Where does one go to eat in Vancouver...that is the question of the day! I'm here to tell you that the options and variety available are plentiful!
One thing I really enjoy doing now whenever we return to Vancouver is trying out new restaurants. It's actually a mission of mine whenever we return anywhere we have been to before. That being said, we also have our favorites that are too good to pass up, considering we visit only once a year.
The restaurants I mention here are ones we visited on our recent summer trip to Vancouver, but I've also included a few extra at the end from our 2015 and 2016 trips. Whether you are planning a visit, or are a local looking for a new restaurant to try, here are just a few examples of where you can eat in Vancouver.
(To see how beautiful Vancouver is and some of what Vancouver has to offer outside of food, be sure to read A Day Out In Vancouver!)
Akbar's Own Indian Cuisine
My sister and brother-in-law introduced us to Akbar's in 2016, and we went again this year because the food was really good! The menu is quite extensive and includes all the favorites like butter chicken and chicken tikka masala. Don't forget to order pappadum to start, and the required sides of basmati rice and fresh naan!
We also devoured coconut chicken curry, lamb curry, and beef saag (beef cooked in a spinach sauce). We asked for mild spiciness, but if you like it hotter, they will happily oblige!
Founded in 1928, this restaurant has a solid spot in Vancouver's history and is a must-eat in Vancouver! They are, perhaps, most famous for their burgers with Triple O sauce and their children's Pirate Pak meals. Considering my oldest son is now 15 years old, he still asks if he can order a Pirate Pak, and they always say yes! He could probably eat two, but that's another story...
The Pirate Pak comes with a choice of main dish, side dish, bottomless drink, ice cream for dessert, AND a chocolate coin...all in a cool cardboard pirate ship!
They still sell their famous burgers, too, but they have adapted their menu to accommodate the changing times. You can get your burger with a gluten-free bun, or have your burger wrapped in lettuce! Also on the menu? Sweet potato fries with a spicy dipping sauce! They are a great alternative to regular potatoes and are always a big hit!
White Spot Drive-Ins
Another thing White Spot is famous for? Their drive-ins!
When you don't feel like being around a crowd, or you're sick with a cold but still want to eat out, or you want to eat in your pajamas...or just for fun, going to the drive-in is a must! I remember going to the White Spot Drive-In with my older sisters when I was younger and I recall it being really fun to eat in the car. And guess what, it's still fun as an adult!
So how does it work? Switching on the car's hazard lights signals to an employee that we're ready to order and it's basically full-service from there. The only thing different is our dining room is the car! The meals are brought out, the dishes are taken away when we're done, and we pay and go!
We made a point of visiting a White Spot drive-in on this recent trip to Vancouver so we the boys could experience it for the first time. Needless to say, getting to enjoy their Pirate Pak meals in the back of the van was a highlight!
Rocky Mountain Flatbread
Rocky Mountain Flatbread is a restaurant in the now very hip and vibrant Main Street area around East 25th Avenue. My parents used to own a restaurant in this very area about 40 years ago and back then, it was oh-so not hip and vibrant. We were a busy Chinese restaurant in a so-so part of town, and I distinctly remember "bums" hanging around the sidewalk only a block or two away. How times have changed...and for the better!
Rocky Mountain Flatbread is one of several new restaurants in this revitalized part of town and there is not a bum to be seen. We met up with friends here one day for lunch.
They have wide variety of tasty pizzas to choose from, and they also offer gluten-free crust! The staff are friendly, and outdoor seating on the sidewalk is available. It's a good option if you happen to be strolling Main Street!
Top Cantonese Cuisine
Considering the large Chinese population in Vancouver, there is no shortage of Chinese restaurants. They are literally everywhere. When it comes to Chinese food, I go by my mother's recommendations since she lives there and knows best. We have been to several over the years, but this is one we went to this year for dim sum.
I don't think I have ever had dim sum I didn't like, at least not in Vancouver. That being said, Top Cantonese is a good choice. You pick your dishes from an order form and they all arrive at your table, piping hot. On this visit, my mom introduced us to fish that was wrapped inside a Chinese donut that was wrapped inside a steamed rice wrapper. I know...not your typical dim sum dish! But it was sooooo good!
Wherever you go for dim sum in Vancouver, be sure to go with at least a few people. You can get the favorites, but you can also try some new dishes...you never know how good it might be til you try them!
Let me set the record straight and point out that we have been to Sushi Garden multiple times over the years. We did, in fact, visit Sushi Garden this summer, but technically, my brother introduced us to Sushi Garden a number of years ago. And we keep going back. Every. Summer.
I think he is convinced that are starving for sushi when we go to Vancouver because we don't get to eat it otherwise. I wouldn't say we're "starving" for it, but we do enjoy it. So we never object when he suggests Sushi Garden.
I don't think I've eaten anything there I didn't like. We love the sushi with their big pieces of fresh fish. My boys also love their udon noodle soup, and I love the sunomono noodle salad. We don't usually order much cooked food, but my brother and his family always seem to enjoy their tempura, chicken karaage, and stir-fried noodle dishes.
Sushi Garden is very popular and very busy. Every time we go, we have a bit of a wait as they don't take reservations. However, once we're seated, the service is quick and we're enjoying our sushi before we know it.
Arms Reach Bistro
This is a total newbie, thanks to us visiting Deep Cove in North Vancouver this year. We were ready for lunch after a two hour hike to Quarry Rock, and Arms Reach Bistro came highly recommended.
Everything we ordered looked and tasted great! Baked spaghetti, poached eggs on ham, a braised beef sandwich, a vegetable frittata, and gluten-free chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes...it was a great meal after a great hike! We also enjoyed sitting on their outdoor patio (with my sister's dog in tow), taking in the view and enjoying the atmosphere.
In Kerrisdale, a neighborhood towards the west side of Vancouver, there are a good handful of local restaurants with good food offerings. One such restaurant is Pho Tan, a local eatery that serves a large assortment of Vietnamese food. You can also get bubble tea there!
Pho Tan is another favorite when we visit Vancouver, and we made sure to go there this summer. Aside from the usual bowls of pho (which are really good), they also have a good selection of rice and noodle dishes.
Pictured above is lemongrass beef on the left, and grilled prawns on the right, both over cold rice noodles and served with a sweet, salty, mildy spicy vinegar dressing. It's all so tasty, and they don't skimp on portion sizes! It's a popular little place and definitely worth a visit.
Also located in Kerrisdale, we decided to eat at Asa Sushi one night after wandering around the main drag, trying to figure out where to go. As I touched upon briefly already, fresh sushi is always good in our books.
We also liked that we could sit at a table right next to the open window overlooking the sidewalk and street traffic out front. Fresh air and people watching are always nice perks to enjoying a meal!
Asa Sushi has a great selection of sushi to pick from, as well as several cooked options as well. All the sushi was so fresh and tasty and we thoroughly enjoyed it. And according to my youngest son, the udon was really good. Sometimes wandering around without a plan on where to go eat brings you to the best places!
If you're out in White Rock, enjoying a day at the beach, be sure to stop by Moby Dick for fish 'n chips! As the sign says out front, Moby Dick has been there since 1975. It has a firm place in White Rock history and is so popular that they often have a line-up out front.
After spending an afternoon at the beach with my brother and his family, we went and got take-out fish and chips from Moby Dick. We planted ourselves at a picnic table overlooking the beach and the water and dove into our food. It was so much fun to be eating from paper plates and enjoying the scenery and fresh air. This is definitely no-frills dining, but it's no-less worthy a visit!
Fish 'n chips and this view...it was such a fun meal that we all enjoyed!
So there you go! As I mentioned at the start, there are so many choices for where to eat in Vancouver. This is only a tiny sampling based on our recent trips there. We have been to more restaurants than I have included in this post, but believe it or not, I'm not always on the ball with taking photos of food! Travesty, I know!
If you try any of these restaurants out, or if you have any particular favorites not mentioned here, leave a comment below!