Vancouver City Guide {UPDATE}

by Stephanie


Katrina Stock, an encaustic artist, potter and blogger, along with her coffee roaster husband, Andrew Stock, fell in love with Vancouver 10 years ago. For a couple that loves to discover quirky neighborhoods, have food adventures and go biking, this was the perfect city. Recently they packed their bags and headed to Winnipeg, a city in central Canada. As an ode to their great love, they have collected their favorite places to go in some of their most loved neighborhoods. They can’t wait for you to discover the beautiful and diverse city that is Vancouver. –Stephanie 

Read the full guide after the jump…

Gastown at Dawn

Photos by Andrew Stock

Be sure to check out the Google Map with all of the below listings!

Chinatown/Downtown Eastside/Gastown

One of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, this area is filled with cobblestone streets, beautiful brick buildings and plenty of character. Nestled between one of North America’s largest Chinatowns and Gastown is the Downtown Eastside where people who are survivors have built together a vibrant community. There are many contrasts in this small area, don’t be intimidated, for in this block you will find amazing art, social enterprises, people and community. Every area has something wonderful to discover.


Serving fresh and modern Lebanese cuisine, Nuba, is a local favourite. Do your tastebuds a favour and share la feast with a friend. Their lunches are also divine, especially their falafel wraps. In addition, prepare to swoon over their tiles and overall sense of design.

Nestled off of East Hastings, East Van Roasters is a “bean-to-bar” chocolate and coffee roaster with heart. They sell delicious organic drinking chocolate and coffees, hand rolled truffles and single-origin chocolate bars, oh my! It is also an amazing social enterprise employing some of the most courageous women around.

Kobob Burger will surprise your tastebuds. Perhaps you aren’t sure of Korean flavoured rice “burgers,” but just trust us and get the Bulgogi with kimchi. The kimchi is a must. It’s messy, but so, so good.

When in Chinatown it is really important to go New Town Bakery and to order a coconut bun. It will blow your mind. Then go for a little walk to the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen park and watch the koi fish swim. It is close to Nirvana.

After you have a coconut bun you might be thirsty, so walk a couple blogs to Bubble King Tea House. Their lychee green tea with pearls is a summer staple.

I adore the wallpaper at the sweet French bakery called Cadeaux. It also turns out that their desserts are terrific and they can make a mean London Fog.

The vintage patina in Finch’s Tea and Coffee House and Finch’s Market melts my heart, but their sandwiches made on fresh baguettes are something to write home about. They go all out with their avocado!

Speaking of great design, Bao Bei is a well-thought-out treasure, in the heart of Chinatown. Featuring small dishes inspired by Taiwan, Shanghai and Schezuan, each dish is created to be shared. A must try is their pickles and I really loved the chewy texture of their sticky rice cake. P.S. This place has the best designed bathrooms around.

For breakfast head over to Yolks. They started with a fantastic food truck and now bring their eggy goodness to a storefront on the edge of Strathcona.

For the best single-origin espresso in the city go to Revolver located in Gastown. They also have the best coffee geek accessory selection.
Matchstick Coffee Roasters opened up a second location in Chinatown last year and it is pretty gorgeous. Go here for a great pour-over. Yay, microroastery!


If you are a wine lover, stroll over to the Vancouver Urban Winery. Located in the historic heart of Vancouver’s Railtown this winery features a tasting bar where you can learn about British Columbia wines as well as chow down on delicious food. This is a beautiful and grand space, a perfect date night.

The Alibi Room is a local favourite and features 50 taps of local and imported craft beer. Their fries and homemade ketchup are superb.

If flavours like thai basil, galangal, lychee, calamansi and lime leaf make your heart pitter-patter, then you should get a cocktail at The Union. Their Banga’s are super fun.


Old Faithful Shop is a design lover’s paradise, filled with heirloom quality goods for simple, everyday living. Stop here to pick up the latest edition of Kinfolk as well as some pickles or Mast Brothers chocolate!

Every time I walk into Community Thrift and Vintage I find a new pair of amazing leather sandals or shoes. Did I mention it’s a great social enterprise, too?

InterUrban Gallery/ The Window features local artists. Go here for all your gifts and card needs. Oh, and it’s another awesome social enterprise!


A well loved park by locals is Crab Park. It is a hidden gem along the harbour and the perfect place to watch fireworks on Canada Day or to share a picnic.

Step out of the city and into a tranquil traditional Chinese garden at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen park. Surrounded by a bamboo forest, relax as you watch Koi fish and turtles in the pond.

What better way to end the day than by watching an amazing show at Firehall Arts Centre?


In between Strathcona and Commerical Drive is Hotel at the Waldorf. This hotel features unique and affordable rooms and an infamous Tikki Bar dating back to the 1940s.

Dunlevy Alley Art

Mt. Pleasant/ Main Street Neighbourhood

This neighbourhood is a creative’s dream. There is so much to look at and so many new ideas to gain. A perfect way to spend an afternoon is leisurely meandering up Main Street.


Burgoo is rugged, vintage and charming all at the same time. Their burgoo biscuit feels like a hug. I also think that they make an amazing Caesar, which is on special on Sundays. Come to Burgoo for all your comfort food needs.

The Foundation is the place to go for a tasty vegetarian stir fry. In addition, their casual vibe, well loved nachos and funky retro chairs are pretty great, too.

A sunny triangle-shaped shop with a view of the mountains, Gene Cafe is a great place to read the paper. Also they somehow managed to capture the taste of a Polish pillow. Not coffee, not tea – just a good ole Polish pillow. Confused? That’s okay, just go with it.

Handmade Maple Bacon Fritter. What more can be said? Lucky’s Donuts, attached to 49th Parallel is worth stopping at.

Finish off your Main Street day with a treat and some dessert wine at Sweet Revenge Patisserie. P.S. they make a mean Tiramisu.


Forty Ninth Parallel, is another great, local coffee roaster in the city. They make some of the best espresso with milk drinks and they host public cuppings tuesdays at 1 pm.


Brassneck Brewery is a little neighbourhood brewery with a growler shop and a tasting room. They serve fantastic beer and the occasional sausage.


The Regional Assembly of Text creates some of the best cards and stationery around. They are so clever and charming and daft! You can also make buttons here and read little zines in their little reading nook. Warning: You might want to stay forever.

Vancouver Special is a great place to nerd out on design books and beautiful items and furniture.

Urban Source is full of random stuff to make things with. Where else can you find pages of Braille, maps, leather scraps and old type writer keys?!

If you are looking for a fantastic party dress then look no further than Front and Company. This is a more high-end consignment store, but it is packed full of great finds. Their front window displays are the best!

C’est La Vie & Bohemia Gallery Inc are two quirky thrift stores located side by side. You can find cute retro gems at both of these places. They’re no small-town thrift store, but you will find fantasic 1960s cocktails dresses at both!

Nineteen Ten is a newer home boutique filled with little treasures that are majorly covetable. Their pottery and cement collections are lovely.

Grunt Gallery features exciting installation art and fascinating emerging artists. Go here and be inspired.


After dessert and beer it is time to go dancing or to a concert. Luckily The Biltmore Cabaret puts on both. Check out their schedule to find out when Soul Night or Ice Cream Social is happening and dust off your dancing shoes to groove to some sweet soul tunes.

Dunlevy Alley Art view

Commerical Drive

Located in “East Van” and formerly a largely Italian neighbourhood, this area is one of the cities most colourful and diverse, filled with character homes, artist studios and some of the best ethnic cuisine in the city. “The Drive” is conveniently one of the stops along the sky train and is the perfect place to go for dinner.


If you would like to feel like a long lost relative or a rock star then Ginger Sushi, a super cute family-run restaurant, is the place for you. The owners are so wonderful and the sushi is great. Try their rainbow and the crunchy hot date rolls. Oh, baby! If you go there more than once they will remember you, welcome you and treat you like an adopted family member.

This place has the best brunches. Bandidas Taqueria‘s food is fresh, vegetarian and packed full of flavour with a Mexican twist. Try “the breakfast” which comes with hot-from-the-oven corn bread and honey butter. Yum.

What other cuisine brings people together like Ethiopian food? Sitting in a circle around fresh injerna topped with exquisitely spiced dishes is a memory worth making at Harambe.

Cafe Kathmandu serves authentic Nepali food. The owner is so charming and their chai will warm you from the inside out.

If you are craving a good ole slice of greasy pizza then you need to check out Uncle Fatih’s. Their potato and beef and blue cheese pizzas are what cravings were made for.

If you would like a more romantic, authentic, date-worthy pizza, then walk over to the local favourite Via Tevere Pizzeria. Owned by a family with deep family roots in Naples, this is the place to go to for a true Neapolitan experience.

In between The Drive and Strathcona there is a pink shop with 218 flavours of gelato. At La Casa Gelato you can try endless samples and you should. Definitely dare your friends to try flavours like garlic, curry, red wine or durian. Personal favourites are pumpkin pie and ice cream cake. Find your favourite!


JJ Bean Coffee Roasters is a Vancouver staple. Born and raised in East Vancouver, JJ Bean has fostered the coffee community of Vancouver. If you prefer a more traditional roast, go here.

Prado Cafe is an open and bright little coffee shop serving locally roasted coffee.


Fantastic drinks, tasty tacos and gorgeous tiles can be found at La Mezcaleria. Do try their spiked horchata and a shot of mezcal.

Biercraft Tap and Tapas has a great selection of Belgian and craft beers as well as a lively atmosphere.


The Barefoot Contessa has the cutest dresses and accessories around town. They also feature local jewelry designers.

Mintage is a thrift store wonderland.

South China Seas Trading Co. also has a location at Granville Island Public Market, but this location hidden along Victoria Drive, beside a beloved park, is very quaint and dear. Come here for speciality herbs, spices, cookbooks and cooking classes. If you are a culinary nerd, this is a must!


During the summer months, go to the Trout Lake Farmers Market and try a crepe at Creperie La Boheme. It will blow your mind.

Walk north along Commerical Drive up to Trout Lake. This park is a local treasure and just the place to enjoy a coffee, a moment of quiet and some fresh air.

Check out what’s going on at The Cultch, a cultural centre for performing arts. You won’t be disappointed.


Tucked in the heritage home-lined streets is a charming bed and breakfast called Bee and Thistle.

Coffee at Revolver

Fraser Street

This the new “cool” kid on the block. It has really quaint shops and some tasty eats. Plus, it’s just a short walk from main street.


Earnest Ice Cream: Do you want to try the best handmade ice cream of your life? If yes, go here and order their toasted hazelnut and whiskey ice cream. It is life changing.

Looking for a restaurant that serves not only gluten-free, but also vegetarian cuisine without compromising on flavour? Try Graze. Their breakfasts are divine and so is their antipasti board.


This is Matchstick Coffee Roaster‘s original location. Did I mention that their spelt berry scones are delicious?


Not only is this place a Twin Peaks themed bar, but they also feature “Cheesy” as in Cheetos-coated deep fried pickles. You need to give these babies a chance. The Black Lodge could alter your cravings forever.


If you have kids in your life or are a creative type, then you need to stop by the innovative Collage Collage. You will leave inspired.

Spool of Thread features such well designed fabrics that it will be hard not to buy the whole store. They also have a sewing lounge where they offer classes.


Surrounded by beaches, Vancouver’s downtown has a lot to offer. Bike around Stanley Park in the morning, grab a Japa Dog or sushi for lunch and spend the afternoon browsing shops along Robson and gazing at art at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


You can’t go wrong with seaweed, Japanese mayo infused with wasabi and a hot dog. Japa Dog is the best.

A minute’s walk from English Bay, Tanpopo Sushi makes some of the best all-you-can-eat sushi. Do try their salmon sashimi.

Super creative Japanese fusion food is Guu. It will be hard to stop ordering.

What can warm the soul quite like a well executed bowl of Ramen? Try Santouka on Robson.

For breakfast go to Cafe Medina, a longtime favourite of Vancouverites. Their new location features beautiful high ceilings and plenty of character.


Another shout-out for all you design lovers is Design House. You will most likely swoon over their lights.


Be sure to make time to explore the 400-hectare natural West Coast rainforest of Stanley Park by biking, rollerblading, running or walking. While there, why not stop at the Vancouver Aquarium?

David Lam Park, also located along the sea wall, is a great place to breathe in the fresh ocean air.

Occupying a city block, Vancouver’s Public Library is a beautiful building inspired the Flavian Amphitheatre in Rome (Colosseum). Six floors of books, it is a book lover’s dream.

The Vancouver Art Gallery – located along Robson in the old courthouse – is a wonderful place. It features a diverse mix of contemporary and historic exhibitions highlighting artists from around the world, Canada and British Columbia, such as Emily Carr.

If you visit the city in the winter, head to the skating rink located under Robson Square beside the Vancouver Art Gallery. It is magical.


The Burrard is a retro-chic hotel that first opened in 1956. Newly renovated with modern design touches, this is one cool place to lay your head.

Located along English Bay, Hotel Slyvia, which was built in 1912, is filled with old-school character. The ivy crawling up the side of the hotel doesn’t hurt in the charm department, either.

East Hastings

Granville Island/ West Side

Granville Island is a peninsula located across False Creek under the south end of the Granville Street Bridge. The peninsula, once an industrial manufacturing area, has been transformed into a hotspot for arts and entertainment. To get there, bike along the seawall or it is equally fun to take an Aquabus from downtown. Keep walking up Granville Street to Broadway and you will find some wonderful treasures. Continue west along 4th and you will hit more spectacular beaches.


Are you ready to have your life changed? Once you try the best chai ever, it will be hard to go back. Granville Island Tea Company (public market) puts a little magic into each cup of chai. Be brave and try it with extra fresh ginger and cayenne.

Seafood City (public market) makes some pretty fabulous maple smoked salmon nuggets. A perfect snack.

The green olive fouggasse is a ladder to food heaven and it lives at Terra Breads (public market).

Vij’s is world famous for its innovative take on Indian cuisine. Make sure to arrive early by 5 pm, so that you get a spot. The lamb popsicles with creamy curry were a revelation. Rangoli is Vij’s less expensive cousin, however also owned by Vij, it is truly a delight.

You do not need to be a vegetarian to appreciate the amazing food at Heirloom. They also make a memorable brunch.

Kitstaya Sushi, is well loved by the locals and never disappointing. Have a true Vancouver experience and take it to-go for a picnic at the beach.

If you are looking for an experience, then The Afghan Horsemen is a great place to start. Be transported by the amazing smells and atmosphere!

Sargam House on Broadway features lovely south Indian dishes. Their dosas are sculptural and delicious!


Elysian Coffee has gotten better and better over the years. Go there for their clover-brewed coffee!


Maiwa (net loft) is packed full of handmade beauty from India. Here you will discover hand-carved wood block prints, Kantha blankets and Sibella Court books. Be inspired.

Check out Paper-Ya‘s (net loft) great paper selection, stamps, cards and washi tape.

Opus is old faithful in the local arts community. This is where all the artist go for their goods.

If you have kids, make their day and take them to the always crazy and fun Kids Market.

Handmade, local and stunning ceramics fill the Gallery of BC Ceramics. Pick a favourite mug on their mug wall.


Rent a kayak at Eco Marine and kayak around False Creek. If you are lucky you might spot a seal!

The key to the Public Market is to just walk and around and sample, sample, sample. Watch bagels being made by hand. Order a pastry. Browse local artisan stalls and live the dream.

Definitely ride the Aquabus from downtown to Granville Island.

Stop by the Charles H. Scott Gallery, located within Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

On a hot day, take your kids to the always fun Granville Island Water Park.

Go beach-hopping and stop at Kitslano, Jericho and Spanish Banks. Jericho and Spanish Banks are much quieter then their more popular cousins and are a fabulous place to go for a peaceful walk at sunset.


What could be better than sleeping at Granville Island? You could grab a chai first thing in the morning and breathe in the fresh ocean air. Simply divine. The Granville Island Hotel is a boutique hotel worth treating yourself to.


Notable Locals from and in Vancouver are:

Dan Mangan, musician

We Are The City, band

Mother Mother, band

Hey Ocean!, band

Said the Whale, band

Teen Daze, musician

Seth Rogen, actor, writer and comedian

Ryan Reynolds, actor

David Suzuki, environmentalist, scientist, broadcaster

Matthew Good, musician

Suggested For You


  • Nice city guide! I get up to Vancouver at least once a year and I love it. It’s so much like Seattle (where I’m from) so it feels like home. I personally like stating at The Georgian Court Hotel. It’s less than a block away from BC Place and it’s also close to Yaletown. It’s got a boutique feel and normally has good sale rates available on travel sites.

  • A quick update for the Fraserhood: Che Baba has (sadly) closed, but the space currently being reno’d and turned into a new concept. Same owners/operators though.

  • SO nice to see an updated Vancouver guide! I have lived here my whole life, mostly in the Main Street and Fraserview areas. I am looking forward to checking out lots of the West Side/ Kits restaurants/ shops.

    Just to add a few things to the Main/ Mt. Pleasant set:
    Coffee/ Quick food:
    49th parallel coffee/ lucky donuts, mentioned in kits but I think the main street location is better

    Solly’s Bagels, traditional Jewish Bagels, very delish!

    Quejos Cheese Buns- Gluten Free buns and some of the best and most reasonably priced sandwiches in the city

    Front and Company, one of the coolest consignment stores in the city, with hands down the best window displays

    Welcome Home Eugene Choo and Annex, probably my favourite store on Main Street.

    Theres a new clothing store called 8th and Main (guess where it is?)

    Umboshi Shoes, like a mini gravity pope!

    Devil May Wear, handmade a few of a king type fashion.

    The Soap Dispensary, eco friendly home and bath. They also sell all sorts of bulk soap, don’t forget your reusable container! The owner is lovely and very knowledgable.

    Woo Vintage, cool vintage clothing

    Unfortunately the Montmatre is no longer in business, however a place called the Shameful Tiki replaced it.

    Splitz Grill make a pretty mean burger, as does Vera’s Burgers.

    The Wallflower is great and they have vegan/ gluten free options

    The Foundation- One word… Nachos!! They are the best, but for real, everything on their menu is killer.

    Nuba Cafe- Don’t look at the menu, just order the Najib’s special. You can thank me later.

    Hawkers- Serious hole in the wall Malaysian Restaurant. You can get a huge delicious meal for $6.

    Pubs/ Bars

    Portland Craft- Great selection of craft beer… mostly from Portland. Knowledgable staff, fun place to be.

    Tap and Barrel (In Olympic Village)- great beer , even better patio.

    The Rumpus Room- Throwback 70’s decor and more hipsters than you’ve ever seen in one place. Plus they have a patio in their parking lot complete with yard flamingos. Need I say more? They also have $10 Beer and Burgers on Mondays.

    Earnest Ice Cream- Vancouver’s latest obsession! They are opening a by the scoop shot on Fraser just north of King Edward Ave. (where the outpost cafe used to be)

    Parallel 49 Brewery- Craft Beer seems to be the trend of the decade, see it at its finest at Parallel 49 just north of Hastings at Victoria. (Google maps it before you go… I got lost the first time)

    New Brighton Pool- Super out of the way, but every bit worth it. Similar to kits pool but much farther East, and thus much less crowded on Vancouver’s few sunny days. Bonus cool view of Vancouver’s iconic dock crane things…. you know the ones that look like dinosaurs.

    Vancouver has so many gems, there is no way one person could find them all!

  • Grace,

    Thanks for responding.
    I am just going for all out honesty here, I was not impressed by the Victoria guide either. It must be so hard for you and your team to assess the content when you are not from, nor have spent much time in a city.
    I pride your site for showing us the inside scoop on places; where the locals go, the cool things you may miss as a tourist. I know you were here for a couple of days for your book signing (as I got my book signed by you), it is such a great city with so many amazing things to offer, and frankly some SUPER rad stuff. I know how popular D*S is for your city guides and how many people rely on them before they travel somewhere, or even book travel based on what your site has to say about a city.

    In my (clearly today not so humble opinion) this guide does not do Vancouver justice at all.
    But, my standards are extremely high, and I get told frequently that I expect too much of people. This could simply be one of those cases.

    I’m glad our city is gaining some traction though.
    Happy Friday!

    PS- I feel really weird about not just having good things to say for once (I was taught to not say anything at all then…)

  • Well done! I write this as I look out at the shimmery lights of Lions Gate Bridge bouncing off the moonlit waters of this gorgeous city. I grew up in Vancouver but no longer live here. But I come back every summer with my family to bask in its beauty. Vancouver is where you want to be in the summer time. No single guide can do any city justice but as an ex-native and now as a visitor I feel this guide does a very good job. Kits pool rocks!

  • Yay Vancouver!
    Been here almost 10 years now (from a Sunshine Coast town originally) and great to see an updated guide. Have a few updates for your update:

    Monmartre Cafe is, sadly, closed. :( I often frequented that place and the Tunisian guy who ran it was really invested in its day to day operations. (http://www.yelp.ca/biz/montmartre-cafe-vancouver)

    For Kits/west 4th, I’d add:

    Culprit Coffee: http://www.yelp.ca/biz/culprit-coffee-vancouver
    It’s a cafe between 4th & 5th on Vine – hard to miss with a bright sunny yellow brick exterior behind (ugh) Brown’s. Nice outdoor spot to sit on a sunny day (and gets flooded with sunshine in the afternoon, being west facing) Fantastic coffee and good baking too. The nice decor just adds to the experience.

    For Fairview/Granville:
    Salade de Fruits
    1545 7th Ave W (just west of Granville on 7th)
    French restaurant. Unfortunately they’re closed Sundays as their brunch is so tasty (go Saturday for the french toast!). Friends tell me their mussels are excellent as well.

    Someone else mentioned Tap & Barrel in the Olympic Village. I will say it feels a bit generic (like it wants to be a chain even though it’s not? Maybe it’s just the architecture) but the food is good and the patio is amazing. Right on the sea wall with views accross to downtown, the mountains and the sunset. Definitely a great summer spot.

    For Main St area:
    The Wallflower Modern Diner – thewallflowermoderndiner.com
    2420 Main Street (Main & 8th)
    Great little restaurant with plentiful (and tasty!) vegan and vegetarian options. Nice cocktails too. Definitely a bit hipster but that goes with the territory.

    Long’s Noodle House (http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181110/restaurant/Riley-Park-Little-Mountain/Longs-Noodle-House-Vancouver )
    4853 Main St (just north of 33rd on Main, west side of the street)
    I almost hate myself for giving this one away, but cash-only and ‘authentic’, this Shanghainese place has -the- tastiest Xiao Long Bao (steamed soup dumplings). The skin is thin and delicate and the XLB are so juicy and good. So good. And affordable! Best to go with a group.

    Commercial Drive:

    Someone else mentioned Little Nest. Clearly I have a brunch fixation but.. brunch! Their brunch is so good. They’re really family focused with a play area etc which is great when my nephew is along but the food’s so fantastic that even my single childless self likes to go with friends for the yummy brioche french toast or poached eggs and polenta. Note that they may be moving soon re: rent increases (http://scoutmagazine.ca/2013/07/18/diner-buoyed-by-public-support-little-nest-owner-is-hoping-to-open-elsewhere/ )

    Also a note, surprised Guilt & Co. mentioned but not their games focus. There’s a gigantic Jenga in the back room and a games menu (game of life and jenga more than catan etc.)

  • I live in Barcelona (Spain) and from here I write my http://www.bloghedonista.com about restaurants, wines, travel, leisure and trends.
    I’ve been on holiday from 1 to 15 July in Vancouver and by the B.C.De your fantastic list I’ve eaten at L’Abbatoir and Cambar.
    And I would add these sites
    Grocery store: Urban Fare
    Bakery: Beta 5 (Excellent) Thierry
    For ice cream: Bella Gelateria (winner in the ice cream Florence Championship 2012)
    Lunch o dinner: Giovanne, Cactus Club Café, Campagnolo (excellent pizzas), Joey Bentall One, and the essential Hawksworth.

  • Nadine,

    Because the list is so long it would take me an immense about of time to type it all out. At the moment I am in the middle of a big project, therefore I do not have the luxury of doing so.
    With the Victoria guide I did comment on a few of the main things I thought were missing.

    With Vancouver, it would basically be re-writing the guide for each area and adding in neighbourhoods which were not included.
    This is something that would take hours that I do not have currently.
    But I suppose I can start compiling a list when I have a few moments here and there, and then cut and paste it all in eventually.


  • Ashley Johnson,

    I’m pretty sure these ARE aimed at tourists. And in a city as large as Vancouver, it’s going to be a reel of highlights. Perhaps a more constructive solution (to avoid being negative as you seem to feel so ashamed of) you could do an additional submission and submit it. I would be interested in seeing all the things that were missed. Sounds like you have a long list.

  • I think the article does my city justice, having lived here my whole 34 years, so I disagree with Ashley. There’s so many good restaurants and shops in town!

  • There are many wonderful suggestions in this guide, but I have a few additions and a couple of places that should perhaps be reconsidered for the Main Street/Fraser area.

    June’s Main Street suggestions are great.
    -The new Tiki bar looks pretty fun; the decor is really enticing.

    Mouse is right on about Long’s Noodle House (Main/32nd)–it’s always packed, great value, and really delicious. I love their drunken chicken.

    Next door to Long’s is Au Petit Cafe, a small Vietnamese restaurant, and the best in the area–it’s always busy. They make their own meatballs and pate for their banh mi sandwiches and their vermicelli with spring rolls and pork is really well done. The beef stew looks good, too.

    Jose Maria Toro’s suggestion of Beta 5 Chocolates (near Main Street Skytrain Station on Industrial Ave) is excellent. Their chocolate-covered Okanagan cherries make the best gift.

    The organic market on Main/21st has delicious local cherries right now at a good price.

    Hatch on 18th at Main has really cute Korean stationery and clothes, although they are moving more towards the owner’s own clothing designs. Lots of great stuff; I would buy the whole shop if I could.

    On Fraser at 18th, try BKH Jerky for delicious, Singapore-style pork or beef jerky. You can watch them make it on site. A good gift!

    A couple of guide mentions that I unfortunately can’t support:

    Howard Johnson– I recommend against staying at this hotel. My easygoing family members who are used to staying at inexpensive places said the beds were very uncomfortable, the breakfast terrible (OJ served with 3 oz dixie cups, cold eggs), and the owner unhelpful and not welcoming. Neither group would ever stay here again. The prime location isn’t worth it; stay a couple blocks up the street at the much nicer Best Western instead (but book well in advance!!).

    Chef Claire’s sandwiches are good in her storefront, but her poor customer service response to sad, catered sandwiches have kept me away.

    The Sweet Salt on Fraser seemed really promising (love the kid-friendly atmosphere and wonderful staff), but each time I had overwhelmingly disappointing cookies. Maybe try something else on the menu.

  • Emily,

    Just to be clear, I said I felt like the guide was written from a tourist’s point of view. I understand that the these guides are aimed at tourists (mainly), but feel they should be more of a inside guide written by someone who knows the city inside & out, and suggest things that a typical tourist would not necessarily discover on their own with limited time in the city. I also explain above why I currently do not have time to type out my long list of suggestions and additions. And you are correct, my list is long (but no I am not ashamed).

    I am glad there are people who feel the updated guide does our city justice, and you are correct Amanda, there are so many good restaurants and shops in town.


  • We also have some outstanding veg restaurants, with a few new ones slated to open soon. I highly recommend:

    Heirloom Restaurant:
    – delicious food, friendly staff, beautiful airy space.

    The Parker (my favourite!):
    – innovative, beautiful food and excellent cocktails!

    – creative, seasonal menu and really cool atmosphere.

    Planet Veg:
    – wonderful family-run quick-food restaurant. Grab a wrap and head down to Kits beach to watch the sunset.

    Chau Veggie Express:
    – crazy-delicious Vietnamese

    -creative menu, friendly staff:

  • A few other closures to note: the HoJo on Kingsway & 12th has closed– being converted to shelter/low-income housing I’ve heard…
    Cafe Montmarte has also closed.
    I would add a rave for Cafe Aphrodite’s for their GF pie (always with chai, of course!)– I have jsut come from there in fact, & it’s not as pricey as $20, even with the GF surcharge. Even at 20% tip, it was less than $15. All the food is organic/seasonal/ethically sourced, & vegan/GF friendly!
    My Goodness Glutenfree- Broadway, between Main & Kingsway, does the best GF carrot cake ever!
    GF Epicurean does many vegan/GF treats, savory & sweet, including a GF apple fritter!! OMG!! Sooo delish!
    Calabash- Caribbean food, with possibly the best mojito in town! Service is so warm & friendly, staff great you like a long-lost friend– a rarity in Vancouver, which can be known for its frosty exterior. Plantain chips to snack on, followed by curry. Oh my! Spice is adjustable depending on your tolerance- I’m wimpy, & mouth ends up warm, but nothing is too hot to handle. Gluten-free/veg friendly.
    VAG- FUSE nights are usually quarterly, not every month. Performance artists, & spectacles galore. Good for people-watching/meeting!
    I wouldn’t recommend Los Margarita’s on West 4th for Mexican- I equate it to Taco Time (maybe a step above, but not much), Pretty sure the salsa comes out of a can/jar. Instead, try Donna Cata, over on Victoria Drive– cactus taco? Yum! Authentic, true Mexican food.
    And, don’t forget all the food carts spring up around town! Mom’s Grilled Cheese, on Hornby outside the VAG– gluten free bread, plus Daiya vegan cheese; daily specials; homemade Ginger/Mint Iced Tea! Guanaco- El Salvadorean (GF- noticing a theme here?) Papusas– stuffed w/ cheese, plus either a meat, or beans/zucchini, comes with cassava fries– soooo filling, but addictive!
    Don’t forget SpaceLab on Main (@2nd) for antlers, dental picks, retro furniture, & other things great & weird!

  • I was surprised (and pleased!) to see this guide pop up in my email; I always find it fascinating to read guides about my own city. There are SO MANY places to eat, drink, visit, and explore, that even if you just walk around aimlessly, you’re sure to find somewhere wonderful, no matter what part of the city you’re in. Definitely visit the Aquarium, Science World, and walk the Seawall, and take the Seabus to North Vancouver :)

    Someone mentioned we love to eat here, and it’s true – Vancouver is proud home to an incredibly diverse selection of food, and it’s all amazing, even the most questionable looking little dives ^__^ I’ve lived here all my life and am still discovering new places. Welcome, everyone – enjoy!! :)

  • Glad someone added The Soap Dispensary on Main Street. Totally up there with my favourite places to stock up on environmentally friendly, local and refillable home cleaning and personal hygiene products!

    Second, Revolucion Cigars – Definitely. The boys who run the place are the nicest guys in city, and very easy on the eyes. ;)

    Finally, I gotta add a shout out to my favourite spot in the city (South Granville): Ouisi Bistro – Cajun/Louisiana style, alligator bites, amazing long-time service staff, awesome private back alley patio for summer nights, live jazz music. Totally laid back. And they have a sweet painting of Oprah on the wall, which just makes my day.

  • This is a great article, content-wise, but it’s absolutely rife with typos. For example:

    – “Even our mayor Gregor Robertson, a New Zealand farmer in his early 20s, co-founded an organic fruit beverage company called Happy Planet” makes it sound like he’s in his early 20s now, which is not the case!
    – the restaurant is called La Taqueria, not Tequeria
    – Bollywood-esque, not -esk
    – “Vancouver’s born and raised socially responsible coffee roaster’s newest cafe location.” is not actually a full sentence.
    – Café Deux Soleils, not Soleilis
    – “Also seen on Food Network show” needs a definite article. Food Network doesn’t have one in its official branding, but the word “show” still needs “the” to make sense.
    – “Kitsilano was once known for it’s hippy culture” should be “its”

    And that’s just from a cursory glance! I know you all are a small operation, but a bit more copy editing would go a long way.

  • DRESSEW! Any crafty person’s dream store– so much fabric, so many notions, and so cheap! I literally dream about it. And I’ve never been to any other place like it, except maybe in NYC, where everything is 10x the price.

    Also, how could you forget about Richmond? Maybe it’s deserving of its own guide, but I can’t think about Vancouver without thinking of Richmond– its the closest you’ll get to Asia in North America.

  • Loads to add and update:

    No love for Tacofino food trucks and Tacofino Commissary in Hastings Sunrise??
    So many craft breweries opening up soon and have opened. Brassneck on Main, 33 Acres on W. 8th I believe.
    Burdock & Co on Main by Chef Andrea Carlson and her Harvest Foods in Chinatown

    I think Chinese food is missing on this list!! How can that be possible since there is amazing Chinese food in the city. Kirin is a great more updscale Chinese or there’s dim sum at Sun Sui Wah on Main Street. Cheap noodle spot is Congee Noodle House on Main, open late every night especially on weekends.

    Peaceful on Broadway for really tasty Szechuan style Chinese.

    If you’re a ramen fan there’s a Santouka outlet on Robson.

    One of a Few is a great women’s boutique in Gastown. Lifetime Apparel has a shop up on Main Street.

    For fancy sushi there’s Miku and Minami.

    Loden Hotel is a nice hotel hidden away on Melville. Or if you want to go to the opposite if that, there’s the Fairmont Pacific Rim. The shop and cafe inside Giovane is well done.

    There’s a La Quercia outpost in the Opus Hotel called La Pentola

    Breakfast food truck Yolks has a new restaurant and commissary.

    So much is happening in Vancouver always!!

  • As I was critical of the last Vancouver City Guide Update last summer, I want to be sure say that this one is really great.
    Wonderful job Katrina :)
    There is so much growth happening in Vancouver right now, and so many new and interesting places opening up it’s hard to keep track of it all.

    One thing I would add is that Luke’s General Store just opened a full storefront at 49 West Hastings the other day. They are now serving “friendo blendo” espresso from Four Barrel Coffee in San Francisco. It’s yummy, and although I always bring my own mug, I have never seen such pretty paper to-go cups (have your iPhones ready).

    Gold star D*S!
    Thank you.

  • How is practically half the city lumped in with Granville Island? There’s more to Vancouver (most of it, actually) than the East Side.

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