Expert recommendations for the best places to eat in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)
“Spirited service, absolutely authentic izakaya fare including crispy yaki-onigiri (grilled rice balls), succulent chicken karaage, and enoki bacon rolls.”—Carolyn Ali, travel and food editor, Georgia Straight. Izakayas (Japanese tapas bars) have popped up all over the city; join the feeding frenzy. Several locations, including 1698 Robson Street; tel. 1 604 685 8678. www.guu-izakaya.com
Knock elbows with your neighbor at this “Lebanese hole-in-the-wall.”—Carolyn B. Heller, co-editor, Zagat Best of Vancouver 2007/08. Authentic falafel, shish tawook, and lamb kebobs. Two locations, including 1206 Seymour Street; tel. 1 778 371 3266. www.nuba.ca
“This is the full Vancouver—a seafood shack perched above a picturesque fisherman’s wharf.”—Mia Stainsby, food editor, Vancouver Sun. Outdoor dining overlooking False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf; locals line up for fish ’n’ chips, po’ boy sandwiches, grilled salmon, and scallop burgers. Lunch only, or until they run out of fish. Closed Mondays. 1505 West First Avenue, Granville Island; tel. 1 604 730 5040.
“Step inside and you'll think it's the 1960s at this hippie-era vegetarian restaurant. Open 24 hours, it never closes—and maybe it never will.”—Andrew Hempstead, author, Moon Handbooks Vancouver & Victoria. Cozy on a rainy day; perfect spot for a crisp salad, foamy latte, and sesame fries with miso gravy. 2724 W 4th Avenue.; tel. 1 604 738 7151. www.thenaam.com
“Don’t giggle at Feenie’s Weenie; it might be the best hot dog you’ve eaten.”—Mia Stainsby. Simple hot dogs, burgers, and macaroni are transformed into modern masterpieces at this Kitsilano favorite. 2563 West Broadway; tel. 1 604 739 7115.
Salt Tasting Room
“It’s a surprise to find this stylish modern space—with exposed brick walls and a communal table—hidden in a grungy Gastown alley.”—Carolyn B. Heller. The menu—such as smoked pork chops paired with a creamy Quebecois cheese and fresh B.C. apricots—is written on a chalkboard; share a tasting plate and a bottle of fabulous wine at this cozy little gem. 45 Blood Alley, Gastown; tel. 1 604 633 1912. www.salttastingroom.com
Belgian cuisine made with fresh local ingredients; try the butter-smooth lamb shank tagine or the sautéed chanterelle mushrooms; extensive beer list; three- or four-course prix fixe menus available; excellent value. 562 Beatty Street; tel. 1 604 879 7119. www.chambar.com
“Among Vancouver’s premier hip diners, showcasing fresh, seasonal, regional, and organic farmers market ingredients.”—Nathan Fong, food columnist, CBC Radio. Dedicated neighborhood following; intimate space; try the foie gras poutine and the ahi tuna tempura roll. 3941 Main Street; tel. 1 604 872 3663. www.craveonmain.ca
Sun Sui Wah
“Busy, grand room elevates dim sum to an event; reasonable prices, a local favorite.”—Carolyn Ali. Crowded, loud, and totally authentic; waiters zoom by with carts full of steaming delicacies. 3888 Main Street; tel. 1 604 872 8822. www.sunsuiwah.com
“Any visiting foodie knows to head to Vij’s for a real treat. Try the lamb popsicles.”—Mia Stainsby. Locals flock to gracious owner Vikram Vij’s little slice of culinary heaven; no reservations, so expect long waits. 1480 W. 11th Avenue; tel. 1 604 736 6664. www.vijs.ca
“Japanese chef Hidekazu Tojo is a master behind his sushi bar and will wow you with an omakase (chef’s choice) meal.”—Nathan Fong. Soaring ceilings, contemporary Japanese decor, and some of the best sushi outside of Japan. 1133 W. Broadway; tel. 1 604 872 8050. www.tojos.com
“They do culinary pirouettes like pickled sablefish with grainy mustard sorbet and minted cucumber soup. At the forefront in serving sustainable seafood, C is considered the best seafood restaurant in the city.”—Mia Stainsby. Waterfront location on the banks of False Creek; bright industrial space; impeccable service. 2-1600 Howe Street; tel. 1 604 681 1164. www.crestaurant.com
West Restaurant & Bar
Award-winning executive chef David Hawksworth changes the menu frequently, based on what’s in season; true West Coast cuisine; try the three-course prix fixe menu and let the sommelier pick out a perfect bottle of wine. 2881 Granville Street; tel. 1 604 738 8938. www.westrestaurant.com
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