Vancouver without a car
I'm doing 5 days in Vancouver with my partner and we're probably going to try to do as much on foot as possible (with transit rides where necessary to get to certain neighbourhoods). Looking for good recs for casual places to eat, particularly seafood and any kind of Chinese (incl. dim sum)... good sandwiches/burgers or breakfast are also welcome since we're on a budget.
I've been reading some of the recommendation threads but a lot of the most popular options - like Chinese in Richmond or Burnaby - aren't really an option, and we'd like to eat in or close to neighbourhoods we'll be visiting anyway.
Our hotel is in the West End, close to Stanley Park. Already planning to possibly visit Guu with Garlic, Motomachi Shokudo in that area.
Other areas we're going to be in:
Granville Island (will definitely try to hit Go Fish)
UBC (Museum of Anthropology)
Thanks for any tips in advance - I've never been steered wrong here yet.
740 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G, CA
838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA
Hey, thanks so much for the recs, everyone. Our trip was fabulous considering I did very little planning ahead of time (did much more for the days we spent in Victoria beforehand). Thanks greyelf especially for the Golden Garden rec - we dilly-dallied getting to Phnom Penh and found the lineup unbearable, so went around the corner to the practically empty golden garden and had a tasty (and cheap!) feast.
For izakaya we ended up at Zakkushi and had a terrific time... after strolling past all the izakaya in the west end it was the one we wanted to hit most. Also realized that our neighbourhood-based plan was a bit silly - being so central there was no reason not to hit downtown and gastown. Judas Goat in gastown was a very much worth it splurge although the location across from a safe injection site left something to be desired.
Golden Garden Restaurant
509 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A2V1, CA
Let's see... in Victoria we went to Red Fish Blue Fish (stellar and fun) Pizzeria Primastrada (also great and made me weep inside at lack of neapolitan pizza in winnipeg, as always), Lady Marmalade and Blue Fox cafe for breakfasts (both good, blue fox esp.). Our one "fancy" restaurant excursion was Cafe Brio for the family meal which we both really enjoyed, although not the best to have multiple courses arriving at once and it seemed like the same tomato preparation was in all three of our mains, so a little bit repetitious (but still extremely tasty). Probably the least awesome dinner we had was burgers at Pink Bicycle which was still pretty darn good - great sides, but burgers themselves were only pretty good and toppings kind of unbalanced I thought.
The only bad meal we had in Victoria was breakfast at Willie's Bakery, which had a nice patio but pretty dismal french toast. Goes to show you should not go with the guidebook without a cross-check online.
Victoria, BC, Victoria, BC , CA
Red Fish Blue Fish
1006 Wharf St, Victoria, BC V8W, CA
Willie's Bakery & Cafe
537 Johnson St, Victoria, BC V8W, CA
Blue Fox Cafe
919 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K3, CA
944 Fort St, Victoria, BC V8V3K2, CA
Hmmm, doing some google mapping I'm likely in error. There were a great deal of sketchy goings-on on the other side of the alley (at back door of a building) and when we walked around the block afterwards the sign on the front of what I thought was the same building said InSite. It looks like maybe this is Insite office space though, not an actual injection site? My mistake, if so. In any case... interesting location.
My new love in the west end is the toroniku (pork) at Santouka. Their spicy ramen was also very good. Agree on Guu with Garlic; as with all izakaya, things can add up so just be a bit judicious when you are ordering to stay within your budget.
Granville Island (will definitely try to hit Go Fish) -- I do like their food fairly well but beware massive lineups, especially in summer, can be in excess of an hour at peak times; Patisserie LeBeau has a nice chicken and brie sandwich (sells out early) and I like the regular, unstuffed ham and cheese waffle, and Les Amis is great for cheeses "to go"; Mochika's is sort of fun if you don't have Peruvian where you come from (up from Granville Island a few blocks inside a car wash!) but can add up; fmed's suggestion of Lin's is near G Isle and if you get an order or two of XLB and a rice hotpot with veg and Chinese ham you will be happy and not spend a mint. Many not great dishes here though so do some research if you can.
Kitsilano -- a bit of a food wasteland and I live here, great for other stuff though. Maybe try Moderne or refuel for a burg (you can have it grilled to order at the latter but not the former), Zakkushi on 4th near Burrard (use restraint though or the sticks can add up!) or Thomas Haas for pretty good panini (get a twice baked almond croissant for dessert if they have them), Kibune is nice for slightly pricier sushi (love the usuzukuri, now available in a smaller/cheaper portion) but still less than Octopus' Garden on Cornwall. Up on 5th at Burrard is Elysian for good coffee (try a Gibraltar for fun) and then on 4th is 49th Parallel for more coffee and some T. Haas pastries, though they too sell out. I keep hearing good things about the sandwiches, particularly the schnitzel, at Ploger's but still haven't tried any of them.
UBC (Museum of Anthropology) -- another food wasteland, sadly. Maybe try Red Onion in Kerrisdale before/after, or you could go for dim sum at Golden Ocean a few doors down before. It is my favourite dim sum in town, partly because it has carts still and they take reservations. Also 20% off before 11 am and the food is always fresh and solid, especially on weekends when they are slammed with waits unless you have the aforementioned resos.
Chinatown -- PP is pretty much it down here for sitdown, though I've found several decent items at Golden Garden and their chicken banh mi is tasty; also had a couple of good things from Kam Wai's stall at the Richmond Night Market last weekend so that may be worth a look, though I understand the outpost in C'town is mostly takeaway now. Foo's is kinda fun for an old-school Canto place. I rather like their lemon chicken, of all things.
Good breakfasts on the westside are thin on the ground. Do yourself a favour and avoid Sophie's. I use this blog as a way of tracking breakfast places around town: http://breakfastinvancouver.blogspot.com/ eg she wrote up the Brown Dog Cafe on 10th nearish UBC http://www.browndogcafe.ca/ which I'd never noticed -- might be worth a look. The Flying Swan on 4th is fun (biker hangout but not in a scary way) with okay food. I don't mind Paul's on Granville near 7th for somewhat creative eggs benny.
My fave ramen is Santouka downtown on Robson st.
In Kits, I like the burgers at Romer's but I do know it gets some mixed opinions here, but I like them. Here's the one I had last week - the Man's Man Burger: Thick-sliced applewood bacon, local creamery amber ale cheddar, onion strings, smoked alder salts, vine-ripened tomato, whole grain mustard. It was really good.
In Kitsilano neiborhood there's also Moderne Burger which I like more for their simple, honest downhome-ness:
IF you visit the Kerrisdale neighborhood (W 41 Ave @ Arbutus), there's the Red Onion, a venerable establishment (25+ years now) that's often overlooked, esp. amidst the hype around recent new burger kids on the block in Kitsilano.
You'll be hard-pressed to find good Chinese in these areas. A couple of notable exceptions: Lin's and Peaceful - but neither do dim sum. Do a search here to know what to order at both places. In Chinatown - Phnom Penh (Cambodian/Vietnamese). Kitsilano - refuel (I like the burger...but they have other dishes that are quite good).
Your other choices are solid.
Just to add: Richmond is remarkably accessible by Canada Line skytrain and there are many places right near the stations to eat. Far better dim sum there than you can get in Vancouver generally speaking.