A Foodie's Guide to Vancouver

Icon Share

SHARE

Advisor - Amber Gibson
Curated By

Amber Gibson

  • Vancouver

  • Canada

  • Luxury Travel

  • Boutique Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • Couples Travel

  • Digital Nomad Travel

  • Foodie

  • Hidden Gems

  • Sightseeing

aerial view of a coastal big city at sunset with boats on the harbor
Curator’s statement

Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in North America and also has some of the best food – especially great local seafood! There's a huge Asian influence on the city's culinary scene and great dining at all price points. Fine dining here is especially affordable compared to major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. Vancouver received a Michelin guide for the first time last year and that international recognition has only made Vancouver chefs work even harder. I'm including a few Michelin picks here, but also sharing some of my lesser-known favorites.

The Fora Difference

Book with Amber to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

[object Object]
Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

[object Object]
Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

[object Object]
Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Vancouver

Unlock perks by contacting Amber to book your trip.

Things to do in Vancouver

busy harbor over water with massive bridge and skyscrapers of the city

Talaysay Tours in Stanley Park: Stanley Park is even bigger than Central Park in New York and one of the best ways to experience it is a leisurely and culturally enriching walking tour with this Indigenous-owned company. If you're more interested in art, the talking totem pole tour led by a trained Indigenous artists will be a great choice. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the talking trees tour to learn how First Nations people have used the local trees and plants as medicine and food for millennia. There's even a forest bathing tour.

Capilano Suspension Bridge: This is one of Vancouver's top tourist attractions for good reason. You're fully immersed in the evergreen forest in North Vancouver, just 14 minutes from downtown. Enjoy the incredible canopy views from the original suspension bridge above Capilano River or follow a narrow cantilevered walkway along the edge of a granite precipice at Cliffwalk.

The Shipyards District: You'll most likely be staying in downtown Vancouver, but The Shipyards District in Lower Lonsdale is a scenic 15-minute ferry ride away, and the hottest neighborhood in the city, with some of the highest rents. Locals love to hang out here, from young professionals at happy hour, to young families. There are frequent events, ranging from artisan craft fairs and farmers markets to live concerts and an ice skating rink in winter.

The Polygon Gallery: Located within The Shipyards District, this non-profit photographic gallery is my favorite contemporary art museum in the city. Admission is free every day and exhibits change often. There's also a great museum shop featuring design-focused gifts, homewares and jewelry by local Vancouver artisans.

Granville Island: Touristic but super charming, Granville Island is worth a stop for any serious foodie. There's a public market open daily with lots of delicious food, along with an artisan district featuring specialties like sake, ceramics, a glass blowing studio, distillery and bean-to-bar chocolate. You can even pull up by boat if you can find a space to tie up on the public dock.

Harbour Air Seaplane Tour: There's no better view of the city than from the world's first fully carbon neutral airline. Try to spot your hotel after take off, then swoop northwest towards the Sea-to-Sky highway. Seaplanes take off right downtown next to the cruise ship terminal and you can even request to be co-pilot for an up close look at the Canadian-made De Havilland aircraft's controls. Private charters are available too if you want to fly over glaciers for a romantic picnic on a secret alpine lake.

Salmon Fishing: British Columbia is one of the largest regions for salmon fishing in the world – I'm super spoiled with lots of wild salmon fillets in my freezer. If you don't have a friend with a boat (I can hook you up!), a chartered fishing trip is the next best thing. April through October is prime salmon fishing season and you can even drop some traps for Dungeness crab too while you're at it.

FlyOver Canada: This multi-sensory immersive ride is better than any amusement park attraction and fun for all ages. You'll soar over remote areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, from snow-capped peaks and turquoise lakes to dramatic vistas over Banff, Jasper and Yoho National Parks. Weather-simulating effects and location-specific scents really bring the experience to life. Plus, it might just spark ideas for your next vacation to Canada. Children must be at least 40” tall to ride.

Day Trips

Just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Richmond is a suburb worth exploring for anyone interested in Chinese food and culture. The International Buddhist Temple is a stunning example of imperial Chinese architecture modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing. You'll find the best dim sum outside Hong Kong at restaurants like Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant and Sun Sui Wah. From May through October, you can experience the closest thing to an Asian night market in North America at Richmond Night Market with more than 100 vendors dishing up mouthwatering Asian street food and other multicultural eats under pink LED cherry blossom trees for thousands of hungry foodies each weekend. There's live music, silly carnival games and an assortment of retail vendors too, but the food is the biggest draw. Come for the BBQ squid, fried crab claws, smoked pork belly, shaved ice and mochi covered strawberries.

Places to eat & drink in Vancouver

intersection of a quiet city street at night lit by lamplight and a small analog clock tower

Breakfast

Nemesis Coffee: The best coffee and croissants in Vancouver under one roof? It's not too good to be true. Whether you like pour overs or specialty espresso drinks, this artisan roaster does an incredible job and their impeccably laminated viennoiserie are the perfect pairing. They always have a bunch of tempting filled croissant flavors but tiramisu is my personal favorite that never leaves the menu. They have three locations – Gastown, Great Northern Way and in North Vancouver at the Polygon Gallery.

Novella Coffee Bar: A wonderful new all-day cafe that serves the best breakfast sandwich in town piled with sausage, fried egg and hash browns, along with unique dishes you won't find anywhere else like yogurt bavarois with sea buckthorn and hemp seed granola. Their housemade pastries and sourdough are fantastic as well as the savory steel-cut oats with mushrooms and poached egg.

Lunch

Miku: Great sushi with great views of the harbour along the Vancouver waterfront. Probably walking distsance from your hotel too. Try the aubri-style flame-seared sushi, which these chefs invented, and the set lunch menus are an excellent value. Miku is the very rare sushi restaurant that can actually serve you a standout vegan menu with aplomb.

Bacaro: Easygoing Venetian vibes inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim hotel. My favorite spot for downtown lunch meetings or an afternoon snack if I'm feeling peckish. Choose from bite-sized cichetti, light salads and housemade pastas. Pro trip: get an affogato (espresso + gelato) for dessert if you need a pick-me-up.

Dinner

Five Sails: This iconic fine dining restaurant in Canada Place has long been renowned for its sweeping mountain and harbor views, but now the food is equally captivating thanks to a new team of young creatives. Executive chef Robbie Robinson and pastry chef Daria Andriienko capture the flavors of British Columbia with the precision of haute cuisine and service is the best in town. Request a table by the windows when making a reservation and order the off-menu tableside flaming coffee service by general manager Jason Husmillo with dessert!

Archer: This hot new restaurant is very chic and modern, serving contemporary Canadian cuisine, which just means hyperlocal seasonal ingredients with plenty of global inspiration. Chef de Cuisine Sandy Chen is an emerging star and her dishes are creative and presented with pizzazz.

Published On Main: They've received every award, from a Michelin Star to the number one spot on Canada's 100 Best Restaurants, and chef Gus Stieffenhofer-Brandson and his team deserve it all. Opt for a tasting menu if you want to try it all, but regulars will cherry pick favorite dishes and new additions from the a la carte menu. I love that their online menu has excellent photos of every dish, so you know exactly what you're ordering.

Bar Susu: Sister restaurant to Published on Main and easier to get into if you haven't made advanced reservations. The food here is just as good as Published and you can happily have a full meal here – it's definitely a full restaurant, not just a wine bar. That being said, the natural wine selection here is outstanding and even experienced wine drinkers will find unique bottles to try.

St. Lawrence: Québécois cuisine at its best. St. Lawrence serves a rustic type of haute cuisine, which seems like an oxymoron, but if you're familiar with French fine dining, you'll appreciate chef/owner Jean-Christophe Poirier's hearty and heartfelt menu, and the romantic, cozy atmosphere that feels like you're in somebody's home in the French countryside. The foie gras custard with maple and breadcrumbs to begin is one of the best bites I've eaten in Vancouver.

Dessert

Earnest Ice Cream: I always have room for ice cream, and that's especially true for Earnest. They have several scoop shops around town and their flavors change monthly, but whiskey hazelnut and salted caramel are a couple best selling menu staples. You can skip the line if you're buying a pint, but you'll probably want to try samples if you're indecisive like me. There are always several delicious vegan options too!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Katherine Hurley's guide, Quebec City For Families.

Advisor - Amber Gibson

Travel Advisor

Amber Gibson

Get in touch with Amber

Did you like this guide? Reach out to customize and book your own experience. Or, just to chat about travel in general.

You can normally expect a response from Amber within a business day or so. You’ll also be subscribed to our travel newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Vancouver, and our longer series on travel to Canada.