A Foodie’s Guide to Vancouver (Canada)

Vancouver, British Columbia…the most beautiful place on earth. At least that is what the license plate claims. But really, it is! I may be biased since I am from Vancouver and spent the majority of my life there before moving south of the border. And while the natural beauty, scenery and wildlife may take your breathe away, Vancouver has even more to offer. The diverse mix of immigrants that now inhabit Vancouver has brought with it some of the best restaurants and food in North America.  Here is my list of go-to spots in Vancouver that I never fail to visit when I am in town. I would love to hear what your favorites are in the comments below so that I can consider them on my next trip home and add it to my list!



From the same owners as Chambar, Medina serves Belgian-Moroccon cuisine. Lines up go around the block and can take hours but once inside the food will make you forget that you waited for so long. Don’t miss out on the classic belgian waffles and the lavender lattes. Twisted Fork serves some of the yummiest brunch in town. I always go for the banana stuffed french toast which is an unforgettable experience in decadence.

Or choose to spend the morning in Stanley Park, the sprawling urban oasis of greenery and water that is the West Coast’s rival to Central Park. Begin at the Teahouse in Stanley Park, a well-known brunch spot, both for its location and Canadian Northwest twists on some classic breakfast items. Ask for a table by the window to look out over English Bay and West Vancouver. Don’t miss the smoked salmon Benedict, which comes with local sockeye salmon. (7501 Stanley Park Drive; vancouverdine.com/teahouse).


It is not a surprise that really good chinese food can be found in Chinatown and while there are really authentic spots where you must visit with a mandarin/cantonese speaking friend (for which I’m lucky to have one) there are other more modern restaurants that have started popping up in this up and coming hip neighborhood. Bao Bei is a really hip/hipster restaurant that has really good chinese food with a twist. Phnom Penh is another favorite located in Chinatown. And while the name might suggest the food is a mix between Cambodian, Vietnamese and Chinese.  It offers some favorite classics like the chicken wings.

Dim Sum:

For one of the most genuine Asian cultural and culinary experiences in North America, go to the Aberdeen Center for dim sum at Fisherman’s Terrace (3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond). This sprawling Asian shopping center has an entire store dedicated to Hello Kitty merchandise, a Korean barbecue and a pan-Asian supermarket, among other treasures. Many options are also available downtown in Chinatown. The Jade Dynasty Restaurant (137 Pender Street) offers good-value dim sum, or just wander along the road and choose one of the many restaurants that takes your fancy. 


My favorites include Chambar (562 Beatty Street) is a sophisticated, funky restaurant serving innovative Belgium, French and Moroccan food using regional ingredientsLes Faux Bourgeois  is a french bistro located in Mount Pleasant. If you want to feel a little bit of France and have authentic French food then make the trip out of downtown to Mount Pleasant. Wait times are long but it is definitely worth it. Another French favorite located downtown is La Brasserie located in Davie Village.


There is a large Indian population in Vancouver which means one thing: really good and authentic Indian food. For the real deal you must head to Main street and Fraser street to ‘Little India’. Here you will find a vast number of Indian restaurants where cheap eats are a plenty. However, for a more upscale evening, head to one of my favorite restaurants in Vancouver: Vij’s (1480 W 11th Ave). Owners Vikram and wife Meeru pride themselves on quality Indian food in a beautiful setting. The restaurant is quite small and the wait time often is over 1-2 hours long. So be prepared to wait a while and get drunk in the process. My favorite item on the menu? The Lamb Popsicles!


An area in Vancouver that should be explored if you have time is Commercial street- Vancouver’s own version of Little Italy. Here you can find a range of great Italian food. Outside of the Commercial street area are a wide range of great choices including my favorites: Campagnolo and Campagnolo Roma. 

Italian Pizza options are also great in Vancouver including Nicli Antica Pizzeria in Gastown and Pizzeria Farina.


Starting off at the intersection of Denman street and Robson street is where the feast begins. For the best ramen downtown, I usually head to either Motomoki Shokudo (740 Denman Street) or it’s sister location, Kintaro Ramen.  Try the black bamboo charcoal ramen. It is quite possibly the best broth you’ll ever taste.

Further up on Robson street is another all-time favorite, Guu with Garlic, a Japanese Izakaya restaurant which opened its doors in the early 2000’s and quickly gained so much popularity that it now has multiple locations around Vancouver and Toronto. (Below is the grilled squid served with a side of Lemon and Japanese Mayonnaise).


For the best hand-made gyozas in town I always head to Gyoza King (1508 Robson Street), a small and cozy Japanese bistro where you can choose from a variety of gyozas and other Japanese favorites. My number one pick: the shrimp and chive gyozas with a bottle of unfiltered sake to wash it down.


Where to begin on this one? Sushi restaurants cover the streets of Vancouver just as frequently as Starbucks. Some authentic, fresh and delicious and others are just in the business to make money. Making the hunt for good sushi a fun challenge (although to be honest even the mediocre sushi bars in Vancouver are far better than most sushi I’ve tasted around the US)! For a healthy organic sushi meal I head over to the tiny little gem, Shizen ya, located on Hornby street directly across from the courthouse.  For a more upscale experience with unique takes on sushi, Miku (#70 – 200 Granville St) is the place to be. The sushi is amazing and takes on a form of art. If in Yaletown, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar (1095 Hamilton St) offers a vast range of fresh seafood, sushi and BC coastal fare. It is a classy affair and on the pricey end but if in Vancouver for a short time it should not be missed.


Finchs Tea and Coffee House (353 W. Pender Street) is a classic Gastown gem serving some of the best sandwiches in town. Favorites include the proscuitto, pear and baked blue brie cheese and walnut sandwich. Absolutely to die for! Hubbub is another favorite due to their oh so delicious bread. My all time favorite is the turkey sausage sandwich which I describe in great lengths in my post.



When in Vancouver, eat lots of seafood, the unrivaled local specialty.There are so many that I am going to list them here for you and let you pick your favorite:  Blue Water Cafe and Raw BarMiku, Rodney’s Oyster House and Go Fish Ocean Emporium (a food stand close to Granville Island).


 What are your favorite restaurants in Vancouver? Please add below in comment so that I can try it out next time I am in town! 


The Hungry Nomad

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Waffles at Nero Belgian Waffle Bar (Vancouver, Canada)

Vancouver has many things but one thing that it lacks is a good selection of dessert shops that are open late. The only place to have desserts in the west end used to be True Confections who, let’s be honest, no longer serves good cake. So the opening of Nero Belgian Waffle Bar is a welcoming site in the west end.


As the name suggests the shop offers a range of waffles served with the likes of nutella, bananas, strawberries, chocolate… and the list goes on.


The Waffle Bar itself is extermely small with only a few small tables. However, there is also a take out window on the outside where you can order your waffles and coffee/tea to go.


We ordered two waffles to share. One served with bananas and nutella and the other strawberries with whipped cream. The presentation was perfect and the waffles themselves were crisp on the outside yet soft on the inside and slightly chewy. Overall, it was the perfect dessert and is a great spot for sweet-tooths like me looking for a midnight sugar fix.

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Viennoiserie at Beaucoup Bakery (Vancouver, Canada)

If you know anything about me, you know that the one thing I do best and often is to travel. My latest trip took me to my hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia. I hadn’t been back home for almost two years which meant there were many new restaurants to try and review. But after two years of being away all I really wanted to do was visit old favorites. A few newer places were on the must-eat list including the most talked about bakery in South Granville, Beaucoup Bakery.


I gathered all my girlfriends for a day of venturing into Vancouver’s food scene. It was the most perfect and beautiful sunny day for it. We walked across the Granville Street Bridge and followed our stomach’s to Beaucoup Bakery. The place was packed forming a line almost out the door. I felt at home and was immediately transported back to my college years in Paris.

02-DSC_0024An assortment of Viennoiserie sat perfectly in the baskets along the wall including my favorites: Pain au Chocolat, Chausson aux Pommes and Croissants.


A pain au chocolat and pain aux raisins were my choice while my friend ordered the most tempting creation: a blue cheese and raisin twist which was truly amazing.  While butter is a key ingredient to French pastries, these were drowned with butter to the point where each bite released a mouthful of butter. My girlfriends while enjoying every bite felt that theirs too was too rich in butter…if there ever was a thing. I’m not one to complain of too much butter and definitely enjoyed every bite. My girlfriends loved it so much that rumor has it they are now big fans. Me? Unfortunately I left Vancouver shortly after my first visit.
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Richmond Summer Night Market (Vancouver, Canada)

Anyone who has travelled East will appreciate a good summer night’s market. The Richmond Night Market (renamed as Summer Night Market) offers you just that. A large area filled with food stands and other goodies from Asia. It’s a great way to spend the evening feasting on cheap eats while buying ‘Made in China’ goods ranging from sunglasses, massage chairs, lingerie, electronics, stationary, hello kitty, etc. It reminds me of night markets of Bangkok where I also feasted on cheap Thai food and coconut juice and spent a lot of unnecessary money on unnecessary items (which I would do all over again in a heart beat). Unfortunately, as the name makes clear the night market is only on in the summer time so folks get there while you can or you will just have to wait until next year to get your hands on some hot dim-sum. 

Richmond Summer Night Market- a summer must-do!

The night market has come a long way. I remember the early years back where it was located in a very small parking lot in downtown Richmond. I still made trips back then when it was little heard of amongst local Vancouverites. Thankfully back then I had a Richmond born and raised friend who knew the ins and outs of Richmond including the summer night market. Back then there were only a few food stands with cheaper prices.

Years later after returning from living in Europe I returned to the Night Market only to find that its location had been changed and the venue had expanded to cover a huge area with flocks of Vancouverites and tourists visiting each summer. The food stands are fantastic and if not for the products then definitely make a trip for the food. It’s well worth it. Here is a visual list of my favorite food stands. 

Japanese Octopus balls
Fish waffles filled with nutella, peanut butter and cream

Heaven on a stick sprinkled with ketchup

Chinese Cotton Candy

Curry Fish Balls

Curry Fish Balls
Pork Dumplings

Korean Glass Noodles
Bacon wrapped sausage
This is how it looks as soon as the gates open…we were one of the first ones there.
And this is what it looked an hour later
Dim Sum- Yum!

Delicious waffles with a choice of nutella, peanut butter or red beans.
Corn with different flavors to sprinkle on top.
Richmond’s amazing night market tradition continues with the renamed Summer Night Market, with 300 vendors, tons of food, and thousands of visitors.

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Chewie’s Steam and Oyster Bar(Vancouver, Canada)

A New Orleans inspired restaurant in the heart of Vancouver? This I had to try. It had been a while since my last trip down to NOLA. Craving some fried chicken and Cajun inspired dishes I headed to Chewie’s Oyster Bar in Kitsilano. The place is inspired by Rodney’s Oyster House in Yaletown but with a Southern twist.  Mr. Chewie himself and the staff are all ex-Rodneys staff, who spent some time in New Orleans learning from the best and bringing their favorite recipes home to Vancouver for all of us to try. 

The atmosphere was lively yet laid back. The staff were very friendly and knowledgeable about each dish. The menu offered fresh oysters in addition to their Cajun dishes. We tried the fried chicken and Jambalaya. Not being a fan of oysters limited our choices to the main menu. 

The Jambalaya was the typical Jambalaya dish I’ve had in New Orleans- although in all honesty I haven’t had that much Jambalaya, usually choosing to go with the Gumbo instead. My dish- the Southern Fried Chicken was served with a honey drizzle, mash potatoes and green beans. The chicken was marinated in buttermilk for two days and tasted tender and juicy.  However, I felt that it lacked in flavor. I had to add a lot of salt to make it flavorful. If you like your food less salty then you will enjoy this dish. For dessert, we just had to try the beignet inspired by Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. It was served with a side of creamy vanilla sauce and was delicious and probably not so light on the calories. 

All in all, this was a great place to spend the evening: great ambiance, an all male serving staff, great food and great service. 

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Gyoza King (Vancouver, Canada)

Its hard to have one favorite Japanese spot in Vancouver since there are so many to choose from, especially in the lower Robson/Denman area. But Gyoza King has stood the test of time as being my ultimate favorite downtown Japanese tapas joint.
I’ve been going here regularly since ’03 (whenever I’m in town that is) and was happy to see that nothing has changed on my most recent trip: same great service, great food and menu. If you go on the weekends be prepared for a long line up. This isnt the place to be if you have a large party as the restaurant itself is pretty small and filled up with a lot of regulars. For the Gyoza lovers out there, this place has amazing gyozas. My personal favorite is the ebi-nira (prawn, pork and chives), not to say that the others aren’t great since they are all pretty amazing. The Gyozas are hand made to perfection and everything else is en par.
Always on my list of orders are the beef sashimi, tuna tataki, agadeshi tofu, kimchi udon, ebi mayo, cheese croquettes, chicken karage and takoyaki.  Did I just list everything off the menu? Its probably because everything here is so delicious. 


The beef sashimi was slightly seared on the outside and perfectly tender on the inside. Drizzled with ponzu sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds served with chives and other goodies. 

The tuna tataki- another personal favorite is  also slightly seared served in a small bowl drizzled with sauce and served with chives and turnip. 

BBQ Tongue
Being with a group of adventurist foodies we decided to try the tongue. It was very chewy and nothing extraordinary. I probably won’t order it again given that there are so many other delicious options on the menu. 
The best part of the meal is always the handmade gyozas. You can order them steamed or deep fried with a variety of different fillings, including a vegetarian option. I always get the ten piece and can honestly probably have 20 myself..they are THAT good. 
Agadeshi tofu is a staple Izakaya dish. I love the combination of the crispy outside and soft inside of the tofu mixed with the delicious sauce which I end up drinking like soup.  And I absolutely love the one served at Gyoza King. 

Takoyaki, otherwise known as octopus balls, otherwise known as deep fried octopus batter served with mayo and a variety of delicious spices and flavors is also a personal favorite. You can never go wrong with this one. Just be careful as they are very hot. I usually poke them to let out some of the steam…having burnt my tongue one too many times. 

All in all, if you are looking for a solid Japanese Izakaya restaurant in the downtown core, serving good food at relatively cheap prices in a great atmosphere then you must try Gyoza King. Or if you just want to try some of the best Gyozas in Vancouver then you should also make your way over to Gyoza King and enjoy.

Gyoza King on Urbanspoon
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Finchs Tea & Coffee House (Vancouver, Canada)

There are sandwiches…and then there are Sandwiches. Some do a great job in filling you up others are a work of art.
Finch’s Tea & Coffee House serves delicious, mouth watering art on a platter. The sandwiches are all prepared with care and detail mixing flavours and ingredients which you wouldn’t normally imagine together but are happy they have, once you try. I’m ashamed to admit that I work a block away and have walked by many times yet I only got around to trying it this week. And oh my- when I discover little treasures like this its always bitter/sweet: sweet because I’ve discovered it and bitter because I waited so long to try.
Finch’s has been around forever and I’ve heard nothing but great things about it from each and every person that has had the chance to try it out. The must haves are the proscuitto, pear, baked blue brie, walnut sandwich which apparently is to die for. Others that we tried which were amazing were the proscuitto, blue brie and lettuce.
To finish off we had the house made cookies made from free range organic eggs. Their coffees and teas are all fair trade and organic. All in all- this place is amazing for sandwiches and its a definite must!

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Joyeaux Cafe & Restaurant (Vancouver, Canada)

Joyeaux Cafe- when you hear the name the last thing that comes to mind is delicious Vietnamese treats…instead you are given the impression that perhaps its French.  Not until you step inside this unassuming restaurant do you discover that its one of the best Vietnamese places in the downtown core and also very popular amongst downtown workers. I myself am a frequent customer.

Whenever its cold, grey and wet (which seems to be most days in Vancouver) I find an excuse to wonder over to Joyeaux Cafe for lunch. If you go during the week at lunch you will find yourself waiting in a line up. However, don’t let the line deter you as there is a high turnover rate.  Most people come on their lunch break, grab a quick bite to eat, and leave right after. 

I have tried several dishes on their never-ending menu which is plastered all over the walls and tend to favor the pho and the Korean bbq short ribs. You can’t go wrong with any of the wide range of phos served at Joyeaux nor the other not so Vietnamese dishes. Just remember, this isn’t the most ideal place to go with friends if you are looking for ambiance, décor or sit down service. However, it is a great place if you want fast and efficient service and good food. 

Beef Ball Pho- #1

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Brunch at Glowbal Grill Steaks and Satay (Vancouver, Canada)

Brunch at Glowbal was A-Ok. It wasn’t anything extraordinary nor was it awful in anyway. It just so happened that our service was slow: our food took an hour to arrive from the moment we ordered and when it arrived it was cold. However when the staff became aware of this fact they offered to remake our meal and in the end gave us a discount which I thought was very nice. 

The food was good. I imagine it would have been tastier if it was served hot. The prices were en par with other fancy brunch spots around town. We ordered two eggs Benedicts: the smoked salmon Benedict served with dill cream cheese, hollandaise sauce on a cheddar biscuit with a side of potato hash and salad and the Atlantic lobster Benedict served with poached eggs, hollandaise, crispy pancetta on a cheddar biscuit. We also ordered the Wild blueberry panettone French toast served with a milk chocolate ‘shot’, and a organic rosemary honeycomb (see menu). Despite the temperature the dishes were all really good. The eggs Benedicts were perfect. I always like my eggs Benedict a bit soft in the middle so that when I chop through the poached egg with my fork the egg yolk can start oozing out onto to the biscuit.  The French toast was really great too although the portion was huge. My friend and I split the two plate and got to taste a bit of each however I think by the time I made my way to the French toast I had already filled up on the donuts and the eggs Benny. 

By the time the food arrived I had already filled up on the complimentary mini donuts we were served once we sat down. I would go back just for those mini donuts. Tender and crispy on the outside yet soft within and soaked in oil topped with powdered sugar.

The Complimentary mini donuts

Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict served with a side of greens and hash browns

Wild blueberry panettone French toast 

Glowbal Grill Steaks and Satay on Urbanspoon
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The Flying Pig (Vancouver, Canada)

The Flying Pig has got to be the best new restaurant in Vancouver. The name of the restaurants connotes a menu filled with pork items but nothing could be further from the truth. Not being a big fan of pork I had been avoiding this restaurant. But so many people had so many great things to say about it that I finally had to try…even if it meant eating pork. 

The Flying Pig is as the owners like to refer to themselves a ‘Nouveau Canadian Restaurant’ and nothing confirms this identity more than their Quebec Maple Sugar Pie (do not miss it)! 

We went on a Saturday night arriving to a long line up of eager hungry customers. Miraculously after 15 minutes we were seated at the bar. I really liked the décor and ambiance of loud and happy diners. Our meal started off with a serving of fresh out of the oven warm bread served with a side of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. 

Shortly after our entrées arrived: Red wine braised beef short rib and their special for the evening a large dish filled with mussels and clams served with their crispy yet chewy string fries. My photos really do not do justice to the presentation and wonderful flavours presented in these two dishes. The beef short rib was great although too large for us to finish but great if you are hungry and willing. The mussels and clams were served in a wonderful tasty broth mixed with corn. The string fries were dipped in the broth resulting in a wonderful explosion of flavours in my mouth. 

So full but as always not being able to say no to dessert we ordered not one but two: The Chocolate Hazelnut Cake and the Quebec Maple Sugar Pie. Those of you who have been to Quebec know about the range of delicious maple treats, maple sugar pie being one of my favourites. As this is the first time I have seen it being offered in Vancouver I could not say no. However, be advised that it is VERY sweet and VERY delicious… I can hardly imagine it being calorie friendly but that is the least of my worries when I’m inhaling my dessert. The guilt usually kicks in 30 minutes after and I have to write a blog post to remind myself that it was well worth it. 

The Hungry Nomad’s Must Try: 

1- Quebec Maple Sugar Pie

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