Vancouver, located on the southwest coast of Canada, is one of the countries most ethnically diverse and densely populated cities. Besides the huge emphasis on outdoor activities and the thriving art and music scenes, Vancouver is also JAM-PACKED with some of the best food I have ever had.
Vancouver is a diverse seaport city, making it an excellent place to sample food from around the world. In fact, there are so many fantastic restaurants in Vancouver that you could stay here for weeks and not even make a dent.
Intimidating, right? Don’t worry! If you’re visiting Canada’s most vibrant city and wondering where you should start, I’ve got you covered!
In this blog post, I am going to give you a list of all of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver’s downtown and west end areas. Of course, there are a ton of drool-worthy restaurants outside of these areas, too. If you are only visiting for a few days, though, you will most likely be staying downtown and these places will be much easier to access.
Below, I have broken this list up into several categories including coffee shops, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. Please feel free to skip around depending on what kind of meal you are after.
I should also mention that all of these restaurants in Vancouver are moderately priced. This is not a “5-star dining list”, but instead, a list of delicious, affordable, local restaurants that you are going to absolutely love!
Are you ready? Good! Without further ado, here are all of my favourite restaurants in Vancouver, Canada.
There are four of these cafes scattered around Vancouver’s downtown and west end. With awesome drinks and top-notch baking, this cafe is a no-brainer! Oh, did I forget to mention they have gluten-free and vegan options and they just happen to be open 24/7? There is no excuse not to visit this coffee shop during your stay.
Recommendations: Spicy Chicken and Bacon Panini, Apple Fritter, & Vegan Banana Walnut Oatmeal Muffin
Nemesis is a bright and trendy coffee shop that also serves artisanal pastries and a small selection of all-day brunch. Located in Gastown, this is a great place to fuel up for a day of shopping or sightseeing. If you’re not a huge coffee drinker, they have a large selection of tea and kombucha as well.
Recommendations: Chamomile Orange Honey Cruffin, Pistachio Swirl, & Tiramisu Croissant
Delany’s is a super cute café located in the west end serving great beverages, breakfast sandwiches, juice options, and snacks. This is a wonderful stop on your way to Stanley Park or if you have decided to stay in the west end like we did!
Recommendations: Breakfast Sandwich, Breakfast Wrap, & Spelt Muffin
Incognito is a fun little coffee shop with great coffee, wraps, paninis, and pastries! With a great location, friendly staff, and free milk substitutes, it’s an excellent place to come for your morning coffee and a bite to eat.
Recommendations: Feta Phyllo Pastry, Pesto Chicken Wrap, & Croissants
Matchstick has three restaurants around downtown Vancouver that offer coffee and a small selection of tasty baked goods and on-the-go meals. With a ton of vegan and gluten-free options, something I LOVED about this place is that they don’t charge extra for milk alternatives.
Recommendations: Iced Horchata Latte, Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cheddar & Green Onion Scone, & Earl Grey Muffin
Breakfast & Brunch
This was undoubtedly the best brunch I have had anywhere in Vancouver, and possibly in all of Canada! Their signature Liège style waffles are a tasty starter or post-brunch dessert and every single thing on the menu is freaking fantastic! Located in the downtown core on Richards Street, this café is jam-packed every day of the week.
If you are hoping to make a reservation, I recommend booking at least 1 week in advance. If you don’t happen to get the time you want, they always have a section of first come first serve tables available. Come early and prepare for a wait, though, because this place is always lined up out the door!
Recommendations: Lavender Latte, Tangine, Paella, Les Boulettes, & Waffles with all the toppings!
Small Victory is more of a bakery than a restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, they do serve coffee and meals, but the pastries are so tasty that you have to give them a whirl! This French-inspired café serves up everything from croissants and homemade bread to savoury pastries and desserts that all look out of this world.
Recommendations: Almond Croissant, Breakfast Croissant Sandwich, & Chicken Pot Pie
Café Portrait was a close second to Café Medina for the best breakfasts we had during our entire trip. Their inventive menu is to die for and the staff was very friendly. We loved supporting this family-owned business and were impressed to learn that the father does all of the artwork, including the beautiful glass-topped tables!
Recommendations: Munch Shakshuka, Modigliani Benedict, & Miro Benedict
The Twisted Fork Bistro, located in the trendy neighbourhood of Gastown, is another one of the best restaurants in Vancouver. Though they offer mouth-watering all-day dining, brunch is where it’s at! The Banana Stuffed Brioche French Toast is divine and the mimosas are stiff and delicious, just how I like them!
Recommendations: Banana Stuffed Brioche French Toast, Eggplant Shakshuka, & Best Summer Ever Mimosa
Greenhorn Café is a cute little brunch place conveniently located in the west end of Vancouver. With friendly staff, local ingredients, and top-notch dishes, you can’t miss this place! Psst… if you can’t decide between the eggs benedict and the waffles—both are to die for— you can get a half order of each.
Recommendations: Mushroom Benedict, Bacon Benedict, Avocado Toast, & Waffles
Boasting an impressive menu and even more impressive daily specials, Jam Café is a truly indulgent Canadian breakfast experience. Serving upscale comfort food with generous portions, it’s no wonder this place has a lineup any time of the day. Trust me, though, the food is well worth the wait.
Recommendations: Huevos Rancheros, Fried Chicken Benny, & The Charlie Bowl
Lunch & Dinner
Nuba was my favourite meal of our entire trip and one of the most talked about restaurants in Vancouver. With two locations, one in Gastown and one in Yaletown, you shouldn’t have a problem fitting it into your schedule. This popular Lebanese restaurant offers a wide variety of pitas, dips, salads, and delicious main courses. They are a great place to go if you are looking for vegan or vegetarian meals, too!
If you’re having a hard time narrowing down your options, I would highly recommend ordering the sampling platter called “Le Feast”. Designed for 2 or more people, this two-course meal lets you try a ton of the dishes on the menu!
Recommendations: “Le Feast” Sampling Platter, Chicken Shish Tawook, Najib’s Special, & The Muhammara
Homer Street Cafe is an intimate restaurant with a bright and inviting atmosphere. The staff is friendly and the food is always delicious! Although the menu is not overly large, all of the items on it are delectable. If you are in a group of 2-4 hungry people, try The Full Monty! For $90CAD, you can enjoy half a rotisserie chicken, a full rack of ribs, biscuits, coleslaw, crispy potato salad, brussels sprouts, and they even throw in a bottle of their homemade hot sauce for you to take home!
Recommendations: Rotisserie Chicken, Lamb Shank, & Pork Belly
Tacofino has locations in Yaletown and Gastown. With a laid-back, order at the window vibe, and an array of indoor and outdoor seating, this is a relaxed restaurant for lunch or dinner. The margaritas are to die for and the tacos are out of this world!
Recommendations: Cauliflower Taco, Lemongrass Chicken Taco, Beef Brisket Barbacoa Burrito, & Chips with Guacamole
LOCAL Public Eatery is a popular patio hangout in Gastown. With excellent service, great pub food, and inventive drinks, this is a wonderful choice for happy hour or a hearty meal.
Recommendations: Crispy Chicken Sandwich, Malaysian Curry Bowl, & Nachos
This popular vegan restaurant serves up comfort food with a twist. They are known for offering a plant-based spin on dishes like Mac & Cheese, Butter Chicken Poutine, Burgers, and Pad Thai. With two locations, one in Gastown and one in Yaletown, you can’t pass up these inventive meals!
Recommendations: Mac N’ Cheez Bowl, Noodle-y Thai, Crispy Calamari Cesar, & Teem Poutine
This Izakaya-style Japanese restaurant offers fantastic Japanese tapas and exceptional service. With a menu styled so that you can order several small plates and try a variety of dishes, this is one of the top restaurants in Vancouver!
Recommendations: The Japanese Hotpot, Salmon, & Chicken Kaarage
After a fantastic experience at a Fritz European Fry House in NYC, we were excited to see one downtown Vancouver. They offer massive portions and infinite topping and sauce options from poutine to dipping combos. Although there is not a ton of seating inside, you can easily take your order to go and enjoy it at the nearby Emery Barnes Park.
Recommendations: Vegan Poutine, Pulled Pork Poutine, & Fries with the Garlic Dip
This bustling little restaurant, with locations in Yaletown and Gastown, offers an excellent selection for brunch, lunch or dinner. The service was great and the happy hour menu is top-notch! Make sure to order yourself a side of the crispy brussels sprouts… you can thank me later.
Recommendations: Crispy Brussel Sprouts, Pulled Pork Poutine, & Rocket Pesto Gnocchi
Granville Island, located just off the shore of downtown Vancouver, is a small island accessible by boat or by vehicle. From the Vancouver Aquatic Center, there is a small pedestrian ferry that makes the short trip across the water about every 5 minutes.
Once you arrive, you will find colourful markets and bustling food vendors around every corner. Take a stroll inside the Granville Island Public Market building for everything from fresh seafood to homemade baked goods. Trust me, you’re going to want to go hungry!
Okay, so this one is not technically downtown Vancouver, but there is no way I could leave it off the list! Open weekend evenings from the end of April to early October, this massive food fair is the closest thing I have seen in North America to the incredible night markets held around southeast Asia.
Inside, you will find different tents selling everything from pineapples filled with fried rice to sweet Oreo bao buns smothered with ice cream and chocolate sauce. It really is worth making the trip if you enjoy sampling different types of food!
NOTE: As of 2022, the entrance fee and many of the vendors are cash only. There is an ATM on the premises, but the line can be quite long. If you are visiting in a group of 4-6 people, consider the “zoom pass”. It is $35 for up to 6 entries and lets your whole group skip the line.
The sweets here are among some of the best in the city. Thierry Chocolates specializes in individual chocolates, macarons, cakes, and tarts that will blow your mind. No matter what you choose to treat yourself with here, you will be pleased with your decision.
Recommendations: Tiramisu, Macarons, & Black Forest Cake
Located in Yaletown, this trendy little ice cream joint is unlike anywhere I have ever been! Every cup is made to order, meaning that if you order a scoop of the double Oreo, you get to watch them put all of the ingredients into a kitchen aid and mix it with liquid nitrogen! With vegan options, ice cream sandwiches, and delicious waffle cones, this is one of the best restaurants in Vancouver, hands down.
Recommendations: Double Oreo, Creme Brûlée Ice Cream Sandwich, and Vegan Oat Milk
Located on the ground floor of an office building in downtown Vancouver, this coffee and doughnut shop is bustling from open until close. With inventive doughnut flavours including vegan and gluten-free options, Lucky’s Doughnuts is a no-brainer when it comes to finding sweet treats that suit all dietary needs!
Recommendations: Peanut Butter and Jelly, Salted Caramel Old Fashions, & Apple Bacon Fritter
I’ll be honest, we were a bit apprehensive to go into this shop with its all-black walls and edgy decor. Upon arrival, though, we were greeted by a lovely man who explained the different flavours and gave us his recommendations. This vegan soft serve presented in unique charcoal cones offers a one-of-a-kind experience and a humorous take on ice cream.
Recommendations: Lemon my F.A.O, Brand Spanking, & Beg for S’more