Over the past couple of years, we've re-acquainted ourselves with our own backyard, from experiencing the best spas in and around Toronto to exploring Ontario's cutest cabins. Now, it's time to branch out and head west to beautiful British Columbia, home to stunning mountains, ocean views in Victoria and fabulous wine regions like Osoyoos — a.k.a. the country's only desert (huh?). 

Not to be missed on any B.C. adventure is, of course, vibrant Vancouver, where a spectacular culinary scene and the freshest seafood awaits. Van may be a big city, but its many neighbourhoods from Kitsilano to Gastown make it one of the most walkable and eclectic in the county. When it's not raining, there is nothing better than that golden sunshine hitting the surrounding mountains and sparkling Pacific Ocean. 

Pack your appetite because Vancouver is known for its international flavours, top-notch restaurants and mind-blowing sushi that could put most Toronto rolls to shame (sorry). It can be hard to narrow down which Vancouver eateries to hit up on your next visit, so we've picked our top Vancouver restaurants below. From tiny sushi bars to old-school steakhouses here are Vancouver's best restaurants.  

13 of the best restaurants in Vancouver

1. Delara Restaurant

2272 W. 4th Ave

We’re convinced that dipping a slice of seedy sourdough flatbread into a bowl of herby koofteh (Persian meatballs) is the key to happiness. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to be at this Kitsilano gem, doing just that. The modern Persian dishes at Delara are as stunning as the mashrabiya panels that let in just the right amount of light. But it’s mains like slow-cooked beef short ribs, turmeric-marinated grilled chicken, and lamb shanks braised with pomegranate molasses that really stand out. If you have room, get a scoop of bright saffron ice cream for dessert.


2. St. Lawrence Restaurant

269 Powell St.

When the Michelin Guide touched down in Vancouver, it didn’t hesitate to give this Québécois-style bistro a shiny star. St. Lawrence elevates the homey French-Canadian flavours that chef-owner Jean-Christophe Poirier grew up with.

Come for “haute country cooking,” where things may sound simple (goat cheese tart with dates and hazelnuts) but sophistication is at the heart of each dish.


3. Joe Fortes

777 Thurlow St.

A trip to Van isn’t complete without a stop at the classic Joe Fortes. A Thurlow Street legend, this seafood and chop house has been serving some of the city’s finest meals for 38 years. Post up at the oyster bar and dive into fresh local delicacies served cold on the half-shell or hot (fried and crispy) with Joe’s classic tartar sauce. (Psst, West Coast oysters are in peak season from October to May.) Joe's also has the best fish and chips in town. 


4. Elephant

1879 Powell St.

Head to East Van for punchy fermentation wonders and contemporary creations at this small but mighty omakase-style restaurant and wine bar. Elephant only seats 18, and all resos are for their omakase menu, which changes frequently. During your five-course tasting, expect lots of peculiar and produce-driven plates. Chef Justin Song-Ell keeps diners on their toes with playful dishes like cloudy turnip broth, or an aged smoked skipjack tuna topped with peanuts and horseradish.


5. Tojo's

1133 W. Broadway

It’s basically illegal to go to Vancouver and not eat any sushi. There are tons of restaurants specializing in every style, from kaiseki to aburi. You can’t go wrong, but Tojo’s is our fave, and one of the city’s oldest sushi restaurants.

It’s a West Broadway institution but sleek and modern, with a menu that’s always fresh and inventive. Chef Tojo claims he was the first to introduce omakase-style sushi to Vancouver, so he’s kind of a big deal. Plus, lovers of Japanese whisky, sake and shochu are in luck.


6. PiDGiN Restaurant

350 Carrall St.

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Trendy Gastown is a must-visit stop on your Vancouver food tour. You could spend all day wandering along its red brick sidewalks and popping into decor shops to buy $50 candles, but make sure you save some time (and your wallet) for a meal at PiDGin.

This modern restaruant blends French technique with Asian influences for truly knock-out dishes like a foie gras rice bowl with chestnuts, daikon and that heavenly unagi glaze. Or how about a szechuan pepper beignet dusted in sugar, salted caramel and miso sauce for dessert? Yes, please. 


7. Hello Nori

1165 Robson St.

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We thought a sushi bar specializing in delicious hand rolls was a thing of our dreams until we (thankfully) discovered Hello Nori, B.C.'s first hand roll bar. Take a seat along the U-shaped wooden counter and feast on their signature warm rice, fresh seafood and sauces rolled inside a perfectly crispy piece of nori. The chef makes each hand roll to order for guests to eat one at a time, and trust us, it's worth the wait. 


8. Kook Korean BBQ Restaurant

800 East 1st Ave, Unit 211A

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The only time we want to "cook" for ourselves while on vacation is if it's Korean barbecue, and Kook is Van City's best. They've got the "Rolls-Royce of smokeless grills," where you can sear premium meats like marinated short ribs and thinly sliced beef brisket. Not into grilling for yourself? Let their bbq experts do it for you.


9. Tetsu Sushi Bar

775 Denman St.

Don't let the pint-size space fool you, this west end gem is a local fave for nigiri and sashimi sourced from both the central fish market in Toyosu, Japan and nearby markets in Vancouver. Their shari (rice) is meticulously prepared, and each perfect bite from the bluefin tuna otoro to the Japanese uni could bring a tear to your eye.


10. Eat Bar & Patio Haraheri

888 Nelson St.

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Vancouver has no shortage of izakayas, but Haraheri takes the cake with its sprawling downtown patio and menu of Japanese-inspired small plates that are perfect for sharing. If you come for lunch, they have plenty of specials like a selection of bento boxes or mouth watering wagyu "hamburg steaks." We recommend stopping by in the evening, when the patio lights up with the after-work crowd and the glow of the city. Their homemade sea salted sake kasu ice cream is a must-try. 


11. Cioppino's Mediterranean Grill

1133 Hamilton St.

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Craving carbs after all that walking and fresh mountain air? Cioppino's is the place where pasta dreams come true. They've kept their pasta selection small so they can focus on nailing every heaping plate from their pillowy cacio e pepe gnocchi to their four-hour braised veal pappardelle. When in Van, order seafood like tender Pacific octopus and pan-seared Hokkaido scallops. 


12. Vij's

3106 Cambie St.

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Since 1994, Vij's has been a beloved Vancouver institution for unreal Indian food and fun vibes — it was even a stop on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations episode. We would come back here for the cumin basmati rice alone, and loved tucking into their slow-roasted duck bryani and vegetarian Punjabi dhal. 


13. Sun Sui Wah

3888 Main St.

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Nothing beats a dim sum Sunday at Sun Sui Wah, our go-to place for Cantonese cuisine in Vancouver. They're world-renowned for their roasted squab, and their handcrafted dumplings and dim sum are practically an art form. We dare you not to have a good day after you take a bite of their steamed creamy egg yolk buns — complete with adorable smiley faces.