For a city located right on the Pacific Ocean, it should come as no surprise that there are several seafood restaurants on this list. What may surprise you, however, is the wide variety of cuisines that one can find in this coastal city. Vancouver boasts a very ethnic food scene with some award-winning fusion restaurants.
What you won’t find on this list are any chain restaurants. When traveling, and even when dining locally, supporting local restaurants is vital for the economy. Chain restaurants have their place; it just isn’t on this list. Without further ado, let’s dig in (pun intended) to Vancouver’s top eateries.
Visiting other destinations in Canada? Check out our other guides:
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- 10 Best Mont Tremblant Restaurants
- 7 Best Winnipeg Restaurants
- 12 Best Toronto Brunches
- Canadian Food Guide: The 16 Best Examples of Canadian Cuisine
15 Must-Try Vancouver Restaurants
1109 Hamilton St. // (604) 362-5443
A steakhouse above the rest, Elisa delivers the best steak in the city. Located in Vancouver’s swanky Yaletown neighborhood, this is the place to go for an incredible steak. While Vancouver has several excellent steakhouses, Elisa beats the competition. What sets Elisa apart? They cook their meat on a Grillworks Infierno wood-fired grill that creates the perfect crust.
As with most high-end steakhouses, you select your meat and sides separately. With this style of dining, I always suggest going with a few friends so you can order all the sides and share them family-style. This is the best way to try as many dishes as possible.
My friends and I have done this several times and each time we have thoroughly enjoyed sharing their 50 oz. Tomahawk with a multitude of sides. My favorite side is their creamy and decadent risotto. It’s a must-try when dining at Elisa, as are their brown butter Brussels sprouts covered in Parmesan. These are not your mother’s Brussels; they are divine (sorry, Mom!).
For the true steak connoisseur, Wagyu beef is available to order at Elisa. This Japanese cut of beef is incredibly tender and delicate. A culinary treat, it melts in your mouth. Feeling fancy? Order yourself a sample and taste it for yourself. Top it with caviar if you’re celebrating, since this is one of the few places in Vancouver that serves it.
200 Granville St. #70 // (604) 568-3900
If you love sushi, then you’re going to really love Miku. In fact, if you don’t like sushi, Miku might change your mind, as it did mine. I didn’t like sushi until I ate at Miku and realized what good sushi tasted like. What was it that changed my mind? Made with layers of sushi rice, spicy tuna, avocado, sockeye salmon, and Miku sauce, then flame-seared and topped with prawn, scallop, maguro, tobiko, and ikura, it was their Aburi Chirashi Tart that converted me.
One of my absolute favorite things to order is their Aburi sushi. Miku is known for this style of sushi after bringing it to Vancouver in 2008. Aburi sushi is the innovation of flame searing the seafood, creating new textures while enhancing its natural flavors. No soy sauce or wasabi is necessary. The Salmon Oshi Sushi melts in your mouth.
If you really aren’t a sushi lover, they do offer other dishes as well. It’s worth dining here to enjoy the location and its sweeping views of the harbor. Located at Canada Place, Miku overlooks the ocean where the cruise ships dock. Visiting Vancouver by cruise? You can literary step off the ship and straight into Miku.
Miku has a sister restaurant, Minami, that is located in Yaletown. They serve equally delicious food, but the ocean views are what pushed Miku onto this list. Dine at either one, and you are guaranteed to be satisfied.
615 Kingsway St. // (604) 428-0072
A traditional osteria, this is an Italian restaurant serving simple, yet flavorful and delicious, food and wine. They believe in local ingredients and homemade pasta. Their meat, poultry, and fish are lovingly cooked over a wood-fired grill and rotisserie.
They offer a dining “alla famiglia” option where they select your food for you. I love this option because you’ll always eat the best food they offer. It’s also a fabulous way to try a variety of different menu items.
If you would prefer to choose your own dining options, I recommend starting with their warm marinated olives with fennel and lemon. They are the perfect way to whet your appetite. From there, the beef carpaccio with butter croutons and leek aioli is a decadent choice.
For the main dish, I savored a homemade ragu pasta, and it was easily one of the best pasta dinners I have ever eaten. If you are a lover of pasta, this is the obvious choice at Savio Volpe. Their pasta is house-made, and it is divine.
909 Burrard St. #100 // (604) 669-4298
Stepping inside Le Crocodile is akin to being transported to France. To begin with, everyone is dressed up, which is not very common in this casual city. The staff is French, and you’ll even hear some of the people dining here speaking French. The cuisine? Not surprisingly, very French and extremely decadent.
I started my evening with their Foie Gras Creme Brulee, and it was positively divine. In fact, I still dream about it. I followed that up with their escargot appetizer. Served traditionally in herb and garlic butter, they were perfect.
For my main course, I chose the Beef Wellington, and it was the best one I’ve ever had. Perfectly cooked medium-rare beef lovingly wrapped in a flaky filo pastry crust, it was delicious. Sorry Gordon Ramsay, but the one I had at your Paris restaurant in Las Vegas doesn’t even begin to compare.
When it comes to fine dining in Vancouver, there aren’t many places that come close to the service, food, atmosphere, and overall experience of Le Crocodile. While located right downtown, yet tucked away just enough that it’s often forgotten about, it lends to its charm.
777 Thurlow St. // (604) 669-1940
This iconic Vancouver eatery has been around for over 35 years and recently opened a second location in Whistler. Conveniently located right in downtown Vancouver, this San Francisco-styled seafood grill boasts a wine list of over 300 different wines.
A great choice any time of day, I prefer coming for dinner, when a pianist serenades diners from the second-floor staircase. It’s an ambiance that’s hard to beat and the food is delicious too.
If you are a fan of calamari, theirs is the best in the city. Their dipping sauce is a creamy sundried tomato aioli that perfectly compliments the squid. Another ideal way to start your meal here is with a dozen fresh oysters on the half-shell. I usually order both, especially if I’m there for happy hour.
You can’t go wrong no matter what main dish you order, but their Sablefish is a favorite of mine. It’s miso-marinated and served with sesame quinoa. The crispy crust perfectly complements the melt-in-your-mouth, buttery fish.
If you are visiting during the summer months, I recommend enjoying a cocktail on their rooftop garden patio. It’s downright charming up there. Be sure to make reservations, as it’s very small and extremely busy.
If you’re wondering about the name of the restaurant, Seraphim “Joe” Fortes was a former sailor and a legendary figure in the early history of Vancouver. Originally from Barbados and then Liverpool, he moved to Vancouver in 1885. Exactly 100 years later, this restaurant opened in his honor.
1133 Hamilton St. // (604) 688-7466
Cioppino’s boasts several honors and awards, including the prestigious Order of the Star of Italy (a knighthood conferred by the Italian president for representing Italian culture abroad), a “three forks” rating from Gambero Rosso, and a place on the 50 Top Italy list. If you are looking for authentic, mouth-watering Italian food, then this is your place.
I took myself out for lunch one day, which is something I rarely ever do at home, but I am certainly glad I did. From the moment I walked in the door, I felt like family. The ambiance and staff made me feel right at home. I have never experienced anything quite like it before. The server was friendly, the sommelier was very knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and the owner even popped over to say hello.
I enjoyed a crisp salad with apple and gorgonzola, followed by the daily special of homemade ravioli. All of their pasta is made in-house, and the ravioli was decadent. Wanting to ensure that I got the full experience, I ordered a lemon tart for dessert. It was divine. I may have to start taking myself out for lunch more often.
As with a lot of award-winning restaurants, getting a reservation here is challenging, as they are often booked months in advance. If you are planning a trip to Vancouver, make your dinner reservations as soon as you book your trip.
801 W. Georgia St. // (604) 673-7000
Award-winning chef David Hawksworth was born in Vancouver. He then spent a decade working in Michelin-star restaurants in Europe before returning home to open his own restaurant in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
Located inside the iconic Hotel Georgia, the décor and ambiance are both inviting and elegant. When your order arrives, the presentation of each of your dishes will make you stop and stare before you dive in. Artfully created, their dishes are as pretty as they are delicious.
Known for being rather expensive, there are two cost-effective ways you are able to enjoy Hawksworth. One is with their $25 prix-fixe lunch. Starting from 11:30 am, you can indulge in three courses at this discounted price while quantities last, so go early to avoid disappointment. The second is with their happy hour from 4-6 pm. You can score their Hawksworth burger and an Old Fashioned for a mere $19. This might be the best deal in town!
Hawksworth also specializes in catering as well as corporate dining. If you’re in town for business or require a restaurant to wow your fellow diners, I highly recommend booking a private room here. Oftentimes, I find that restaurants miss the mark when it comes to group events, but that is not the case here. I was fortunate enough to experience a corporate dinner at Hawksworth and everything from the service, to the food and wine pairings, were all on-point and spectacular.
The name Hawksworth may look familiar to you if you’ve ever flown in Business Class for Air Canada. Their menu is created by David Hawksworth, and I can attest to it being some of the best airplane meals I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying.
1038 Canada Place // (604) 695-5500
Located inside the spectacular Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel is this stunning restaurant. It gets its name from the executive chef’s menu, which depicts the culinary abundance and botany of the Pacific Northwest. Organic, sustainable, and community are the themes of Botanist.
Botanist is divided into two sections, the bar, and the restaurant. At their bar, you are treated to chemist-like experiential beverages. Not your average bar; if you want something unique and spectacular, then the bar at Botanist is a must. Condé Nast Traveler’s Hot List named it one of the world’s best new bars.
If you are looking to do more than just drink, and you’re feeling adventurous, I suggest trying their “we’ll take it from here” menu option. This tasting menu will give you the best of what they offer, and wine pairings are available for this experience as well.
On their dinner menu, you’ll find dishes such as charred octopus, roasted maitake mushrooms, dry-aged duck breast, and the decadent olive oil poached halibut that literally melts in your mouth. Dining at Botanist is about more than just the food. It is a culinary dining experience that highlights the best of the Pacific Northwest. Once you’ve finished dinner, saunter downstairs and enjoy an aperitif in the Fairmont Pac Rim lounge bar while being serenaded by their live music.
568 Beatty St. // (604) 879-7119
Belgium-born owner Nico Schuermans trained at a two-star Michelin restaurant before coming to Vancouver and opening Chambar with his partner Karri. Both were first-time restaurant owners, but they hit the mark with the always-popular Chambar. The idea behind Chambar is to enjoy fine food in a casual environment.
Known for its waffles, Chambar is a popular brunch spot in Vancouver, and Vancouverites love their brunch. Options are endless with their ten different sauces, including unique and indulgent Bacon Caramel and my personal favorite, White Chocolate Pistachio Rosewater.
If you’re coming for dinner, I have to suggest the Le Chèvre Chaud to start. This warm goat cheese on semolina flatbread with prosciutto chips and honey espelette is delicious. More of a mussels fan? Then their Moules Frites is the way to go. Offered three different ways, you’re sure to find the right one for you.
Their menu has changed since my last visit, but if they ever bring back their Millefeuille dessert, it is an absolute must-try. Their pastry chef is incredible. I begged for them to add croissants to the brunch menu, but it hasn’t happened yet.
1600 Howe St. #2 // (604) 681-1164
Ancora is a fusion restaurant that mixes Peruvian and Japanese cultures and flavors. Each dish is artfully made and presented in such a way that they are almost too pretty to eat. Their menu is seafood-based and offers fresh oysters and sushi.
If you can time it perfectly, visit Ancora in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The patio of Ancora is situated on the picturesque False Creek seawall, and the tables are surrounded by plush, bright pink cherry blossom trees. It’s definitely Instagram-worthy.
No matter where you decide to sit, I suggest starting with their Sushi Pizza appetizer. Not only is it unique, but its combination of a crispy rice crust with melt-in-your-mouth sushi will leave you wanting more. For the main course, the lobster and shrimp risotto is rich and creamy, while the hazelnuts and edamame add the crunch factor that risotto often lacks.
1154 Robson St. // (604) 688-7338
After a day of shopping on Robson Street, saunter up the stairs to this iconic Italian eatery. Conveniently located on one of Vancouver’s top shopping streets, this is the place to rest your weary feet and tantalize your tastebuds.
Cin Cin, as its name implies, is an Italian eatery. Vancouver has a surprising amount of fabulous Italian restaurants. One area where Italians never skimp is in the kitchen, and Cin Cin is no exception. They cook their meals using a Grillworks Infierno, which consists of a massive stainless steel grill and rotisserie in the heart of the kitchen. Cooking this way infuses subtle smoky flavors into their seasonal offerings. As they offer what is in season, their menu is subject to frequent changes.
A starter I highly recommend is the Burrata from Puglia. If you are a cheese lover, this dish is a must. A huge fan of pasta, it’s hard for me to dine at Cin Cin and not indulge in a decadent pasta dish. Offered as a second course or a main course, it is possible to order pasta as well as a main dish if you’re super hungry or dining in a group.
The last time I dined at Cin Cin they offered halibut, and it was cooked to perfection. Each bite melted in my mouth. I would have been sad when it was finished, but their Tiramisu is my favorite in the city, and leaving without enjoying that would be a crime.
1608 Commercial Dr. // (604) 255-3787
One of Vancouver’s newest Greek restaurants, Loula’s feels like the closest thing to dining in Greece on this side of the ocean. Their décor is reminiscent of Santorini with its white brick walls and ceiling covered in bright red flowers.
No matter what day of the week it is, Loula’s is busy with a loud and vibrant atmosphere. A restaurant born from second-generation Greeks, once you enter, you are family. They have taken classic Greek dishes and put their spin on them. And they nailed it.
I have had the pleasure of eating here numerous times and have yet to find a dish I don’t love. Some of my favorites include their Meliztanosalata dip, Spanakopita, Lamb Chops, and potatoes. You must try their potatoes; they are crave-worthy.
Loula’s also serves up very colorful cocktails. My favorite is the Gaia’s G & T made with the traditional Greek liquor, masticha. While you may lean towards ending your meal with a Baclava, I highly recommend trying their Ekmek instead. The combination of shredded phyllo, masticha cream custard, and sliced almonds is the perfect ending to a delicious meal.
425 W. Georgia St. // (604) 558-3099
Vancouver’s newest fine dining establishment is making waves with its no hat and no cell phone or cameras policy. At first, I was disappointed that I couldn’t take pictures of their stunning dishes, but after the third course, I was so enthralled with the flavors of the dishes that I was happy to ignore my camera and simply enjoy being in the moment.
Not being able to take pictures allows you to fully immerse yourself in the dining experience. The nine-course tasting menu with wine pairing was one of the most incredible culinary experiences I’ve ever had.
I wish I could walk you through the courses, but I wasn’t able to take pictures, and honestly, I have no recollection of each of the courses. No matter since the menu changes frequently. I have been twice, and it was different both times. I can tell you that their surprise course both times was a truffle mushroom pizza cooked in their traditional Italian pizza oven. If you are looking for an extravagant night out in Vancouver, this is the place to go.
871 Denman St. // (604) 608-1677
Located in the West End of Vancouver, this authentic Japanese Izakaya looks very unassuming from the outside. However, once you walk through the wooden door, you enter a room full of tall bamboo shoots. The bamboo grows out from the center of a long table in the middle of the restaurant, creating a privacy screen that makes you feel as though you’ve entered a Japanese garden.
We started with the Sockeye Salmon Carpaccio. It was topped with salmon caviar and drizzled with their garlic soy vinaigrette. As someone who is big on texture, the burst of caviar combined with the crunch of the garlic chips made this dish an instant favorite.
While you can, and should enjoy their sushi, I highly recommend trying some of their stone-grilled dishes. We ordered the Beef Tongue and enjoyed cooking it ourselves on the hot stone. It was tender and delicious.
Over the years, Kingyo has won several awards, and it’s easy to see why. Vancouver has a multitude of Japanese restaurants, and Kingyo stands above them.
1517 Anderson St. // (604) 559-3474
What do you get when you combine an ocean-view restaurant on Granville Island with the freshest seafood and award-winning chowder? The Vancouver Fish Company restaurant. When visiting Vancouver, a trip to Granville Island is a must. Its market is full of local treasures and fresh foods. Whenever a friend visits Vancouver, I love to take them on the water taxi over to Granville Island. It’s a unique and fun way to get around.
After spending the afternoon exploring Granville Island, there is no better place to enjoy dinner than the Vancouver Fish Company. If you are fortunate enough to be visiting in the summertime, their patio is the place you’ll want to be. Located overlooking the harbor, you can’t beat the ocean views and watching the boats come and go.
You also can’t beat their fresh seafood. A group of us shared the Seafood Platter last time and we devoured the lobster, crab legs, wild salmon, grilled prawns, scallops, roasted garlic potatoes, and seasonal vegetables.
Every time I eat at Vancouver Fish Company, I have to start with the Maple Walnut Prawns. They are crunchy, succulent, and delicious. If you are in the mood for both seafood and pasta, try their Seafood Linguine. If you have a fussy diner with you, the Lobster and Bacon Grilled Cheese is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
And there you have it, the best restaurants that Vancouver has to offer. This coastal Canadian city boasts a wide variety of eateries, and there is something for everyone. Whether you’re searching for the freshest seafood, unique fusion delights, or the best pasta outside of Italy, Vancouver will surely satisfy your hunger pangs and have you dreaming of your next meal.
Which of these Vancouver restaurants will you try first? Let us know in the comments section below!
Kathryn Anderson is a freelance health, wellness and travel writer whose mission is to inspire others to live a life they love through adventure, travel and self-care. Based in Vancouver, BC she has visited 21 countries on 5 continents. A member of IFWTWA (International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association), follow Kathryn on Facebook, Instagram and her travel blog Coffee and Mascara.