We've mapped out our 17 fave spots to eat (and drink!) in the downtown core.
Though downtown Vancouver can feel a little daunting to neighbourhood dwellers—yes, you do have to cross a bridge to get there—those willing to step outside their own 10-block radius are in for a treat. See map below.
Ask anyone where to take out-of-town guests and the answer has become obvious: “Hawksworth” (801 W Georgia St.). With plates the likes of brown-butter crusted lamb saddle served with smoked cauliflower, it’s of little wonder that David Hawksworth’s flagship has become a stalwart of the fine-dining scene. If carbs are calling, let chef Andrew Richardson serve you up some handmade pasta or organic aged carnaroli risotto at CinCin (1153 Robson St.). Test new waters with the boundary-pushing modern menu at Royal Dinette (905 Dunsmuir St.), where dishes like North Thompson pork with adobo sauce and black-bean fricassee are served up alongside glasses from a list of fully sustainable wines. For fine brunching, try L’Abattoir’s (217 Carrall St.) full breakfast, where the expected focus on meat (think duck sausage and pork on the same plate) is sure to delight carnivorous appetites.
Guu has several rooms peppered around downtown—including a great patio over by the law courts—but head to the original on Thurlow (838 Thurlow St., guu-izakaya.com) and try the pumpkin croquette for the true experience. Pop into Café Medina (780 Richards St.) for a waffle and a lavender latte (because everybody does), but stay until the sun starts dipping to try a carefully crafted cocktail like the Samanyolu—where gin, Fernet Branca, juniper and black tea syrup meet the smooth flavours of local supplier Odd Society’s crème de cassis.
For the best view of the North Shore, it has to be Cactus Club Coal Harbour (1085 Canada Pl.), but poke your head just around the corner to find the also well-positioned Miku (7–200 Granville St.). Order the Aburi selection for six pieces of flame-seared sashimi served with signature sauces (cue mouths watering at the thought of seared salmon topped with crunchy jalapeno).
If you’re craving pizza, head to Yaletown’s the Parlour (1011 Hamilton St.) and order the Goldmember: caramelized onions, mushrooms duxelles, and Yukon Gold potatoes drizzled with truffle oil. If you’re going to commit to carbs then you might as well put potatoes on it.
Looking for a quick lunch? Pop into Meat and Bread (1033 W Pender St. and 370 Cambie St.) for the classic porchetta sandwich, or sample the daily special, like pulled-turkey fajitas. If the bricks-and-mortar Tacofino (15 W Cordova St.) is too packed to play host, jump on Twitter to find out where their food truck has taken up shop for the day.
If you have the option of enjoying a longer lunch, the collaboration between Postmark Brewing and Belgard Kitchen (55 Dunlevy Ave.) has resulted in a lunch menu that has been a pleasant surprise to locals. Try the Japantown ramen bowl alongside Postmark’s Blonde for a light finish to balance the spicy miso pork broth. (Hint: substitute the sweet soy pork for Postmark Stout-braised pork belly for a real treat.)
We’re not suggesting a coffee crawl—your doctor definitely isn’t either—but between Matchstick (213 E Georgia St.), Timbertrain (311 W Cordova St.) and Revolver (325 Cambie St.), Gastown has your next few caffeine hits covered.
If you’re looking to hang for a few hours, settle in for the long haul with a pour-over and roast veg sandwich at the oh-so-charming Birds and the Beets (55 Powell St.), or commit to surviving on baked goods for the next few days at Purebread (159 W Hastings St.). Carrot whoopie cookies count as one of our five a day, right?
Downtown Vancouver (click map to enlarge):