Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada) is one of my favourite cities in the world to visit. My best friend lives there so that’s always a great reason to visit. However, the city’s stunning natural surroundings, glitzy skyline, leafy neighbourhoods and vibrant food and craft beer scene are equally good reasons for me to keep going back. On my recent trip, I spent six days hanging out with my bestie. There are lots of things to do in Vancouver but this time, we simply went on long walks along the seawall and through the various neighbourhoods, and we explored the food scene together in downtown Vancouver. What a treat that was! Vancouver boasts some of the freshest seafood anywhere around and top-notch Asian eateries so considering how much I love seafood and Asian food, for me, Vancouver is a foodie paradise! Here are my recommendations for restaurants in downtown Vancouver:
Looking at all the photos, I can’t believe we ate that much in six days! Haha! It’s a good thing we did that much walking to burn off all those calories. Here are the restaurants in downtown Vancouver we feasted at:
Miko Sushi (map and info) is one of my favourite sushi places in Vancouver. My first meal here was about five years ago and the sushi (especially the spicy tuna sashimi) just blew me away. I’m thrilled to say that the quality of the food (excellent quality tuna and salmon sashimi) is still pretty much the same and the service is still friendly and efficient. I’m not going to wait another five years to return! Book a table in advance to avoid disappointment as it’s a popular place (and it’s quite small).
Blue Water Cafe
Blue Water Cafe (map and info) is situated in the trendy Yaletown neighbourhood in downtown Vancouver. Well-known as one of the best seafood restaurants in Vancouver, Blue Water Cafe also boasts a large bar with a wide range of wines and spirits. The seafood was indeed divine! I started with a selection of oysters from different parts of Canada and the US Northwest, followed up with a crab salad and I had the sable fish as my main course. The sable fish was simply incredible! It’s a pretty pricey place and reservations are required but if you love seafood, I recommend dining at Blue Water Cafe.
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka (map and info) is an excellent ramen restaurant in Robson Street. It’s quite small so we went early (11:30am). The noodles were superb and the pork broth was simply delicious; rich and packed with flavour. I had the spicy Tan-Tan-men which had a great kick to it. Service is quick and efficient, and we didn’t have to wait long for our food. Highly recommended!
Lift Bar Grill
Lift Bar Grill (map and info) enjoys a gorgeous location at the edge of Coal Harbour. There are beautiful views of the harbour, Stanley Park and the mountains. The harbour side location of this bar/restaurant is its main asset but it also serves great food and drinks, and the service is excellent. If you like a spicy cocktail, try the spicy prawn Caesar. Lift Bar Grill is perfect for a lazy Sunday brunch.
CinCin Ristorante & Bar
CinCin Ristorante & Bar (map and info) is a classic Italian restaurant on Robson Street. A bit of a Vancouver institution, CinCin serves delicious food with fresh ingredients. It also has an extensive wine list. I especially enjoyed the fresh homemade pastas and the fish (grilled and served whole – the fish is de-boned at the table). In addition, service is attentive and friendly. A restaurant I would recommend in downtown Vancouver.
Marutama Ramen is located in Bidwell Street, just off Robson Street (map and info). Marutama is famed for its fantastic ramen in a rich, chicken broth. I had the Tamago signature bowl (with a soft-boiled egg in a spicy broth) and my friend had the Original. Both were simply delicious! It’s a small place so get there early (we were there at 11:45am) for a seat without queuing.
Le Crocodile (map and info) is another institution in downtown Vancouver. This elegant French restaurant has been around for ages and serves traditional French food (with some Italian influences) made with fresh local produce. The escargots were delicious and I ordered a seafood pasta as a main course. Service was attentive and very professional.
Market by Jean-Georges
Market by Jean-Georges (map and info) is an elegant restaurant famed for its fresh ingredients and contemporary flair. Located in the Shangri-la Hotel, try the seven-course Chef’s Menu for a real treat featuring the freshest local produce. Read about my stay at the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver.
The Lobby Lounge and Raw Bar (map and info) at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel is another terrific spot for fresh seafood and sushi. Located in the gleaming lobby, the Raw Bar serves superb sushi along with terrific cocktails. Read about my stay at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel.
There you have it! To be honest, I had more to eat than what’s listed above! Like the terrific Vienamese pho I had in a little family restaurant off Main Street or the calamari rings I had at Granville Market (a foodie destination in its own right), or the fabulous pizzas we had at Nightingale (a hip restaurant/bar serving modern Canadian fare and cocktails) and the rich congee I had in Chinatown.
Vancouver truly is a foodie paradise (don’t get me started about the food trucks in the streets!) and I hope my list of what I think are the best restaurants in downtown Vancouver will help you enjoy this city’s culinary pleasures.