chinatown and beyond, I feel like this really is the ultimate foodie’s guide to Vancouver!
Tips for Eating in Vancouver
Before I get into the actual restaurants, here are some quick tips for eating in Vancouver, so you’re not awkwardly caught off guard.
Yes, Canada tips just like the US. Maggie said the norm is 15% unless it’s truly incredible service, in which case it’s 20%. I feel like in the US, 20% is the new tipping norm.
Paying with Card
This isn’t that weird, but I know in the US they usually take your card and come back with a receipt where you sign, add your tip, etc. All the places I went, they brought the machine over to the table and you did everything on the screen.
I’ll list the neighborhoods or areas where the restaurants are with the address, but the main areas you want to know about in the main part of Vancouver are:
- Granville Island
They’re all within a 10-20 minute walking distance of each or less, with the exception of Granville, which you need a ferry to get to.
Vancouver Food Guide: Where I Ate
These are all the places I managed to eat at while I was there. I pretty much ate out all two or three meals, which my bank account isn’t too pleased with, but consider it my sacrifice for the blog :p.
WINGS Granville (Downtown)
Address: 162 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L8, Canada
When I first got in from the airport, I was kind of craving wings, so we went here for dinner. They also had a deal on fish and chips for $10 CAD, so we split a dish of those, Italian roasted red pepper and honey garlic wings. Check their menu here.
Mean Poutine (Downtown)
Address: 718 Nelson S, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L2, Canada
Right next to my hostel was a poutine shop called Mean Poutine, and it was my first introduction to actual poutine in Canada! I’d only had it a few times before in other countries. I’m sure this isn’t like the premier poutine place, but it had inside seating and was close by with the rain. We just got the classic jumbo to split.
The Elbow Room Cafe (Downtown)
Address: 560 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2G4, Canada
My hostel actually comes with free breakfast, but toast and cereal didn’t seem worth waiting in line for, so on my first morning, I just looked up nearby breakfast cafes to try. The Elbow Room Cafe came up and the photos looked fun and funky, so I headed over to sit and eat some eggs in peace.
SUCH a cool place, and I didn’t realize it had such a history to it. Everyone was quite friendly, even if the menu warns of abuse haha. I just got a Benny with traditional ham, hash browns, and some tea.
Multiple around Vancouver
Blenz is a Canadian coffee chain that originated in Vancouver. I didn’t actually know this, I just wanted something warm to drink while I walked to the ferry station for Granville. It was cute inside, and they had pumpkin spice lattes, which are sugary and delicious and nice to have in hand in the damp autumn air!
The Bread Affair (Granville Island)
Address: 1680 Johnston St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3S2, Canada
My friends warned me not to spend time eating on Granville Island as things were a bit overpriced and not that tasty, but I did mark down one place I wanted to try. Oddly, though, I didn’t get any bread. I got a salted caramel ice cream sandwich and some homemade ginger ale. In retrospect, I should have gotten the lemonade because I don’t actually like ginger ale that much! The ice cream sandwich, though, delicious.
Milssam Tacorea (Yaletown)
Address: 130 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2T9, Canada
Aw, this place reminds me of Coreanos, one of my favorite places to eat in Seoul! It’s a fun fusion of Mexican and Korean, and I met up with Nathalie and Maggie there for dinner. I think it’s pretty new considering it doesn’t even show up on Instagram for location tagging yet, but the tacos were delicious! Plus, they have this famous cheesecake/souffle type cake that’s big in Japan. Apparently, Uncle Tetsu’s, another place that sells the cake, always has a line, but this place doesn’t! And it’s just as good, if not better.
Address: 325 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2N4, Canada
This cafe is in Gastown, and it’s got that nice, minimalist design. I went around 10 am on a weekday, and it was pretty crowded, so I wouldn’t plan to hang out and chat while you’re in here. I just got an iced latte and a chocolate almond cake, which were both nice.
Phom Penh (Chinatown)
Address: 244 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1Z7, Canada
After making a visit to Stanley Park, I hustled back to Chinatown to meet Maggie for lunch at Phom Penh, a mostly Cambodian restaurant with some Vietnamese food. This is such a local favorite, and apparently, it’s packed. We went after the lunch rush on a weekday, and we still had about a 10-minute wait. Maggie said on the weekend she’s waited a long time and been packed in!
But the food is amazing. We split these chicken wings with a sauce I wish I could recreate, and each got a Vietnamese dish, plus I got iced Vietnamese coffee, which I always get when I see it. 10/10 would recommend.
Crackle Creme (Chinatown)
Address: 245 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 3A1, Canada
We stopped by this little cafe after Phom Penh, and it’s super cute. Mostly because of their macarons! How fun are these designs?
Sunny Mayne Bakery (Mayne Island)
Address: 472 Village Bay Rd, Mayne Island, BC V0N 2J0, Canada
Okay so this one and the next one aren’t technically in Vancouver, but they’re on one of Vancouver’s islands, so it’s close enough! We started our day on Mayne Island at Sunny Mayne Bakery because Nathalie wanted that cronut dessert next to her soup, and it closes at like 3 pm, so we wanted to get in sooner rather than later! The soup was delicious and warm, which was perfect because I was not dressed as warmly as I should have been!
Bennett Bay Bistro (Mayne Island)
Address: 494 Arbutus Dr, Mayne Island, BC V0N 2J1, Canada
In between brunch and dinner, I actually got some cheese and salami from a grocery store to eat. I probably ate too much because by dinner all I wanted was something super light, aka a salad which I almost never get at restaurants. It was pretty tasty! Nathalie had a sort of poke dish she wasn’t crazy about.
Tsuki Sushi Bar (Gastown)
Address: 509 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2L2, Canada
This sushi was amazing! It was kind of funny because after going to the bathroom and seeing the Hangul written, I realized the restaurant was run by Koreans. I honestly almost bowed and said thank you in Korean, but that’s a little awkward haha.
Anyway, the sushi is delicious, especially the oshi sushi, which we got seconds of.
Soft Peaks Ice Cream (Gastown)
Address: 25 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1B2, Canada
After sushi, this ice cream place is a pretty short walk away. It uses organic milk and is all soft serve. I forget what I got, but it was the perfect way to end dinner and my last night with everyone!
Places I Didn’t Get to Try:
Listen, I love eating probably too much, but even I couldn’t hit all the places I was recommended in the few days I had in downtown Vancouver! So here are a bunch more restaurants, bakeries, and cafes my friends sent me. They’re locals and they’re quite the foodie snobs, so you know you’re getting some gems!
Matchstick Coffee (Chinatown)
- Address: 213 E Georgia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 0B1, Canada
Nemesis Coffee (Gastown)
- Address: 302 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2N4, Canada
Pure Bread Bakery (Gastown)
- Address: 159 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H5, Canada
Asian or Asian Fusion Restaurants
Addresses: 888 Nelson St g3, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H1 or 950 W Broadway #201, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K7
A nice Japanese BBQ chain that’s good for lunch.
Joyce Jiaozi Restaurant
- Address: 5171 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G8
- Address: 780 Bidwell St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2J6, Canada
Nathalie told me, and I quote, “Marutama is the best place for ramen and I will fight anyone who disagrees.” So if you want to try a good ramen place, Marutama is it!
New Town Bakery (Chinatown)
- Address: 148 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T3
- From Nathalie: “You need to go to New Town Bakery in Chinatown and get pork buns. They literally melt in your mouth, and I have been going there since I was a child. They also have a sit-down restaurant and serve Cantonese fare.”
- Various neighborhoods
- A Lebanese restaurant that does amazing falafel and Turkish coffee.
TAKO – Tacqueria Korean
- Address: 601 Expo Blvd, Vancouver, BC V6B 6B8, Canada
- Another Korean/Mexican fusion place. Nathalie says it’s her guilty pleasure.
North American Restaurants
Meat & Bread
- Address: 370 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H7, Canada
- Supposed to have amazing sandwiches.
- Address: 800 Carnarvon St #352, New Westminster, BC V3M 1C4, Canada
- A nice, little place for poutine.
- Various locations around downtown
- Known for its fish tacos.
- Various locations
- There’s a chain called “The Warehouse” where all dishes are $6 nothing special but good if you’re on a budget!
Places NOT to Go
Guys, Tim Hortons is a shady, Mcshady franchise, and with so many fantastic coffee shops around, you can easily avoid spending your money at one of their shops. Just take a look into how they responded to Ontario’s minimum wage increase and what Tim Horton’s heirs have been up to!
Corner Cafe from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
I was so excited to shamelessly go visit the Corner Cafe and order a chocolate milkshake! Even when I looked up images and the outside wasn’t quite as cute as it is in the movie, I was still planning on going. Whelp, Nathalie and I went first thing in the morning to find the cafe completely closed! A sign on the door said under new management, and we could see signs of renovations or construction on the inside. Boo!
Anyhow, that’s my massive Vancouver food guide for when you make your visit. Let me know if you have any to add and if it belongs in the do visit or don’t visit list!
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