After 12 months of dining out, the results are in! Our judges tell you the dishes, the rooms and the chefs you need to visit this year.

See our 2017 Restaurant Awards Winners ▸▸▸

  It’s finally here! Our 2017 Restaurant Awards celebrate the hottest new rooms, the top chefs and most creative menus in the city. Plus, the coveted title of Restaurant of the Year. Hope you’re hungry. CafeMedina_ArianaGillrie.jpg

Best Brunch

Vancouverites are nuts for brunch, a fact celebrated by this new category. We won’t cross the street to see George Clooney save a child from a speeding bus, but for Café Medina’s legendary tagine—we’re happy as a clam to stand in the rain for an hour. Ditto dishes like silver winner Burdock and Co.’s crispy fried chicken or Au Comptoir’s (Bronze) authentic omelette aux fines herbes.


Café Medina 780 Richards St.


Burdock and Co. 2702 Main St.

Au Comptoir 2278 W 4th Ave.

Honourable Mentions Jam Café, Ask for Luigi

Best Izakaya

Kingyo bounces back to its previous Gold status after last year’s Silver (for Casual Japanese), thanks to the perennial excellence of dishes like its stone-grilled beef tongue. “It introduced izakaya in an elevated setting that hadn’t been seen in Vancouver before,” says one judge. “The subtle nuances in their dishes took izakaya from cheap and cheerful to elegant and refined.” Guu (Silver) has always impressed our judges with inventive dishes like deep-fried chicken knee cartilage, and Rajio’s heavenly skewers and hot stone crab bibimbap are only a few of the many dishes that have earned this hip pub a Bronze.


Kingyo 871 Denman St.


Guu Multiple locations

Rajio 3763 W 10th Ave.

Honourable Mentions Zakkushi, Suika


Best Sushi

We have such a high concentration of exceptional, multifaceted Japanese restaurants, we thought it was time to break the genre down to its component parts. But it turns out, for the most part, our judges think the Best Japanese restaurants are also the Best Sushi spots: with the now-dominant Zest taking Gold in both categories for its elegantly classical approach, and Fraser Street’s small and zoned-in Masayoshi nabbing both Silver medals. The Bronze goes to Davie’s tiny (10 seats) sushi-only Bar Maumi.


Zest 2775 W 16th Ave.


Masayoshi 4376 Fraser St.

Sushi Bar Maumi 1226 Bute St.

Honourable Mentions Kishimoto, Minami, Miku


Best Vegan/Vegetarian

This new category taps into one of the big trends grabbing the city right now. The winner is scant surprise: since it opened in 2012, Shira Blustein’s The Acorn has not only defined the category in Vancouver, but also across the entire country. And a city of hungry vegetarians and non-vegetarians agree—a line snakes out of this spot almost every night of the week. More surprising is the Silver medal winner—but Richmond’s Spicy Vegetarian Cuisine underscores the fact that our Chinese restaurants nailed no-meat cooking long before it became fashionable. Bronze goes to Victoria Drive’s Chau Veggie Express, which is bringing them in in droves with its Vietnamese take on (mostly) vegan cuisine.


The Acorn 3995 Main St.


Spicy Vegetarian Cuisine 4200 No. 3 Rd., Richmond

Chau Veggie Express 5052 Victoria Dr.

Honourable Mentions Bandidas Taqueria, Zend Conscious Lounge


Best Bakery

Notwithstanding this is a new category, it’s a familiar face that topped our judges’ ballots. Whether we call it best pastry chef or best bakery, Thomas Haas, he of the double-baked almond croissants, quark danish and sparkle cookies, remains on the top of the bread basket for all things leavened. Grabbing the Silver is Fraser Street’s paean to a classic boulangerie, Bâtard, while Bronze goes to the exquisite chocolates and viennoiserie of Burnaby’s Chez Christophe.


Thomas Haas 2539 W Broadway


Bâtard 3958 Fraser St.

Chez Christophe 4717 Hastings St., Burnaby

Honourable Mentions Fratelli, Beta5 Chocolates


Best Pacific Northwest

In its second year, Royal Dinette earns top marks from our judges as “a place of real, quiet creativity.” Chef Jack Chen (now relocated to L’Abattoir) cooks with a “true sense of fun and purpose, articulating local ingredients with confident clarity.” Lunch and dinner services “successfully balance the tricky tightrope between more mainstream midday diners and adventurous foodies in the evening.” At Farmer’s Apprentice (Silver), David Gunawan has “taken a reductive path” with his dishes, “delving into ingredients with more depth and honesty and stripping them away to express the core of their true flavours.” Chef Andrea Carlson “cooks good food with honesty and integrity” at Burdock and Co. (Bronze), creating “comforting dishes that are rooted in the classics with flavours that are luscious, rounded and balanced.”


Royal Dinette 905 Dunsmuir St.


Farmer’s Apprentice 1535 W 6th Ave.

Burdock and Co. 2702 Main St.

Honourable Mentions Hawksworth, Latab (closed)


Best New Design

The judges were unanimous in their love for gold winner Kissa Tanto. This 80-seat Japanese-Italian restaurant, designed by Ste. Marie Art and Design, is atmospheric perfection: a glossy domed ceiling pearls with light; pink vinyl banquettes invite tête-à-têtes; and modernist tilework is inspired by the cover of a Haruki Murakami novel. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Kissa Tanto 263 E Pender St.


Savio Volpe 615 Kingsway

Honourable Mentions Nightingale, Juniper


Best Seafood

Two things are true: for an oceanfront city, Vancouver doesn’t have nearly enough seafood restaurants…but the ones we do have are amazing. To wit, Blue Water Cafe, which has owned this category since 2008, again tops the judges’ ballots for its blend of consistency and creativity, typified by chef Frank Pabst’s continual pushing of the seafood boundaries with his use of limpets and jellyfish. But hot on its heels is Silver winner Ancora, led by chef Ricardo Valverde, who blends his native Peruvian cuisine and Japanese influences with local B.C. ingredients to great effect. Taking Bronze is the elegant Boulevard, with its ever-present seafood towers and oysters galore.


Blue Water Cafe 1095 Hamilton St.


Ancora 1600 Howe St.

Boulevard Kitchen and Oyster Bar 845 Burrard St.

Honourable Mentions Go Fish, Tojo’s

Best Food Truck

Not that long ago we were expecting food trucks on every block, but the realities of licensing, maintenance and having to make hay, mostly at lunch, mean that our three winners are the forebears of the business and all have bricks-and-mortar establishments to help defray the costs of the truck. Taking gold is our paragon of trucks—the born-in-Tofino legend that is Tacofino, where their take on fish tacos continues to set the standard. Close behind is Le Tigre, with its Chinese and West Coast mash-up typified by the legendary crack salad which hasn’t slipped despite their growth into a restaurant (Torafuku). Bronze is Vij’s Railway Express, where the high prices are offset by attention to detail and high-end ingredients uncommon on four wheels.




Le Tigre

Vij’s Railway Express

Honourable Mentions Chickpea, Feastro


Best Whistler

The mountain version of the Hatfields and the McCoys is again the theme of this year’s Whistler category, with Araxi (winner of the award every time but once since 2000) and Bearfoot Bistro (the “but once”) presenting their different takes on high-alpine fine dining. Gold is Araxi: its supreme consistency and flawless presentation continue to impress our judges. But there’s also love for the controlled excess of silver winner Bearfoot, where the steady hand of chef Melissa Craig keeps the high-wire operation in check. Bronze was snagged by newcomer (and Top Table stablemate to Araxi) Bar Oso, where authentic Spanish tapas, a vibe-y room and a much lower price point than the other medallists make it the hardest table to get right now.


Araxi 110-4222 Village Square


Bearfoot Bistro 4121 Village Green

Bar Oso 150-4222 Village Square

Honourable Mentions Alta Bistro, Christine’s on Blackcomb


Best Okanagan

The Okanagan food scene has exploded in the past few years, but, in the eyes of our judges, no one has yet ascended to the level of unseating chef Mark Filatow as the Valley’s top dog—this is Waterfront Wines’ eighth consecutive win in this category, but it remains perhaps the most unpretentious fine-dining spot in the province. Nudging in second is chef Jeff Van Geest’s beautiful room Miradoro, attached to Oliver’s Tinhorn Creek winery, where the former Aurora Bistro owner serves up his take on the local bounty of the Okanagan. Nabbing Bronze is the stunning  Old Vines located at Quails’ Gate.


Waterfront Wines 1180 Sunset Dr., Kelowna


Miradoro 537 Tinhorn Creek Rd., Oliver

Old Vines 3303 Boucherie Rd., Kelowna

Honourable Mentions Craft Corner Kitchen, Salted Brick

Best Victoria

It’s a wholesale changing of the guards in Victoria as an entire new slate of young’uns captures the podium this year. First up is the tiny Agrius, where Cliff Leir presides over a jewel box of a room. In the words of one judge: “A young, unpretentious, ingredients-focused team sources local and focuses on flavourful, and is also home to the best bakery in the capital city (oh, the breads). Cocktails are sharp, and the wine list is naturalist; this is the hippest room in town.” Silver goes to Part and Parcel, an ultra-low-key, supremely wallet-friendly Quadra Street spot that also zones in on the local, while bronze sees the Island’s reigning whole- food champ Nourish show its leafy chops.


Agrius 732 Yates St.


Part and Parcel 2656 Quadra St.

Nourish Kitchen and Café 225 Quebec St.

Honourable Mentions Stage Wine Bar, Pizzeria Prima Strada


Best of the Neigbourhoods

There's no corner of this city where you can't find some good eats, and these winners took home the trophies in their ’hoods. READ MORE ▸▸▸ LifetimeAchievement_AaronSacco-375x375.jpg

Lifetime Achievement Award

Together, Sid and Joan Cross have raised the bar for what was possible for B.C.'s hospitality industry. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Sid and Joan Cross


Sommelier of the Year

Lisa Haley brings a passion for natural and authentic wines, a scholarly bent and some Montreal savoir faire to Vancouver's wine scene. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Lisa Haley


Bartender of the Year

Our Bartender of the Year brings an elegant sense of balance to her libations. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Sabrine Dhaliwal


Best Upscale

One might imagine that in a year that saw many key individuals spending time at chef David Hawksworth’s upstart Nightingale, the chef’s namesake restaurant might slip just a bit. Not a chance. Hawksworth, this category’s reigning champ (it’s won Best Upscale every year since it opened in 2011) continues to perfect a mélange of imaginative food, an amazing wine list and note-perfect service that make it the obvious choice when the occasion—be it a 50th wedding anniversary or an impromptu Tuesday night—demands that everything be just so. Silver goes to the resurgent CinCin, which proves that a dedicated team can turn any room around, while bronze goes to the often-overlooked Bauhaus, a restaurant that’s working hard to bring an elevated experience to uber-casual Gastown.


Hawksworth 801 W Georgia St.


CinCin 1154 Robson St.

Bauhaus 1 W Cordova St.

Honourable Mentions The Pear Tree, Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca


Best Chain

Our chains are better than their chains. If we needed any proof of this, look no further than gold winner Cactus Club Cafe, who spent last year absolutely schooling our Toronto friends on how to run a hopping restaurant in the heart of the Big Smoke’s downtown. (They’re opening another T.O. outpost later this year.) The judges praised the chain’s infallible consistency, be it at the swanky Coal Harbour flagship or the Kamloops branch. Silver goes to the too-elegant-to-be-a-chain Kirin, whose four rooms never fail to disappoint, while Bronze belongs to the too-fun-to-be-a-chain team at Guu, who are likewise doing the turning-Toronto-on-its-head routine with their new Guu Izakaya location on Queen Street.


Cactus Club Cafe Multiple locations


Kirin Multiple locations

Guu Multiple locations

Honourable Mentions Joey, The Flying Pig


Best Indian

Vikram Vij’s shimmering My Shanti takes this year’s golden crown in true “over-the-top Bollywood style.” Judges lauded it as “fearlessly offering authentic flavours true to the subcontinent” with dishes ranging from reinvented Udaipur chaat to Kerala duck biryani. Now in its new Cambie Street outpost, Vij’s (Silver) returns to deliver “the combined vision of Vikram, host par excellence, and Meeru Dhalwala, the perfectionist in the kitchen.” A significant size-up from its previous digs, oftentimes with lineups to match, it’s still grounded in “brilliantly reimagined Indian food that pays tribute to its roots.” Rangoli (Bronze) continues to hold court (still in its original location at the time of these awards) as the Vij triumvirate’s remaining South Granville stalwart, its “intricately spiced,” smartly priced dishes especially popular with lunchtime diners.


My Shanti 15869 Croydon Dr., Surrey


Vij’s 3106 Cambie St.

Rangoli 1480 W 11th Ave.

Honourable Mentions Apna Chaat, Sachdeva Sweets


Best Pan-Asian

When you look at Japanese and Italian cuisine, there is a common sensibility between them that focuses on seasonality, incredible technique and balance. The seamlessness and finesse with which Kissa Tanto has integrated techniques and ingredients made it an easy choice for gold. The bold playfulness of the menu at Torafuku (Silver) has our judges lusting over the deep-fried mochi and “kickass rice.” It may focus only on one thing (Asian-style rotisserie chicken), but Freebird (Bronze) got multiple slow claps for its Hainanese poached chicken and umami-rich dipping sauces.


Kissa Tanto 2635 E Pender St.


Torafuku 958 Main St.

Freebird 810 Quayside Dr., New Westminster

Honourable Mentions Fat Mao Noodles, Phnom Penh


Ingredient of the Year

The Chef’s Table Society of B.C. helps with this award and member Chris Whittaker of Forage couldn’t stop in his love of bison. “ I have witnessed how they can transform fallow land into lush pastures and a much more diverse ecosystem than they began with, with increases in insects, birds and small mammal populations. They have restored the soil to a biodiverse state that allows the photosynthesis process to flourish, creating much more water retention and thus massive amounts of carbon capture. Beyond this, healthy pastures create less unwanted runoff into our salmon-bearing rivers and streams and, with proper plant forage diversity, eliminate the need for grain finishing in just four years. Bison, ounce for ounce, is the most nutrient-dense red meat, and with our new program with Thompson Rivers University, we will be getting it tested, anticipating to find it has more Omega-3s than most fish available to market.”



Producer of the Year

Ask even dedicated Vancouver diners to name a local vegetable, and dollars to doughnuts you’ll get either silence or something from Pemberton’s North Arm Farm. Founded in 1995 by Trish and Jordan Sturdy (the latter now an MLA), North Arm,  with its 60 acres, wasn’t the first to take advantage of the fertile ground north of Whistler, but it was the first to trumpet the location and to throw open its doors so average urban diners on a day trip could really understand where their food was coming from (and maybe pick a few berries or pumpkins while they’re there). These days, the entire Pemberton Valley has become sort of a mountain Provence, with distillers and winemakers and lots of farmers drawing crowds to the experience—all of which started with the Sturdy clan and the amazing dirt of North Arm Farm.


North Arm Farm Pemberton, B.C.


Premier Crew

Chefs get accolades, owners (hopefully) get profits, but it’s the front-of-house team who makes sure that the diner experience is just so. And so here, they get some of our love. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Sherry Diggle Chen-Wei Lee Lindsay Otto Patrick Patterson Jaier Vlessing

Best Dim Sum

For many non-Chinese people, their first experience with the lure of Chinese cuisine came at dim sum while a steam cart navigated through the tables, piled high with bamboo baskets. Proof that Vancouver has come a long way since those days is exemplified in the elegant menu that dim sum chef Garley Leung creates at Gold winner Dynasty Seafood. It’s more akin to a tasting menu, with recognizable classics like pan-fried pork buns elevated to heights beyond their steam-table past. Silver goes to Richmond’s Golden Paramount, whose outward old-school signs—bamboo baskets, banquet chairs, strip mall location—belie the sophisticated take on Cantonese cuisine. Taking Bronze is Yue Delicacy, with its muted posh interior and legendary har gow (shrimp dumplings).


Dynasty Seafood 777 W Broadway


Golden Paramount 8071 Park Rd., Richmond

Yue Delicacy 8077 Alexandra Rd., Richmond

Honourable Mentions Chef Tony Seafood, The Jade Seafood

Best Japanese

Our judges covered a lot of culinary ground this year, and the category winners reflect a broad spectrum of price points and approaches. Gold winner Zest has “a classic Tokyo vibe.” Its “understated modern serenity is an elegant backdrop for chef Yoshiaki Maniwa and Tatsuya Katagiri’s sharply executed dishes,” says one judge. Their menu reflects “a sense of elevated rigour in which all the details matter,” adding up to a “singular dining experience.” At Masayoshi (Silver), the focus is on omakase; in the words of one judge, “it’s all about surrendering yourself to chef Masayoshi Baba’s meticulous, mindful culinary journey.” Kinome (Bronze) has fun with sushi and izakaya dishes, but judges unanimously praised “the serious passion that’s poured into their handmade soba noodles and dashi.”


Zest 2775 W 16th Ave.


Masayoshi 4376 Fraser St.

Kinome Japanese Kitchen 2511 W Broadway

Honourable Mentions Tojo’s, Marutama

Best Korean

Royal Seoul House proves its staying power after almost 30 years in operation with its repeat gold this year. The service here isn’t notable, but “it executes traditional Korean food with a level of sophistication and consistency that surpasses others in this category,” says one judge. Its location might not be the most welcoming, but Hanwoori (Silver) continues to deliver “consistently excellent value and quality,” and newcomer Maru Korean Bistro (Bronze) wowed our judges with its crispy rice rolls, friendly service and stone bowls.


Royal Seoul House 1215 W Broadway


Hanwoori 5740 Imperial St., Burnaby

Maru Korean Bistro 125 2nd St. E, North Vancouver

Honourable Mentions Damso, Seoul Doogbaegi


Best Vietnamese

Mr. Red Café (Gold) continues its winning streak from last year, thanks to its stellar Northern Vietnamese menu that our judges say “delights the palate with its crisp, clean and aromatic flavours,” along with the warm hospitality of owner Rose Nguyen. The vegan “fish” sauce and heady broths helped Chau Veggie Express (Silver) jump up from its honourable mention last year. And newcomer Anh and Chi (Bronze) shows that families who cook together, rock together.


Mr. Red Café 2234 E Hastings St., 2680 W Broadway


Chau Veggie Express 5052 Victoria Dr.

Anh and Chi 3388 Main St.

Honourable Mentions Hai Phong, Café Xu Hue

LaMezcaleria.jpg ElSanto_TraceyKusiewicz.jpg

Best Latin

A surprising tie for Gold between newcomer El Santo and La Mezcaleria shows the growing presence of Latin cuisine on Vancouver’s restaurant scene. El Santo’s hibiscus and jicama enchiladas and serious bar program kept our judges coming back time and again, while La Mezcaleria’s queso fundido and mezcal-based cocktails make for what one judge describes as “the best Friday night on the Drive.” Casual lunch spot Molli Cafe nabs the Bronze, thanks to its deeply earthy pulled lamb tacos and two-fister tortas.


El Santo 680 Columbia St., New Westminster


La Mezcaleria Multiple locations

Molli Cafe 1225 Burrard St.

Honourable Mentions La Taqueria, Cacao

Best French

French food was once the forgotten cuisine in our town, but the last few years have seen a great resurgence in a more casual take on Gallic fare. Yet when push comes to shove, the judges still bow to the classical perfection practised by Michel Jacob and his team at the superlative Le Crocodile. Silver goes to L’Abattoir’s decidedly more modern take on French, whereas the bronze will go nicely with Au Comptoir’s zinc-topped bar in the excellent brasserie.


Le Crocodile 909 Burrard St.


L’Abattoir 217 Carrall St.

Au Comptoir 2278 W 4th Ave.

Honourable Mentions Bistro Wagon Rouge, Les Faux Bourgeois

Best Chinese

Our Restaurant of the Year, Dynasty Seafood (Gold) reached out to new diners and embraced innovation while staying wonderfully true to the clean, light, elegant ideals of upscale Cantonese cooking. “A perfect match for wine geeks,” said one judge. Others applauded “meaty” steamed eggplant that “turns a traditional dish on its head” and the “many pleasure points” of spicy-garlic Dungeness crab over sticky rice. Chef Tony Seafood (Silver) “toned down” its reputation for ostentatious luxury (though we still love the black truffle-gilded roast chicken), offering more sophisticated comfort foods like steamed pork belly with house-salted lemons and local ling-cod-tail hot pot. The Jade Seafood’s (Bronze) “exceptionally suave service” continues to impress, along with exemplary cooking skill, evidenced in “smooth and wobbly, clean and pure” steamed savoury custard with seafood.


Dynasty Seafood 777 W Broadway


Chef Tony Seafood 4600 No. 3 Rd., Richmond

The Jade Seafood 8511 Alexandra Rd., Richmond

Honourable Mentions Landmark Hot Pot, Yue Delicacy


Best Italian

Well, this is a surprise. This year we combined the best upscale Italian and best casual Italian categories, and the end result is that neither defending champion triumphed. Instead it’s CinCin, a Vancouver institution that most judges agreed was only a few years ago verging on tourist-trap territory. Chef Andrew Richardson has reinvigorated the Robson Street room with a combo of open flame and attention to detail. Runner-up Cioppino’s still for many sets the standard for classically prepared Italian dishes, while the regional La Quercia (Bronze) continues to rule the west side with its mixture of rustic and refined.


CinCin 1154 Robson St.


Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill and Enoteca 1133 Hamilton St.

La Quercia 3689 W 4th Ave.

Honourable Mentions Cinara, Giardino


Best Thai

If you were the betting type, there was probably no more sure a thing than Angus An’s Maenam winning this category. Last year’s Restaurant of the Year continues to impress the judges with its seamless and modern take on Thai fare. And proof of An’s mastery is reinforced with the Silver winner, Longtail Kitchen—his more casual outpost in New Westminster’s River Market. Bronze goes to the trailblazing Montri, where Montri Rattanaraj pioneered modern Thai in Vancouver in the 1980s and is still very much on the top of his game.


Maenam 1938 W 4th Ave.


Longtail Kitchen 810 Quayside Dr., New Westminster

Thai Cuisine by Montri 2585 W Broadway

Honourable Mentions Jitlada, Thai Pudpong


Best New Restaurant

In the short time it's been open, Savio Volpe has woven itself inextricably into the fabric of our food scene. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Savio Volpe 615 Kingsway


Chef of the Year

Joël Watanabe modernizes traditional Chinese dishes by grounding them in classic French techniques and local ingredients. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Joël Watanabe


Restaurant of the Year

The food from chef Sam Leung's kitchen sets the standard for Chinese cuisine in North America. READ MORE ▸▸▸


Dynasty Seafood 777 W Broadway