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Vancouver Dining

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Vancouver Dining
Regularly ranking among the world’s culinary hot spots, Vancouver serves up a delicious array of bars, restaurants, and food trucks. Expect lots of Asian influences and seafood plucked straight from the Salish Sea.
By Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
Botanist by Amanda Castleman
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    Do No Evil
    “Vangroovy” is all about ethical, sustainable sourcing—think wild game, Ocean Wise seafood, and seasonal, farm-to-table delights. Mount Pleasant’s Burdock & Co epitomizes these ideas. “We are of a place . . . British Columbia . . . a tangle of islands, coastlines, and deltas,” the eatery’s website declares. “The food? . . . A convergence of valleys and urban gardens. A natural abundance of ingredients cared for by growers, farmers, and foragers.” Let the concept play out on your palette with uni custard, elk bavette, and seared eggplant with basil. Then, head to Blue Water Cafe, where duck prosciutto and tamarind crumble elevate a carrot soup, and smoked salmon snuggles with sake-marinated caviar.
    Blue Water Cafe
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    Pacific Rim Power
    According to the most recent census, more than 41 percent of Vancouver’s population claims Asian heritage—a fact that’s reflected in the city’s food. Order the full kaiseki menu at Miku and enjoy a Japanese tasting menu, beautifully presented on classic Arita ceramics. You could also savor fresh, modern Thai at Maenam in Kitsilano (once the Haight-Ashbury of Vancouver). The upscale eatery serves claypot lobster and black pepper crab with 24 hours’ notice, alongside other delicacies like curried rice puffs. If you’re in the mood for Taiwanese specialties, head south to 4 Stones Vegetarian in Richmond for stir-fried bitter melon with oolong tea, or go all-in at Taste of Zen, the by-donation, meat-free restaurant at the International Buddhist Temple.
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    East Meets West
    Two of Vancouver’s hottest restaurants blend Japanese flavors with European flair. Turn to Mak N Ming for dishes with a French twist, like miso beef short ribs and truffled vegetable noodles with maitake mushrooms and aged Parmesan. For an infusion of Italian warmth, reserve a table at Chinatown’s Kissa Tanto, where you can move from fried olives stuffed with yuzu and smoked chili sausage, to a half chicken with shio koji dipping sauce.
    Kissa Tanto by Ian Lanterman
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    Spin the Globe
    Vij’s is a world-class destination for Indian food, while Tacofino keeps the light burning bright for nouveau Mexican. You can also go Mediterranean at Café Medina, which serves breakfast and lunch delicacies like paella, cassoulet, and Liege-style waffles, or cast the net wide at the Settlement Building, where the Belgard Kitchen offers everything from harissa broccolini and squid-ink noodles to chorizo flavored with IPA beer from neighboring Postmark Brewing.
    Tacofino by Amy Ho
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    Bright Lights, Big City
    Often called “Hollywood North” because of its film scene, Vancouver exudes cosmopolitan glamour. See and be seen at Botanist, where extravagant cocktails come in everything from bird-shaped glasses and custom-blown goblets to terrariums wreathed in dry ice fog. As you shift toward dinner, don’t miss the herby Provençal fougasse bread, the burrata-topped beet salad, and the sturgeon with beetroot agnolotti. If you’d rather enjoy a long, luxurious day, head out with Harbour Air for a floatplane picnic, or hop aboard the Grouse Mountain Skyride and throw some axes before dining at The Observatory.
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    Oh, Canada!
    Immerse yourself in heritage flavors at Vancouver’s only First Nations restaurant, Salmon n’ Bannock, where you can top your round flatbread with anything from cedar jam to elk salami. For a true taste of the city, you could also visit Edible Canada, a treasure trove of local-made treats on Granville Island. Dine on roast-duck poutine, ginger-glazed Humboldt squid, and grilled bison flank, then stock up on maple tea, chili-infused honey, and cutting boards shaped like your favorite province. Feeling overwhelmed? Let Vancouver Foodie Tours guide you around the city’s culinary scene, instead.
    Edible Canada
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    One Fish, Two Fish
    As a left-coast city—and headquarters of the Ocean Wise conservation movement—Vancouver teems with sustainable seafood options. Blue Water Cafe is widely considered British Columbia’s best option for oceanic fare, offering a Japanese-style raw bar as well as dishes like pumpernickel-crusted sturgeon and sablefish in miso-sake glaze. Also worth trying is Miku, where you can enjoy some of the best Aburi-style sushi east of Japan, and Salmon n’ Bannock, which serves candied chum (heavily smoked fish cured with salt and sugar) drizzled in maple syrup. 

    Salmon n' Bannock by Kare Lee
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    Bottoms Up!
    Beyond Botanist and its seriously sophisticated cocktails, Vancouver has plenty of great places to raise a glass. Hit Postmark Brewing or the Vancouver Urban Winery in the Settlement Building, then retire to the back room at the Irish Heather Gastropub, which serves more than 200 whiskeys. Chic geeks should pop down to Richmond’s Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks for retro video games and beers like the Hot Tub Time Machine IPA, while true hopheads will love tap-heavy neighborhoods such as Brewery Creek and nearby “Yeast Van.” Vancouver Brewery Tours can help you get oriented.
    Vancouver Brewery Tours by 33 Acres Brewing
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    Café Culture
    Nothing combats the Pacific Northwest clouds like a warm, invigorating beverage. Try a local twist on afternoon tea at TWG, where you can pair a spicy, sencha-infused scallop tempura roll with a delicious green blend. Coffee drinkers may prefer Thierry, captained by one of the world’s greatest pastry chefs. Later in the day, the café’s offerings expand to spiked drinks, quiches, and sandwiches like jambon blanc with Gruyère.
    TWG Tea Salon & Boutique
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    Comfort Food
    Refuel after outdoor adventures with rib-sticking fare at the H2 Rotisserie & Bar, which serves everything from baked Brie to free-range chicken with homestyle fries and panko-crusted onion rings. You could also head to the Irish Heather Gastropub, where you can dig into a charcuterie board piled with chorizo, Guinness mustard, and cheddar rubbed in coffee and lavender. Hungry for home cooking? Stock up at the West End Farmers’ Market, which sells sustainable, seasonal ingredients alongside ready-to-eat crêpes, samosas, and fruit pies.
    H2 Rotisserie & Bar