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The 20 best restaurants in Vancouver to eat in 2023

The best restaurants in Vancouver use local, fresh ingredients to make amazingly diverse and delicious dishes.

Written by
Gerrish Lopez
&
Johanna Read
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Vancouver, you are fantastic. Your attractions are magnificent, your nightlife iconic, and you even have delightful beaches; is there anything you can’t do? The best restaurants in Vancouver ink The Couve's name in the ‘Great Foodie Destination’ list, that’s for sure. The diversity of the city is celebrated in its restaurants, with everything from Indian to Italian available here. No matter your desire, you can find it in Vancouver.

British Columbia is beautiful, a region of culinary excellence that rivals anywhere else in Canada, and everything revolves around its biggest city. Get ready to chow down at the best restaurants in Vancouver.

Best restaurants in Vancouver

Hawksworth is one of Vancouver’s most glamorous restaurants, worthy of a real 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.

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, so don't be too shy to ask for the perfect pairing for each dish.

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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 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.

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. Arrive before it opens at 5:30pm to avoid the queue, and don't miss the lamb popsicles.

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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.

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.

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Seasonal produce is given 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 kelp and stinging nettle glaze. Cocktails include fresh ingredients, and the wine list features lesser-known biodynamic options.

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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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 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.

Formerly known as 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 chilli flake, but one of the highlights is the Tamago, crowned with a seasoned, half-boiled egg.

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Unpretentious French-Canadian cuisine is on the menu at this small spot in Japantown, where 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 glass of French wine, then finish with Calvados and rice pudding with salted caramel.

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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 use local ingredients. The bar is a lab of sorts, where the cocktail creations feature foraged ingredients, eye-popping colours, 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.

 

Vancouver has a wealth of excellent, traditional Chinese restaurants, but this popular brasserie in Chinatown is anything but old-school. Well-crafted cocktails and sizeable sharing plates encourage a lively atmosphere. Hand-made potstickers are legendary, and 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.

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

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.

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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.

For something a little different, Chambar offers French-Belgian cuisine in an elegant environment. Pacific Northwest ingredients shine in classic preparations like braised lamb served in a traditional tagine or roasted lingcod in a saffron broth. The moules frites are the star, served in three sauces; white wine and butter, tomato coconut cream with smoked chilli, or white wine and cream with smoked bacon lardons.

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This casual Parisian bistro in the buzzy neighbourhood of Kitsilano serves fine French food using the freshest local ingredients. The restaurant is very French, with a custom bar made in France and many 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.

Boasting some of the prettiest views in Vancouver, Ancora lets you dine elegantly indoors or outdoors along the False Creek Seawall. The menu marries Peruvian and Japanese traditions, highlighting sustainable seafood and West Coast bounty. Splurge on the Glacier, which embodies the mix of cultures, with oysters, ceviche-tasting, crab causa, Salt Spring Island mussel escabeche, prawns, and sashimi. 

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