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Best Value Downtown Grocery Vancouver BC

Hi all,
I just moved to Vancouver from the US East Coast and am slowly trying to find my way around town. I live on W.Georgia and Jervis and am trying to determine the best (cheapest but good quality produce and selection) grocery store.

I've been to the Safeway (ok, but $) and the Robson Public Market for one off fruit and vege but want to do a decent shop today for the week and don't really know where to go. Any rec's? I don't mind the walk to the IGA on Robson & Richards - is it worth it?

Really looking to find out if the smaller corner markets are better value for produce and protein or if they should only be resorted to in event of emergency. Please help, i need to pay my rent AND eat well!
TIA

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  1. Does it have to be right downtown? If Skytrain accessible stores are OK then I recommend Donald's Market close the the Skytrain station at Commercial Dr and Broadway.

    If it has to be right downtown, then the IGA will be your best bet.

    4 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      For today, the IGA is about all i can deal with. I'll def try Donald's Market. I'm used to shopping at the local farmers market for most produce and then target for non-perishable items so i'm trying to determine where my dollar will best be spent. Are the little d/town grocery markets and corner stores good value compared to the safeways of the world? If i'm looking for deli meat or fresh fish and vege?

      1. re: aussiewonder

        Safeway is very expensive. The best place for your requirements might be Granville Island. Not the cheapest place to shop, but it's all there.

        I tend to shop at the smaller shops along Commercial Dr and Hastings St close to my home. I often go to T&T for seafood and meat. For deli meats, I live close to the some of the best places in the city- JN&Z, Bosa Foods, Moccia, etc.

        If you are willing to go outside of the peninsula, you can find some great shops.

        1. re: fmed

          I find Granville really expensive, but good though. Commercial has lots of good cheap places- so does Chinatown. Go to Chinatown and walk around on a Saturday, you will find lots of good stuff.

          1. re: Mawson Plan

            Agree about Chinatown it's the best deal close to downtown, lots of places to pick up a quick bite while shopping too.

    2. I live in the West End. I start by reviewing the flyers to see what specials are advertised and make a list. I then walk up Davie St towards Yaletown. I look at the produce in various stores to see what specials are available in each store then turn around and shop my way home. That way I can comparison shop and get a walk in also. I also bought one of those carts the little old ladies use even though I'm not one. They make it very easy to cart stuff home from afar.

      There is a produce store on the corner of Davie and Bidwell that often has great values but be careful to check packaged goods carefully for veggies and fruits past their prime- e.g.-open the box of raspberries or strawberries and make sure they are not hiding mouldy fruit on the bottom. Also they only take cash- no credit or debit cards.

      Super Valu on Davie has 20 meat and produce specials every day- marked with red cards. I don't generally buy much else there.

      Kin's on Davie has good specials but not everything is a bargain. West Valley produce on Bute across from the liquor store is also a good place to shop. They have a grocery store attached with lots of middle eastern goods not available elsewhere.
      Next, I check out Choices at Richards and Davie, then swing over to Nesters on Seymour near Nelson and H Mart on the second floor at 590 Robson.
      By that time I have a pretty good idea of which store has the best prices for various meats, produce etc. I then shop my way home.

      Further afield for me, but closer for you is the IGA on Burrard. Tends to be pricy as it is small compared to most groceries.

      I'm not very familiar with the smaller grocers and produce stores at the north end of Robson so you'll have to discover those for yourself.

      Don't forget the farmer's market held on Saturday mornings on Comox between Thurlow and Bute. They are finished for the season now but will resume in the spring.

      Look in the Georgia Straight or the Westender newspapers for dates and location of the Winter Markets.

      Welcome to Vancouver. Enjoy!

      1. The Waste End is pretty bad for food shopping, unless you want Korean stuff. One place I avoid is the Super Valu on Davie near Jervis. I've twice caught them overcharging by faking the weight labels on meat. If I do have to shop there, I check the meat using the produce dept scales...

        Nearby, there's a smaller independent store called West Valley on Bute just north of Davie that has a pretty good selection of produce and dry goods, even things like passata that are hard to find elsewhere in the neighbourhood. They've got basic meat and dairy as well, and their prices aren't bad.

        For a bigger (Asian-oriented) selection, I go to T+T. It's worth the walk.

        1 Reply
        1. re: HKDave

          In the West End, you have Safeway and Capers which are expensive but I usually get my deli meat from Safeway. You could try the European Deli on Bidwell next to Guu with Garlic for some deli meats and cheeses if you want, I dont remember the prices, sorry.

          A trip to Gastown/Tinseltown for T and T is one of your best bets or venture over to Sunrise Market, their produce is cheap.

          If you got a car or dont mind taking the bus a trip to Save On Foods (across the Cambie Street Bridge) if you are willing to sign up for a free save on card can be one of your best places.

        2. If you know anyone with a membership, theres also Costco just in front of GM place. I don't do all my shopping there, but occasionally I'll do a shopping trip there to stock up on a few items.

          1. There are a lot of good suggestions here. When I don't have the time, I simply go to Safeways and buy whatever's on sale. However, if I do have time, I go to Kin's for my produce (good quality produce at generally fairly low prices), go to either Shopper's Drug Mart, SuperValu, or London Drug's for any canned goods, pasta, things like that (but looking in the flier to see what's on sale is a must), and go to Safeway for meat and bakery. Safeway isn't cheap, but I also don't fear getting sick from their meat department like I do at other places, and they are, on average, cheaper than IGA and Capers.

            I also hit all of the ethnic markets. Konbiniya on Robson between Bute and Jervis is good for rice, noodles, and any other Japanese foods you might want. There's a really good European deli on Davie between Bute and Jervis for Mediterranean and Mexican foods.

            1. WELCOME!

              if you're randomly on broadway on the west side. check out young brothers produce. cheapest. as in i'm outside perusing their oranges the other day and a few people (tourists ?) walk by and the woman proceeds to make a scene over how ridiculously cheap everything is. it was amusing to watch her experience reverse sticker shock.

              i bought raspberries that day, two little half flats for $1 apiece. they also have certain varieties of oranges (smallish USA) and apples (granny smith lately) at .59/lb always.

              produce is good. not organic. but i cant afford organic generally. unfortunately raspberries arent superfab, being that its def not raspberry season. but im about to make a thai basil raspberry-strawberry smoothie to bring me back to summer.

              1. You poor thing, you must be overwhelmed. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who has to go to ten places to do all my shopping. Here's my suggestions:

                Urban Fare and Nestor's: $$$$, and nothing's ever on special.

                Capers and Choices: expensive, but they do have sales, and they're your best bet for organic, natural stuff etc. I go elsewhere for produce unless I just need a few things, as they're overpriced. Meat is limited and pricey at Capers but okay variety at Choices.

                West Valley Market on Bute and Kin's on Davie are good for produce.

                I avoid Safeway and Super Valu (low quality), but there is a new supermarket on Denman that's part of the Superstore family and is super low-budget and no-name. Might be good for canned and dry goods.

                IGA's all right as an overall supermarket.

                TNT I sort of avoid as possibly sketchy and there's NO organic produce, but it's sort of fun to go see all the variety and pick up a few Asian items sometimes.

                Commercial Drive, Granville Island etc are all fine choices, but if you're stuck with the bus like I am, I doubt you'll want to hit them up for your regular shopping.

                1 Reply
                1. re: lotuskitty

                  Yep, the No Frills in Denman Place Mall(the Superstore offshoot) is great for basics.

                2. Hey hey, welcome to Vancouver!
                  You should really check out Sky Rise Foods. They are an online grocery store with next day delivery, but they are cheaper than any grocery store downtown and have any groceries you want and if they don't have it you just email them and they add it. There is no delivery fee for $25 or more and you can be doing paperwork when they come to you or you can just get them to leave the groceries at the concierge (That's what I do)

                  check them out at http://skyrisefoods.com/