The essence of Vancouver lies in its juxtaposition of cosmopolitan neighborhoods flanked by dramatic mountains and glittering waters. Influenced by these surrounds, the city has also emerged as one of the world’s greatest culinary destinations, as lauded by the experts at Food & Wine magazine. Local Kristin Kent reveals Vancouver’s most appetizing experiences.
Straight From the Source
Did you know the 100-mile diet originated in Vancouver? The city is teeming with farm-to-table and sea-to-table (known affectionately as “merroir”) restaurants that rely on locally sourced ingredients. At “buck-a-shuck” happy hours throughout the city, you’ll discover the nuances between Kumamoto, Kusshi and Fanny Bay oysters. A stay at the Fairmont Waterfront offers a firsthand glimpse of honeybee hives and a 2,100-square-foot herb garden that deliver ingredients straight to your dining table.
Turn to the experts to learn about Vancouver specialties you may never have discovered on your own. On a guided tour of eclectic food trucks, a can’t-miss stop is Japadog, serving plump hot dogs transformed by Japanese-influenced ingredients like teriyaki sauce and bonito flakes. Take a five-minute Aquabus or False Creek Ferries ride to Granville Island for a guided culinary market tour that reveals a bounty of delicacies, like honey-dip doughnuts at Lee’s Donuts and Benton Brothers’ artisanal cheeses and charcuterie.
Vancouver chefs have mastered the art of melding global flavors. Many sushi joints offer the unusual BC Roll, an addictive combination of barbecue salmon topped with a sweet sauce — often maple syrup. You’ll also stumble into unique mash-ups, like Southern fried chicken with a Korean twist. Locating the best ramen shop in Downtown Vancouver is an entertaining pastime, while those looking for the ultimate indulgence can order a six-course tasting menu with expertly paired wines at Hawksworth Restaurant.
In trendy Gastown and adjacent Railtown, bartenders don’t just sling drinks; they create memorable experiences. Expect handcrafted cocktails served in lively lounges like L’Abattoir, Pourhouse Restaurant and Belgard Kitchen. See and be seen in hip hotel bars like OPUS Hotel Vancouver in Yaletown,where locals arrive for live music and modernized cocktails.
Canadian travel journalist Kristin Kent is a contributing writer for publications such as the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail.