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MUST eat places in Vancouver?

  • c

What are some amazing must-try Vancouver restaurants to go to for dinner? Nice restaurants preferred (medium to medium-high price range)...


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  1. There's a small tapas place called Bin941 that has really good food. It's downtown on Davie St., by Burrard. There's also Bin942 on Broadway, just outside of downtown (by Granville). It's more in the medium price range, but you can spend lots if you order lots. [www.bin941.com
    A personal favourite is Diva inside the Metropolitan Hotel downtown. [www.metropolitan.com/diva/
    Lumiere (on Broadway, in Kits) is an excellent westcoast food experience. [lumiere.ca]

    You know, there are just too many to list! Check out this page, as most of the restaurants you'll find listed won't let you down:


    3 Replies
    1. re: orlapiggot

      I wouldn't exactly qualify Lumiere as "medium to medium-high" in price range. However, Cru certainly falls well within that category. An enormous selection of wines by the glass. You can order either small plates or a la carte meals; however, their three-course prix-fixe menu is an absolute steal at $36.

      Link: http://www.cru.ca/

      1. re: Mooshiemouse

        Oops, I read "medium to high."

        1. re: orlapiggot

          I was just thinking about this again and I think it might be worthwhile for tourists to check out the Lumiere (and other) menus anyway and see the actual prices for themselves. While they might be on the upper end of the price scale for us, depending on what they're used to, they might be more "medium-high" or "medium" for them. We forget that we're a bit spoiled in Vancouver; when I travel, I find restaurant prices elsewhere to be much higher, especially if looking for quality. The exchange rate can help, too (though not as much lately for Americans!).

    2. Try Parkside restaurant on Haro Street.
      Great food, service, and ambience

      All appies are $11, Mains are $28, desserts $8.
      Three course dinner $45 ($54 with cheese course added)

      Wine list is Ok, though it is pricier than it use to be.

      Or you could try Lickerish over on Davie St. Simlar concept as above. Tapas $6-12, Mains $17-24, Dessert $7. 3 course for $38, though depending what you order, it can be cheaper to do it a la carte. Great service. Great cocktails (Recommend the Willy Wonka Martini for an after dinner drink.)

      Also, on Davie is Stepho's. Very popular Greek place, no reservations, lineups out the door for weekend dinner. But great lamb, calmari, saganaki (Cheese flambeed with brandy) and CHEAP. Last i was ther 2 years ago, appies were $4-, dinners $8-13. Low mark-up on the wine. 3 of us got stuffed with 2 appies, 3 lamb dinners and a good bottle of red.. $75 including tax AND tip. Any other greak place and you'd be at $110 for the same order


      1. West Restaurant on 2881 Granville Street @ 13th is our favorite restaurant in Vancouver. We planned a vacation to Vancouver around this restaurant. It is not cheap, but it is worth every penny. They have an early-bird pre-fixed menu that looks quite good.

        Link: http://www.westrestaurant.com/westres...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Jon H

          i concur. i am a cook in nyc and on my recent visit to vancouver the highlight of the entire trip was West. better than the bike ride around Stanley Park.

          my wife and i ordered both tasting menus on the menu. she had the spring seasonal tasting while i had the West tasting with the wine paring. her's was a bit better than mine if we had to choose but both were out of this world. if you are familiar with nyc it was better than bouley, daniel, and jean george.

          the biggest disappointment in vancouver was Tojo. not worth the money. good food but you can eat just as well for 1/3 the price in numerous restaurants in LA.

          1. re: halo

            I would have to vehemently disagree with the asssement on Tojo's here.

            I think Tojo is one of those places where you either really LOVE or... think is over priced (which i never understood).

            I personally think he is one of the best sushi chefs i've ever been too (better then even Nobu, perhaps).

            While he certainly knows how to be bold and creative, i find that he excercises these traits with a discaplined restraint. His food is full of richness, subtlety, art, and all kinds of goodness. and maybe this is why some people think he is overpriced? because he doesn't do all the wild and crazy stuff all the time that people expect from japanese neauvaux now? i don't know...

            I would count tojo's as THE must eat place in vancouver above all others.

            just my 2 cents

            Link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/yutai

            1. re: yutai

              no expert on vancouver but I also disagree strongly with the assessment of Tojo's. Just went this weekend and it was out of this world. And I've been to plenty of sushi restaurants in San Francisco, LA, NY, Tokyo. It's one of the best sushi meals I've had.

            2. re: halo

              I am 100% behind halo.

              West is one of most fabulous restaurant experiences in the hemisphere.

              Tojo is a total tool (regardless of how the sushi is) and not deserving of any 'hound's hard-earned coin.

          2. Commercial Drive (East Vancouver)

            1. Tio Pepe's - cuisine from the Yucutan
            2. Wazubee's (sp?) - hip, west coast, *great* coffee
            3. Havana Cafe - great patio & art - really cool vibe
            4. Cafe Duex Soleil (there's 2 of them) - great breakfasts. Carnivores beware: it's veggie although the selection/quality is so good you won't know it

            1. http://www.vanmag.com/_restaurants/re...

              I'm from Florida and we're going to be in Vancouver in May, 2007. I just wanted to update this thread by posting a new link for the best of Vancouver restaurants. Thanks for all the suggestions - keep them coming! :


              Oh, btw, I love oysters, in case you weren't sure. Any best oyster house recommendations?


              1 Reply
              1. re: OysterHo

                If you can shuck your own oysters then go to "Lobster Man" at the Granvile Island Public Marlet (http://www.lobsterman.com/). They have the best selection in the city and prices....if they have them then try "Mary Point" medium sized oysters (especially in winter when the water is especially cold)....they are the best raw oysters in North America....period. Al the other places in the city that sell oysters on the half shell are fine but nothing above or beyond what you could not get anywhere else in the States....especially if you have the means....

              2. Whenever I visit Vancouver for work or pleasure these are 3 restaurants I always try to visit:

                Tomato Fresh Food Cafe - a casual neighborhood restaurant with a smaller menu that always has a couple great seafood options.


                Yoshi on Denman - only tried the sushi here. Always a large selection of extremely fresh fish.


                Gyoza King
                1508 Robson St.

                Gyoza King is a small, hole in the all type place. The Japanese food here is amazing. Rumour has it that alot of Vancouver chefs eat here on their off days and late at night.

                1. I think that C is also worth a mention for out of towners, its consistently rated the best seafood.

                  However, I will admit that I get slightly nervous that people are starting to use Lumiere and West (as has been done on many of these boards) as the barometer of Vancouvers high end restaurants. Its not that I dont like them, Ive enjoyed meals at both of these fine establishments but as someone that travels a lot, through the US and Europe, there are so many great, innovative and unique places that make these two restaurants seem slightly tame.

                  Im glad that people enjoy West (especially the likes of JohnH, a NYC Chef) but to me, Vancouvers food scene is not about those types of restaurants. Its more about the huge variety of great, eclectic, funky and groundbreaking food. Bin 941 is a great example, Gord was doing world class Tapas style food before the fad hit the rest of North America! The wonderful authentic french fare at Crocodile, the moules at Chambar, the Japanese food at the newly opened Dan on West 4th, right next to the amazing burgers at Modern Burger. The belgian waffle place on 1st (I think) that sells out by 9am next to Barbara Joes books for cooks and the Cheese shop that is my personal heaven. The list goes on.......

                  These are the reasons I think Vancouver is a world class food city, not the tasting menus at Lumiere and West.

                  Does this make sense?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Moz

                    Makes sense to me. Chambar will be a must return to place for me on my next Vancouver trip, and I didn't even have the mussles there. I'd add Chinese food to the must have list as well.

                  2. I like Kitto House (Japanese) on Granville -

                    As good as I've had in Tokyo and they are very friendly!

                    1. If you look up "hoser" in the Canadian-American dictionary they have Tojo's picture there.
                      What a horrible experience. I can only think of one other dining episode (Olives in Las Vegas) where we felt so totally disrespected as customers. Friends don't let friends eat at Tojo's.

                      As for the OP, even if it is a bit beyond your budget range, the early bird at West should be
                      at the top of your list. Gorgeous room, top-notch service across the board, some impressive mixologist handiwork and totally amazing food.

                        1. re: OysterHo

                          I TOTALLY agree! LOVE love love Vij's, small room, no reservations, v. egalitarian as I have spotted Sarah McLauglan and Goldie & Kurt waiting in line there. Especially Rangoli for lunch or excellent prepared takeaway meals. Vij is a lovely charming man and never fails to greet us when we eat at Rangoli, the curries are simple and fabulous. great value for the money. Get there early to avoid lineups. Located on 14th? & Granville. Bin 941 never disappoints. Boneta a newish place in Gastown is funky, affordable & v. good. Two of my favorite oyster places are Monk McQueens on False Creek and (cheesy) Joe Fortes right downtown off Robson Street. They consistently have an excellent oyster & wine selection. (don't know about the rest of the menu, perhaps overpriced & touristy) Great rooftop garden in the summer! As for Tojos, certainly an investment but the best sushi in N. America bar none. the secret is to sit at the sushi bar, decline the menu and let Tojo decide. $$$$. Have spent many special occasions there. Had the tasting menu at Lumiere ONCE and will never go back. Complete ripoff of Thomas Keller's menu, pricey, rushed service, small, stark room, cramped tables and somewhat pretentious for Vancouver dining. Completely over rated.

                          1. re: foiegrasfan

                            "best sushi in N.America bar none"...really?...you've been to Yasuda, Masa, Ushi Wakamaru, 15 East, and Nozawa?

                            1. re: Simon

                              I had the same reaction to "best sushi in N. America"...in YVR yes/maybe but definitively not in NA....there are 1/2 dozen places in LA alone that dish out better stuff....but it's hard to argue with Vancouverites....

                              1. re: Simon

                                Yes I have except for 15 East, so you have been to 4 Manhattan sushi establisments and one in Sudio City, and I would say Tojo's has the edge. So I hope that answers your question, may I ask have you been to Tojo's? Have a nice day

                                1. re: buddah cabaret

                                  Hi. i have not been to Tojo's. So i wasn't disputing your opinion of it, so much as i was very surprised and was trying to find out what you were comparing it to.

                                  The reason i haven't gone to Tojo's on my trips to Vancouver is because, a) i was influenced by the very negative comments it gets here, and b) because the menu on-line touts a lot of new-fangled rainbow rolls and i tend to despise that style of sushi, prefering traditional sushi. For example, i dislike Sushi Of Gari in NYC, which touts their "creative" sauces and which is a controversial place on the Manhattan board, with many Chowhounds loving it and others hating it.

                                  1. re: buddah cabaret

                                    Been to Tojo's once...didn't care for it especially given the price...

                            2. No thread about Vancouver chowhounding would be complete without mentioning VIJ's and its little sister Rangoli, some of the best "indian" food i 've ever had or cooked ( I bought the recipe book)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: felix the hound

                                Absolutely! I have the book as well and have made half the stuff in it already!

                              2. Flying Tiger is a great new asian place. You have to order the Hawker Street Noodles I am addicted! And a great place to experience really fresh food is Aurora Bistro on Main Street also a great place to experience BC wines as that makes up their entire wine list.
                                Totally agree with Chambar - love that place. And if you are looking for a fun oyster place try Rodney's in Yaletown. If you are looking for more swanky place for oysters them try Bluewater also in Yaletown. For Mexican it has to be Lolita's on Denman.

                                1. Where is FLYING TIGER?

                                  1. Flying Tiger is on 4th near Bayswater. It's the old Living Room Bistro. The totally renovated the room I love it now.

                                    1. Hi!! Need a recommendation for dinner in Vancouver. Am looking for great food, wine, and a lively scene. Want to eat donwtown as am going out after. Am looking for a reco along the lines of these restaurants that are already booked!! Italian Kitchen, Chambar, goldfish - any suggestions for a fun place similar to these places? Thanks for the help!

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: ZoeyZinger

                                        Even though Chambar is usually booked well in advanced, they have a nice lounge seating area at the front which they don't take reservations for. You can often get a seat there and enjoy the same food and bevvies.

                                        Another great place is Boneta (owned by 3 guys who are ex-Chambar, Lumiere, etc.)
                                        It's located at #1 West Georgia - great food and wonderful cocktails.

                                        1. re: islandgirl

                                          You wrote exactly what i was about to write when i read ZZ's post.

                                          When i went to Vancouver in early September, my gf and i loved Chambar, but we loved Boneta even better! One of the best meals i've had all year.

                                          1. re: islandgirl

                                            I second Boneta (the address is #1 west CORDOVA, not Georgia). My new favourite restaurant. If not, try Cobre also in Gastown.