Vancouver’s Best Patios


Tables are packed closely in the sunshine, bikes parked close by; the shabby décor channels the faded glory of an earlier generation’s interpretation of Cuba. The Menu Nuevo Latina cuisine, they say. Translation: the stuff of southern climate sensibilities, such as estofado (seafood stew, $19), ropa vieja (braised beef with black-bean rice, $18), and Spanish paella ($19). Get This The Drive burger ($14), a crisp veggie patty with avocado, goes perfectly with your tropical mojito, poured double. 1212 Commercial Dr., 604-253-9119.

Chill Winston

Gassy Jack presides over this extensive patio that practically spills into the path of traffic, divine for people keeping tabs on the creative types from neighbouring magazine and graphic design offices, as well as hip young restaurateurs. The Menu  Shared plates such as Arctic char gravlax with crème fraîche, dill, and artisan crostini ($15), or just some fresh popcorn seasoned with lemon and pepper ($6.50). Get This Set the tone for the night with any one of the 13 whiskies available. 3 Alexander St., 604-288-9575.


The Gallery Café

The contemplative vibe felt inside the Vancouver Art Gallery floats up into its sophisticated café and spacious patio. Most tourists bustling along below don’t know it’s here. The Menu Fresh quiche, paninis, and salad bowls. This is where to take your mother, grandmother, or equally health-conscious girlfriends after yoga. Get This Lentils with roasted vegetables, chèvre, and artichokes ($9.25) or a ’50s tuna melt ($7.95) with an Americano ($2.10). 750 Hornby St., 604-688-2233.



Its patio hugs the curves of the entire building and seems to hang above False Creek, with views that stretch out underneath the Burrard Street Bridge and beyond English Bay. The Menu Deft, modern takes on Mediterranean and Aegean cuisine. Get This Charred octopus charisma with meli, lemon, and parsley purée ($12) to start, then traditional roasted lamb with tomato-braised chickpeas ($19). And an ouzo cocktail, natch. 1661 Granville St., 604-646-4668.


Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar

Elegant and surprisingly private thanks to well-placed shrubbery and street lamps that lend a vintage touch to the otherwise modern ambience. The person next to you probably is the celebrity they look like. The Menu Award-winning, West Coast plates and sushi using seafood from wild and sustainable harvest. Get This BC’s Okeover Arm Little Wing oysters ($2.75 each), pumpernickel crusted white sturgeon with beets and cauliflower purée ($37.50), and whatever wine your server recommends with both. 1095 Hamilton St., 604-688-8078.

The Sandbar

Heavy wooden furniture draped in cozy blankets and a large stone fireplace reminiscent of a remote B.C. lodge are nicely juxtaposed with the heavy steel of Granville Bridge that rises above, and the view out over Yaletown’s glass towers. The Menu The focus here is on food that once swam, but landlubbers won’t go hungry. Get This Wok squid ($11) and Hoshi’s daily sushi selection ($29), with a bottle of expressive Yoshinogawa sake ($30 a bottle). 1535 Johnson St., 604-669-9030


Il Giardino

An escape to Italy without leaving the city. The terracotta-tiled patio is swathed in vines and sunshine, and home to Chanel-clad ladies and their Howe Street counterparts trying to revive the three-martini lunch. At dinner, candles set a cozy, romantic atmosphere. The Menu Umberto Menghi’s touch on authentic Tuscan dishes. Big portions! Savoury! Get This  A half-chicken, Tuscan-style, from the clay oven, with a glass of Pinot Grigio. 1382 Hornby St., 604-669-2442


The Keefer Bar

Glassed off from the hubbub of Chinatown and adorned with Chinese lanterns and leafy plants, this spot is perfect for people-watching when the weekend Chinatown Night Market is in full swing. The Menu Asian-influenced tapas and an intricate cocktail program that includes apothecary cocktails (from $8) and luxury drops shots (four, $20). Get This Peking duck sliders ($8) and an Opium Sour. 135 Keefer St., 604-688-1961.


Marina Grill

A sprawling, sun-baked deck with unique views of the Burrard Inlet from Lynnwood Marina beneath the Second Narrows Bridge. Inelegant in the extreme—plastic patio chairs and tables nestled beside old port buildings—but the epitome of industrial cool. The Menu Incredibly ambitious in its variety, but stick to simple pub fare. (Potato skins! Mushroom caps!) Get This Pair a frosty Corona with the mammoth mega mushroom burger and fries ($11.95). 1653 Columbia St., North Vancouver, 604-988-0038.


The Mill Marine Bistro

Vistas of the North Shore mountains, Stanley Park, and seaplanes abuzz like bees. In the urban water park beside the beer garden, Junior can pee—er, play—in the fountain while mummy and daddy throw back a cold pint. The Menu Ravenous seawall-walkers tuck into The Works nachos topped with Guinness BBQ pulled pork ($19). Get This A clean, sweet, frosty Mill Size pint of Whistler Powder Mountain Lager ($7), or whatever the seasonal Granville Island tap is pouring. It’s really all about the cold brews. 1199 W. Cordova St., 604-687-6455.


An extensive makeover has transformed this spacious, relaxed False Creek patio into one of the summer sweet spots. Along with the killer setting, the cask program is what keeps people coming back: eight varieties of beer, made onsite (at the Grandville Island Hotel) under the expert watch of brewmaster Mark Simpson. Order the six-pack of sampler-sized tastes ($14) to decide which one to enjoy on a sunny afternoon (Jamaican Lager, a light, pink, hibiscus-infused stunner, gets our vote). The Menu Executive chef Jeff Batt’s Ocean Wise, seafood-heavy menu includes a couple of standout dishes. Get This  The chili squid ($11) tastes like more, please, and the Cobb Salad ($16) makes for a perfect lunch. 1253 Johnston St., 604-685-7070.