Looking for reccomendations from Vancouver locals
Hello everyone-My 14yo son and I are coming to Vancouver for a week vacation next week and I'm looking for some reccomendations for places to eat and things we need to try while we're there. We are adventerous eaters. We are staying at Sutton Place Hotel and will not have a car (except for a day possibly). We're from Philadelphia where there is an excellent ethnic food scene (probably not as good as Vancouver though) so there's not a whole lot we haven't tried in the way of ethnic food. Our favorites are old school Italian and Vietnamese. The only type of food that I don't particularly like is Indian.
Here's what I'm looking for, any help would be greatly appreciated:
Any type of moderately priced ethnic we probably wouldn't be able to get on the east coast
Food trucks-if there are any that are must tries (Is Japadog worth trying?)
Places that are uniquely Vancouver
I'm particularly interested in Commerical Drive as it sounds like my kind of place
Are there places in Richmond that are worth trying and are accessible without a car?
We can skip: touristy places, high end trendy places
Thank you very much for your help, looking forward to some great eating while we're there!
i thought i would offer my opinion because i'm also from philly, and i have been visiting vancouver for the past several years because my relatives live there.
as others have posted below, definitely try to go to an izakaya. there are none in philly (though, there's rumor of one opening soon). it's loud and raucous, but it's really fun and a great experience.
personally, while i love japadog, i think you can skip it. a japadog just opened in nyc (st mark's place), so if you're ever in nyc, you can just try it there. (though, if you do end up going, i recommending getting the kurobata pork instead of the beef hotdog).
i'm actually going to YVR in a week, and i'm planning on going to the richmond night market, and everything i've read about it thus far has been positive.
and if you've been keeping up with the philly food scene, the newest 'big' thing around town is ramen. i still don't believe you can get GREAT ramen in philly, but i think seeking out one of the ramen joints in vancouver is worth it. while benkei and other vancouver ramen places beat out philly ramen places (like nom nom and the now defunct ramen boy), it's still not as awesome as ippudo or momofuku in nyc (so in other words, if you make it up to nyc often, you may not find the ramen in vancouver so 'great').
one last thought. if you are going to be staying somewhere with a kitchen, it might be worth it to get fresh seafood to cook / eat. the lobster man storefront on granville island has fresh dungeness crabs, lobsters, sea urchin, mussels, etc. but my absolute most favorite thing to do is pick up a bunch of oysters and shuck them myself. the oysters are much cheaper and i personally prefer the flavor of west coast oysters vs east coast.
There's a food truck festival going on Sundays that can help you try quite a few in one spot. It's at the Waldorf Hotel between 12 and 6pm, not far from Commercial Drive.
Good ones: Guanaco (El Salvadorean papusas), Mom's Grilled Cheese, Street Meet, Holy Pierogy
It's a great Vancouver-y event, and definitely not touristy - you'd be hard pressed to find a non-local there. Family-friendly without being mobbed by screaming kids. Spectacular music.
I'd skip Japadog, personally - I mean, it's a hot dog with nori on it.
Agree about Commercial Drive - the food is incredibly average as a sweeping generalization and I'd struggle to come up with more than 1 or 2 that are "ok". Via Tevere Pizza just off Commercial on Victoria is really good though.
Definitely hit up the Richmond Night Market, an izakaya and some dim sum as fmed recommends.
I'd get one if there isn't a huge lineup, you don't have to go massively out of your way (less of an issue these days as there are Japadogs all over it seems), and you remember to get a kurobota, with the topping that appeals most. I think it might be a bit more than the standard dog but it has flavour and snap, plus it's not mystery meat -- or less mysterious, anyway. The okonomi topping is fun because it has bonito flakes on it which kinda dance around when they hit the dog :-).
>Any type of moderately priced ethnic we probably wouldn't be able to get on the east coast
>Food trucks-if there are any that are must tries (Is Japadog worth trying?)
Nothing "great" though there are a couple of board favourites. (eg I like La Brasserie). People either like Japadog or dislike it. It depends on your perspective. I like it personally, but I classify it under a "No Reservations bucket list" category.
Our Chinese food here is very good. Richmond is the place to go....but there are a couple of places close to downtown that are worth your while (Dynasty Seafood and Kirin). Don't bother eating in Chinatown.
>Places that are uniquely Vancouver
Granville Island...though touristy this time of year.
Foodcourts (Richmond) - some good food at Richmond Public Market, Aberdeen, Parker Place, etc.
Richmond Night Market (accessible by Canada Line)
>I'm particularly interested in Commerical Drive as it sounds like my kind of place
I live on Commercial and it really does not have a great eating scene. More of a neighbourhood for cooks than eaters as it has some nice indie ethnic grocers and the like. That said, the coffee scene is pretty concentrated there with a number of top-shelf shops selling good espresso drinks. (Commercial Dr has had espresso since before it became mainstream). Also some decent pastries etc.
>Are there places in Richmond that are worth trying and are accessible without a car?
Most of the interesting ones are accessible by Canada Line skytrain....including the aforementioned Richmond Night Market.