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The 20 best restaurants in Vancouver to eat at right now

Taste your way through the best restaurants in Vancouver, from tasty dumplings to fresh seafood

By Gerrish Lopez and Johanna Read |
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EAT LIST VANCOUVER 2019

August 2019: Fresh air and outdoor activities make you want to eat well, and the best restaurants in Vancouver come through with a full spectrum of offerings featuring fresh ingredients and exceptional flavors. The city’s best chefs are constantly innovating, serving up new takes on the classics. Check out the homey Québecois cuisine at St. Lawrence (#4) or veggie-centric dishes that will blow you away at The Acorn (#5). The botanically-inspired Botanist (#1) will tempt your tastebuds and your Instagram feed. Of course, given Vancouver’s multicultural makeup, hot spots (and longtime favorites) like Kissa Tanto (#8), Bao Bei (#19), Tojo's (#6), and Vij’s (#7) are always a good choice. Pining for the classics? Revisit Hy’s (#10) for an old-school steakhouse experience.

Vancouver’s location and climate result in a wealth of produce and fresh seafood, so it makes perfect sense that the best restaurants in Vancouver feature primarily the best of what’s in season, with a focus on sustainability. Active lifestyles—many of the best things to do in Vancouver are outdoors—pair well with thoughtful, fresh eating. Vancouver’s multicultural population has resulted in a range of culinary influences, producing amazing Indian, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants, among others. The French influence is strong as well. Whether it’s brunch, lunch, or dinner, seek out what’s fresh and local at the best restaurants in Vancouver and you won’t be disappointed.

Time Out’s local experts scour the city every day for great eats, great value and insider info. We value fun, flavor, freshness—and value at every price point. We update the EAT list regularly, plus whenever there’s a truly spectacular new opening. It could be a mega-hyped destination restaurant or a humble neighborhood newcomer: If it’s on the list we think it’s awesome and reckon you will too. Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList

Here are the best restaurants in Vancouver—find out more about how we make the list, and start making your reservations.

Best restaurants in Vancouver

1
Botanist
Photograph: Courtesy Botanist

Botanist

As the name suggests, Botany inspires the cuisine at this high-end restaurant in the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The setting is bright and airy, as are the photogenic dishes that make use of local ingredients. The bar is a lab of sorts, where the cocktail creations feature foraged ingredients, eye-popping colors, and the occasional burst of smoke. Try the tasting menu for a parade of delectable surprises, and pick up a house-made fougasse to take home.

2
Hawksworth
Photograph: Rick Chung

Hawksworth

Hawksworth is one of Vancouver’s most glamorous restaurants, worthy of your best duds and a celebration. Sophisticated decor and impeccable service set the tone for contemporary Canadian cuisine marked by Asian influences. Mains like Korean glazed ling cod with orange lassi or smoked cod ravioli reflect chef David Hawksworth’s skill. Go with the tasting menu to experience the full range of culinary offerings.

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3
Miku
Photograph: Flickr/Philip Lai

Miku

Dazzling views of Coal Harbor and the mountains enhance the Aburi-style (flame-seared) sushi served at Miku. All the seafood on the menu is sustainable, from hamachi crudo to miso baked sablefish, but the expertly created and beautifully presented sushi provides the real wow factor. The sake list is one of the best around, so don't be too sky to ask for the perfect pairing for each dish.

4
St. Lawrence
Photograph: Courtesy St. Lawrence

St. Lawrence

Unpretentious French-Canadian cuisine is on the menu at this small spot in Japantown. Rustic Québecois decor sets the stage for simple yet satisfying country cooking prepared with French techniques. Indulge in salmon and scallop pie, trout Amandine, or grilled steak with bone marrow and frites. Pair with a French wine, then finish with a Calvados and rice pudding with salted caramel.

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5
The Acorn
Photograph: Flickr/Heather Joan

The Acorn

Seasonal produce is given the royal treatment at this cozy restaurant in SoMa. The veggie-forward menu caters to vegans and vegetarians, but dishes will satisfy even the most die-hard meat eaters. Driven by the freshest ingredients, the menu changes frequently: The beer-battered halloumi with smashed peas is a regular star, while other offerings have included morels with a mushroom velouté and zucchini with a kelp and stinging nettle glaze. Cocktails include fresh ingredients as well, and the wine list features lesser-known biodynamic options.

6
Tojo’s
Photograph: Flickr/kslee

Tojo’s

Legendary chef Hidekazu Tojo’s upscale sushi is beloved by celebrities and culinary aficionados, and many say Tojo’s is the best Japanese restaurant in Canada. Chef Tojo actually invented the California roll, but the version he serves at his namesake restaurant uses top quality Dungeness crab. More spacious than your typical sushi joint, the modern setting is a fitting backdrop for the impressive culinary delights.

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7
Vij’s
Photograph: Flickr/Jan Zeschky

Vij’s

This groundbreaking restaurant from Meeru Dhalwala and Vikram Vij opened in 1994 and is still as popular as ever. Though a few reservations are accepted nightly, the walk-in queue is still long, and snacks are passed around regularly to stave off the hangries. The innovative Indian cuisine hooks newbies and satisfies existing fans. Tip: Arrive before it opens at 5:30pm to avoid the queue and don't miss the lamb popsicles

8
Kissa Tanto
Photograph: Courtesy Kissa Tanto/ Ian Lanterman

Kissa Tanto

The combination of Japanese and Italian cuisine in this sophisticated 1960s-era Japanese jazz bar makes for a surprisingly exciting meal. The menu features intriguing fusions like gnocco fritto with kombu dashi or agnolotti with a continent-spanning combo of roasted chicken, confit gizzard, Tokyo leek, chicken tare sauce, ginger, shiso, and lotus. 

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9
Marutama, ramen
Photograph: Flickr/Roland Tanglao

Marutama

The ever-present queue at this ramen spot indicates the quality within (and believe us, the wait is worth it). Noodles are made fresh daily (watch the machine at work while you dine) and served in a rich, chicken-based broth. Enhance your broth with options like cha-su, sea lettuce, or spicy chili flake, but one of the highlights is definitely the tamago, crowned with a seasoned, half-boiled egg.

10
Hy's Vancouver
Photograph: Flickr/Raj Taneja

Hy's

Vancouver has no shortage of trendy, creative restaurants, but sometimes you just want to go old school. Head for Hy’s and you’ll find a classic steakhouse bathed in leather, wood, and deep reds. This posh spot has been a long-time destination for special occasions and deal-making dinners. Steaks are cooked perfectly, paired with classic sides like creamed spinach. Service is equally timeless and excellent. It’s worth a visit even for a cocktail in the lounge.

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11
Ancora
Photograph: Courtesy Ancora

Ancora

Boasting some of the prettiest views in Vancouver, Ancora lets you dine elegantly indoors or outdoors along the False Creek Seawall. The menu brings together Peruvian and Japanese traditions, highlighting sustainable seafood and West Coast bounty. Splurge on the Glacier, which embodies the mix of cultures, with oysters, a ceviche tasting, crab causa, Salt Spring Island mussel escabeche, prawns, and sashimi. A lunch prixe fixe is an affordable way to experience the highlights.

12
Savio Volpe
Photograph: Courtesy Savio Volpe/Knauf and Brown

Savio Volpe

This classic neighborhood osteria features a simple menu of traditional, rustic Italian cuisine. House-made pastas, wood grilled meats and veggies, fresh fish, and artisanal baked goods make use of seasonal, local ingredients. Dishes are served family style. Pair with a glass from the extensive, all-Italian wine list, and save room for gelato.

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13
Burdock & Co
Photograph: Flickr/Rick Chung

Burdock & Co

Chef-owner Andrea Carlson works with a vegetable-heavy menu that shows off the bounty of British Columbia’s farmers, foragers and fishers. Her Mount Pleasant restaurant is all about ethical ingredients and artisanal techniques. Offering both vegetarian and non-veggie dishes, everyone will find something they love here, whether ordering à la carte or off the family-style sharing menu. The buttermilk fried chicken is a must.

14
Chambar
Photograph: Flickr/Jan Zeschky

Chambar

For something a little different, Chambar offers French-Belgian cuisine in elegant yet casual environs. Pacific Northwest ingredients shine in classic preparations like braised lamb served in a traditional tagine or roasted ling cod in a saffron broth. The moules frites are the star though, served in one of three sauces: white wine and butter, tomato coconut cream with smoked chili, or white wine and cream with smoked bacon lardons.

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15
Au Comptoir
Photograph: Courtesy Au Comptoir

Au Comptoir

This casual Parisian bistro in the buzzy neighborhood of Kitsilano serves fine French food using the freshest of local ingredients. The restaurant itself is very French, with a custom bar made in France and a number of French staff. Open from breakfast to dinner, the classics—flaky pain au chocolate, croque du jour, steak frites, etc.—will please any time of day. Even just a glass of wine or cocktail at the bar will transport you to Paris.

16
Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
Photograph: Courtesy Boulevard/Leila Kwok

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar

West Coast seafood is the star at Alex Chen’s casually elegant Downtown restaurant in the Sutton Place Hotel. Enjoy inventive dishes like halibut with charcoal, carrot purée, and kombu butter sauce as well as classics like a seafood tower or steak frites. Check out the daily happy hour which features a Korean galbi dog made with wagyu beef.

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17
AnnaLena
Photograph: Courtesy AnnaLena

AnnaLena

The toys and collectables decorating this stylish restaurant in bustling Kitsilano belie the expertise and sophistication on the menu and wine list. Oysters with shaved foie gras, buttermilk fried chicken with lemongrass, pork cheek with harissa, and chocolate-covered crispy chicken skin for dessert are just some of the many reasons you should run to AnnaLena.

18
Fat Mao Noodles
Photograph: Flickr/Roland Tanglao

Fat Mao Noodles

Chef Angus An’s Thai-Chinese noodle joint in Chinatown is the spot for a satisfying lunch or dinner. Hand-made noodles—rice sheet, wonton, vermicelli, or Shanghai wide—set the stage for salads, flavorful small plates, and Thai soup dishes. Pair with a carefully-chosen selection of beers, wines, sakes, cocktails, and Asian soft drinks. Don’t miss Chef An’s other restaurants: Maenam, Freebird Chicken Shack, Sen Pad Thai, and Longtail Kitchen.

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19
Bao Bei
Photograph: Flickr/Mike

Bao Bei

Vancouver has a wealth of excellent, traditional Chinese restaurants, but this popular brasserie in Chintown is anything but old-school. Tannis Ling and Joel Watanabe use traditional techniques with a dose of hipster sensibility and fun. Well-crafted cocktails and sizeable sharing plates encourage the lively atmosphere. Hand-made potstickers are legendary, small plates like chickpea tofu with roasted walnut sauce are inventive and tasty. Don’t miss the "Kick Ass House-Fried Rice" with turmeric and yogurt-marinated rockfish and a salted egg yolk-dusted fish chicharrón.

20

Heritage Asian Eatery

Chef Felix Zhou’s casual Downtown eatery features Asian comfort foods using local ingredients and modern techniques. Soft bao are filled with shiitake mushrooms, duck, or pork belly. Rice bowls are flavorful and filling, with toppings like marinated eggplant, fried chicken and wood ear mushrooms, or pork belly with lime cabbage slaw.

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