A Food Lover's Guide To Vancouver
Vancouver is one of those cities that checks off all of the boxes—expansive frothy ocean views, proximity to soaring mountains, lush public parks and, most importantly, some of North America’s best food. The multiculturalism of British Columbia’s biggest city provides the perfect breeding ground for endless and diverse dining options, furthered by a new wave of young chefs who take full advantage of the abundance of superb seafood and produce to make it a worthy dining destination.
Start the day at… Nelson the Seagull
Without a doubt, this is where you’ll go for the best bread in Vancouver. With a short and simple menu crafted to celebrate its traditional and renowned sourdough bread, Nelson the Seagull in Gastown is one of the most satisfying coffee, breakfast and lunch spots in town. Almost everything is made by hand, from the rustic wooden furniture to the crispy yet chewy loaves. While doors only opened in 2011, the interior reflects the original age and architecture of the building with its chipped mosaic tiled floors, exposed brick and high ceilings. Takeout loaves are available, but be sure to snag one earlier in the day since it’s not uncommon for them to sell out of the ninety they bake a day.
Nelson The Seagull, 315 Carrall Street, Vancouver, BC V6A 0A7, Canada; +1 604-681-5776
For a true local flavour, head to… Wildebeest
Each dish holds its own at Wildebeest, a quintessential Vancouver restaurant that specialises in nose-to-tail cooking. The open-concept room is set up with both private and communal tables, Edison bulb fixtures, exposed brick and, of course, tattooed servers. All meats and seafoods are organic-raised, sustainable and seasonal, while vegetables are often foraged or grown in-house. If you’re having trouble narrowing down what to order, go for the omakase, which will give you a generous taste of all that the restaurant has to offer. But one dish that we recommend without hesitation is their signature slow-cooked Angus beef short-rib with smoked salt and hay jus.
Wildbeeste, 20 W Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G8, Canada; +1 604-687-6880
For a taste of history, head to… Joe Fortes Seafood
Crisp white linens, top class service and fresh, local and sustainable seafood come together to make Joe Fortes Seafood and Chophouse a dining landmark in Vancouver, and a trip to the city is not complete without at least a dozen oysters from their enormous seafood bar. For over 30 years, the restaurant has maintained its trustworthy reputation amongst locals, celebrities and tourists alike, serving more than fifty types of fish, top quality oysters and thick cuts of meat sourced from Pacific Northwest farmers and fishermen. Located right by the bustling Robson Street, it’s the ideal venue for lunch, happy hour or dinner.
Joe Fortes Seafood, 777 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 3V5, Canada; +1 604-669-1940
Splurge at… Mak n Ming
Husband-and-wife duo Makoto Ono and Amanda Cheng brought a whole new type of cuisine to Vancouver when they opened their tiny 850 square footer restaurant in December of 2016. Located on a casual street more known for boozy brunches and beer joints, the fine-dining haven sits elegantly on the street without looking like it’s trying too hard. The French-Japanese-inspired menu is streamlined, with the option for either a three-course demi menu or a six-course chef’s menu, both of which are accompanied by an amuse bouche and a selection of mignardises at the end. The menu changes quite frequently, so don’t fall too hard for any particular dish. Given the size of the restaurant, it’s highly recommended that reservations are made ahead of time.
Mak N Ming, 1629 Yew Street, Vancouver, BC V6K 3E6, Canada; +1 604-737-1155
Grab a nightcap at… Prohibition
Put on your “going out clothes” and head to the basement of the legendary Rosewood Hotel Georgia for a cocktail you will remember. The swanky 3,000-square-foot lounge is meant to be reminiscent of speakeasies in the Roaring Twenties, with live jazz entertainment and a glamorous interior featuring silver accents, jewel tone fabrics and dimmed lighting. Made-to-order cocktails pay homage to the classic craft of bartending while incorporating house-made bitters and infusions that break the norm. If you’re stuck on what to order, opt for the namesake Hotel Georgia cocktail, which was revived from the hotel’s archives as a testament to the hotel’s legendary past.
Prohibition, Rosewood Hotel Georgia, 801 W Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 1P7, Canada; +1 604-673-7089
Bring a piece of Vancouver home with you from… Granville Island Public Market
Don’t be too quick to dismiss this as a tourist destination—the busting Granville Island Public Market is filled with offerings that will keep your senses rapt for hours. Open seven days a week, the indoor market is home to over fifty vendors that sell anything from seafood and meats to produce, baked goods, sweets and specialty foods, making it an ideal destination to pick up a thing or two to bring home. Weave through the stalls and build yourself a little picnic of charcuterie, smoked salmon, fresh bread and local cheeses and head to the waterfront to enjoy the view.
Granville Island Public Market, 1669 Johnston Street, Vancouver, BC V6H 3R9, Canada; +1 604-666-6655