The Best Restaurants in Downtown Vancouver

© Nicola Margaret / Getty Images
Photo of Culture Trip
9 July 2020

If you’re into fresh produce and flavours from around the world, Vancouver’s excellent restaurants are certain to be your cup of tea.

Restaurant, Healthy
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As the first poke joint in Vancouver, Poké Time knows their poke. They’ve reinvented the Hawaiian dish slightly, by offering customers different bases, toppings, and customized sauces. Poké Time says they “bring the ALOHA to you through our beautifully crafted poke dishes, through the smiles and friendly service from our staff, and by making it affordable so that you can indulge in our poke, time and time again.”

Restaurant, Healthy
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A relatively new poke kid on the block, Pokerrito is doing things a little differently. As well as offering the usual poke bowls, they are also serving poke in sushi-style burritos. They have five signature dishes named after Oahu landmarks—North Shore, Diamond Head, Waikiki, Hanauma, and Sunset Beach—but Pokerrito customers can also create their own bowls and burritos too.

Restaurant, Japanese, Sushi
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Located in Downtown Vancouver, Sushi Coen is one of those small hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve delicious food. In this case, the menu features a large selection of Japanese dishes, including a Volcano Sushi Pizza. It has the usual crispy rice base with spicy tuna, unagi sauce, and jalapeño peppers on top.

Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
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Splurge on the seafood towers at upscale Boulevard | © KK Law

As one of the city’s most celebrated restaurants, Boulevard regularly cleans up at hospitality awards ceremonies. The menu of high-end seafood dishes was masterminded by executive chef Alex Chen, who borrows from international cuisines to create innovative flavor combinations, like kanpachi in a fish bone vinaigrette, served with kohlrabi, compressed cucumber, oozing ramen quail egg and a sprinkling of mustard seeds. Ng recommends ordering the seafood tower for four, for two. “Have that be your entrée,” she says. “It’s definitely enough food and it gives you more bang for your buck. This is a fine-dining establishment after all, and dishes are on the expensive side.”

Restaurant, Moroccan, $$$
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Medina may well be the most popular brunch spot in the city | © KK Law

Arrive a little before Medina opens its doors or be prepared for a long wait – this is perhaps the most popular brunch spot in the city. The restaurant serves Mediterranean favorites like tagines, couscous and spicy lamb meatballs, and makes them brunch-appropriate by adding eggs, avocado and sides of golden, griddled bread. The move here is to order the paella, according to Ng – flavorful rice chock-full of chorizo and roasted vegetables, sprinkled with Grana Padano and topped with a single sunny-side egg.

Bar, Pizzeria, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Italian, $$$
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Red Card Sports Bar and Eatery is undoubtedly the most perfectly named sports bar in the city. It has 16 HD televisions, as well as two 2.69-meter (8.8-foot) projector screens so that you won’t miss a bit of the sports action at Red Card. The sports bar has daily specials and lists the live sports showing every day on its website. Get in touch with the considerate team at Red Card if your sport or team isn’t listed, as they might be able to organize a viewing for you.

Bar, Restaurant, Pub Grub, Beer, American, $$$
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The city’s original sports bar, Shark Club Vancouver “redefines sports bar and pub greatness.” The bar and grill’s location is just steps from BC Place and Rogers Arena, which is where most of the sports action happens in Vancouver. Shark Club is popular before, during, and after local sports games and concerts. It has many small television screens, as well as two projectors that each measure 3.66 meters x 2.1 meters (12ft x 7ft).

Restaurant, Peruvian
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A family run business dedicated to making authentic, flavorful Peruvian cuisine, Silvestre Gusto Latino puts a little taste of Peru right in downtown Vancouver. Using the three traditional staples of Peruvian cuisine; corn, potatoes and ajies (chili), this deli and bistro, which boasts the “best Peruvian food in town,” creates delicious sandwiches and dishes such as the chicharron, a slow cooked and fried pork belly sandwich with sweet potatoes and salsa criolla.

Coffee Shop, Coffee, $$$
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Most cafés on this list cater to the coffee uber-geeks that frequent gentrifying artsy neighborhoods like Gastown. Small Victory lets the quinoa-salad-and-avocado-toast crowds in Yaletown and South Granville get in on top-flight brews too. Its pour-over beans come from Prototype and other cool Canadian roasters. Small Victory bakes naturally leavened bread for its aforementioned toast, and for sandwiches like its turkey BLT. The café serves breakfast and lunch at both locations.

These recommendations were updated on July 9, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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