HOME > Chowhound > B.C. (inc. Vancouver) >


Vancouver Downtown/Gastown Restaurant Advice

Hello BC board!

Like many people (even just on this board), I'll be in downtown Vancouver for a brief trip this summer. I've been doing some research on eating and wanted to ask your opinions of some restaurants. My wife and I will be staying between Canada Place & Gastown near the waterfront, and I was hoping to stick within walking distance of there for a few meals.

Sat. Lunch: I was thinking the Mill Marine Bistro (Cordova & Bute) on the waterfront. We'll be eating with some older diners, who aren't very adventurous eaters, and this is near Canada Place where we'll be.

Sat. Dinner: I'm thinking possibly Guu Otokomae, if we feel like eating at an izakaya. If not, I'm thinking Boneta, Chambar, or L'Abattoir. I'm a bit confused about differences between the atmosphere & pricing of these three. The food at all three sounds good. I was hoping to stay under $50/person (including maybe a glass of wine).

Sun. breakfast: Something quick & quintessentially Canadian — Tim Horton's.

Sun. lunch: Probably one of the Japadog stands near the waterfront (grabbing a quick lunch on the way to the airport).

If anyone has any strong opinions about these, or ideas for other places in the same area, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks, An LA Chowhound

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. For Sat Lunch: consider Lift.

    Everything else looks fine. (I'm not a fan of Tim Horton's, but if you must!....)

    1. If you go to Boneta - get the octopus chips...

      1. For Sunday, first off, I would concur with fmed's sentiments on Tim Horton's - nothing special but it will get the job done and it is convenient.
        I would recommend Japadog - they offer some fairly good and unique hot dogs however IMO, they may be a little over-hyped for what they are.
        In case you're interested, there are usually quite a few other food trucks and carts in that area that offer quite a wide variety of good street food. As you get closer to Sunday you can check these sites to see what will be out there:

        1. There is a splashy new Cactus Club in Coal Harbour east of the new Convention Center. Might be more fun than the Mill. I would add Wildebeest to your Gastown dinner list. Abattoir is a must for drinks before dinner, but probably not the top spot for food.

          1. Jalapeno Asiago bagel at Timmys! mmmm

            1. I think you can expand your search: You can cover a lot of Downtown Vancouver just by walking 15 minutes from Canada Place. You can get to Robson street to the south, Cardero Street to the West and Chinatown to Southeast.

              Another option for Izakaya is Hapa they have a location a block away from Canada Place. http://hapaizakaya.com/menus/coal-har...

              You can even walk to the Original Guu which has more of bar atmosphere & more energy. I often refer to Guu Otokomae as Data Guu ... a place you can go on a date as it's a little more quiet. More or less the same food but different atmospheres. http://www.guu-izakaya.com/

              If you are willing to take transit which is very safe. You can expand your food search to Yaletown. Take the Canada Line skytrain (some one to get the airport) at Waterfront to Roundhouse Station (2 minutes) or if you feel like it it's only a 25 minute walk from Canada Place.

              For high end: I would consider Hawksworth (w/in 15 min) and Blue Water in Yaletown. Wildebeest is also a good call.

              Also if it's open, the Japadog stand at Burrard and Pender serves their Flavour shaken fries, while the stand in front of the Waterfront skytrain does not.

              3 Replies
              1. re: moyenchow

                In a sort of related question, I'm thinking of doing a izakaya-crawl to celebrate my birthday with my husband. Trying to figure out which ones to try and in what order. Also any suggested "must try" dishes at each place would be appreciated. A number of the izakaya recommendations that I've found are a bit dated so I just thought I'd ask if anyone has any newer input.

                  1. re: islandgirl

                    I think you should start another topic. You'll get a lot more responses to your question.

                    My rec would be to hit Guu with Garlic and/or Guu Kobachi, then Kingyo and Zakksushi (More Yakitori than Izakkaya but you in the hood so why not meat on a stick!)

                    + 1 for Mentai (Spicy cod Roe) - Love Mentai Kimchi Yakiudon available at Guu (it just called Kimchi Udon) and Zakkushi.

                    I like PToro, chicken gizzards and Garlic stubs with Pork at Zakkushi

                    I love the Guu Pumpkin ball aka Kabocha croquette at Guu Garlic but a little warning it's heavy so not sure if you want to order it if you're doing a crawl.

                    Not sure if it's a date food but If they have it at Guu Kobachi order the deep fried chicken gizzards, addictive with beer.
                    can't recommend too much at Kobachi since they are the Guu "test kitchen" menu changes alot.

                    for Kingyo I remember their seafood carpaccios being really tasty and the cooking your own beef on a hot rock being fun.

                    You can also go to Hapa on Robson but it's been more than 2 years since I've been so I'm not going to recommend anything.

                1. Tim Hortons, as disgusting as it is, is pure Canadiana .......


                  It is what it is ;-P

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    And it claims to be what it ain't:

                    They are a corporate scourge.

                  2. Thanks all for the recommendations... I realized I never posted what we did do.

                    Sat lunch we went to Mill Marine Bistro along the waterfront, and it was good. Nothing fancy, but good.

                    Sat. dinner we went to Boneta in Gastown. Very good drinks, the octopus chips, and poutine. I think we had all small plates, and that was plenty of food, for not a ton of money (although certainly not cheap).

                    Had Tim Horton's for Sun breakfast (which was fine), and got a Japadog from the Robson store for lunch, since we wanted fries (thanks for advising going to that store). Enjoyed the Shichimi & Garlic fries quite a lot too.

                    Thanks again for all the advice! We're hoping to head back to Vancouver at some point, since the food and walking around the seawall were both go much fun.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hhewitt

                      and they let you back over the border after that Sunday breakfast place ; )

                      thank you for your report - it's always interesting and helpful to hear what out of town people have discovered / enjoyed / endured ; ) as the case may be, like on a Sunday at a Cdn donut place.

                      come back soon. Vancouver is beautiful. When you do your seawall walk again, our family fav is Anatolia Express - and there is the well known and reputed gelato place someone else will need to tell you the name here.

                      remember - under 3 hours from lax to yvr. also John Wayne to YVR and PSP to YVR.