There are some places you visit where you revolve most of your itinerary around the next meal. A mecca for foodies, Vancouver is definitely one of those spots, especially when it dips to 19 degrees, like it did when I was there over the holidays. My friends and I set up a home base between Gastown and Yaletown, walking distance to a plethora of the coolest restaurants and bars in the city.
I went expecting amazing sushi and seafood, given all I’d heard, but what I didn’t expect was an inspired Mediterranean brunch and mouthwatering, classic French cuisine.
Full guide to come, but read on for my top picks for picking up a fork and raising a glass.
This Mediterranean-inspired brunch spot doesn’t take reservations so be prepared to wait. Good news – it does live up to the hype. Start with a Lavender Latte and Waffle with a side of White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater. A recommendation from our server, the Fricassée, which includes eggs, braised short ribs and smoked cheddar, is a total standout. I got the Coco - a flavorful flatbread with chorizo, cheese and arugula. I ate every single bite without shame.
This popular place is also no reservations with a long wait, and also totally worth it. To warm me up from the extreme chill, they had a batch of apple cider waiting – spiked if you’re feeling feisty. Needing something light, I had the Truffle-Scented Mushroom Omelette but my server recommended the Dirty Breakfast – duck confit, duck fat toast and house-made maple beans.
Wine & Cheese
Salt Tasting Room
Tucked in unassuming Blood Alley in the heart of Gastown, this is your staple wine and cheese bar. The chalkboard at the back of the restaurant helps you build your own cheese and charcuterie plates, and the friendly waiters will help you pair it with a wine flight. Definitely sample the local wine, cheese and meat – they call it out on the menu.
This Belgian restaurant is beautiful in every way, even the bathroom deserves a nod. I can’t stop thinking about the Bison carpaccio – it was plated perfection not to mention super delicious. The Moule Frites came three ways and the frites were just as good as they are in France. I have no doubt everything on the menu wows your taste buds.
I heard George Clooney went here and that was a good enough recommendation for me. Vancouver is known for their sushi – you can get amazing, fresh sashimi at a hole-in-the-wall – but this is the best of the best. I have never had anything like the Salmon Oshi Sushi, one of the most popular dishes on the menu and prepared with their signature flame-seared technique.
Situated on Coal Harbour with views of Stanley Park, this large restaurant with an open kitchen is, you guessed it, known for seafood. We started with fresh oysters on the half shell and then delved into the meatier offerings. Though the salmon is their house specialty, I had sablefish prepared in a Miso Glaze, finishing it off with a Sticky Toffee Pudding. Why not?